We’re going to take a short break from CAS 2014 while my outstanding field contributors collect their wits and their thoughts.
With that said, this seems an excellent time to let slip that Part-Time Audiophile will be … evolving. Soon.
In fact, very soon.
“What’s coming?” you ask?
“A new site.”
Ooh, aah ….
Part-Time Audiophile is rapidly coming up on its fifth birthday. Can you believe that? I can’t. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s completely wrong, but the dates on the Archive are pretty convincing. Where did all that time go?
Over that time, the site has been devoting itself to many things. There are my ramblings as I explore audio’s high-end. There are all the reviews — mmm … all that deliciously tasty gear … yum. And then there are all those audio shows.
And now, it’s time to grow.
Tyll Hertsens over at InnerFidelity recently posted an article about the evolution underway over there. The reality of web-based publishing is a not a new thing for The Enthusiast Network, but those realities haven’t really impinged much on Stereophile or any of its offspring. Until now. Which is interesting for many reasons, but the primary ones being these: how do you succeed in publishing on the web vs in print? What’s different? What changes?
For me, I think it’s pretty obvious that content drives a site. New content drags in eyeballs, and the more eyeballs, the more value that the associated advertisements acquire. Cha-ching. The challenge, for a publisher, is to make a site actually worth visiting (much less worth building and maintaining), without resorting to click-bait — all while still making the site interesting and valuable to the reader and not just the advertiser. It’s a bit of a balance, really.
Anyway, in light of all this meta-talk, I thought I’d take a moment and draw back the curtain. What we’re going to do is this. Show coverage, by far the most voluminous of content here at this site, will move to its own home. With its own space to thrive and grow, that new site will be devoted to the roving audio community, audio on the road (as it were), and the careening carnival that is the modern traveling audio show circuit. With its own space to thrive and grow, that content will then not swamp all the other content coming to Part-Time Audiophile, and both can then … breathe. That’ll be nice — really nice.
I’m planning to launch in time for the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and I’ll be sure to wallpaper everything and everywhere so all you audio news junkies will know where to go to get your eyes on the cool stuff. More to come on that score, and soon.
But rest assured: this new site will cover the living daylights out of the audio shows — and all the other “On The Road” stuff we do — in fine style.
Said another way, we’ll still be offering embarrassingly thorough coverage and do it to a level that serves both you, the reader, and the manufacturers and dealers that have gone through all the effort to bring you something nifty to experience.
Well. I mean, it’ll be vicarious, but given that, we will still be the place to go for the best f***ing show coverage. Ever.
Interesting angle. So what is the balance of your posts on audio shows vs. gear coverage? While I find them both of interest, the most useful is where a blurb from an audio show is relatively coincident with a gear review. I realize that depends on lots and lots of variables (mixed with a dollop of luck) but I generally look at audio show posts as teasers (audio smut) without putting too much value in the sonic commentary (hence the interest in a review). Keep up the good work and content (but please don’t start a song of the day).
The hills are alive …. with the sound of moooooooo-zik … la la laaaaa!
Regarding the Robin Williams comparison, I don’t ever recall him using “ahem” in his standup routines nor in his movie roles..ahem..
This is great news. The show coverage quickly starts to read like endless repeats of the same news. I don’t know about others, but I come to this site for the non-show articles. Articles about cable debates, the metaphysics of reviewing, longer-term evaluations of gear in your home, news (e.g. Pono, etc…), and so on. Those get so drowned out by the thousands of ‘here’s some photos of a hotel room with gear and superficial impressions’ posts, and I stop coming. So great news, I’ll pass on the show stuff, and go back to getting excited every time my RSS feeder tells me there’s a new PTA post. Thank you.
Content–yes, but credible content. In my view, that’s the real key to things. If content comes off as spin or hype, then it is not worth much, and people won’t follow it. (They might look at the pictures though). There’s plenty of places on the web that fail in this regard. In audio land this is a difficult challenge, but it is absolutely necessary to take it on; it is the one criterion that really matters.
“Quality” is a thing we tend to wave hands at, but rarely address. We tend to hope that what we do has value, but the metrics for achieving that are few and far between.
I recently had a long conversation with Tyll about this, springing from the thread around “mission”. His position is that information is the key. That’s an interesting word, ‘information’, and a lot of work gets done with it. But what he means is that he’s known for providing deep, credible commentary around a product and that this is precisely why readers tune in. He’s the Edward R Murrow of headphones. Me? Well, I think Tyll thinks of me as a bit closer to the Robin Williams of audio. Ahem.
The point — style isn’t hype. Tyll has a style. I have a style. Atkinson, Harley, Rochlin — all have a style. The style that speaks to you is usually the one you’ll line up with, but in the world of the Web, exclusivity of eyeball attentiveness is a rare thing amongst those under “a certain age”. In Tyll’s words, the web isn’t a zero-sum game. Said yet another way, there’s room for different approaches.
But with that said, quality drives return visitors.
For audio shows, very few sites don’t do them at all, but of those, none of them do them like I do. Whether or not the way I do them is necessary or required begs an interesting question, but given my traffic numbers, I think that’s one I can put to bed.
Everyone loves the new. Products, especially beautiful or innovative ones, fire the imagination (and the salivary glands). That’s awesome. And for that, you can visit just about any audio site anywhere and re-read the press release and see, at best, stock photos.
But this misses … a lot.
For example, audio shows are fun. The number of shows has increased over the last few years, and the fact that ever-more attendees show up, does seem to underscore a demand. I have some suspicions around why that’s true, but the upshot is that they’re now part of the fabric of audio’s high-end. In my view, an integral part, and one routinely overlooked — music is not inherently a isolating experience, yet, that’s precisely how audiophiles “do it”. The audio show resets that. And did I mention that they’re fun?
It’s also a marketplace, a huge sprawling one, in a world where brick-and-mortar shops seem rather scarce. That’s pretty cool. Yet it’s rare that this aspect gets captured in show coverage — it’s as if products materialize out of thin air at an audio show. Little to no mention goes to the innovative retailer, taking the risk of doing a show and perhaps doing it far better than merely “well” — all we, the audience, hear is the fact of a new loudspeaker or amp or turntable. Poof!
Anyway, the new site should address those points. And do it in a way that the others simply don’t.