Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tough Times

Because of our continued involvement with the music business we still monitor various goings-on to get wind of any opportunities. And having some moons ago come across a site called UK radio I was happy to get its free weekly updates, though frankly once became really intense they were a bit too long and detailed to stay on top of as well as I would have liked. But still, I was saddened to learn today that they were ceasing to operate. 

My mood is in part selfish. Here was yet another useful, independent resource run by committed folks who had put a lot of time and doubtless money into something that they were interested and believed in, but they just couldn't sustain it. And this despite the fact that they had a healthy and loyal audience... and took ads, which were without doubt going to a highly-targeted readership.

They are not alone in struggling. This recent year-end/new year season has seen many an email from some highly valued resources seeking 'donations'. Almost all of these have been from the world of ENV/REC, going the charity or not-for-profit route, and many actively avoiding ads. Their call, but for obvious reasons I don't see this as a mechanism for guaranteeing objectivity and, let's face it, revenue is a great way to maintain a healthy business. The trick is to ensure that one is not beholden to just a few masters.

I have to confess I have not responded to any of these pleas. For one I don't find many useful enough to pay for. And for another we don't ask for any money from them, and would be happy to feature them if they asked, so we'll keep our meagre budget to ourselves.

Speaking of which, we're looking at where we can go next. The model is relatively simple. We need to get the numbers of our visitors/registrants up so we can point to an audience base that makes it worth the major media talking about us, and the major brands advertising with us.

And while we are growing virally very nicely thank you, it is not yet at a rate that can sustain us in all our efforts to hone the site functions, research information, write articles, etc. The site is built, and our overheads are very low, but salaries do need to be paid so folk can afford to live. And sadly, while we have had generous support in funding 3rd party constructions and consultations, none of it has come in ways we most need 'to keep us going' at such a critical phase. Funders like widgets, not pay slips.

So we are faced with a dilemma. To keep going we need money. And to get money we have to spend it. Well, one thing is for sure. Sitting here worrying about it isn't going to get us anywhere. So watch this space. is about to get very active.