Adaptistration Turns 13

Technically, yesterday marked Adaptistration’s thirteen-year anniversary, and what a year it’s been! According to data compiled by Google Analytics, here’s what happened.


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  1. New readers increased by 14 percent, one percent more than the previous year.
  2. Although the 25-34 age group comprise the majority of readers, the 35-44 age group increased their ratio by 25 percent from the previous year.
    1. 25-34: 22.82 percent of readers
    2. 35-44: 20.64 percent of readers
    3. 45-54: 17.06 percent of readers
    4. 55-64: 16.89 percent of readers
    5. 65+: 11.31 percent of readers
    6. 18-24: 11.27 percent of readers
  3. 63.76 percent of readers are male while 36.24 percent are female; the latter increased their share over the previous year by 0.35 percent.
  4. For the first time in the blog’s 13-year history, New York was not the highest traffic generating state even though their percentage of readership increased by 2.6 percent. California jumped to the top spot.
    1. California: 8.62 percent of readers
    2. New York: 8.08 percent of readers
    3. Texas: 7.91 percent of readers
    4. Pennsylvania: 6.90 percent of readers (up from 4.09 percent the previous year)
    5. Illinois: 6.76 percent of readers
  5. Chrome continues to dominate as the browser of choice. 39.43 percent of visitors used Chrome, up from 38.25 percent the previous year. Safari continues to trail in the #2 slot with 26.48 percent while Firefox saw a considerable drop from 12.29 to 9.13 percent. But Internet Explorer saw the biggest drop going from 8.32 to 4.57 percent.
  6. Mobile users now account for nearly half of all site traffic.
    1. Desktop users: 51.3 percent, down from 62.75 percent the previous year.
    2. Smartphone: 40.2 percent, up from 28.55 percent the previous year.
    3. Tablet: 8.5 percent, nearly the same as the previous year.


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  1. Visitors finding their way to content by way of social media increased 51.26 percent over the previous year to account for 21.7 percent of all visitors.
  2. The most common method visitors arrived is via direct traffic. This accounted for 31.2 percent of overall traffic but it’s worth noting this is 13.85 percent less than the previous year.
  3. Good old fashioned organic search
    traffic continues to be the most common method visitors find their way to the site. Having said that, its overall ratio dropped 14.47 percent from the previous year.
  4. Referral based traffic, links from other sites, generated 11.6 percent of traffic, up 5.71 percent from the previous year.
  5. Although email traffic (from the per post and weekly email newsletter), only account for just over one percent of overall traffic, it’s worth noting that this is still a 325 percent increase over the previous year. Interesting.
  6. Facebook continues to be the social media platform of choice among users who share Adaptistration’s content. 90.7 percent of all social media sourced traffic came from Facebook, up from 82.5 percent the previous year.
  7. Twitter’s ratio of traffic dropped from 13.9 percent to 7.8 percent with LinkedIn, Google+, and Blogger accounting for the remaining 1.5 percent of visitors.
  8. Not counting social media platforms, the most popular referral sites included, The New York Times, and
  9. The most common search terms via third party search engines included “adaptistration,” “difference between strike and lockout,” “orchestra salaries,” “conductor salary,” “groupmuse,” “concertmaster salary,” and “drew mcmanus.”


Adaptistration People 133Adaptistration set several new traffic records this past year, thanks mostly to the 2016 compensation reports; specifically, the music director report that included the bombshell $5,110,538 in compensation paid to Dallas Symphony music director Jaap van Zweden (via his company, Bajada Productions LLC). This post not only set a new all-time high one day traffic record but it more than doubled the previous record holding post.

Here’s a list of the Top 25 Articles:

  1. 2016 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Music Directors. This post generated more than 30,000 visits in one day and nearly half the number of direct visits as the homepage!
  2. 2015 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Music Directors. Based on user flow through the site, quite a few visitors for the above article went right to this one afterward.
  3. Understanding The Difference Between A Strike And A Lockout. Another post from outside the past year, this article continues to receive a steady stream of traffic thanks to visitors arriving from Google searches.
  4. ACTION ALERT: Here’s What You Can Do To Help Defeat The Destruction Of Military Bands. It was enormously gratifying to see this article receive so much attention, far more than any of the labor dispute articles over the past year. The struggle is not yet over so thank you in advance for doing your part to help make sure we don’t lose military music programs!
  5. An Updated Look At Top-Tier Musician Compensation 2016
  6. 2016 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Executives
  7. It Was Nice While It Lasted. An article about the impending, at that time, Pittsburgh Symphony labor dispute.
  8. 2016 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Concertmasters
  9. 2016 Orchestra Compensation Reports: The Big Picture
  10. The Orchestra Compensation Reports. The index page for all the compensation reports since 2005. For articles beyond this point, I’ve filtered out some of the individual compensation report articles from previous years as they are ultimately included in this index page.
  11. Orchestra Financial Reports. An index of direct links to professional orchestra IRS filings.
  12. Examining The Groupmuse Business Model Part 1 and Part 2. Both installments generated nearly identical levels of traffic.
  13. 16px Font Size and 48px Wide Buttons Are The New Black
  14. Hartford’s Elephant In The Room Settles In As Musicians Cave
  15. The Second Great Lie Of Academia
  16. Building Concert Halls, Part 1: What makes a great concert hall? A guest author article from 2010 by Christopher Blair.
  17. Kalamazoo Musicians Cry Foul
  18. Improving The Musician Audition Process
  19. Here Are Some Of The Reasons Why Conductors Don’t Win Music Director Jobs: Poll Results
  20. Pittsburgh Symphony Labor Dispute Continues Down A Dark Path
  21. Major Conservatory Launches Revolutionary Scholarship Indemnity Program. This year’s April Fool’s Day prank.
  22. Maestro Rules #21: Don’t Call Your Concertmaster “A Sweetie”
  23. US Congresswoman Denigrates Military Bands And Musicians
  24. Fort Worth Symphony Musicians Strike
  25. How To Look Like The Smartest Person In The Room When Talking About This Season’s Labor Disputes
Were some of your favorites not in the Top 25? If so, take a moment to leave a comment below to point it out.

As always, the blog is only worth the value you assign and these efforts are for naught without engaged and passionate readers so thank you for not only visiting, but finding the content and ideas valuable enough to share with colleagues and friends.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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