Adaptistration Turns 15

Business is so busy right now that I missed my own blog anniversary. Nonetheless, November 3, 2018 marked Adaptistration’s 15th anniversary. Each year brings something new and wonderful and #15 was no exception. Let’s take a look at what Analytics tell us about this year’s highlights.


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  1. New readers increased by 9.2 percent.
  2. Overall traffic increased by 10.5 percent.
  3. Core readership increased 1.56 percent.
  4. The average readers spent 25 percent more time going through site content than the previous year.
  5. Readers by age groups: younger readers dominated the age groups and 18-24 year-olds went from the smallest to second highest ratio of readers.
    1. 25-34: 26 percent of readers (+4%)
    2. 18-24: 20.6 percent of readers (+6.6%)
    3. 35-44: 17.77 percent of readers (-3%)
    4. 45-54: 13.93 percent of readers (-2.8%)
    5. 55-64: 12.12 percent of readers (-3.7)
    6. 65+: 9.58 percent of readers (-1.3)
  6. The division between male and female readers has never been closer with both groups being almost evenly split: men comprised 52.8 percent of readers while women comprised 47.16 percent.
  7. The largest age group of female readers were the 18-24 and 25.34 age groups. There was only a 0.16 percent difference.
  8. Readers by state: Florida made it into the top 5 for the first time in 15 years!
    1. California: 9.91 percent of readers
    2. New York: 9.53 percent of readers
    3. Texas: 9.00 percent of readers
    4. Illinois: 5.90 percent of readers
    5. Florida: 4.00 percent of readers
  9. Browser & OS:
    1. Chrome continues to be the browser of choice. 43.97 percent of visitors used Chrome (all versions, desktop and mobile)
    2. Safari remained in the #2 slot but lost one percent of overall browser share.
    3. Firefox went into freefall, dropping from 6.5 to 4.8 percent.
    4. Internet Explorer refuses to die with 2.54 percent (catch a clue IE and go away already). Fortunately for Microsoft Edge edged up a bit with 1.87 percent.
  10. Mobile Overview: for the first time in the blog’s history, more people visited the site on Smartphones than desktops and laptops. I’m looking forward to the Google Analytics’ new Cross Device reporting. There should be ample data to begin seeing how users move between devices during the day.
    1. Smartphone: jumped from 42.76 percent up to 77 percent.
    2. Desktop users: 43.69 percent; down 4.39 points from the previous year.
    3. Tablet: nearly unchanged with 6.54 percent.


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  1. Visitors finding their way to content by way of social media continued to slide from 23.7 to 18.8 percent.
  2. Direct acquisition traffic gobbled up most of the ratio social media lost, jumping from 17.1 to 21.9 (which makes sense given the increase in core readers).
  3. Organic search continued to be the most common method with 50.6 percent.
  4. Acquisition via emailsslid a bit from last year’s rocket increase.
  5. Referral based traffic, links from other sites, was nearly the same as the previous year.
  6. Social breakdown:
    1. Facebook continues to be the social media platform of choice among users who share Adaptistration’s content but its overall ratio slipped from 85.36 to 80.85 percent. This is an intriguing trend given that two years ago, Facebook comprised 90.64 percent of overall social traffic.
    2. Twitter’s inched up to 13.89 percent.
    3. LinkedIn enjoyed a growth spurt and moved from 1.9 to 3.28 percent while the others (Google+, Blogger, etc.) accounted for the less than a single percent of visitors.
  7. Not counting social media platforms, the most popular referral sites included comThe New York TimesMusical America, Oregon Arts Watch, and
  8. The weekly email summaries continue to be the most popular form of email campaign
  9. The most common search terms via third party search engines were the same as previous years: “adaptistration,” “conductor salary,” and “drew mcmanus.” But one fascinating new term found its way into the Top 10 mix: “990 disqualified person”
  10. the average Adaptistration reader is a morning person, the most popular days and times to access the site include:
    1. Fridays from 8am to 12noon ET.
    2. Mondays from 8am to 10am ET.
    3. Tuesdays from 8am to 11am ET.


Here is a list of the Top 15 articles from the past year:
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  1. San Antonio Turns Down A Dark Path
  2. A Fully Operational Women Composers Database
  3. 2016 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Music Directors. Yes, even though this article was from the two years ago, the Jaap compensation bombshell still managed to be one of the most popular articles over the blog’s 15-year history.
  4. 2018 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Music Directors
  5. Commentary: A Question Of Just Cause For Discipline Or Discharge In Minnesota. This article examined the situation in the Minnesota Orchestra when principal trumpet, Manny Laureano left stage mid-concert due to disagreeing with a guest soloist’s politics.
  6. Top-Tier Musician Compensation 2018
  7. 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.
  8. Orchestra Financial Reports. An index of direct links to professional orchestra IRS filings.
  9. How Much Longer Will The Field Enable Rampant Sexual Misconduct? This was a particularly interesting article in that while it managed to garner a larger number of views, it was a topic readers felt less comfortable sharing throughout social media.
  10. San Antonio Symphony Goes Dark
  11. 2018 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Executives
  12. 2017 Orchestra Compensation Reports: Concertmasters
  13. Building Concert Halls, Part 1: What makes a great concert hall? Another perennial favorite with readers, even after eight years!
  14. Breaking Down The Elizabeth Rowe Complaint
  15. What Happens When A Contract Expires?

Here are the articles that held your interest the longest with the highest average time on page:

  1. San Antonio Symphony Goes Dark
  2. Do You Like Paganini? Do You Like Cats? Then You’re Going To Love This. Cats + classical music = are you surprised it had a high time on page?
  3. A Fully Operational Women Composers Database

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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