Midyear Song Of The Day Theme Week Business Review

"Song Of The Day" theme weeks were instituted as the norm on the blog at the beginning of this year, since I wanted to believe that directed, conceptualized series were the kind of thing that got web users all excited, and they would give an unofficial "structure" to this blog at a time in my life when I needed structure.

Having gotten an unexpected day off on Friday, and wanting to procrastinate a couple of hard deadlines I'd already missed even further, I decided to do a sort of business review to see how the theme weeks were faring, and what kind of music or concepts my readers got them all hot and bothered the most. Or just bothered.

So I reviewed each theme week's pageview results, did some numeric finagling to simulate 5- and 6-day weeks into 7-day estimates (a lot like a pitcher's ERA), threw in some more multipliers and factors just to make things less interesting, then finally came up with a "rating." Basically, this rating was devised to give the #1 theme week a score of "100," then all other theme weeks were given that multiplier, cascading from 100 on down. It was fun, or what passes for fun these days.

With the caveat that readership figures for a lot of the later weeks haven't really finished building yet, here are the top 10 theme weeks for 2014 so far, by their keep-it-simple-stupid "rating":

Rank Theme Week Rating
1. B-Sides Week (January) 100.0
2. I'm Ovision - Eurovision! (May) 86.9
3. M*A*S*H*U*P Week (May) 83.3
4. Accidents of Adult Contemporary (March) 79.5
5. Before They Were Famous (January) 77.8
6. Sub-Hit Wonders I (April) 77.4
7. The Happy Electrode (March) 77.3
8. Broadway Off And On (June) 71.7
9. Pre-Fab Four (April/May) 69.7
10. You Pick the Artist (April) 66.6

B-Sides Week had a numbers-inflating condition that I couldn't come up with a multiplier for, which was simply that the artists I featured that week were fairly big and established: Blondie, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Dire Straits, etc. Song Of The Day generally favors those artists outside the superstar realm, so there was a built-in mass audience with that week that I probably wouldn't have gotten normally. But I don't know how to mathematically account for that schism, so I won't. Maybe one of you math nerds can come up with formulae.

That aside, what have I learned about you, the reader? I'll sum it up thusly.

1. You drop trou for the Eurovision Song Contest. Actually, that week was kind of a fluke. I was stuck for a theme that week and just happened to discover that the Eurovision Song Contest was taking place at the time, so it was hurriedly programmed. Being tied to a current event didn't hurt; neither did one rather fortuitous substitution I made in the waning hours in which I decided to feature the song that eventually won the contest (Conchita Wurst's "Rise Like a Phoenix"). But okay, that's great, I can pull ideas from out of my ass and you'll give 'em a shot. Thanks!!

2. You like screwing with people, or at least people's preconceived notions about people. That accounts for the weeks in positions 3 through 5: mashups, songs by adult contemporary artists you wouldn't expect them to have recorded, and songs from artists before they became popular. I'm encouraged by that line of narrative.

3. You like reading about music history much more than I expected, but only if I do homework. I was surprised that The Happy Electrode, which was about historic electronic instruments and featured almost no well-known artists, performed as well as it did. Pre-Fab Four Week, which featured songs that were big hits in the literal final weeks before the Beatles hit the American charts, was also a big campy surprise. On the other hand, They All Scream -- songs that featured a lot of screaming -- pretty much tanked. So what you're telling me is to come up with more thought-out, researched and well-arranged music stories to tell. You bastards.

4. You don't care about cover versions nearly as much as I thought you would unless they're from United States Senators. That Sam Ervin take on "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? Blowing up. The rest of the Quarterly Covers Report features, not so much.

5. You're "meh" on new music, or at least the stuff I present, which isn't that surprising, really.

6. Generally, if I tell personal stories to accompany a song on the blog (like on June 28), it gets a lot of response. So you'd like to see a little bit more "me" on there. To which I reply, again: You bastards.

7. Maybe I should keep on doing miniature theme weekends. Super Bowl Weekend, when I featured two songs by Warren Zevon and Frank Zappa about Denver and Seattle respectively, got a 105.3 rating on its own. Even the Jilted John theme weekend, almost as arcane a reference I could have made for a U.S.-based blog, got a robust 86.5.

8. You prefer concepts to me just winging it. A typical non-themed week got a rating of 55.7, which was second-to-last, only ranking higher than the last New Music Week, whose numbers may not be final anyway. So my reasoning behind creating theme weeks was astute and sound and you should pay me to come up with content ideas. I'll clear out a space in the foyer for your breathlessly pleading job offers, thankyouverymuch.
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