Season 2 went pretty smoothly. The three camera configuration has simplified activities in the studio, and that gives us more opportunity to monitor the esthetics of the shot and the content of the discussion. It also makes the editing process much better because the transitions are selected in post-production rather than on the fly from the control room. So with the studio procedures working well, I turned to other aspects of producing the show.
The highest priority was to get the artist database up to date. This helps keep track of who applies to be a guest on the show, when they applied, what they do (singer/songwriter, instrumentalist, etc.), what they want to talk about, and how to contact them. I spent most of November contacting artists—some had applied as far back as March and hadn’t heard from us—to verify that they still wanted to be a guest. We now have a validated list of future guests. Artists continue to apply however, so we need to stay on top of this so that folks don’t fall through the cracks.
The next priority was outreach. When the season started, we had 141 LIKEs on our Artist’s Connection Facebook page, and 31 subscribers on our YouTube channel. To date, we have 480 likes on our page and 85 subscribers on our YouTube channel. The question we’re dealing with is not how to increase our popularity—that will take care of itself—but how to ensure that everyone is notified when a new episode gets aired. Facebook uses an algorithm to limit the distribution of page posts and then wants money to increase the distribution. That would be ok with me if the page was monetized in some way, but since it isn’t, “BOOSTING” the post becomes an added expense I don’t need. I’ve decided to encourage as many viewers as possible to subscribe to our YouTube channel, so they can be reliably notified when a new episode goes up. This requires additional effort from the viewer, as they actually have to have a Google account, and actually have to click the SUBSCRIBE button while watching the video. Some people don’t want a Google account. Some people are nervous about exactly what they’re getting into when they click that SUBSCRIBE button. Some people simply don’t have the time. The process of sending out friend requests to people who might like the show, inviting them to LIKE the Artist’s Connection Facebook page, and then asking them to subscribe to our YouTube channel, is inherently clumsy and eats up a lot of time. I’m still looking for a better solution.
There is also the question of growth. Even though Artist’s Connection has become a huge undertaking, it has always been our intention to include additional artistic disciplines in our coverage. To do this, we have two choices: build separate teams to produce and edit episodes featuring other disciplines, or replace episodes normally reserved for musicians with episodes covering other art forms. Both choices have their pitfalls. I don’t fancy the prospect of having to manage a large team of creative people. I’m not good at it. On the other hand, if I start including other kinds of artists in the current show, some of the musicians that have recently applied to be guests might not appear on the show for several years. It seems that further contemplation on this subject is in order.
All in all, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished in season 2. The shorter format makes our viewers and guests much happier, and the positive feedback and comments I’m getting from not only the artists, but from the viewing public, convince me that we’re on the right track. There will always be changes, and season 3 will have no lack of them, but the reasons for continuing the show are not only valid, they are compelling. And so, on to season 3…