When the pandemic started changing all of our lives, in early March, I wondered — among other, more direly important things — what would happen to NJArts.net if there were no live, in-person arts events. And indeed, the first week or so that we were living in this new world were very slow for the site.
But things picked up, and March ended up being our second best month ever, in terms of page views.
And then we, frankly, had a stunning April, with two and a half times the page views of our previous best month (November 2019). The site has grown steadily in its five and a half years. But we’ve never seen anything close to that kind of explosive growth before.
So what does this mean?
Well, first of all, it affirms, for me, that the arts, no matter what the circumstances, will always be important to people. Music and theater and comedy and everything else will continue to be part of people’s lives, even if they have to be experienced online, on TV or on the radio, rather than in person.
One of the most significant ways we’ve adapted is through our Songs to See Us Through series, written mostly by Cindy Stagoff, in which we spotlight songs — newly recorded, in many cases — that are relevant to the crisis, in support of the artists who are not able to work in their usual way. There are 34 entries in the series so far, and we’ve gotten great feedback on them.
Another way is simply by keeping an eye on online events and previewing or reviewing some of the most interesting ones, just like we used to do with concerts and plays. I have not yet had a day, during the pandemic, when I have not had more things I wanted to write about than I had time for.
Despite the boom in web traffic, it has been a rough time for us, financially. Most of our advertisers are venues, and most have suspended advertising until they reopen. Also, the increased traffic means we have to pay more to the web hosting company we use. So basically, a steep drop in revenue has been coupled with an increase in expenses.
NJArts.net content is free, always. But we do ask users to support us via a voluntary subscription, if they can. You can do so at the bottom of this page. Also, if you have any interest in advertising, or know anyone who you think might, there is more information on that here.
We all hope, of course, that we can get back to going to concerts and plays and museums soon. But no matter what the future holds, I am sure — now, more than ever — that NJArts.net will always have a role to play.
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence, though, depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $10, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJ Arts Daily to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.