December 2009

Michael Ricci By

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Dear fellow AAJ contributor,

2009 was by far our most significant year in terms of accomplishments. We've had some great years (2006 and the MY AAJ system comes to mind) but it's clear that this year was a turning point for AAJ. It's been a real convergence of people, technology and the beginning of broader industry acceptance that has helped further shape our site and allow us to build on our foundation. For a recap and some recent news, please read on...

Welcome our new editors: Jon Ross and Todd Jenkins

Please welcome two new faces to the AAJ editorial team: Jon Ross and Todd Jenkins. Todd is a longtime contributor and a published author; Jon is brand new, but a quick study and will make a tremendous addition to our talented staff.

Submit your 2009 picks

We're all set. Please submit your BEST OF 2009 picks now. We'll tally the results and post the top vote getters in our annual Editor's Choice article shortly after the New Year. This year's article will also appear at AOL's Spinner website.

Top Contributors in 2009

John Kelman, Raul d'Gama Rose, Mark Corroto, Troy Collins, Glenn Astarita, Woodrow Wilkins, Jerry D'Souza, Chris May, Nic Jones and Mark F. Turner were our top CD reviewers while John Kelman, C. Michael Bailey, R.J. DeLuke, Martin Longley, Jack Bowers, Victor L. Schermer, John Sharpe and Doug Collette were our top article contributors. To view other leading contributors, go to the CD review count page and the article count page.

I'd like to personally thank John Kelman for his writing, editing and his friendship. How he does it is anyone's guess, but he's truly an amazing guy with encyclopedic knowledge of the music. Our success in 2009 was a direct result of John's efforts. In addition to his writing and editing, John manages the interviews, continues to refine our editorial policy and expands our editorial staff.

Musicians Dig AAJ!

AAJ is making a difference in the jazz world and we'd like to share some musician comments about our website. We're approaching 50 pages of quotes!

20 reasons to write for AAJ

With a growing number of outlets vying for your articles, please continue to consider AAJ as your first-call source. In case you need a few reasons why AAJ should be your first choice, here are 20:
  • You own your articles.
  • You have the latitude to write about what interests you most.
  • We archive your articles.
  • We back up your articles daily.
  • We associate your articles with your profile so readers can easily view them in one place.
  • Thanks to AAJ's high Google page rank, your articles will place on a page 1 search.
  • You're in great company—AAJ attracts knowledgeable, passionate and fine writers across all genres of jazz. As a result, we're an 8-time winner of the JJA award for best website covering jazz.
  • Your articles will reach the greatest number of jazz readers online.
  • Our editorial staff will help make your words shine.
  • Have a specific area of expertise? We'll add you to our knowledge base.
  • We supply you with music or connect you directly with record labels, venues, publicists, festivals for direct service.
  • We offer expense paid travel opportunities to international jazz festivals.
  • AAJ is working towards paying its staff and we're getting there. Your contributions will help build a stronger AAJ and help us achieve our goal sooner rather than later.
  • We support our writers and help facilitate paid writing assignments like liner notes and biographies.
  • We'll greatly raise your visibility as a writer and make you easily accessible to industry professionals.
  • Your words make a difference. Read this.
  • AAJ is the most quoted jazz publication in the world.
  • AAJ is the most important, furthest reaching and highest trafficked website in the world, and we're always improving.
  • You can promote your website, blog, Facebook page or Twitter page from your AAJ contributor page. If you're a published author, we'll help you promote your book(s).
  • And last but not least... Coded AAJ handshake is your ticket to a secret world previously known only to Freemasons.

One more reason: Your Very Own AAJ Widget!

If 20 reasons weren't enough, you can now access your very own article widget from the right panel of your contributor profile page. Place your widget on your blog, on your website... any site that supports javascript. It works just like our other AAJ widgets, but it contains links to your articles only. If you have a site beyond AAJ, add your widget.

Check out these two examples.

AAJ 2009: Year in Review

The Photo Gallery was a big project and big success, but there were several other projects that proved to be very important in propelling AAJ forward in 2009. We topped 102,000 readers on consecutive days back in July; we established some key festival partnerships and greatly expanded our festival coverage. We upgraded the News Center, which now includes a news ticker, improved our website's interface, retooled the Musician Center and profile pages, created new widgets, launched a blog, published in multiple languages, streamed weekly Listening Parties and much more. It's safe to say that something improved at the site every day.

As always, we'd like to thank everyone who contributed to AAJ. Collectively, we're formidable and we're beginning to make that difference we felt we could make years ago. Writers, editors, programmers, musicians, readers, industry professionals... we're all doing our part and our community is growing as a result. With all the doom and gloom surrounding jazz recently, AAJ is proving to be a true beacon for our music online.

That's it for now. Have a safe and joyous holiday season! And please feel free to post a comment about your experiences with AAJ below.

Michael Ricci

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