Monday, October 28, 2013

Public Archives Can Build a Music Brand

Library science isn't just for geeky old spinsters anymore.  Information archiving and retrieval can be part of a brand building effort for digital properties.  Take the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as an example. Click on its Library Archives page to see the local music history they've unearthed.  Photos crammed into boxes from older students' attics are now online.  The SFCM's oral history project dovetails with other regional projects like UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library ROHO and the UC Regents' California Digital Library (specifically their Online Archive of California searchable database).

Uploading old folks' reminiscences is more than a way to keep their memories alive.  Mentioning the leading lights of modern music that have added star power to SFCM can help build that institution's brand when tied to an SEO campaign.  Impresarios like Kurt Adler, Frederica von Stade, and Midori Goto have made their joyful noises in SFCM's halls over the years.  Any performance materials they generated can be digitized.  Uploading their multimedia stuff to SFCM's website makes the whole site more attractive to Google's search engine.  Music enthusiasts worldwide will then have an easier time discovering SFCM's rich history.  The brand's value will rise and the school's graduates will be more marketable in music careers.

I wrote SFCM into my will because training young people in music is important to our society.  I don't want young musicians to go down the path of the San Francisco Symphony's stupid loser union musicians who deserved to be fired.  The Conservatory is exposing its students to entrepreneurial lessons that will enable them to produce and perform music in the free market.  Independence from collective bargaining may be one of the greatest gifts a musical education can give.  Archives of star performances can give an educational brand some superstar power in the marketplace.