Much has been said about Scott Spiegelberg's list of the top classical music blogs on Musical Perceptions (see #11 below). That list is based on Technorati ranking, which is based on inbound links from other blogs. That led me to ask if there was a way possible to rank blogs based on actual readership. Traffic stats can easily be manipulated to look great through repeated clicking. However, another measure that can gauge dedicated and regular readership (and one that is extremely important for genres such as tech blogs) is feed readership.
For this, I decided to consult Bloglines, which is one of the top two feed reading services and unlike its competitor Google Reader, shows subscription numbers. I then did a search for all of the top classical music blogs I know, as well as an internal search on Bloglines to see if I could find any new ones, which I did.
I have counted all the available feed stats for individual blogs, which may include .rss, .rss2, alt.rss, posts/default, and .xml feeds, in which case I have listed the numbers for all the feeds of an individual site and then added them together.
1. Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise (97+222+158=477)
2. About Last Night (2+305=307)
3. Ionarts (4+78+13+1=96)
4. On An Overgrown Path (57+6+1+31=95)
5. NPR: Classical Music (93)
6. PostClassic (81)
7. Jessica Duchen's classical music blog (75)
7. Night After Night (56+9+10=75)
9. aworks (22+6+9+36=73)
10. Sandow (65+5=70)
11. Musical Perceptions (16+1+50=67)
12. The Standing Room (31+7+7+15=60)
13. Adaptistration (16+1+47)
14. Think Denk (5+52+1=58)
15. ANABlog (5+45+5+1=56)
16. Terminal Degree (55)
17. Sounds & Fury (5+5+41=51)
18. mad musings of me (6+39=45)
18. twang twang twang (21+18+6=45)
20. Sequenza 21 (34+10=44)
21. Dial "M" for Musicology (37+2+4=43)
21. The Iron Tongue of Midnight (2+37+1+3=43)
23. the well tempered blog (42)
24. Trrill (7+15+16=38)
25. Opera Chic (35+2=37)
25. On a Pacific Aisle (2+30+5=37)
27. the concert (2+33=35)
28. Deceptively Simple (26+2+6=34)
29. The Rambler (27+5=32)
30. Sound and Mind (23+7=30)
30. About: Classical Music (30)
32. in the wings (11+17+1=29)
33. A Sort of Notebook (26+2=28)
34. oboeinsight (26)
35. An Unamplified Voice (25)
36. listen. (21+3=24)
36. Today's Opera News (4+20=24)
36. Slipped Disc (21+3=24)
39. Cafe Aman (13+9+1=23)
40. Chicago Classical Music (22)
41. Sieglinde's Diaries (21)
42. Roger Bourland (13+2+2+3=20)
43. Renewable Music (16+3=19)
44. My Favorite Intermissions (2+16=18)
44. The Collaborative Piano Blog (18)
44. Catalysts & Connections (4+14=18)
47. parterre box presents La Cieca (17)
47. Classical Life (17)
49. wellsung (15+1=16)
50. Brian Dickie (11+3=14)
Classical Music (Janelle Gelfand) (13)
SLSO Blog (8+4=12)
vilaine fille (3+1+7=11)
Eric Edberg (11)
Am Steg (4+2+2+1=9)
daily observations (8+1=9)
Musical Assumptions (8)
brian sacawa (8)
Hugh Sung (8)
Wolf Trap Opera (8)
A Singer's Life (6+1=7)
Soho the Dog (4+1=5)
Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog (1+4=5)
Loose Poodle (5)
Violin Diaries on Violinist.com (4)
meanwhile, here in france (3)
Only two blogs, Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise and Night After Night had more than 100 subscribers. Some blogs that I expected make the list, such as A Singer's Life and Violin Diaries, didn't have enough subscriptions to make it into the top 50. NPR: Classical Music and About: Classical Music are two blogs found through Bloglines that I didn't know about before. Therefore it is possible to have a high Technorati rating and low feed readership stats and vice versa.
I think the ultimate good of a list such as this one is not to compare blogs to see which is "better" or "more popular", but to have the blogs all listed side-by-side as suggestions for further reading.
Note: Please post a comment if you do a search on Bloglines and notice any classical music blogs that warrant inclusion on the list but weren't included!
I opened an account on Rojo yesterday. Rojo does indeed list subscriber numbers (although the site is verrrrry sloooooow), which for the vast majority on the list are no higher than the low double figures, except for Alex Ross, whose blog has a whopping 3751 subscribers!
I also keep track of where my subscriptions go with AddThis. My stats indicate that the majority of new feed subscribers for my site are using either Yahoo or Google Reader.
For those unfamiliar with what RSS feeds are or how they can greatly speed up your web experience, the Small Office Australia blog has a very useful Beginner's Guide to RSS that will help you get started with the world of RSS feeds.
Bloglines has just released a new beta version of its feed reader, with plenty of new features and more to come. The classic version of Bloglines (which some feel had stagnated of late) will still be available for some time while new features are being tested on the beta version.