Wednesday 10 December 2008

Shopping with the Oxford Bach Choir

Perhaps rather foolishly, I recently volunteered to look after a redesign of the Oxford Bach Choir website which I recently completed. The site is now using the Drupal CMS and (I hope) is an improvement on what was there before.

I hope to be able to post more fully my experience with Drupal in the future, because although there were some definite pitfalls, I found it an interesting experience.

One of the things I ended up playing with was the Amazon Associate API, which allows us to embed Amazon product details into our pages. I've added a 'recommended recording' metadata field to our concerts, which automatically retrieves cover art and provides a link to the product on the Amazon web site (you can see an example on the page for our March concert).

The nice thing about this is that we also take a cut of the profits on any product purchased via a link from our site (even indirectly). I also added a link at the bottom of every page as a 'support OBC' style link to Amazon.

I also set up a redirect so that goes straight to Amazon as a referral from us, which meant that I could advertise it as part of the weekly email bulletin to members. So far (probably mostly as a result of that advertisement to members) we've earned a fee on 18 ordered items, with another 10 or so not yet dispatched). We'll have to see how much this makes over the course of the year, but at that rate we'll pay for the hosting, which would be nice!

The Oxford Bach Choir, for those who don't know, puts on two main concerts a year with professional orchestras, in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. The cost of these concerts can be around the GBP20,000 mark, sometimes more, and with the capacity of the Sheldonian it's generally impossible to break even on ticket sales alone. So we rely largely on charitable donations, membership subscriptions, and other income. So whether or not you've been to a concert in the past, if you shop on Amazon, do consider bookmarking our shop URL and support us with very little extra effort (as well of coming to our concerts, of course).

Lastly, I note that Amazon has launched a DRM-free digital downloads service, which arguably marks the end of the DRM-obsessed era for music downloads.

Posted by Dominic at 12:59

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