In 1998, Commonwealth Business Media launched MusicalAmerica.com. The medium of the Internet enabled the continuation of the editorial voice of Musical America, reporting on the international musical scene, and provided a home for their International Directory of the Performing Arts among other resources. Musical America began as a trade publication but expanded to include an annual directory of the performing arts in 1960. This annual issue developed into a separately published international directory released each fall. The directory has been a valued tool for professional musicians, artist managers, event planners, librarians, and many others. A subscription to MusicalAmerica.com provides access to the contents of the latest edition of the International Directory of the Performing Arts. Additional features include news articles, press releases submitted by various organizations, the full content of directory articles (1999–), industry links, and indexes of Musical America's photo archives, directory articles (1961–1998), and magazine articles. The site has archived its online content since 1999.
The primary benefit of MusicalAmerica .com is access to its directory and news articles. The virtual presence on the Web of most performing arts associations might call into question the need for an online directory such as MusicalAmerica.com. What makes MusicalAmerica.com a unique and compelling resource for the music library? While most artists maintain personal Web sites, which may be produced by their artist manager, MusicalAmerica.com provides the ability to find artists by specialty. A directory such as MusicalAmerica.com provides assistance in identifying performing arts organizations by specific criteria, such as budget, facilities, or location. Besides enabling one to keep up-to-date on international performances, its archived news articles and press releases could be useful to scholars looking at reception history and even tracking the rise of performing artists on the international scene. For example, a search for the "Young Eight" will provide a list of press releases and news articles related to this relatively new chamber ensemble. How does MusicalAmerica.com compare with other online arts news sources? There [End Page 398] is some overlap, for example, between ArtsJournal.com and MusicalAmerica.com since they both subscribe to the Associated Press's wire service. However, MusicalAmerica.com's correspondents provide a wealth of information and insight into the international music scene. For example, on 26 May 2006, in an editorial, "The Berlin-Rattle Fracas: Crows at Work," Paul Moor provided background and context regarding a debate in the German newspapers about the tenure of Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic.1 With MusicalAmerica.com, one has ready access to performance reviews, news articles, and directory information about a variety of performance organizations, from the convenience of a networked computer.
MusicalAmerica.com integrates both the directory and news reporting features into one resource. There are three major divisions to the site: "News articles," "Databases," and "Open to the public." This review will focus only on the subscriber portions of the Web site. The main page also provides the standard links to information about MusicalAmerica.com as well as contact, advertising, and subscription information. The default page features industry news. This site displays well in all browsers and across platforms.
Industry news articles are organized into four subcategories: "People in the News," "Contests & Awards," "Reviews," and "Reader Comments." The editor, Susan Elliott, selects news articles from Associated Press wires and submissions from MusicalAmerica.com's international correspondents. Music critics in cities around the globe provide reviews of musical events in their respective locales. Articles from MusicalAmerica.com's correspondents are posted with the date, reviewer's name, and location. Articles from news wire services contain a brief abstract and a link to the online source. On occasion the editor provides background information or reports on news tips called in to her New York office.
Probably the most valuable asset of MusicalAmerica.com is the access it provides to the content of the International Directory of the Performing Arts. In its...