- Baron in the tubes: Burghsounds' Art Baron
The result is Burghsounds.com, where visitors can find -- among many other things -- concert listings, band profiles (carefully divided into genres and sub-genres) and links to other local music-related sites. What Burghsounds doesn't have much of is criticism.
The point of Burghsounds is pure information, not taste-making -- something more akin to the Internet Movie Database than Pitchfork. "Anyone can add to it and anyone can use it," Baron says. "I wanted it to be something for everyone to dive into, any way they want."
Baron studied economics at Dartmouth, where he gained experience working with databases. After school, he began looking for cities that he felt could benefit from a local-music database and settled on Pittsburgh. He scoured the Internet for Pittsburgh music, and read local forums. "I found that a lot of people think there are a lot of great things going on, but there are a lot of people who are frustrated with the scene. I couldn't help but think of it as an information problem."
With no prior web design experience, Baron taught himself to build Burghsounds, a seemingly never-ending process. "At each stage I thought I had enough knowledge to be dangerous, but you really have to know everything," he says. With very little promotion, traffic has slowly increased since last year, and Baron estimates that Burghsounds currently gets about 100 hits a day. He has yet to make a dime from his work, which doesn't seem to bother him. And while all users are free to contribute information, most of the content is added by Baron himself.
It's a labor of love, but Baron says, "It's not a charitable thing. I don't think people should support Pittsburgh music because they should, but because it's great." He adds, "People don't use Google to help support the Internet: They use it to help them use the Internet."