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Universal Edition - How we made the MusikSalon

How we made the MusikSalon

Posted on 16 April 2015

Our new digital magazine, MusikSalon, was launched in time to celebrate Pierre Boulez 90th birthday. Here we give a bit of background on how we made the new site. 

We wanted to take our print magazine Musikblätter and turn it into an online resource, specifically making it pleasant to read on a desktop, and on a tablet and mobile device.

In addition we wanted to create a repository for all the articles that had been published over the last years – quite an undertaking.

We put the project out to tender internationally, and finally joined forces with Egger & Lerch for the design, and pixelpoems for the code. We already had excellent experience with both companies, and here once again the advantage of knowing how we tick was useful.

Egger & Lerch came up with a beautiful design and a very clear way of presenting a potentially endless list of articles, without it looking too much like a normal blog.

We resisted the temptation to include all the standard trappings of a news or blog site, including branded share buttons, tag clouds and comment boxes. From our experience online, and with Facebook and YouTube, we didnt want a long, thoroughly researched article on Bartók to be concluded with a comment saying Bartók is awesome. Maybe thats snobbish, but weve opted for clarity over democracy.

The only concession to usability in this sense is a small margin at the top of each article with Facebook and Twitter links, but unbranded. It was also especially important to have a print button that renders a proper print version of the page, and a download PDF button.

As soon as we were agreed on the design, pixelpoems set up the site in the Contao content management system, which we were already using on the UE and Wiener Urtext sites. We were open to using a newer system like SilverStripe, but in the end the familiarity and power of Contao won.

Of course the greatest part of the preparation was manually creating the archive of over 50 articles, tweaking the categories, selecting and cropping the images and getting the whole thing ready for the launch date – Pierre Boulez 90th birthday (a non-moveable feast). Egger & Lerch helped a lot with the older articles, and Johannes Feigl from UEs promotion department spent many an hour preparing the new ones.

We think weve come up with a handsome and useful presentation of a collection of wonderful articles – and weve found ourselves rediscovering old articles that we hadnt seen. We came in on time and on budget, and had a lot of fun on the way.

Head over to the MusikSalon and see what you think.

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