On Monday, September 9, 2013 Cybergrass - The Bluegrass Music News Network will celebrate 21 years of promoting bluegrass music on the world wide web. Started by Bob Cherry while he was working in technology, he brought the new technology to an older style of music. That marriage of technology and bluegrass music allowed the little genre to be the first music represented on the world wide web. That innovation still continues today.
This year will also be the 17th year that the site has webcast the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show. The delayed coverage allows fans from around the globe to listen at their convenience to the big event in Bluegrass. Cybergrass was the first site to ever webcast an awards show (Grammys in 1995) and the only site to have carried the IBMA event every year since 1996. This is just one example where Cybergrass has been the first to integrate the music and the technology in a positive and forward thinking way.
Cybergrass, the world's oldest bluegrass music web site, changed over to a data driven format in July 2003. During that transition, they also changed our domain name to Cybergrass.com. Since then, the site saw explosive growth accumulating over 16 million page views since July 2003. The site recently upgraded again to its current format. What a wonderful way to celebrate 21 years of bluegrass information on the web!
The site's registered users access the site every day and at all hours due to its international following. Bob Cherry, owner of Cybergrass, credits the site's popularity and growth because of the vision and history of the site. The site has a history of "firsts" on the web and certainly in bluegrass. Cherry has actively been promoting bluegrass music for over 21 years and that is a great testiment to Cybergrass and the wonderful service he has provided to the bluegrass community. Cherry began as a radio announcer in the '70s where he first heard bluegrass music.
The site was one of the first 10 sites on the World Wide Web and has been in continuous operation for 21 years. Started on September 9, 1992 as a text only site on the Xerox server, Cybergrass has matured over the years to an international award winning site. The site has had five major facelifts and many web addresses since it was created. Cherry has seen a lot of technology evolve to where it is today. He says, "If I put up a site like the one 21 years ago, nobody would pay any attention to it. 21 years ago, there were no graphics, animations, multi-media, embedded content, and the like. It was just simple text only HTML on a fixed browser background. How times have changed!"
Starting as the only bluegrass web site didn't last long. Soon others followed. Primarily driven by others in technology, the Northern California Bluegrass Society was next. But, it took years before the concept really took off. Some leaders in the bluegrass music community didn't see the value, and certainly not the potential, of the web. They refused to embrace or support it. Today things are different. Today, there are over 20,000 bluegrass music related web sites. From band's to festivals to societies & associations, to record labels and more.
Cybergrass was first hosted on a Xerox research server that ran on a DEC Vax running BSD Unix. Today, it is hosted on a service that provides connections to all major backbone internet providers and 24x7 support. Keeping the site up has been a primary objective and the site has only encountered three outages in 21 years of operation.
Just a few of the accomplishments and achievements of the site are:
Cherry also created the original IBMA and IBMM Web sites. As the web's growth was unfolding, Cherry was instrumental in helping many others get started on the web and many of those sites are still operating today. His contributions to bringing music to the Internet are many.
Over the past two decades, his Cybergrass site has received awards including the New York Times best bluegrass site, SoftQuad's International Metalworker's finalist three years in a row, Main Street Earth Award, Sound Bits and Bytes site, Select site for Omega, Whole Internet Catalog, Magellan Review and Excite.
As Cybergrass creates or introduces new features, they are sure to pop up on other bluegrass sites -- sometimes the same day. The same is true for the articles that Cybergrass researches and publishes. Cybergrass has thousands of articles online plus reviews and other content. He has been a long time advocate for education and music. His articles on how to be better in promotion, media creation and more have attracted thousands of page views over the years.
Cherry says, "it really doesn't matter about the copying of the idea of a bluegrass news site. If what we're doing wasn't the best for bluegrass, others wouldn't be doing it too. The bluegrass community embraces the vast amount of bluegrass on the web." Cybergrass has been a leader for 21 years and the amount of information on the Cybergrass site shows his dedication and love of the music.
Cherry says he reviews the logs for the site and utilizes business intelligence technology to monitor the articles, activity, ad clicks and other statistics. While much of the operation is now automated, it still requires checking in every day - 7 days a week -- to make sure its doing what it is supposed to be doing.
Cherry said the 20 plus years on the web has been exciting and rewarding. He's not sure what will be around the next bend but he's sure that once again, he will be diving into the world of innovation and creativity.
Cherry has over 40 years of information technology experience in research, engineering, business analytics and communications. He holds patents on the Optical Mouse, Satellite Broadcasting System, and Low-Noise Active VLSI Testing. He has been published by the International Symposium on Test & Failure Analysis, Library Journal, EDGE, USA Today and others. He was one of the founders of Airwavz National Broadcasting in the mid '80s which was eventually sold to another company. In California, he founded Robert's Tools and manufactured a novel and unique fastener and tool to insert them. Today, he focuses on Cybergrass and wants to get more involved in the promotion of bluegrass.
The future of bluegrass on the Internet is exciting and Cybergrass certainly helped get it where it is today. The future looks even brighter. Cybergrass also has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Google where most of the main site's articles are linked.
Visit Cybergrass at either www.Cybergrass.com or www.BluegrassMusicNews.net - Where There's Always Something New in Bluegrass! Help Cybergrass celebrate 21 years. The clean, easy to read web site on bluegrass music.