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Burlington Nights: The Original Online DJ Music Forum Of Burlington Vermont

PUBLISHED ON CHURCH STREET DJS, BY JOSH KERMAN ON MAY 4, 2018

This story takes us back to 2003, when the World Wide Web was much younger and full of unique opportunities. Companies such as Myspace, iTunes and Facebook were developing, and the internet was full of potential. In October 2003, two Burlington, VT college djs, Will Taylor and Joe Hennessy had the brilliant idea to establish an online platform where the local community of DJs could collaborate, network, and promote events. Their inspiration came from a platform based in Montreal that had already been pioneering the path that Will and Joe were interested in exploring. It was called the 'Montreal Nights Underground Dance Music Forum’. Will, being a tech-savvy DJ and having the drive to take on this new venture, decides to establish the platform’s presence, brand name and a domain name: BurlingtonNights.com.

 
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Burlington Nights was full of conversations. It was a platform with the ability to take on a large bandwidth of content and user traffic. “The only feature that didn’t affect its functionality to operate - but could’ve been improved, was the look and display” said Will. The backbone of the platform was set up similar to a blog site, but with a bulletin board format. There were six main discussion topics that drove people to visit the platform. The flagship discussion topic was called general discussions. Other topics in specific areas that sparked interest for many to talk about consist of; tech-talks, events, venues, DJ mix sets, and also the feedback forum to continue building the platform.

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In order to post on Burlington Nights, one had to become a registered user. Nothing was anonymous, unless you made your username to appear that way - which never caused an issue in the rare occasion it happened. This online culture was molded by a community of regular conversational-contributors, who had created an environment of positive collaboration far more than critical competition. Many of them visited Burlington Nights to educate themselves on whatever particular subject they were interested in, and simultaneously giving out some of their own wisdom to benefit others. Locals ranging from aspiring DJs to established DJs had the motive to visit and interact on Burlington Nights. This reason let alone was great enough to leverage an event advertisement on Burlington Nights more so than other promotional areas like a bulletin board off a sidewalk, which typically would be consumed and layered with fliers.

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Traditional marketing such as posting fliers and mass texting the numbers in your contacts book has always been a common practice. As time advanced, so did technology, thus helping Burlington Nights grow with new features that attracted new eyes, and also kept regular contributors returning for more conversation. Will wanted to draw a broader group of users to the conversations. People who aren’t just affiliated with presenting/promoting events, but those on the other side of the spectrum who were music fans with the desire to attend events. It was a platform that consisted of firsthand information, and nightlife goers could receive the latest and most recently updated news, times and locations. The platform wasn’t limited to any one music genre, but the community of electronic music user’s definitely felt at home. It was purely organic conversation flow, where Burlington Nights basically managed its-self. Will’s responsibilities were to monitor for spam, maintain administrative work, and he also dipped into email marketing to expand its reach. The need to create original content wasn’t necessary, because of it’s community who who kept it full and current.

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By 2012, Will’s involvement in the downtown music scene had started to become less, and his momentum to push Burlington Nights had also slowed down and eventually faded out. His memories as a local DJ and bringing people together were extremely meaningful and humbling, said Will. It was the communities go to online-hangout-spot for music. Will is proud to have ventured Burlington Nights, where he opened up new and creative avenues for others to spark from.

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