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For Rocker Samantha Farrell, Joomla! Rocks

Written by | Friday, 01 April 2011 00:00 | Published in 2011 April
NBC Los Angeles called Samantha Farrell "the best singer-songwriter you still haven't heard of," and that had to change. Her solution? A Joomla! website to integrate her music sales, performance schedule, multimedia and blog, made entirely with open source software from the Joomla! Extensions Directory.

Project Overview

Client: Samantha Farrell
Live Site URL: http://samanthafarrell.com
Development time: 2 months

Samantha Farrell is a singer-songwriter based in Massachusetts, USA. Influenced early on by old school soul, jazz and R&B as well as the likes of singer-songwriters such as Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, Farrell has fused these genres into an eclectic style all of her own; a rootsy and soulful blend of urgent and catchy melodies, expressive lyrics and powerful acoustic guitar. Her music has been heard on several major network television shows such as NBC's "Shark", CW's "One Tree Hill" & "Privileged", as well as in numerous independent movies. Her album Luminous, completely independently released, shot up the charts and peaked at #7 on the national pop iTunes charts. It was entered into the first round nominations for the 2010 Grammy Awards.

Development Team

Developer: Terrace Media Group
Developer URL:
http://www.terracemediagroup.com
Developer Info: Terrace Media Group help clients convey their message by building powerful yet flexible websites that engage an audience and are easy to use. The firm is headquarted in the Washington DC metropolitan area and specializes in Joomla! development, e-Commerce, and Search Engine Marketing.
Development Team: Miljan Vujošević, development & testing; Brian "Sully" Sullivan, project management & development
Designer: Lorraine Coolidge
Designer URL: http://www.lorrainecoolidge.com

Meeting the Challenge

Farrell's former website was a single static page with links to popular music resellers like iTunes and Amazon, which created a fractured web presence for an up-and-coming musician. "Like most musicians, I had about five different social networking sites I was active on, but no real website: it was all getting too messy and confusing, and I never knew exactly where to send folks who were interested in my music," says Farrell. "I wanted a blog and calendar functions that were easy for me to update, but most importantly, I wanted to have e-commerce functionality. I needed to be able to directly and immediately sell music to my fans as I created it."

For Terrace Media Group, the opportunity to partner with Farrell filled a need to create a website that could serve easily as a demonstration to potential clients of the firm’s belief in Joomla! as a highly extendable, customizable CMS. "We've never had a client who wasn't a music fan. Everyone can grasp the business problems for a recording artist on the web," says Sully Sullivan, Principal at Terrace Media Group. "Because each link on Samantha's main menu takes the visitor to a different web application, her website showcases the variety and sophistication of Joomla! extensions and helps us explain to new clients the major advantages of free and open source software as a solution for their own unique websites."

Creating the Solution

Due to budget and time constraints, the decision was made to use off-the-shelf templates and extensions as much as possible. Farrell's long-time friend, New York City area based graphic designer Lorraine Coolidge, provided art direction and directed the customization of the site template and extension graphical elements. Unlike most of Terrace Media Group's projects, virtually all extensions used in the site are non-commercial, and no custom template was created nor any custom application development performed.

The e-commerce features of the site were split between two components. RokQuickCart from RocketTheme was selected to handle sales of CDs and merchandise, and the powerful Maian Music component was chosen to enable downloadable music sales and music previews. A custom module is positioned at the top right on all pages with a graphic to funnel visitors toward music sales options. The use of EventList allows performance dates and locations to be posted with more detail than on many musicians' websites, including links to Google Maps of her venues. The powerful Phoca Gallery component handles publicity photography and videos, and JoomlaWork's robust SuperBlogger plugin adds social media connections and comment functionality to blog posts.

"A very important part of our process is to make a site as easy to use for its owners as we can. We installed JoomlaBamboo's Crisp admin template and customized its control panel to simplify access to extensions," says Sullivan. "Its features and its layout simplicity really enhance the user experience. We also like to upgrade all our clients to the JCE editor, which we feel makes it a lot easier to add images and multimedia files to articles than the native TinyMCE editor."

Extensions Used

Templates:

Components:

  • EventList (Schlu.net)
  • Maian Media for Joomla! (Aretimes)
  • Phoca Gallery (Phoca)
  • Rok Quick Cart (RocketTheme)
  • VIP Quotes (IT Prism)
  • RSForms! (RSJoomla!)

Modules:

  • Face LikeBox (ArtCreative)
  • Latest Tweets (JoomlaWorks)
  • EventListCal (Qivva)
  • JCloud (Jeff Channell)

Plugins:

  • SuperBlogger (JoomlaWorks)
  • jbetolo (jproven)

Administrator:

  • AdminTools and AkeebaBackup (AkeebaBackup)
  • Custom Quick Icons (JoomX)
  • JCE (JoomlaContentEditor)

Outcome

Says Farrell, "My Joomla! site has given me a cohesive, definitive, elegant and funky hub for my online presence. I absolutely love it. For a non-techie such as myself, it is super easy to navigate and update, and has given me a direct connection to my followers. I can easily upload content, music, pictures, blogs, thoughts and it's ...it's a perfect expression of myself, on the web!"

But it's more than that: through her website project, Farrell was introduced to the worldwide community of Joomla! developers and designers. "The Joomla! Community that I have interacted with has been absolutely amazing. They are innovators, always looking for new and more elegant ways for their sites to work, and the kindness I've been shown is truly incredible. Through my new Joomla! friends, I've gotten leads to getting booked in venues in Europe, which is something I've always wanted to do. Hopefully, my first stop will be in Paris for a few shows in July!" Watch Farrell's website for touring dates.

To thank the worldwide Joomla! community for all its contributions to her success, Samantha Farrell invites Joomla! Community Magazine readers to download her single "Fade Away" from the album "Luminous" for free during the month of April, 2011.

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Dianne Henning

Dianne Henning

Joomla enthusiast and web developer, Co-Lead Editor of the Joomla Commuity Magazine, former OSM Board Member, and Joomla event organizer. Say hello if you see me at a Joomla event!