For today’s introduction to the editor’s behind our favourite music blogs we bring you Evan Kaloudis, from the large American site, One Thirty BPM. Well, we say ‘American’, but in reality they couldn’t get more international if they tried, with a multitude of contributors in four different continents. If the Internet makes the globe a smaller place, with a well-connected community, then 130bpm is a music blog that can be held up as a shining example of why the web is so useful.
Like a lot of the best music blogs it’s very successful, with large numbers of visitors and a loyal readership. It’s almost better considered as it’s own music network, with it’s ability to draw attention to new music as powerful as any, which is often what most music blogs are trying to achieve, with few able to grow to the size of 130bpm. No wonder this blog earned a 3rd placed finish on The Recommender’s Best Music Blogs 2010 peers-only poll last year.
On top of all this, Evan has started his own media company, as well as heading up the re-launch of the global blog collective – of which The Recommender is a proud member – called Strangers In Stereo. More will appear on this later in the year, as we all work in the background preparing for the launch. With the experience he’s gained from organically growing his own successful network we cannot imagine a better placed man at the helm.
THE RECOMMENDER: When did you first become aware of the existence of music blogs?
130 BPM: Around the Summer of 2004. That’s when I got my first iPod and really ventured online to find new music to listen to.
TR: When did you start your own music blog?
130BPM: Late 2008. It started as an idea between two friends, launched with a team of six, and has since evolved to what it is today.
TR: What were your initial aims as a music blogger? What do you think makes for an excellent music blog?
130BPM: People may argue that in the Internet age, music criticism is pointless. I’d beg to differ. In today’s age it’s far easier for musicians to get their work out there so there’s much more to sift through. In a way music journalism — and exposing what’s truly worthwhile — is more important than ever.
TR: Describe your music blog in three words?
130BPM: Good ass blog
TR: Geographically, where is your blog based?
130BPM: New York and Los Angeles. The media company we’re starting up — and I myself — are based in New York. We also just set up our editorial branch in LA.
TR: Which genre(s) does your music blog focus on?
130BPM: We try to give attention to a little of everything but it’s safe to say we’re big fans of hip hop, indie rock, and electronic genres like house and dubstep.
TR: Do you work alone on the blog, or do you have contributors – if so, who are they and how did you initially get them on board?
130BPM: I’m also proud to say we have over 50 contributors spanning over four continents and over 10 countries. We started by just reaching out to friends and acquaintances. Once our reach grew we started accepting applications regularly.
TR: Approximately, how many visitors does your blog get each month?
130BPM: About 150,000 now.
TR: What perks have you experienced since becoming a music blogger?
130BPM: There’s music and guest-listings of course, but meeting new people and gaining recognition has been far more rewarding.
TR: Are you employed? (If so, is it inside or outside the music industry and what is your job title?)
130BPM: Nope. I’m still attending college. I do some web design and consulting on the side so feel free to contact me if you have a project I can help with.
TR: An important part of a music blog is the network it has at it’s disposal, so which other sites/forums do you network on mostly?
130BPM: Lots of Tweeting and Facebooking. The only board I frequent now is the One Thirty BPM forum but back in the day I would go on Sound Opinion, I Love Music, and At Ease.
TR: Who are your favourite three music blogs?
TR: What is more important to you, quality or quantity?
130BPM: Quality, by far. I hate the blogs that just post MP3 after MP3 with little or no analysis.
TR: What was your most popular post in terms of visitors?
130BPM: Our year end posts get the most traffic by far, but on a normal day it’s usually our album reviews or features.
TR: What do you think is the most effective way to earn comments on your blog?
130BPM: You need to engage the reader. Write editorial pieces that will naturally create a discourse or pose your readers with a question whenever possible.
TR: How often do you read music blogs?
130BPM: Everyday. I gotta admit that I usually just fire up Twitter and go to my music blog list.
TR: How do you think music blogs from the US differ from those in the UK?
130BPM: It really depends. There’s definitely different cultures and scenes that shape the output of one’s blog but with the Internet and multiple contributors those little nuances can disappear. It’s important (especially for smaller teams of bloggers) to let their personalities shine through their posts.
That’s why people visit let’s say, We All Want Someone to Shout For, for example. It’s not that he always has the latest MP3s before anyone else or anything, but rather he gets people to return because he’s down to earth, doesn’t pull any punches, and really makes each post personal.
If you can get your readers to really know who you are as a person just by reading your posts regularly, then you know you’re doing a great job.
TR: Which aspect do you care for most in a music blog, a good design, or well-crafted content?
130BPM: Content rules all but appearances are important too. Be sure to balance your efforts between the two.
TR: Approximately, how many emails do you get in your inbox each day?
130BPM: Too many! Let’s just say that my GMail inbox is 40% full.
TR: What advice can you give any aspiring bands, record labels, PR, agents, or managers, to help their emails get noticed?
130BPM: Make your emails personal. Don’t keep harassing bloggers if you don’t get a response — most times that’s just the nicest way for them to know they’re not interested. Pitch your product or artist without being cliched; comparisons to other artists are great as long as they aren’t too far-fetched.
TR: How do you prefer to listen to music online, (ie Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Myspace, iTunes, Spotify, Hype Machine, or any others)?
130BPM: Usually just through my iTunes. I hop on Hype Machine and Spotify on occasion to find new stuff but never casually.
TR: What is the most common way you discover new music (ie through your network, tips from the industry, tips from friends, gigs, other blogs, traditional media/journalism, emails etc)?
130BPM: A bit of everything. Peer in places you usually wouldn’t and keep your ear close to the ground. I somehow stumbled onto Cymbals Eat Guitars MySpace page in late 2008 and built a pretty good relationship with them before they got attention with their first album.
TR: What does the future hold for music blogging? Do you see their importance growing or shrinking in years to come?
130BPM: It’s tough to say. While it’s easier than ever to set-up your own music blog, I really think that up-and-coming social networking outlets can really start cutting into what we know as the traditional music blog.
TR: Can you name an artist that you expect to break through in 2011?
130BPM: Maybe not this year, but probably next year if he keeps it up: Tayyib Ali.
TR: Please let us know any useful links to find you elsewhere online (ie, Twitter, Hype Machine, Facebook etc)?