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It’s Our Birthday! One Thirty BPM Turns Three

By Evan Kaloudis, Brent Koepp & Rob Hakimian; October 5, 2011 at 11:00 AM 

Three years ago today, my 16 year-old self — just a kid on Long Island — rounded up some friends that were passionate about music to do one thing: express their love for the art and help bring some of their favorite music to light. If we had turned just one person on to a band we liked we would have considered it a success. We never expected this newfound hobby of ours to become anything more than that.

Fast-forward three years and we now find ourselves with an audience of hundreds of thousands, a staff of over 50 active contributors located across the globe, a spot on CBS’ Metacritic site, and an archive of thousands and thousands of posts of captivating content.

We now have two full-time “employees” (admittedly they’re more like brothers), and will hopefully have a pretty sweet job myself out of college when I graduate in about two-and-a-half years’ time. We still have a ways ahead of us, but seeing how far we’ve come there is no doubt in my mind that we’ll achieve everything we set out to do.

I’d like to thank everyone out there that has helped make this dream possible. Thanks to the guys who were here from day one: Brent Koepp, Rob Hakimian, Sean Highkin, Ryan Nichols (glad to have you back, bud), Larry Weaver (who actually came aboard just a few days after launch), and my good friend Christopher Woodall; even though he’s moved on, he continues to support what we do. Thanks to Philip Cosores who came on this past year as Managing Editor and brought our live coverage up to higher level. Thanks to editors Andrew Bailey, Will Ryan, and Erik Burg who work on the site everyday as well. Thanks to the hundreds of writers and photographers who have contributed to us in the past and those who continue to contribute. Thanks to Jordan Raup and everyone in the Banquet Media family. Thanks to all my friends and family for their support, especially mom and dad who helped foot the server bill a few times in the early days. And most importantly, thanks to all of readers who keep us up and running, spread the word about the site, and provide us with feedback that keeps us inspired. And lastly thanks again to Brent Koepp for all his swag!

These past three years have been amazing, but believe me, from the look of the things we’re working on the next three will be. Trust me.

Evan Kaloudis, CEO & Publisher

It seems just like yesterday, that I met Evan on a forum for what now seems like the most random thing ever. The new TV On The Radio had just made its way on to the Internet, and I was having a discussion with him that led to an AIM conversation. We had been talking maybe an hour, when he suddenly proclaimed that he was going to start a music site, and was wondering if I was interested in helping out. At the time I was an English major, so I said absolutely. It still blows my mind that back then, he was 16 years old, and I was 20. In fact, most of the staff starting out were just kids still in high school. It seemed impossible at the time that a group of people so young, would be able to start a blog, and then have it turn into a full site featured on Metacritic and signed to Complex Media Network just three years later.

The journey has been incredible. Yeah, it’s been filled with thousands upon thousands of hours of work. And yeah, there have even been times in the beginning where we doubted that BPM could stay afloat. Yet, every moment has been worth it each and every time we get to see our friends’ and our work published on this site. I’ll never forget the first advanced album promo that we received from Sub Pop (you guys really are the best). Or our first interview ever with Phil Elverum — that was amateur to say the least. It’s really been the generosity and the kindness of the indie artists and labels that have helped a struggling new site become a voice in a medium that is often cluttered. Even today when we are afforded opportunities such as covering albums and live shows, it’s a dream come true.

Above all else, One Thirty BPM is an example of what can be achieved when people passionate about something generously give their time and dedication to that something that they love. We would not be here today if it were not for all the writers, and, of course, the people that read this site. I would like to think that in a way, BPM is a by-product of the communal aspect that the Internet has provided music fans in the last decade.

I really don’t know how else to end this, without being cliché. But here’s to another three years. Personally, I want to thank every single editor and writer that puts in so much time and dedication without ever asking anything in return. BPM would not be here without you guys. I want to thank my brothers, Evan, Rob, Sean, Phil and also of course Arika (for always listening to my crazy rants).

I’m just ready for us to finally get an office.

Brent Koepp, President & Reviews Editor

I remember encountering a message board post made by Evan about a new site he had setup that intended to run music reviews from normal young guys like ourselves. Despite the jeers from most of the posters of “aren’t there enough sites like this already?” I thought it was something I wanted to be involved in. I never really intended to become a writer, but I was consuming a lot of music and I thought it might be nice to have somewhere to let out some thoughts. Upon talking to the original guys (Evan, Brent, Sean, Larry, Ryan) in our original group chats I found a kind of kinship that I had never felt with anyone when talking about music before, and a real sense of dedication to this project.

Three years later and much more attention paid to this website than my degree, my belief that One Thirty BPM can be something real has led me to move across the world. Obviously plenty of work has gone into those three years; I don’t need to go into detail about what exactly, since if you’re a regular visitor to One Thirty BPM you see the kind of content quality we strive to reach and maintain on a daily basis, and I’m sure you all appreciate how much work behind the scenes some of it can take. I can honestly say this is the thing I’ve worked hardest on in my life, and I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t get the little perks; the steadily increasing traffic, the pats on the back for good work, the meeting other like-minded bloggers and of course, the big one, getting to be involved in the world that is my passion. In the three years since then I’ve had my flirtations with contributing to other sites, but none have ever felt as comfortable or as homely as this one.

So I guess all that leaves to say is thank you to Evan for accepting my weird Britishness onto his team three years ago, and thank you to all of you who have supported the site. We’re doing well now, but we’re only three years old, and as such we’re only just learning to walk, but just you wait and see what we have instore — it won’t be long before we’re running.

Rob Hakimian, Editor-in-Chief

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