18 Mar 2013, Posted by admin in Stories,Two Bank, No Comments. Tagged Blake Gibson, blog, Candy Hearts, Cincinnati, multimedia, New Media Bureau, Ranting About Music, University of Cincinnati
Blake Gibson has been writing about music since his freshman year at Xavier University. His blog has become a place where new musicians turn when they’re looking to get their names out.
Story, photos and recording by Michelle Brandstetter
In 2012, there were an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States. With millions of blogs out there – not to mention social sites like Twitter and Facebook – the audience for people’s words has never been bigger, which means that the voice of the writer has never seemed quieter.
A music blogger entering this world of millions of people talking at once would have to take some time to figure out how to make his voice stand out. Blake Gibson, the 22-year-old creator of the blog Ranting About Music, has a simple approach: Say it best, even if you’re not saying it the loudest.
Ranting About Music is a witty blog which Gibson updates multiple times a week. Gibson’s writing has the perfect mix of confidence and sarcasm, and it’s backed by a strong knowledge of music. He posts about a wide range of things, from popular music that’s playing on the radio to musicians who are just getting their start.
Gibson’s blog has become a place for new musicians to turn when they’re looking to get their names out.
“It (reviewing new musicians) was something I hadn’t planned on having at all when I started the blog. It’s kind of grown into its own section on the site,” said Gibson, who lives in Norwood and is a senior at Xavier University.
Gibson began reviewing new musicians after he was contacted by a member of Candy Hearts, a small band he had reviewed.
“I got an email from this guy saying, ‘Hey, I did some uncredited playing on that album, I’ve been working on some of my own stuff, would you be interested in hearing that?’ And I was like, sure, I can do that.”
Gibson actually didn’t care for the first musician who contacted him, but after that, other musicians followed suit. Eventually producers also began contacting him, encouraging him to listen to music.
Matt Armbruster, a fan of the blog, thinks Ranting About Music speaks to all sorts of people.
“I guess it’s that he has an odd collection of things he writes about,” Armbruster said. “He’ll go from like Bon Iver, or some small indie thing, and the next article is about the next chartbuster.”
Armbruster likes reading the blog while listening to the track Gibson is reviewing.
“His writing is paced really well for listening while reading,” Armbruster said. “It’s a really cool experience.”
Gibson has been ranting about music since his freshman year at Xavier, and he’s been reading about it even longer.
“I first really got into music when I was a pre-teen,” said Gibson, who grew up in Deer Park. “I mean, this was back when I still had dial-up (Internet connection), and as someone who was just getting into music, the way I kind of lived vicariously through it was reading album reviews.”
Gibson’s high school required laptops, and this allowed him plenty of time to investigate the industry.
“I’d be in class but I’d also be like, on allmusic.com or something, looking up reviews for Nirvana or Weezer, old Led Zeppelin albums, and I think that those reviews and those articles were really where the bedrock was laid for my blog.”
Being well-versed in the kind of opinions other people had on music made Gibson confident in his own. During winter break of his freshman year, he decided to start sharing those opinions.
His first few posts were just something to do when he was bored. It wasn’t until the summer after he started the blog that he began posting with regularity.
Now, his blog averages between 100 to 150 views a day.
“I did this comedic list once titled, ‘Six (Sad) Music Videos (That’ll Ruin Your Day),’ ” Gibson said. “Since then I’ve discovered that the Google search ‘sad music videos’ is incredibly common. That post alone has been one of the biggest draws to my blog.”
Gibson’s posts mostly fall under one of a few specific categories – album reviews, lists, new music and a series of reviews of trending pop songs titled “Radio Rants.”
“The Radio Rants are a big part of my traffic, too, because those are really popular songs,” Gibson said. “I have a Radio Rant for the Bruno Mars song, ‘Just the Way You Are,’ which is almost an anomaly in the number of hits it gets.”
One of his recent Radio Rants is about the new song “Scream and Shout” by will.i.am and featuring Britney Spears. During that post, he paints will.i.am’s career as a bit of a train wreck, and then says he can’t wait to listen to his most recent album, #willpower:
I mean that without a shred of sarcasm; I will listen to #willpower the day it comes out. I find will.i.am to be–well, “fascinating” might be giving him too much credit, but entertaining. Here’s a guy who sees himself as a pop music auteur like Kanye West or Danger Mouse, someone whose work carries his own brand and signature; he’s not just making music, he’s making art. And he’s godawful at it. will.i.am can talk about the house music scene of Paris, reflect on what the big sound is going to be for pop in the next year, and then come out with something as dreadful as “Dirty Bit”. He dreams of being Tarantino, but can only manage M. Night Shyamalan.
Gibson’s blog has made him realize that the important part of blogging is not just writing something and then plastering it on every social media site known to man. It’s more about having a strong knowledge of the subject and having the confidence to assert that knowledge.
“Really, the biggest thing I’d recommend to anyone looking to start a blog is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” Gibson said. “Because at the end of the day, whether you’re following trends or finding new artists or whatever applies, it’s about being able to make it your own, and then not being afraid of claiming it as your own.”