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Cunningham’s Empire Strikes Back

With over 400 “Likes” on Facebook and as many daily views, senior Matt Cunningham’s music blog We Once Had an Empire (WOHAE) is quickly making an impact.

“I’ve gotten 1000 downloads on a single song before,” Cunningham said. Cunningham, Walt Gahagan ’13 and Jon Victor ’14 started the blog two years ago, when Cunningham’s friends started requesting copies of his music. “People would come to my room and ask me to put my music on a hard drive for them,” Cunningham said. “We decided to create a site to spread music more easily and give people a chance to download it.”

Cunningham’s favorite genre is house music, and his blog includes primarily house, electro, hip-hop and remixes of songs by emerging artists. He uses the site Hypem to get the most popular songs from the past couple of days and sometimes to collect music from other blogs.

“I appreciate that Matt posts a diverse selection of music,” Jordan Montour ’13 said. “I personally listen to a ton of different kinds of music, and WOHAE provides me with my house fix consistently. He puts the time and energy into finding less well-known songs and artists of house music’s subculture.”

Nick Goss ’13 said, “He finds music that nobody else can find. His blog is special because of its unique music and self-customized look.”

“A lot of the music on my blog is pretty obscure—songs that people don’t really know. It’s probably not the top iTunes list,” Cunningham said. “I do have some Ke$ha songs, though.”

While many Deerfield students send songs to Cunningham, people outside of Deerfield, even those he does not know, send him songs to post as well. When Cunningham posted 5 & A Dime’s song “One Last Dance,” it received 22,000 views.

Cunningham designed the graphics, album artwork, and banners using Photoshop and WordPress. “I have about 48,000 total views since I converted to WordPress late last year,” Cunningham said. “On October 17th, I had 485 views; it was one of my busiest days.”

He has also DJ’d many of Deerfield’s dances including the Blackout dance, Hoe Down, the class of 2013 Stepping Up dance and several Greer dances. Afterwards he posts many of the playlists on his blog so others can download them.

Of the time involved in updating the blog every day, Cunningham said, “It’s time consuming, but it’s worth it, especially when I see my music on other people’s iPods or hear it playing in dorms.”

Fitz Bowen ’13 said, “[WOHAE is] the site that house music fans need because, one, it takes a bunch of great songs and puts them in one place, and two, every song is free and easy to download.”

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