R&B Haven Celebrates Three Year Anniversary, One Millionth V

R&B Haven Logo

Well, it's been a long time coming. From an idea in the summer of 2006 to one of the definitive sites on R&B music today, R&B Haven is proud to celebrate its three year anniversary. During that period, R&B Haven has received over 1,000,000 visits from 807,000 unique visitors. Celebrating the anniversary and our breaking of the 1 million visit mark, we've got a lot of stuff collected here for you from a reflection on R&B Haven's past, to a look at R&B Haven's userbase today (with free stuff!), to a look at where R&B Haven is going in the future. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a look back at the path that led R&B Haven to its current state.

The Beginning

R&B Haven was created in the summer of 2006 with two basic goals. To teach me how to make web pages, and to get me the chance to speak with Tony Rich Project. While I've managed to accomplish one of those initial goals, the site long since changed its direction (though I will still gladly interview Tony Rich if I can). As R&B Haven evolved, it changed its aim to instead be the one stop site to document everything R&B. How we set about to do this can be understood by R&B Haven's firsts.

R&B Haven Firsts

First Artist Bio - June 25, 2006 - Babyface

Before R&B Haven had even launched, we'd posted our first artist bio on June 25, 2006. Who was our first choice? Babyface. You can get a feel for who my favorite artists at the time were as the first five artists added to the site were Babyface, After 7, Joe, K-Ci & JoJo and Brian McKnight. On a similar note, you can see how little I like female artists by the fact that the first female artist on the site, Monica, was the 26th artist to be added.

First Album Review - July 1, 2006 - Babyface - A Love Story, After 7 - Reflections

My initial hope with the site was to do album reviews of every R&B album released during the 1990s, which was unfortunately a bit of an overly ambitious goal that quickly petered out. Still, you can see the legacy of this objective when you view any album page as each album was designed around the idea of it featuring a review. Today, that objective has been redirected and now we're just looking to have every artist's discography (though if you want to review an album, I'll gladly post it).

First Layout

Looking at the layout, you can see R&B Haven's original objectives. The site offered artist bios, album reviews, song lyrics, top ten lists, and songs of the week.

First Forum - October 8, 2006

This probably is unknown to everyone but R&B Haven had its first forum in October of 2006. However, the site just wasn't big enough and I'd used a forum developed by someone else (meaning more features, but VERY spammy) so the only real posters were fake accounts posting links to porn sites. Still, SonOfSoul and I were members!

First Music Video - January 12, 2007 - Boyz II Men - Thank You
Monthly Visitors: 5,000

Six months after the site began, the first major expansion came with R&B music videos. In our opening of the feature, we had 900 videos from a variety of different artists. This feature was spawned by my interest in music videos and yet my disgust at searching YouTube only to find karaoke versions of songs. Of course, the introduction of our service (and its avoidance of YouTube) also sparked the beginning of our battle with YouTube and its eagerness to remove videos.

First Interview - April 5, 2007 - Ahmir
Monthly Visitors: 6,500

R&B Haven's favorite modern group, Ahmir, was also the first interview done by the site. Done by email, I worked with the guys setting things up and it was a lot of fun. At the time, I'd only heard their song "Wedding Song" but dang if I called it. These guys are hot, and will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first artist to give R&B Haven a chance.

First User Profiles - December 30, 2007
First Comments - SonOfSoul - January 1, 2008, JohnnyAwesome - February 4 - 2008
Monthly Visitors: 25,000

The next big addition to R&B Haven was the user profiles as we decided to shy away from forums and instead, allow commenting on news items. SonOfSoul and JohnnyAwesome were two of our earliest active users, first commenting on items in January and February of 2008.

First Successful Forum - July 1, 2008, First Real Forum - July 20, 2008
Monthly Visitors: 42,800

I don't know how many people remember it but in February of 2008, we launched our first "forum." It was really just a shout board for people to say what's on their mind, but a lot of R&B Haven's original community joined around this activity. That forum really jumped in popularity in early July of 2008, when Junebug, ilikeit, bunky and dork joined the site. Because of the rapid contributions by our small group, a real forum was launched in late July 2008. Interestingly, despite being one of the first commenters, JohnnyAwesome didn't join the forum until late August.

First Phone Interview - September 7, 2008 - Calvin Richardson
Monthly Visitors: 43,134

Jumping WAY into the future, R&B Haven was given its first phone interview (everything prior had been done via email) in September of 2008 when we were able to work with Calvin Richardson. Two years into the site's life and we were finally able to start playing in the big leagues.