Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Will Blog for Food

Hi there. I need a little help.

Parliament/Funkadelic All Stars -
"Help, Scottie, Help! (I'm Tweaking and I Can't Beam Up!)"

Buy "Dope Dogs" from Amazon.

I've been running The Tofu Hut for almost a year and a half now. That's about three hundred posts, maybe five-hundred songs. When I started work on this blog, I was living in Florida and taking care of a sick relative. It seemed like a good way to direct my creative energy at the time and also to share my love of music with the greatest number of people. Since then, I've moved four times and worked a dozen hand-to-mouth gigs. Through it all, th' Hut has become a constant second job, a job that brings me immense pleasure, but a job nonetheless. Between research, writing, editing, and programming your listening dial; I spend somewhere upwards of twenty to thirty hours a week on blog-related issues.

The problem is I don't have enough time. I'm less excited about simply presenting you with music and more interested in doing some genuine journalism. I hope that stalwart Hut readers know the type of post I'm talking about: pieces on Feist, the Gospel Harmonettes and J. Walter Negro, while still showing the speed at which they were written, represent a direction I'd like to take Th' Hut in. Unfortunately, I gotta eat, which means thirty-five to forty indentured hours a week that I'd rather spend re-organizing the music list, redesigning the Hut's layout, digging up artists and music and, generally, providing y'all with bigger, better content while still doing my damnedest to stick to the always elusive daily schedule. I want th' Hut to be a thick magazine, so chock-full of music and writing that you can count on it as a solid lunch-break companion. This is what I WANT; the tickin' clock and the empty wallet give me pause.

I will not accept advertising; I've even avoided the Google ads and referrer payments from Amazon. I've been approached many times by people looking to post ads on th' Hut and I've let every opportunity pass. I don't want to have my opinions manipulated. I want any of my readers to be able to trust that whatever I say, no matter how contrary and idiotic, is my honest opinion. There's also the Boing Boing argument; once we start becoming a business, a lot of the DIY soul withers and we become just another Pitchfork clone. And I feel it would be ethically improper to accept money from an advertiser as it could easily (and, I feel, accurately) be construed as accepting payment in exchange for the music. The Hut is not here to profit off of the music we post. But we gotta eat.

So what to do? You'll perhaps be unsurprised to discover that this is where you come in.

Abbey Lincoln and Stan Getz - "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"
Buy "You Gotta Pay the Band" from Amazon.

I'm asking for your help. Spurred on by the meager (but entirely satisfactory) success of Kottke, I'm looking for "micropatrons".

Here's what I bring to the table: if you make a donation of at least ten dollars to th' Hut (or the equivalent of thirteen bucks American for my out-of-the-US readers), you will find a super-duper, special, ten-song mix disc winging its way in the mail to you ASAP. On this disc, you'll find a collection of rarities, live cuts, obscurities, new wonders and whatever's catching my ear that day, along with comprehensive notes detailing more about the music, the artists and where you can find more of the same. It'll be like a CMJ disc, just Tofu-sized. Every month that you make a minimum contribution of ten bucks, you'll find a brand-new monthly mix on your doorstep and you can feel proud in knowing that you're helping keep the Tofu Hut alive.

We'll also have little special gifts to randomly disperse amongst ya: promo CDs and music swag from sympathetic labels.

Really, any amount is helpful and appreciated, from Benjamins to spare change. Don't be shy.

You'll find a new Paypal contribution button up top; use that if you must, but bear in mind that it's infinitely easier for me to take a check in the mail at the following address:

The Tofu Hut
33 Wayne St.
Apt. 2R
Jersey City, NJ. 07302

In any case, if you DO make a contribution, make sure to include your snail-mail and online address so that I can thank you and get a disc out.

Growling Tiger - "Money Is King"
Buy "The Growling Tiger of Calypso" from Amazon.

Please note that IN NO WAY am I looking to accept payment for the music offered on this site. What I'm requesting is donations to maintain the tremendous effort that maintaining and writing this site requires. Also note that a percentage of all donations will be tithed to th' Hut's erstwhile writing contributors, because we love them.

Obviously, this is all part of my grandmaster flash plan to make th' Hut the best possible musicblog it can be. If only one out of a hundred of you guys opt for the "subscription" option, that'll be enough incentive for me to treat th' Hut like the fine lady she is; manicures, cream-rinses, anal-bleaching and all. For now, I'll be satisfied if I can cop enough cash to justify the pleasant necessity of redoubling my efforts on the site and giving up the occasional shift at the day job.

I'll keep you updated as to how this project is progressing and will be sure to hassle you in the old-fashioned, PBS-Pledge-Drive fashion.

Alright, enough of that for now. We'll get back to the music tomorrow.