Blog Warfare: Inside The Music Slut's Public Breakup
"All love, no hate," goes the unofficial slogan of popular, partially NYC-based blog the Music Slut, which nonetheless has lately suffered some profound internal calamity, leading to the abrupt departure of writer/editor Matt Gross in what he calls an out-of-nowhere hijacking and what his former partner, site co-founder Jennifer Kellas, calls the amicable end of several years of conflict. It's a cutthroat industry, folks, or at least more of a cutthroat industry than you'd expect.
The Music Slut, a five-year-old dispensary of MP3s, reviews, ticket giveaways, and general music-blog ephemera, has the right sort of currency for this sort of thing: 25,000 Twitter followers, for starters. Kellas co-founded the blog with Jamie McIntyre while living in Scotland in 2005, but more recently she and Gross were the site's most visible entities (here's a goofy co-interview where they dish about bagels, commiserating at a Radio City Music Hall Coldplay concert, and whether they're actual sluts). And then, to hear Gross tell it, he woke up one morning and all the locks were changed. As he wrote in a widely emailed open letter:
On Thursday evening at 9PM EST, my ex-partner hijacked The Music Slut and changed all passwords and/or blocked me from the following: posting on The Music Slut, updating hosting on The Music Slut, its Gmail account, its Twitter account, its MySpace account, its Facebook account, so on and so forth.
The usual onslaught of omnidirectional Internet bickering ensued; as for Kellas, she tersely announced the move on the blog itself, sent it into reruns for the holiday weekend, and returned to usual business Tuesday morning without much fanfare. (Matt, meanwhile, seemed to personally thank every single person on Twitter who spoke out in his defense, made some noise about taking legal action, and prepped (remarkably quickly!) a new project he'll apparently unveil today. (UPDATE: That would be his similarly themed new blog A Heart Is a Spade, open for business now.)
It's not clear what caused this rift. Reached by the Voice and shown Gross' open letter, Kellas dismisses it with, "It's... Interesting to say the least. The main reason for parting ways was that my co-founder Jamie and I have been unhappy with the site's editorial direction for the past couple of years. We have tried to speak with Matt about our concerns but have been ignored, leaving us with unfortunately no other option. As the founder and business manager of this site, I am sad to see Matt go, but thank him for his dedication and friendship over the years."
"All I will say is that under my control of the site, tms went from 5 hits a day to 10,000," Gross responds. "Also, solely thanks to my posts and social media presence, tms acquired 25k followers. If you'd like further proof of my professionalism and tact, please feel free to contact ANYONE in the industry. I encourage it. If you'd like to research the site's posts over the last five years, you'll notice that 99 percent were written by me. That is not an exaggeration."
Dating back to his reign, I shuffle through 20 pages of archives looking for something that doesn't say "Posted by M" before giving up, so he might actually not be exaggerating. As for Kellas, "I will be writing more for the site and plan to enhance our coverage of the global music scene with contributing writers from around the world"; Gross is on to his new thing. It's the sort of thing Sufjan Stevens might write a song about, and if he did, there'd be plenty of blogs waiting to post about it.
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