Interview: "Fiery Irish Guy" And NYC Music-Blogger Extraordinare Patrick Duffy, He Of Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, Which Is, Alas, Shutting Down For Good
When we last chatted with vital local music blogger Patrick Duffy about his nearly five-year-old enterprise Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, it had just been unceremoniously vaporized by Blogspot in the great blog purge of February 2010. So he switched URLs and pressed on. Unfortunately, as of this week, that new site is now slightly NSFW, and leads to one hell of a Google-search result.
This has led Duffy, with some chagrin, to shut down PTST for good, just a few months shy of its five-year anniversary. His farewell letter is here: "I have opted to give up the fight and seek greener pastures," it explains. He was kind enough to explain himself further in a brief q&a -- here is our conversation.
So: Your site's homepage has a sexy lady and a "free sex stories" tab on it. I take it this wasn't your idea.
It was not. About a week ago I awoke to find the same thing on my site, apparently my ownership of the .com name expired at 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday and someone immediately snatched it up. Since then I have spent hours fighting a losing battle.
How many times has that URL changed in the past five years? I know you got completely wiped out in February...
Twice. It started as .blogspot and change to .com earlier this year when Blogger opted to shut me down. In nearly five years, how many MP3s would you say you put up, and what percentage of those triggered some sort of complaint from the artist/label?
Probably an average of ten each weekday for five years. I'd say about three to five percent triggered takedown notices or e-mails asking me not to post certain tracks.
I'm shocked I guess that this is still an issue in 2010... hasn't the industry figured out by now that dudes like you are helping way more than you're hurting?
I think the vast majority have realized that by now. The problem I see is the absurd number of blogs devoted to the same sort of thing, leading to a need for unique posts and unapproved mp3's hitting the web for the sake of site traffic. I tried to avoid that, relying instead on attempting to introduce smaller bands to a wider audience and by pushing the quality of the writing over quantity, and that worked for me for a long time.
I just want to make it clear that this retirement was not the result of a takedown by an artist or publicist, but rather because of a flaw in the ownership of websites on the Internet. Following all the technical issues I found it easier to give it up and pursue other avenues where I could write freely, and not have to worry about those avenues.
Are there any artists/labels/PR entities you'd like to take this opportunity to talk trash about, as a farewell gesture?
I have been tremendously lucky to have met and worked with so many people in my time writing Pop Tarts. I've made life long friends and people I will continue to work with in other ways. Gotta give props to bands like the Antlers, Screaming Females, Beat Radio, Dinosaur Feathers, EULA, and all the rest that have treated me as much as a friend and fan as way to advance their musical careers. And to the publicists -- thanks for all the freebies! [Editor's note: This is piss-poor trash talk, but it is very nice.]
Your goodbye notice makes reference to "the sixth time this year I have had some major issue with the site" and "the tolls taken on my physical and mental stability"... what other shit has come up? What are the hidden perils of the music-blogger lifestyle?
To be honest I personally am a fiery Irish guy and anything that takes away something I love angers me to no end. That can't be a good thing for my blood pressure, and it certainly can lead to short depressed states. Ultimately the biggest commitment is the time it takes to live this life, the constant commitments, the lack of time with friends and family outside of this world. I enjoyed every minute if actually working on my site -- what I didn't enjoy was the pressures of answering hundreds of e-mails, of battling the DMCA, of trying to re-build my site again and again this year. That took a toll on me and wore me down and ultimately led to me shutting down. Hopefully in the future I can continue to write about what I love without all those aggravating factors.
What's our day job, anyway? How many hours a week would you spend on Pop Tarts? How big a relief is this to you?
For most of my time as a blogger I worked full-time as a phone technician. Last year I was laid off and have since spent time working on the site, interning, and trying to find a new full-time gig that I would actually enjoy! Anyone in the market for someone with technical know-how, social marketing, or music writing should feel free to get in touch! All told music blogging became like a second job, easily logging 30-40 hours a week.
So Flavorwire, huh? What else is on the horizon? And what's the hot new Pop Tarts-approved band of 2010?
Yeah I'm excited to be a part of the Flavorwire team, they push me to be a little different from what I've been over these years and to explore other avenues of music and writing. I will be contributing to some other sites from time to time, and if the Voice wants to bring me on I'd be more that happy to bring my all to you guys!
As far as bands go, keep listening to Dinosaur Feathers, rock out to Ariel Pink, and keep cranking up the Sleigh Bells! There's more, but you'll have to tune in elsewhere for those insights!
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