The two New York music bloggers whose sites were shut down over by the Department of Homeland Security over Thanksgiving weekend used to be well-liked, well-known and respected by artists and marketing departments in the industry.
“I get nothing but open-arm receptions,” Kevin Hofman, of OnSmash.com told the New York Times. “I turn down more industry invites than I accept.”
But his industry connects seem to be fair-weather friends.
Hofman, or “Hof,” is still active on Twitter, where some of his fans have started using the hashtag #FREEONSMASH. But the response was disappointing when the Long Islander asked artists for letters of support. “Be clear I got love for every rapper I ever supported but kills me to know only them real street thoroughbred be reaching out,” he tweeted.
Kanye West is among those not being real–the rapper used to retweet OnSmash links, but has been silent since the site was taken down.
Hof used to work in new media and marketing at “a major record label” and is, according to the Times, “brawny.” But he’s gotten jumpy since he went from brushing elbows with rap stars to legal limbo with DHS. “I don’t ever sleep (why) too paranoid, state of paranoia all I do is call my lawyer,” he wrote on Twitter.
Hof and another New York blogger, “Splash” of Dajaz1.com and Queens, both ran high-profile music blogs before they ended up on a hit list drawn up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal agencies with the help of the Recording Industry Association of America.
The DHS carried out the hit as part of its mandate for the protection of copyright and trademarks, which dates back to its origins in the U.S. Customs Service.
The sites were shut down because they were “flagrantly violating federal copyright laws,” the RIAA said.
It didn’t seem to help that the bloggers were familiar with some of the creators of the music being posted. Splash is on the phone with Busta Rhymes once every three to four days, he told the Times–but the name-dropping didn’t hold much sway with DHS.
The fates of both bloggers are yet to be decided. In the meantime, Hof can’t seem to catch a break: “I can’t stand ppl that send you emo texts when they know you already dealing with mad drama,” he tweeted today.
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries