Michael Musto is not the slightest bit pleased with Regent Media, the owners of Out and The Advocate, and, incidentally, the publishers of his forthcoming book that hasn’t quite been published. Mr. Musto dedicated his weekly column to lashing out at Regent (owners who have earned a reputation for being particularly poor at paying back freelancers) for apparently failing to publish his book, even after promising for over a year that they would.
Mr. Musto explains that his book–a collection of columns and some original essays–was handed in last summer. It was supposed to be published in early winter. Then the Amazon pub date had it at June 1. Then August 4th. And now it’s October. We attended a party on the rooftop at 230 Fifth Avenue for Mr. Musto’s 25th anniversary at the Village Voice back in early March. Little did we know that it was originally supposed to be his book party. Once the communication lines broke down sufficiently enough between Mr. Musto and Alyson Books (the publishing arm of Regent Media), he gave up and engineered the party as a Village Voice celebration.
Regent Media has managed to keep Out afloat, but the Advocate is a very small shell of what it was once was now. Regent Media are TV people who wanted to run some print publications. I remember talking to one of their business people only weeks after they purchased Out. He was very, very enthusiastic. He was talking about all the opportunities of snyergy! All of the fun stuff that could be done with Out! And, then, naturally, the economy happened, and now paying back freelancers or publishing books are proving to be nearly impossible acts. For now, they’ve kept Out alive, which is a good thing. But they’ve otherwise clearly become accustomed to the lives of media owners who came to the scene: It’s a hard business.