Magazine article Newsweek

Blogs: 'Reefer and Beer' in the Tofu Hut

Magazine article Newsweek

Blogs: 'Reefer and Beer' in the Tofu Hut

Article excerpt

Byline: Brad Stone

John Seroff, like lots of other New Yorkers, ekes out a living bartending and waiting tables. But each night the 29-year-old music aficionado spends three hours holed up in his apartment in front of his computer, spinning records for the world. His online music journal, or "MP3 blog," The Tofu Hut (tofuhut.blogspot.com), features obscure songs, each available for downloading, and a running commentary about musical tastes and trends. Seroff's preferences are diverse, to say the least. Last week he posted an unreleased free-style rap from a seemingly boozed-up Tupac Shakur, the smoky John Coltrane riff "Vodka" and a honky-tonk hip-hop cut called "Reefer and Beer," by an artist you probably haven't heard of, Devin the Dude. "I see it as a way of helping the artist on a real grass-roots level," says Seroff, who accompanies each song with a link to a site where visitors can buy the artist's album.

Think of MP3 bloggers as a fusion of the local dance-club DJ, playing his favorite records, and the pirate-radio-station operator broadcasting songs over shortwave without permission. With the proliferation of broadband Internet access and the availability of cheap data storage, the phenomenon has exploded; there are now hundreds of MP3 blogs, each reflecting its owner's personal predilections and eagerness to unearth musical nuggets of undervalued artists. "There is not much of a role for free-form DJs in America," says Matthew Perpetua, whose Fluxblog (newflux. …

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