Interview with Martijn Huijgen (of Beastie Plaza)
[Conducted in November 2002]
We at Beastiemania.com were saddened when we found out the Beastie Plaza was closing its doors. We, along with others, expressed thanks and gratitude for the mp3s, news, and information that the Beastie Plaza released to the community everyweek.Here is an interview with the website's owner, Martijn Huijgen that details the site's past, present, and future.
Note that we had planned to interview Martijn back at the beginning of August when Martijn made his announcement, but he had some computer problems and was unable to answer our questions until now.
So what inspired you in the beginning to start the site?
I have been a long time fan of the Beastie Boys and when I first got an internet connection I started to do some stuff in Dreamweaver (Webpage Editor), so later on after I knew how to work with the program, I was looking for a subject for my webpage. The subject turned out to be the Beastie Boys.
When did it start and with what content?
The site started in November 1998 with some info on the Beasties like a Bio and some pictures, a few weeks later when I finally discoverd a little file on the internet called mp3 I started to put them on Beastie Plaza.
Beastie Plaza was a very professional looking site - did you do everything or was there a staff to help out?
I am the only one working on the layout and the content. Later on there were some people helping me with putting up some news and other little things.
How much time were you spending on the site each month?
I think at the top days I was working 4 hours a day on the site. At the moment I'm not doing anything to it.
You were renowned for getting the latest Bast Boys tracks in MP3 format on your site before anyone else. You were one of the first sites (maybe THE first) to offer the Country Mike LP tracks for download. How did you hook up with those in the first place?
Yes we once had the biggest archive of non linked mp3s available, at one time we had about 40 mp3s up for download (all non album that is) that was in 1999 and we also discovered a lot of mp3s no one ever heard of. I'm glad we could offer the rare rare tracks to our visitors. I found the mp3s by digging deep into ftp servers, internet, and I got some of my own cds and some mp3s were sent to me by people.
I found the Country Mike album on some ftp, I don't know exactly what ftp it was but I know it took some time searching :) When I put the album up the site I got some good reactions from visitors, it's nice when people appreciate the hard work you do.
What's the full story with your problems with the Dutch RIAA?
In 2000 I got a letter from the Dutch RIAA that we needed to take down the mp3s or face consequences. Well there was no other thing to do, I had to take them down, and they were not even album version they were all live and rare tracks. But a year later I put some mp3s up again and they are still there, in the audio section.
So in the end, why did the Beastie Plaza shut it's doors?
I dont have the time anymore to work on the site every day. And at the moment there is no big challenge, no rare mp3s to put up and its a bit dead round the Beasties anyway. But when I find some rare stuff I will put it up.
What are the high points you remember about the site?
The highest point must be when I had around 40 mp3s up for download on the site
and the low points (if any)?
That I was forced to take down the mp3s
Looking back over the history of the site, is there anything you would have done differently?
I wish I did not change the layout all the time in the beginning of the site. But the layout that we have now is almost up for 2 years now.
Did you record any sort of statistics over the years like the amount of visitors you received?
Yes, I have a nedstat account on the site. I think the meter is at 80000 now, the visitors dropped a little since I'm not working on the site anymore.
Is there any chance of the site reopening later down the track?
Maybe, when I find the time or people to do it. But I will keep the url and the site will stay up. Maybe some day in the future you will notice some changes, then you know I found some time again to do it.
So are you still going to collect Beastie Boys music (cds/vinyl/mp3s) or are you giving up totally?
I'm still collecting Vinyl mp3s and cds. I just came back from town and bought the Alive Bentley Remix promo cd for 3 euros.
Any final comments, greetings, etc
I would like to thank all the people who visited my site and especially Chuck J aka ChuckChillout (he was there from the beginning of the site), Rip Roundn Rock, the people of Cachi Online (site is no more), and all the others I forgot.