Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Plea for Paste

I write for Paste. But if I had never written a single word, Paste would still be my favorite magazine. Seven years ago several of my friends had a vision. They knew there was a whole unexplored world out there, a place that had nothing to do with #1 singles and MTV videos and cellphone ringtones, a place where people made music simply because they loved music and had something to say. And they started a magazine. They worked 100 hours per week, slept on the office couches, maxed out their credit cards, and created something out of nothing. And people responded. The subscriptions followed, first in the thousands, then in the tens of thousands, then in the hundreds of thousands. The New York Post took notice. So did the Chicago Tribune. A bunch of awards were forthcoming. But awards don't pay the bills.

Now there's a recession on, and talking heads debate the meaning of it all, and spout theories, and quote economic indicators. But the best and worst economic indicator I know says that you can take your 20 years of schooling, and nowadays they don't even put you on the dayshift. There is no dayshift. And people who love what they do, and do it very well, are in danger of having nothing to do at all.

If you can help, now would be a good time.


The Campaign to Save Paste

Dear Paste readers,

We write this letter with great appreciation for all you’ve done for Paste, as well as sorrow that we need to come to you and ask for further support. The economy has taken its toll on Paste, and we need your help to continue.

As the global recession has continued, many of you have written us (especially as ad pages shrunk) to say, “If you ever need help, let us know.” That day has come.

Today, we are launching the “Campaign to Save Paste" to raise money to keep Paste coming to your mailboxes and computer screens. If you are in a position to give even a little, please consider donating. As thanks for your generosity, over 70 amazing artists (including The Decemberists, Neko Case, Bob Mould, Cowboy Junkies, Indigo Girls, The Jayhawks, Brandi Carlile, John Roderick of The Long Winters, Patterson Hood, The Avett Brothers and Josh Ritter—with more to come) have gathered and donated rare & exclusive MP3s for all who join us in the campaign. Here's what artists are saying about why Paste should be saved.

As a completely independent company, Paste has struggled for the past nine months as advertisers have decided to wait out the recession. As most of you realize, magazines are heavily subsidized by advertising. Industry experts estimate that an average subscription for a monthly publication would cost $60-$80 per year without advertising support.

But last month was brutal. Cash received unexpectedly reached an all-time low, and turned a tough situation into a short-term crisis.

Long-term, Paste will emerge in good shape. Even with the fall-off at the end of the year, 2008 was our best year yet—print subscribers, print ads, online readers and online advertising were all at record levels. Readers (print and online) remain strong. And new advertisers have come on board even in the recession, with more ready when their advertising budgets come back.

In the meantime, we’ve adjusted our business to weather this storm. We’ve cut costs, and we developed a robust online business that’s among the best in the industry. Fundamentally, we’re in good shape and won’t need another appeal down the road. But it’s taken us until this point to get there—leaving us critically low on cash, without some large corporation behind us to bridge the gap.

We’ll make it through this short-term economic crisis—but it’s only with your help. Our fate is (and has been and always will be) in your hands. Big-time investors are not “in the game” right now—but readers can rise up and “invest” in Paste’s future. Will you be a part?

We appreciate all of your support so far—everyone who’s subscribed, given a gift, or even read a story online or opened a newsletter. It’s all enabled us to make it this far. Now, we humbly ask you to consider giving a little more.

It doesn’t take much. Every little bit helps and you can be a part of continuing our efforts to help you find signs of life in music, film and culture. If $1 (yes, one dollar) came in from everyone on our e-mail lists (or $10 from 10% or $100 from 1%), we’ll reach our goal and emerge from this recession as a stronger magazine and website. While we’re not a non-profit (this isn’t a tax-deductible gift), know that every dollar you give goes into keeping Paste alive and, ultimately, making it even better.

While you’re at it, also let us know what more you’d like to see from Paste. What should we do (or do better) online to help you discover new music, film and more? As advertising comes back and the magazine thickens, what would you like to see in print?

CLICK HERE to give via PayPal or credit card.

With our sincerest thanks,

Josh, Tim and Nick for the entire Paste family

PS. As thanks for your help, a number of our favorite musicians and labels have donated free rare & exclusive MP3s (from artists including She & Him, Arrested Development, Shawn Mullins, Samantha Crain, State Radio, Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3, Rogue Wave, Passion Pit, Over the Rhine, The Minus 5 and more) for everyone who donates. And as more artists contribute, you'll have access to those songs as well. We also have a number of goodies (such as signed R.E.M. posters, an ocean-view cabin on next year's Cayamo cruise, and more) to give to donors in random drawings. And, anyone giving $350 or more will receive a lifetime subscription to Paste as a thank you.

You can read more about the drive in our Save Paste FAQs. View all the campaign resources (including banner ads for your website) at the Campaign to Save Paste page.

1 comment:

Natsthename said...

I got the email from them, and I am going to help out. As much as I am disappointed with some of their changes over the years, it's still the best music mag out there, and the writing is superb.