I’m a great fan of Paste Magazine, and subscribe as a Paste Digital VIP. I’d thought of Paste as one of the success stories of publishing online – as they made the transition to download for samplers rather than the physical CD – and as they started to offer a premium model (VIP) online, sell merchandise, etc.
Turns out they’re in more difficult financial straights than I’d imagined. They’re running a voluntary donations campaign. As they wrote in a letter to readers:
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.
Regardless of what you donate, you get access to a vault of 70+ songs, many of them rare or unreleased tracks, from a broad variety of the kind of artists you’d expect to be friends of Paste.
I hope this does generate enough cash to support Paste through to long-term recovery.