"SAVE PASTE": A fellow publisher's fight and success

NEED’s co-founder Kelly Kinnunen talked with Josh Jackson, editor-in-chief at Paste Magazine, about Paste’s struggle to keep the much-loved music magazine afloat during the economic downturn. “Save Paste” is the campaign that formed after dedicated readers expressed their concerns about the magazine and asked what they could do to help. Like the “screwtheman | savetheworld” campaign, Save Paste gives power back to readers who love a magazine and don’t want to see it fold.

Kelly: So, why Save Paste?

Josh: We had experienced such a drop in magazine advertisers like a lot of people did over the course of the last year, and we had been trying to react to that from a business standpoint and change our business model quickly, but we just couldn’t quite react quickly enough and we were left with an inability to keep moving forward without a little help. … A couple readers emailed saying “hey, let us know if you ever need help, we don’t want you to go away.” And so we followed their advice and went to them and explained what the need was and just tried to be as transparent as possible.

[Artists we’ve worked with] were very generous in offering these rare, exclusive songs for our donors to download. So the way we set it up is anybody who donates $1 to $1000 gets access to all these tracks. We have about 75 different artists and we’re up to 150 now, so if somebody donates they get rare, exclusive tracks from folks like Neko Case, The Decemberists, Of Montreal, The Avett Brothers, The Indigo Girls – just all these cool artists that have offered their music to help us.

Kelly: I thought that was a really cool feature of your campaign – to offer your readers something unique. Tell me more about readers’ responses.

Josh: It’s been mostly positive. One of the things we didn’t know is if we’d get lambasted for being a for-profit company acting like a nonprofit, you know, asking for donations. It’s kind of an odd place to be. But yeah, it’s been in the press, people have blogged about it, Twittered and shared it on Facebook, so everybody’s been pretty positive and trying to help. … There have been so many great magazines that folded during this downturn and people are sick of seeing that happen. By doing something a little bit different, we could be a success story and I think that rallied a lot of people around us. It’s been really affirming for everyone on staff that people don’t want to see this thing go away and so we’ve got a renewed vigor to not let it die, to come back stronger, to really offer as much value as we can to our readers.

Kelly: If your readers and donors see this article, what would you like to say to them?

Josh: Oh, just a heartfelt thank you. It’s been such a humbling experience to share our position in need, but also such an encouraging one. Just their responses have lifted spirits over here and given us renewed energy.

- Ellen Frazel

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