Vice President | Paste
Paste, the six-year-old Decatur, Georgia-based music and entertainment magazine, has developed a knack for innovation.
First there was the pay-what-you-want subscription offer modeled after the rock band Radiohead, which allowed fans to decide how much to pay for an album download. Over 31,000 paid on average $4.00 for a year-long magazine subscription. â€śIt was a huge success,â€ť says Paste vice president Tim Regan-Porter. â€śThese were paying subscribers, who paid up front. To get a response rate like that, we wouldâ€™ve had to send two or three million pieces of direct mail.â€ť
Then there were the ads in the footers of editorial pages, alongside page numbers. Then the Paste Digital VIP, which allowed users to access premium online contentâ€”MP3s, DVD samplers, digital editionsâ€”for a nominal monthly fee. An online ad network, leveraging 14 â€śtaste makingâ€ť sites covering music, film and culture (combined traffic: 4.3 million monthly visitors and 28 million page views).
Then there was Obamicon.me, where users could create their own versions of the iconic, Shepard Fairey-designed Barack Obama â€śHopeâ€ť poster, and an online store to print these onto t-shirts and coffee mugs.
In less than a week, more than 40,000 Obamicons were created, and the siteÂ generated 1.5 million page viewsâ€”about 300,000 more than what Pasteâ€™s Web site averages a month, or 1.2 million. â€śIt was officially bigger than our magazine site,â€ť says Paste editor Josh Jackson.
Together, these mini-experiments are more than just stunts with 15-minute shelf lives. Theyâ€™re part of Pasteâ€™s D.N.A., generating buzz and traffic for a small, 180,000-circ magazine in a tough independent music market.
â€śOur goal here is not to depress the value of the magazine,â€ť says Regan-Porter. â€śMagazines in general are not valuing print as much as they should.â€ť He adds: â€śBut we know that you canâ€™t survive if all you do is print, itâ€™s not even fully serving readers if you just focus on print.â€ť
VITAL STATS: Within a week of launching Obamicon.me, the site generated 1.5 million page views, more than Pasteâ€™s Web site averages in a month.