Let’s Save Paste!

Those of you who know the substantial piece of publishing that Rolling Stone once was have probably been saddened by what the magazine has become: an ordinary catalog of advertising, occasionally interrupted by an article worth reading.

Even worse, music-lovers lately mourned the loss of  No Depression‘s print magazine.

But Paste?

Paste?

No, this is unacceptable.

Paste is one of a kind. No Depression was a text-heavy, in-depth analysis of contemporary Americana, folk, country, and rock. It was a treasure trove. Paste is just as valuable, but for some very different reasons. It covers all kinds of music, as well as movies, literature, games, and even beer. It really is a celebration of “Signs of Life in Culture.” What is more, they’re not nervous about offending anybody. They don’t ignore the spiritual matters of the artists’ lives and work.

It’s where I first read music reviews by Josh Jackson, Jason Killingsworth, and my favorite music writer, Andy Whitman. It’s where I first encountered the film reviews of Robert Davis. And I am proud to say that I, too, had a chance to contribute to its pages, with interviews of Jacob Aaron Estes, Patrice Leconte, and others, as well as various film reviews. It’s the only music magazine so wide awake that it has celebrated Over the Rhine with the attention they truly deserve. I could go on and on about the features I’ve enjoyed there.

And no magazine has worked so hard to go beyond talking about music to actually enable us to hear music. They’ve included discs packed with songs from artists both renowned and unknown.

Apparently, Paste needs a little help to get through the current crisis.

It might be easy to think of charities that have more “humanitarian” needs. But think about it: Paste celebrates music and art that enable great artists to do what they do best: artists that make us think, that awaken and activate conscience, that provide the kind of beauty that encoruages people to savor and value life. Art is not a luxury or an accessory. It is a necessity. And if we want the artists that matter to succeed in this environment of sensationalism and commercialism, we need a magazine that cares about more than making a buck.

Ironically, they need a buck to keep this ministry going. Yes, I said ministry.

Keep Paste in mind as you think about who you want to support with your extra change this month.

No, it doesn’t benefit me. I haven’t had an assignment from them for a long time. But wait… yes, okay, it does benefit me. Because the world’s richer, so long as there’s fresh Paste.

And now, I’ll let them speak for themselves…

Jeffrey Overstreet

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.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • Coolhand

    Losing Paste would be a catastrophe. I can’t count the number of musicians and artists that have become favorites that I was introduced to through Paste. I know I speak for many who would feel a great loss without Paste in their mailbox every month.

    Let’s dig deep and help out folks!


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