Paste magazine, like so many specialty publications, is struggling to survive. The music-and-culture magazine is suffering from decreased advertising revenue, so it’s reaching out directly to readers (and prospective readers) to help support the magazine with cold, hard cash donations.
In return for your contribution, you’ll get access to a growing vault of rare and unreleased digital downloads (more than 70 so far) from artists that Paste often writes about — including The Decemberists, Neko Case, Bob Mould, Over the Rhine, Cowboy Junkies, Indigo Girls, Jayhawks, Brandi Carlile, John Roderick of The Long Winters, Patterson Hood, Avett Brothers, Robyn Hitchcock and The Venus 3, and Josh Ritter.
Lots of these artists are taking this very seriously. Paste is one of the few publications around that tries to spotlight new, emerging and lesser-known artists, as well as good music (and film, books and other media) of all sorts.
For instance, Karin Bergquist of Over the Rhine, one of my favorites, has this to say about Paste:
“Paste magazine has been a much-needed gift to all who care about the future of American songwriting and creativity. While many other music magazines became increasingly celebrity-obsessed, Paste reminded all of us that the conversation could be redirected in imaginative ways: Who are the artists and writers, known or unknown, old or young, mainstream or indy, who can still delight and surprise, who deserve to be discovered or rediscovered? If we lost Paste’s voice in the overall conversation, we would lose more than we can imagine, or afford.”
For the average reader, Paste gives a good tastemaker. Like most print-based media focusing on the fast-moving world of popular music, Paste is constantly struggling to stay ahead of the curve. And it sometimes seems a bit dated to the best-informed, most voracious consumers of music and popular culture. However, a host of solid features and ever-improving web site continue to make it must reading. The loss of Paste‘s voice would make our cultural life poorer by far.