A Promising Print (and Vinyl) Comeback

Sometimes Christmas comes a little early, and this time, it was an email that reminded me.

On Monday, I saw an announcement that didn’t immediately register as I scrolled through the messages in my inbox. “Paste is Back in Print: Introducing Paste Quarterly” is what the subject line said.

Sometimes Christmas comes a little early, and this time, it was an email that reminded me.

On Monday, I saw an announcement that didn’t immediately register as I scrolled through the messages in my inbox. “Paste is Back in Print: Introducing Paste Quarterly” is what the subject line said.

I’ve been really swamped all week, and you know how it is. You make a mental note to check something out, and if you’re lucky, you get back to it a few minutes or hours later.

Well, that didn’t happen.

Paste, I should explain, is a website that covers music, as well as books, TV, gaming, and a lot more. When it was a print magazine in the early 2000s, it was focused almost entirely on music, and I was very happy to count myself as one of its subscribers. Through its coverage, I was introduced to up-and-coming musicians like the Hold Steady, Tift Merritt, and Drive-By Truckers. I also gained a new appreciation for established artists like Johnny Cash.

Each issue included a compilation CD with a dozen or more songs, and sometimes other content. Even after I read through each magazine, and often bought the artists’ music, I held on to those CDs.

Another great feature was the magazine itself. With good writing and photography on heavy-stock paper, it was actually a pleasure to hold in your hands.

It ceased print publication in 2010 to focus only on digital, including a daily email digest … until now.

paste1Wednesday’s email reminded me of the big news: “Paste Is Back In Print!” Turns out that it’s going to be a 120-page,12”x12” quarterly. Besides stories, reviews, and interviews, each issue will also include a vinyl record with exclusive music recorded at the company’s studios.

Vinyl’s been staging its own return in recent years. It’s still only a small share of the music market, but a growing one. And last week in the U.K., record sales beat downloads for the first time ever.

To help support this return, the magazine started an Indiegogo campaign that’s raised about 40% of its $100,000 goal. Participants can get more perks depending on how much they donate when subscribing.

But will the promises of “a clever illustrated spread, stunning photos bleeding off the edge and long-form stories that pull you in page after page” be enough?

I’m hoping that the value of a tangible printed magazine will be attractive to enough readers. They’ll need to be engaged audiences who are excited to discover (and pay for) more well-considered content, and interesting photography and design.

In his blog post yesterday, Chuck McLeester talked about some of the barriers to a full-scale revival of analog music by millennials. I’m wondering if the music will make the difference this time in keeping the print magazine going.

I’m betting that it will. And I’ll be subscribing again. Now, where can I buy a turntable?

So, what’s your take, marketers? Can this work? And what favorite products, print, digital, or whatever, would you like to bring back?  Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

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