A ‘PASTEY’ Perspective on Magazine Publishing: Q&A With Nick Purdy, Publisher, PASTE
Nick Purdy returned to his role as publisher of PASTE magazine last week, after stepping aside for some time to help the media group’s other efforts. As the original publisher of the title, Purdy founded the independently published title with friends Tim Regan-Porter and Josh Jackson in 2002. Since then, the Decatur, Ga-based title has grown into one of the best-selling music publications in the market.
Purdy, 36, talked with Publishing Executive Inbox his magazine’s campaign last fall to let consumers name their own price for a one-year subscription, how expanding ad streams will fit in with the company’s plans to expand to non-print realms, and how a digital edition is on his 2008 to-do list.
INBOX: You’re returning to your original position as the publisher of PASTE and former Publisher Tim Regan-Porter has assumed the role of president. What can you say about the value of having the top management be so fluid in terms of moving from one position to another?
NICK PURDY: This is a pretty new-school type of operation. We’ve been pretty selective in who has been involved. It’s a group of equals who are working to get it done. Titles are really arbitrary. … I had spent the last year and a half working on putting together a PASTE sister title that hopefully will be out there next year. [Returning to PASTE] just seemed to make sense. While I was definitely gone, it was like I really wasn’t there. We try to leave ego out of it. We always do what’s the best thing to get us down the track. And we’ve been blessed.
INBOX: For many publishers, the brand has begun to supersede the print product itself these days. How important is guarding the PASTE brand to you?
PURDY: I’ve viewed that as my biggest role since day one. All the time and money in the world can be spent on developing a print title. The magic is when you create a brand that people care about and love. We created a rock ‘n’ roll magazine with a sense of purpose. … It’s cool. But for us, for me in my role as the guardian of the brand, that also gives us a platform [to venture into other areas]. We just launched our podcast site—Pastevision.com, and we’re doing more and more with events; all those sorts of things a modern media brand is doing. But it’s always about protecting the brand. We call it being PASTEY. It’s a good guidepost for us. When I review pages of the magazine, I’m making sure it’s PASTEY. … You want to find advertisers that fit. Our audience knows that PASTE is an outsider that’s been scrappy and is moving a bit more into the mainstream, but they want us to be true to who we are. If we have an event and some advertiser says they want to do gifting at our event, and it doesn’t feel like us, we won’t do it. If you start putting bullets in your brand, you can mortgage your reputation. Things that make the PASTE brand unique will give us long-term success.