My (Re)generation: Paste's Nick Purdy on the Fall and Rise of a Music Magazine
Inbox: When will your subscription plan launch, and how will it work?
Purdy: Our subscription model launches in September. The pricing is simple: $2.99/month, which gets you an average of 4 issues per month (48 per year). That means at least 28 free high-quality MP3 downloads per month are included, which is a lot of great music on top of the magazine itself. We will sell single issues for 99 cents and to make these smaller transactions as frictionless as possible, we are employing Amazon's payment system. Our assumption is that nearly 100% of our readership already has an Amazon account. Plus, they've made it financially feasible to accept credit cards for transactions under $10, which is very helpful. The pricing model is a shift from print's common annual pricing to a more Web-friendly monthly subscription price.
Inbox: Any plans for advertising/sponsorships?
Purdy: Definitely. There's no advertising in mPlayer yet and we haven't even finalized a plan for how to do it. The top priority is making sure that the product is fantastic and that people love it. Advertising will likely be a single weekly sponsor integrated lightly and elegantly into the mPlayer. We're actually looking forward to talking with advertisers about how to do this in creative ways. The amount of time people are spending each visit (nearly 12 minutes) is amazing for a Web-based publication and so we expect that the mPlayer environment will be extremely attractive to brands wondering how to maintain the engagement that makes print so special with the cost effectiveness available on the web.
Inbox: How will you avoid some of the online subscription pitfalls that have befallen other publishers? Does it help that audiences are already accustomed to paying for music online?
Purdy: Everyone is learning together on this. We cheer every time someone charges for content on the Web. It's critical to pay attention to what is working, like building in free sampling and social sharing. Anyone can enjoy two free Paste articles every week in the mPlayer and share it via standard social media tools (by the way, nearly all the content in the mPlayer is exclusive there and is not repeated on PasteMagazine.com, except in teaser form). We need our readers to be evangelists and history shows they will be.