For the past year and a half, Tim Regan-Porter has served as the publisher/president of Paste, a music and entertainment title he helped co-found five years ago with several friends. With virtually zero magazine publishing experience prior to launch, Regan-Porter, 37, says he and his fellow Paste Media Group team members quickly gained an education in the business.
“None of us had magazine experience coming into Paste, and we made many mistakes, even on the basics––not understanding things like appropriate ad/edit percentages,” he says.
Today, the independently published, award-winning title, which has a rate base of 180,000, has quickly grown into the fourth-highest-selling consumer rock title, with distribution in more than a dozen countries, according to Regan-Porter.
“While we’re growing rapidly, we face many of the same challenges almost every other consumer title faces,” he says. “The newsstand environment is tough. We’ve had good success, but expanding wisely is a challenge.”
How do you think the decision to tailor Paste’s editorial content to a specific demographic of a more sophisticated readership has helped to separate the title from the other entertainment magazines?
Tim Regan-Porter: When we started, radio had consolidated, the music television networks no longer played music, and the large music magazines were all rotating covers between Christina [Aguilera], Britney [Spears] and Justin [Timberlake]. Major media were only concerned with hormone-fueled 17-year-old boys, and while the niche titles were doing a good job, their focus on narrow genres left us wanting. We responded as fans and started Paste. There were no market studies or well-defined demographic targets––for better or worse. We just wanted to cover the kind of thoughtful, engaging music that we’d sought out since high school in a thoughtful, substantive manner. We wanted to be the kind of voice Rolling Stone was in the 1970s and early 1980s. And our approach has resonated with a wide range of people. We have a nearly equal number of subscribers in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even into their mid-50s.