Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Radiohead Effect Extends to Magazines

Sometimes it's not who's first, but who's most influential. Even though others have done it before, Radiohead's pay-what-you-want scheme has captured people's imaginations. I wasn't too surprised when Saul Williams gave it a shot (with a little help from Trent Reznor, who has also loudly proclaimed his dissatisfaction with the current state of the music industry), but my eyebrows did go up when a magazine -- you know, an actual physical medium -- decided to go the same route. Paste magazine is now offering a one-year subscription -- 11 issues, including 11 music CDs -- for whatever price you name, with a minimum of $1. Anyone who pays more than the regular subscription price of $19.95 gets a mention in the magazine. A nice touch: regular subscribers can also renew at this extremely flexible rate. I should mention that this move isn't quite as hardcore as it sounds. First, Paste is only doing this for a limited time. Second, magazines make most of their money from advertisers, not subscriptions, so they can better afford a stunt like this. Third, the offer's only open to U.S. subscribers. Dudes, my credit card was in my hand. Now it'll have to go back into my wallet, unfulfilled.

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