Yesterday, Paste magazine announced that they were putting the print publication into “hiatus.” The online component will keep running, but with as much gusto is something that’s yet to be determined.
Paste had a rough patch in 2009 when they announced a massive fundraiser, and fans ended up pulling them through. It was remarkable, something unheard of, especially for a music magazine. But those things never last very long, now do they? It just goes to show the readership Paste has, and how dedicated people really are to keeping up the music scene that the magazine is a part of.
Based out of Decatur, Georgia, the magazine covered music mainly, but also film, books, video games and independent culture. They were one of the few outlets that could cover such a broad range and did it well. Every issue I’ve ever seen has been done beautifully, and it’s contained articles I’m genuinely interested in. For example, there was Potter or Proust in 2009, which I found particularly amusing (the mag also always posted about Harry Potter, which you know just made me more of a fan). A lot of music magazines are pretty specific in what they cover – straight-laced profiles and reviews usually. But Paste had think-pieces and views on culture that couldn’t be found anywhere else. And it wasn’t just about Georgia, although when they wrote about it, a hometown glow came through like a potent apple pie.
The demise of Paste has struck me hard. I’ve been following the magazine since I was in high school. I loved its cover’s texture (they changed it in the last year or so), the colours, the free CD, the design, and like I said, the content. It was always the first magazine I would look for in a store, and I would buy it without any question. It was also the only magazine I would consider posting the covers on my walls with all my other pictures because the artwork was so nice and it wasn’t overwhelming like Rolling Stone or Spin.
I sat at my desk at work yesterday, queasy. For weeks now, months even, I’ve had on my to-do list “pitch to Paste.” Every week, I’d look at it and be like ‘I really should’ or ‘I’m just too busy.’ These decisions have hurt me, and now who knows if I’ll ever be able to write for the web version. The demise of Paste represents not just the fact that I held it dear to me, and am now mourning it like I would mourn a friend, but it became my career goal.
See, being a music journalist these days is pretty hard. You can’t have a conversation with someone about it without them saying either ‘well you’ll pull through, you’re awesome’ or ‘um, why are you doing this’ kind of deal. It’s pretty draining dealing with all of it when music journalism is the one and only thing you really want to do and know how to do. I don’t know how to do much else. I don’t have passion for much else. Music is both my hobby and my work (not the best either, but I digress). You have to be really dedicated and really focused in this business, and even so, you might not get what you’re hoping for. I’m now out in the big world after I finished university, and what will happen with the rest of my life? But heck, when older music journalists realize I’m 22, they all laugh at me. I’m not sure if anybody understands how much I want to be a part of this, how much I want this industry to keep going.
Seeing Paste go under is like watching part of my career, my life, go down with it, even though I have never been able to directly associate with them. But I know that I have enough strength to carry myself for quite some time.
A couple weeks ago, as I was preparing to move across town, I had the task of going through all my magazines. I did throw out quite a few issues of Paste, but after ripping out pictures and articles. Now I wish I had kept them all. I kept a lot of issues of Chart after it went under, but I got rid of those in the move as well. I regret this and I regret not pitching sooner, not being able to get to know the great people who put out such a magazine. I hope they will all go on to great things.
I have ideas up my sleeves, but they won’t come into effect for quite some time. Some things require others’ help (and, ha, I can’t pay) but if you’re as dedicated as I am, I’d like to see what we can do.
Paste, I hope the unfortunate term “hiatus” becomes true for you. It’s not very realistic to think that it will, but a girl can dream.
What some others have said about Paste on Twitter:
Carl Wilson: “Paste, a mag extravagant in praise of my book, suffers its inexorable fate, like the sweet maid who dies of t.b. late in a Victorian novel.”
SCQReview: “R.I.P. Paste Magazine (print version)… you were the best of them all.”
Anne Donahue: “Very sad to hear about Paste magazine. You were a good egg.”
SingingLamb: “Well there goes my dream of writing for Paste. R.I.P.”