Popham Culture: Is Paste reinventing online publication?

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While at DeLuna fest, I ran into a couple of editors and interns for Paste Magazine, which was also covering the festival. Being a fan of the magazine, I stopped by their booth. They were promoting Paste’s new web based magazine, the mPlayer. The company’s print version suffered layoffs last year and was ultimately axed in place of an online edition, so it is great to see them expand their publication in a revolutionary way. They’re breaking new ground with this model of online publishing.
The mPlayer is sleek, new. It looks like no other website before it, and there is good reason for that. It was developed entirely in house by Paste founder Tim Regan-Porter.
The mPlayer plays tracks from  a list of songs from rising artists and new releases from more established acts displaying gorgeous articles framed by crisp portraits of the artists.

When changing to a song by another artist, the mPlayer asks if you would like to change to that artist’s page.Paste is demonstrating the future of publishing–developing new media in a richer, more engaging way than their peers. The folks at Paste certainly have something to be proud of. And we all have something to be extremely excited about.

Paste does cater to the hip crowd, so the topics covered will not to appeal to everyone, but I’m practically certain that the sort of people that read my column (yes, both of you) would definitely be interested. It isn’t free. The electronic magazine, published weekly, costs $0.99 per edition or $2.99 per month.
It ends up costing about what a regular monthly publication would per anum. To me, it is up in the air whether or not the lower production overheads coupled with a similar price point will be boom or bust for the Decatur based publication. Speaking frankly, I hope that this interactive format increases their circulation. They knocked it out of the park. This is the way that a media website should work.
On the more realistic side, it probably won’t be a game changer just yet. Paste is on to something with this format, but they are hip– mainstream media moves slowly. Established media will eventually pick up something similar. I’d be happy to see National Geographic or other large publications greenlight projects like this. Print is dying, and that’s killing me.
I don’t think that the written word will die, but I do think print will. It is only a matter of time before circulation of hardcopy media, newspapers and magazines are gone the way of the steam engine. It’s going to the cloud.
It is better this way. Maybe it isn’t that print is dying. Maybe we are outgrowing it.  Maybe it isn’t going from restaurants to fast food; maybe it’s going from propellers to jet engines. Only time will tell. In time, when the next wave of people emerge and look back on what we marveled at today they will think ,”what plain things they clinged to”. Surely one day soon, this argument will be finished. Eventually, it will be dated. I look forward to the future of new-media I encourage you, dear reader, to stay engaged. It is what keeps you alive.