Update: Good News! With the money raised outside of the indiegogo campaign, we passed the halfway way point to our ultimate fundraising goal for the next four issues of OBSOLETE! BUT... there is still time for you to help out. Even a couple bucks will get us a little closer to putting out 3, or even 4 great issues in 2013. THREE DAYS LEFT to contribute!
the last two years, the team here at OBSOLETE! Magazine has worked hard
to put out 6 issues of a real, live, newsprint tabloid arts magazine.
It's not a blog, it's not a twitter feed, it's not a webzine. It's a
real, old-school underground newspaper, distributed through a network
of volunteers who have placed free copies at locally-owned shops,
independent businesses and public libraries from Portland, Oregon to
Portland, Maine. I'm proud to say that we have published work from great
emerging artists and writers, as well as some well-established talents.
Early on, I set a policy of paying for new, unpublished work, unlike
most of the outlets young writers and artists have available to them in
these times of devalued digital content. I am very grateful for the
chance to work with so many talented and dedicated people and support
their work, while they support ours.
As you can see, we are
bucking the trends in publishing... and literally paying the price.
Thanks to an early online fundraiser and a few loyal and generous
advertisers, we have squeaked by, but paying the talent, printing the
papers at a local printer and shipping them via USPS has taken its toll,
financially. Yes, I know it's a ridiculous business model–create an
expensive product and give it away for free. Yes, I am crazy, naive...
and most likely stupid.
OBSOLETE! has been a grand experiment - a
meta-zine examining the relevance of print, assessing the pros and cons
of technology and questioning a society that wants artists to work for
free, while happily paying a premium price for drinking water. At the
same time, it's an experiment in equity crowdfunding and gift economics.
By taking small donations from many supporters, we are trying to create
something that is more than the sum of its parts. It's a platform for
social commentary. It's a free gift for customers who support local
businesses. It's a free source of ideas for people with limited
resources. It's a unique way to promote contributors and advertisers.
It's a way to build community in the non-virtual world. It's an outpost
of analog media in an increasingly digital world - an excuse to unplug
and enjoy the physical experience of reading.
A month ago, we
launched an online fundraising campaign in hope of pulling together
enough money to put out the next four issues of OBSOLETE! Magazine. I
set an ambitious goal of $5600. (enough to cover the per issue costs of
$500 to print 3000 copies, $300 for shipping and $600 to pay
contributors) knowing that it would be tough to reach, but thinking that
if we could at least reach half of that amount, we could use it to
leverage grants or other funds to raise the remainder. Surprisingly (to
me, at any rate), as of today we've reached less than 1/4 of that goal,
and there are only 10 days left to raise the money we need to continue.
There is a very good chance that issue #7 may be the last for OBSOLETE!
this is just an indication that analog media is truly dying - that
people aren't interested in supporting the non-digital format. Maybe
it's a failure on my part to deliver a product that people really want.
Maybe the model is tragically flawed - after all, distributing beyond
the local community is something underground papers have always found
challenging, even in their heyday. Maybe the people who do support it
are just as broke as we are, and simply unable to afford even a small
donation. I accept that any and all of these are possible. Still, as
much as I hate to beg and spam, I'm going to invite all of you, once
again, to take part in keeping OBSOLETE! alive and free.
You can help in several ways. First - just drop us a couple bucks. You can take part in the online fundraiser at http://www.indiegogo.com/obsolete
. You can also mail a check, as some folks have - if you don't like the
on-line thing. Even if you can't afford to contribute financially, you
can help us by spreading the word. Let your friends know that you
support OBSOLETE! and maybe they should too. Finally - send us your
feedback. Let us know what you like and don't like about the paper. We
are open to suggestions on content, format, distribution, funding... let
us know what you like - or equally as important, what you don't like
and why you aren't contributing.
A special thanks to all of you
who stepped up early and continue to support our project. We have
special thank you gifts and perks prepared to send out at the end of the
campaign. We will keep forging ahead, and with your help and input, we
hope to keep putting OBSOLETE! out there in the real, physical world.
Best wishes -
Victor, IA 52347