Article

About Our Subscription Drive

Subscribe to No Depression in print for just $6 per month

The Freshgrass shift left little standing of the old No Depression community.  Imagine the number of subscribers you'd have if you did a quick roll-call (recall) of  the readers and contributors that have jumped ship over the last few years. From what I can tell many if not most of the contributors don't bother to read the site they contribute to and many of the reviews have an obligatory perfunctory feel of "let's get this assignment done".  There is very little passion evident and if you're selling something that is a problem. 

Good Points

"We believe that smart discourse about great music matters, and we know you agree.". Hmmmmm.  There was formerly plenty of "smart discourse" (and some smart ass discourse) on this website, immediately after the site redesign by the current owner it dried up. Reviving discussion and inspiring "community" involvement would reinvigorate this site and a vibrant website may add interest for the magazine, which has been really well done.  

I agree with these comments wholeheartedly, and I am still a subscriber at this point...lot of potential customers out there that used to be part of the "community"...how many of them subscribe?   

Good luck with getting the subscribers...more community involvement may be the answer...as Jack noted, smart ass commentary comes with that territory and the discussion gets off the track too...but give and take and feeling a part of something is important...these days, I end up having a conversation with the artist at about 90% of the concerts I go to...they go play in people's living rooms, or anywhere else they can be heard...not sure all forms of media don't have to do that these days...just a thought...

I'll say this straight out: subscribing to a periodical that offers great writing about a topic that interests you for only $6 per month, that you can cancel at any time, is a pretty good deal. And if I was driving this car that would be my pitch. Great product, value priced, no brainer.   

Personally, I just don't like the theme of 'help us stay in business'. If I'm going to help somebody it'll likely be the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, or maybe a charity that feeds people or does medical research. 

I love No Dep...the website, the people, the journal, the support to writers and even the regional music festival I don't go to. It's not a bad ecosystem. And hiking the journal price to $72 a year versus the $47 it was a few days ago can still be justified as a value since you pay by the month and can cancel any time.  

But 'help us stay in business' is not a savvy marketing slogan that will likely resonate. The 'product' stands on its own...I adhere to the 'if you build it they will come' mantra.

Not going to jump into the 'it used to be great' conversation...if it was so great Kyla wouldn't have sold it to Chris. It was more fun maybe, but it wasn't sustainable. And now it looks like 'help us' means that once again it's no longer financially viable. 

As a paid contributor (FYI: After reporting my pay versus expenses to the IRS, it's a loss of a few hundred bucks each year) I'll hate to see all the hard work many of us have done over the years become dust in the wind. So I'll sign up and give ND $6.00 per month. But if you think 6,999 other people will join me, I've got some real estate in the Florida swamps that Chris Wadsworth might be interested in. 

Having worked with several non-profits I'm wondering if a donation (is it a donation?) is tax-deductible.  I'd make it clear what part is "donation" and what portion is considered "value received".  

But to Mr. Easy's point:

"The moving finger writes and having writ moves on."

 

 

Not sure I agree on the marketing side, Ed. The message I get is "help us stay available to you". This feels like a public broadcasting subscription drive to me - familiar territory, I suspect, for most of the ND audience. ND always had the feel of a community radio station and the non-profit status makes the analogy more appropriate than ever. As for $72 v $47, it may help to think of the extra 25 bucks as support for the website. (I do like pay-by-the-month. The original print version folded two issues into my two-year sub ...)

 

@Steve: I agree with you that it does feel much like a public radio or tv donor drive. But the business person inside me is looking at the value proposition versus the competition, and it just seems like there may not be enough people to hop on. We live in a subscription world: tv, internet access, streaming, cell phone, Netflix, Amazon Prime, magazines, healthcare, etc. Money for tangible good and services. Despite the non-profit status, that's what ND is competing with, along with the charitable donations I used as an example. Like I said: I'll bite. But I just don't know if enough of us will. 

I've already subscribed. Is there any way to donate?

There will be soon, Matthew!

Is the subscription plan also intended to apply to overseas readers (where the shipping costs for the printed magazine would be expected to be greater)?

If I sign up for $6 a month, does that include having the printed magazine shipped to the West of Ireland?

If the answer is YES, I'll be signed up in a flash and will persuading my buddies to do the same. 

If the answer is NO, then the question changes to: What are your plans for managing  subscriptions for overseas readers?

 

The $6 per month is indeed for domestic orders, with shipping included. It's $8/mo for Canadians and $10/mo for anyone anywhere else in the world.

Is this a US only request?

I ask because if we're subscribing to the magazine with the purpose of keeping the website going, I assume there will be an element to cover postage, which will be greater for overseas subscribers, such as me, living in the UK.

 

 

 

It'll be $10/mo for folks overseas, to cover shipping. I'm editing the article to reflect that. 

Okay so...If I already paid the $47 for another (2nd) year, which I have, do I have to pay the $6 per month now or a year from now?...that may sound mercenary, but that hasn't been made clear...I realize the not for profit status makes the $6 partially a donation, and I will probably do that anyway because I feel like Ed does ultimately that you should have a shot at making this work and I'm willing to stick my neck out that far, even if it isn't exactly what I would like to see it be, but neither is the Oxford American, and I subscribe there too...but other people who have ponied up the yearly subscription fee may feel somewhat less inclined to also fork over $72 a year in fees in addition...

It feels like we've changed horses in the middle of the stream here (apologies to Dan Fogelberg), and it isn't clear what the options are, given the subscription solicitation for an annual fee just came around about a month or two ago...

If you've already subscribed, you've already subscribed. No need to subscribe again until your subscription is up, and we'll let you know when that happens. This is a message to people who have not subscribed: we need you to subscribe. If you've already subscribed, we are incredibly grateful and hope you will renew when your subscription is up.

Thanks Kim...appreciate the feedback...no need to be incredibly grateful either...just keep working at it...it will continue to evolve and hopefully succeed on it's own merits...we've had a lot of fun out here over the years and I was by no means there from the beginning of the blog, though I have all but about 7-8 editions of the original print magazine...this is a different time and place...I wish you and ND the best...

Not knowing what proportion of ND's readership 7,000 subscribers would represent makes it hard to assess either your current financial position or the chances of reaching your target. It does look a lot of people though. A question please, are current print subscribers being asked to pay twice? 

But I'm with Easy Ed on this one; $6 a month is incredibly good value for the variety and quality of writing both online and print. Community life is less active than under the previous ownership but the current mix seems to work. To be able to post and appear alongside recognised writers in this field is a very attractive proposition. As a contributor and reader I shall certainly support the drive and subscribe (and that's before the cost of currency conversion and international shipping rates).

I also question the 'don't let us go out of business' approach. It sounds as if you're letting things happen to you. ND has so much to offer and it's worth paying for. $6 a month is a bargain, it almost looks as if you're passing round the hat. Make the case that providing this unique mix of activity and high quality costs money but look what you get in return. There isn't anything like this combo of online/print and community/pro contributor. 'You'd miss us if we weren't here'. Perhaps you could capture the loyalty I'm sure abounds by seeking fewer subscribers but charging them more?

For the sake of ND, I'll give it a try, but am disappointed there's no digital-only option (either a value-added website only, or a website+ebook edition). Continuing to put content on paper -- let alone returning to a hardcopy edition -- is arguably "roots-y," "artisanal," all that. But I'd suggest that it is in fact regressive, representing an abuse of "roots-y" resources and values; if (as I suspect will happen) I simply can't read the whole issue, because of the inconvenience of having to lug it around, then I'll end up canceling after an issue or two, and stick to just reading and referring to the site itself.

That said, best of luck with the subscription drive!
 

Fwiw, I'm much more inclined to donate than subscribe, please let us know when that option is available. 

- Gregg

As I said I would do, this morning I punched in my credit card numbers and am totally on board. For nine years as both a contributor and  end-user No Depression has been my go-to home away from home when it comes to roots music. Would hate to see it fade away before I do. When Chris bought the site from Kyla I had four words of advice: don't fuck it up. Well...it's changed with the times and is still floating while other destinations have gone down the drain. So if the next iteration costs me $6 a month, it seems a small price to pay. And I'll still find some extra dough to support other worthwhile entities. So consider joining me and we can still keep talking about fried clams and Gram Parsons. 

I was glad wjhen the dead tree version went away.  I am not interested in habving more paper delivered to my door.  If a price pint for the online version--no paper  is established, I will consider it.  As to 501c3, the IRS will insist you send us a yearly statement defining value received, so deductability is a minor issue.  

I love getting a print issue and hope you keep it up.  I think many people are getting tired of having to read long articles and books digitally plus your journal is really a work of art to be kept.  I work in a field where we offer ebooks and I've noticed a real trend away from it.  And when I interview college age people, 9 times out of 10 they say they prefer the real thing to digital.

Iworked in the book trade in the 60s, and certainly still appreciate printed material.  However, as the eyesight deteriorates, the ability to magnify the type on a large computer screen is very pleasant.   And, I am determined not to leave a dumpster worth of paper for the kids to throw out.   

I'm STILL seething that No Depression pulled the plug on their community by essentially shutting down the forums.  

What a way to shoot yourself in the foot.  Sure the user to user forum was sloppy, and at times a bit edgy, but I was genuinely curious to check in regularly to hear what a lot of user's had to say and their voices were quashed.  I appreciate the longer form stories, but the raw, unedited roar from the bleachers is what really attracted me to this site.  There are plenty of sites that offer "polished" music criticism, but few that had the thoughtful input of such a large community.

So, I promise to be a paid subscriber if you bring back a fully functional Forums section.  I miss my old friends...

You are not the only person who feels that way...

 

Immense sadness reconstituted. The loss of the forums and so many of the contributors to the No Dep community put the nails in the coffin to what made it great. I remember the new owner speaking about how he wanted to grow that engagement when he took over. Sadly, he surrounded himself with two people (they're gone...thankfully) who took charge and systematically deconstructed the framework to the point where the web engagement simply withered. Kudos to Kim for keeping the flame flickering with help from Stacy, and recently the addition of Cameron. Anyway...if the current fundraising efforts are successful, now that D and S are history, maybe Chris Wadsworth will return to his original vision. Whatever that is. 

I signed up.  Hell, have been visiting this site since 2009 or whenever it first went live.  If the community mismanager and her spouse were in fact the driving force behind how this site has been organized, and if they have moved on, I am hoping that some of the subscription funds will provide for some tech work aimed squarely at reviving discussion and community contributions, which would enhance the fun and eclecticism of this site. When Davel mentioned the unedited roar from the bleachers, that was the secret sauce the current site lacks. This iteration of the site feels like "eat your peas", all education and no fun. Can we give fun a try?

Amen. For what it's worth, I think that with Kim focused on print, if Cameron and Stacy work together and are given the resources they need to fix a sadly designed platform, fun can indeed return. 

A good source of ideas would be found by revisiting the "how do we improve this site" discussion.  And I hope I don't hear I'm overfocused on the past because this place used to be a mini Facebook gathering spot for roots music lovers and that's a good good thing.  

I'm in, for some of the reasons previously stated, along with some of the reservations that have also been stated. No point in belaboring them here.

Hope this time it works. Kudos to Kim and the team for keeping things going under circumstances that have no doubt been somewhat arduous.

Another blast from the past. 

I've been a reader for about 5 years and did sign up for the $47 print subscription as well as sending in annual donations in the past.  While the writing in the quarterly journal is excellent and it is good to see articles written by musicians themselves, I'm not a fan of the emphasis on one specific topic during each issue.  I kind of like the style of the print edition that started back in 1995.

Like many others I miss the free-ranging forums that used to be available.  I wish there were a way to re-start the chatrooms without a labor-intensive monitoring cost.  For now my options are competing sites or starting my own social media thing.  If nothing else there ought to be some way for ND to be a clearinghouse for making it easy for folks to communicate with each other electronically.  I'm not advocating this because I want my comments to be read, but to hear what other folks think and find sources for good roots music albums and books.   For example, the top 50 or 100 roots music CD's of the year listing is very helpful. 

I salute the work of Kim and colleagues and the paid contributors.  I know it has to be mostly a labor of love. 

So, a while back I tried to extend my subscription and ended up with two subscriptions. How can I correct this?

I think this may have happened to me too, this time. If someone could get back to me, and let me know how to avoid double-booking, that would be great.

Email accounting@nodepression.com and Maureen will get you taken care of. 

I tried it and received an error message. 

I got the same message. Sounds like you guys are swamped, but if you can get back to me here or at my gmail address: paul.wilner@gmail.com wih how to correct this (assuming that a mistake has been made), I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Sorry! The address is accounting@freshgrass.com rather. 

The other comment I have is that just like the "emergency" nature of the public radio station pleas each Spring and Fall, there is no explanation or reporting of the reasons for the financial stress.  I'm not saying that the need is not there or that the reader community should get into micro-managing. However, it would be helpful to know generally the answers to such questions as:

(1) how has the income and expenditures of the last couple of years performed relative to the orginal budget plan?

(2) what are some of the reasons why the budget plan did not work out?

(3) are there any enterprise or other revenue generation ideas that have not been tried?

(4) what are the major income sources and spending items?

(5) are printing and materials costs a major portion of print journal expenses and how much could they be reduced by doing online journal instead?

I suspect staff and board have thought through many of these issues.  It would just help potential subscribers and donors to have some basic information on the source of the problems. The same is true of the frequent requests for donations under the pre-Freshgrass enterprise.  What worked and what did not?  At least the public radio stations will provide some rationale during their pledge drive (cuts in government aid, cost of buying syndicated shows, utilites, etc.).   In the case of one public radio station where I used to volunteer, the risk-averse bureaucratic management would not agree to the creative income-generating activities suggested by lower level staff and volunteers (many with real-world business experience). Thus, lucrative sponsorship money was left on the table and we did not tap into volunteer contributions as much as we should have.

Maybe I'm wrong, but in reading the article I'm not coming away with the idea that the organization itself or the website is in trouble.  I'm reading that if we value the print journal and want it to keep going it needs more subscribers.  As simple as that. I love it and I want more people to be exposed to it so I'm sharing this post with my music loving friends in hopes they will see the value in subscribing. No Depression sees it as great publication and wants more people to subscribe.  It would be strange if they didn't.

Maybe so (and I hope so) but the first two paragraphs of the request seem to infer that the website and online activities are part of the need for the $6 per month.  I have no problem with the cost as I've kicked in much more in the past for donations and now would rather give more to ND than some of the dollars I give to up to 4 public radio stations in our area.

In addition, some folks in the discussion are questioning the need for the printed version of the journal and raising the issue of the services provided by the earlier online forums and other products that ND no longer provides.  Maybe it is helpful to get a better feel for what output the ND community would like and the forms that these products could take.  Sort of the nonprofit version of a needs assessment and a discussion of the means to meet those needs.  I'm not optimistic that the subscriber goal will be reached without resolving these issues.  Hope I'm wrong.

Over a decade ago, I was the member of an historical socity who spoke up in the annual businessmeeting for a digital version of our quarterly --whichprinting & mailing of was the preponderant budget item supported by nnual dues.  Much fear of the change was heard but now, the default is digital and few hard copies go out. (worth noting the average age of members is 60+ so this is not the iphone generation.) 

Gutenberg is following "Brother Anselm" who made copies by candlelight with a minimum of an error per page.  

Agreed.  If nothing else, whenever I get a publication in the mail it is likely to get lost somewhere around the house.  I would much rather be able to read it online and do it one article at a time.  I don't mind the $6/month subscription fee but would like the resources used for something other than printing and distribution costs. 

In addition, digital makes it easier to share one particular article with other folks (who would probably not join themselves because of narrow interest, though they might once they see the quality of the writing).  

I feel like digital is ephemeral. I like a real beautiful hard copy   Just my opinion.  I have experienced a backlash against digital music or print for things I really love.  It seems to cheapen them and makes them easy to discard.  

I'm not sure what the purity issue is regarding advertising in the coffee table print edition. The advertising peppering the online site makes it close to unusable/unreadable on a mobile device. Well placed ads in print letting the reader know about upcoming releases from YepRoc, Bloodshot, Hearth Music, New West, etc. would add to the experience, not detracted from it, and obviously would help the bottom line. If those labels are not buying I'd argue the sales team is not doing their job and/or the No Depression name has unfortunately lost its aura.  

 

 

Yeah, I'm not against ads either.  I wonder if it has something to do with being a non-profit.

I believe that there was a deliberate decision to publish the magazine ad-free, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the 'sales team' which is actually just one person. Personally, I don't think  advertising would detract from the experience, but as a quarterly it's a tough sell. New releases have a short and tight window for exposure, and in a streaming world that doesn't generate much revenue, your money is better spent on social media and digital platforms. And while on that topic, I hate all website ads...so I use Purify on my iPhone and two ad blockers on my laptop browser. 

No insult was intended to the sales team (apparently singular).  My point was I'd be surprised if labels supporting Americana would not help keep the ND ship afloat if they were approached.  To me the ad-free decision  doesn't make sense.  The couple of copies I've seen of the ND deluxe quarterly were not any more keepers than the out-of-print ND magazines that are probably stashed in boxes in the attic. Academic journals are ad-free because they can overcharge their captive audience (people who publish in those same journals) where you'll find fascinating reads such as "Mortality at Music Festivals: Academic and Grey Literature for Case Finding". In summary: "The methodology presented in this manuscript confirms that deaths occur not uncommonly at music festivals, and it represents a starting point in the documentation and surveillance of mortality".

But to beat a dead horse.....clearly many visitors to the site enjoyed the forums, the discussion and the community (remember the promise to bring back "groups"). Flying the ND banner while eliminating many of its features and then asking readers to keep it afloat seems wrongheaded.

Tommy can you hear me?

And now an attempt to hijack and start a dicussion:

If NoDepression (in its current format/focus) was to name an artist of the decade (anyone remember Alejandro Escovedo and that decade) who would it be?  And please, please, please James Brown do not nominate Bob Dylan and his string of cover albums. The nominees are....

Now I'm gonna go post a photo of my dinner on Facebook.

 

 

 

Miley? Linda Chorney? 

Hi Kim, I would love to help but I don`t want yet another, yes I know they are superb, magazine to make a pile at the side of my bed causing Mrs RichieR to moan again. So how about me giving you a donation which would be the difference between the cost of printing and sending me a magazine and the $10 a month subs applicable in the UK. Peace & Love RichieR

We're working on this. Finally got some options from Shopify yesterday and are looking at which one is best. We'll have a donate option live soon.

Kim, I signed on for the monthly subscription. Are the funds from subscriptions going to be used strictly for the magazine and this website, or will the funds also be used to support other Freshgrass endeavors i.e. their festival and grants?

Just for ND. It'd be quite a luxury if we made enough money from ND to spill some over into other endeavors! But no, at this point, we're trying to keep ND afloat. 

Thanks for subscribing! Tell your friends :)

I want very much to subscribe and read No Depression. I had a print subscription until my eyesight got too bad, and so here is my request, and I sure hope you can contact me with an answer..   I need it in an accessible form, so that I can use my technology to read it. I think that PDF would be fine. Or in DAISY which is what most of us blind folks use to read, becasuse it has navigation bookmarks for pages, and heading.  Please contact me. Rik James "Americana Backroads" (KGLT-FM, Bozeman MT)

Maybe you should check out how some other sites are set up. I'm thinking ,"Bluegrass Today", "Paste",and other music sites. Miss the videos and forums, plus site is very slow loading.

Jim     

 

PS-Why important to be not for profit?

Thanks!

Why was my PayPal account charged $40 for shipping?  I thought the monthly subscription fee included shipping.