I started Stereogum in 2002 with a LiveJournal and a dream (to get free CDs). Seriously though, I started this site to discuss new music with strangers on the internet. Without all of you who comment thoughtfully on our features, send us hot tips, and aggressively point out our typos, this would be a really boring website. The Stereogum community is millions strong and I am confident in saying it’s the smartest and most attractive online readership in music.
Over the years we have published thousands of longform interviews (with everyone from Drake to Diamanda Galás) and reviews, hosted concerts in cities around the world, and witnessed many of the word-of-mouth successes we championed first — acts like Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, and Billie Eilish — become icons.
Readers could always count on Stereogum, 365 days a year, for articles exclusively about music — a rarity among daily longform publications — but behind the scenes the economics of blogging have been growing increasingly volatile. In recent years so many beloved websites have shuttered or been sold to and undermined by private equity vultures. That’s why earlier this year I reacquired Stereogum from our former parent company and we became a fully independent publication with no corporate investment.
Our small team has always thought of itself as a DIY operation, which was difficult to reconcile while part of a corporate conglomerate. We’re grateful to finally be in charge of our own destiny. We set out with a solid plan to diversify Stereogum’s business, which currently derives all of its revenue from advertising at a time when 70% of all digital ad spending goes to Google, Facebook, and Amazon. We knew building a sustainable operation would not be easy. But since March, like so many other publications big and small, we have seen our advertising revenue plummet more than 50% because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerts and festivals, historically our biggest advertisers, have disappeared entirely.
We risk shutting down before we even got a chance to get going as an independent entity. We have a plan to modernize and just need to survive this tough time in order to execute it.
And so: smart and attractive and generous readers, we are now asking for your help.
An exclusive release we made just for this campaign…
Save Stereogum: An ‘00s Covers Comp is an exclusive new compilation we produced just for an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign launching today. We asked over 40 of our favorite artists to record brand new, never-before-heard covers of songs from 2000-2009. (Aughts nostalgia … it’s time!) Donors will receive a .zip download of the compilation — including MP3s, artwork, and liner notes — and will be the envy of their friends because it will never be released again! We won’t be streaming Save Stereogum anywhere and will never reissue it. It’s only available to supporters of this campaign.
We’re not revealing in advance what songs they covered (it’ll be a surprise) but here, in alphabetical order, is who’s on the album…
- Anna Calvi
- Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast)
- Bill MacKay
- Car Seat Headrest
- Charly Bliss
- Chris Farren
- Colleen Green feat. Diarrhea Planet’s Emmett Miller
- Death Cab For Cutie
- Dirty Projectors
- Frankie Cosmos
- Half Waif
- Hamilton Leithauser
- Hand Habits
- Illuminati Hotties
- Jeff Rosenstock
- Julien Baker
- Kero Kero Bonito
- Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers
- Laura Stevenson
- Mac DeMarco
- Pure Bathing Culture
- Ryley Walker
- Sharon Van Etten
- Soccer Mommy
- Strand Of Oaks
- The National
- The New Pornographers
- Ty Segall
- White Reaper
- Wild Pink
- Wye Oak
…and more to be revealed soon!
WHAT WE NEED
Support your favorite independent music blog…
Your donations will allow us to:
- Keep our small staff employed and assignments flowing to our network of freelancers. If this campaign does really well, we can even hire more full-time writers.
- Pay our hosting, SaaS, and site maintenance costs.
- Complete an amazing redesign/relaunch of the website we have been working on for several months — we’re about 70% there! The new Stereogum will look more modern, be easier to navigate and search, and feature a more advanced commenting platform with all the functionality you’ve been asking for over the years.
- Reduce the number of banner ads and remove the obtrusive units we reluctantly implemented because we really need the money right now.
- Secure the archives of videogum.com, our defunct sister site about movies, TV, and trampoline accidents.
- Continue our popular series The Number Ones, in which we are reviewing every #1 single ever in chronological order. We don’t wanna quit in the ‘80s!
WHAT YOU GET
Perks for donating…
We have some great rewards for supporters of our crowdfunding campaign. Each donation level below comes with the album…
‣ GENERAL ADMISSION (JUST THE ALBUM)
Our GA tier gets you a download of the album with liner notes. Here’s the artwork:
‣ FRONT ROW (T-SHIRTS)
Our original t-shirts (modeled below by Phoenix and Sufjan Stevens) are all gone so we’ve produced the first new Stereogum tees in over 10 years.
Our 2020 shirts are available in 5 snazzy styles, are 100% cotton, and come in sizes S-XXL. All of the artists who appear on the Save Stereogum comp will be getting a t-shirt so you can own the same t-shirt as those very talented and generous musicians!
Here are the styles (photos below): black with gold vintage-y design, military green with grey vintage-y design, sports grey with multicolor wings design, royal blue with white fridge design, and black with white metal design.
‣ VIP (ZOOM ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY)
This September our staff will celebrate the release of the comp at New York’s hottest club, Zoom. You’ll be on the virtual guest list. Stereogum writers will DJ, infamous commenters will be challenged to reveal themselves, and we’ll watch live sets from great artists! Exact date and lineup TBA.
‣ BACKSTAGE (LIMITED EDITION MERCH BUNDLE)
We’ve put together a package (bundles… everyone’s doing it!) of Stereogum merch available while supplies last. Along with one of our new t-shirts of your choice you’ll get:
- A pair of Stereogum sunglasses in black, white, hot pink, translucent, or translucent lime! We will choose the color for you. Grian from Fontaines D.C. models a pink pair in the photo below.
- A pack of the Stereogum chewing gum produced for our 2019 SXSW parties! Is it still edible? Probably. Drew from Public Practice holds a pack in the photo below.
- Three different high-quality posters from past Stereogum concerts! These delightful time capsules were printed in very limited quantities for our SXSW shows in Austin (2016 and 2017) and our Christmas shows in Brooklyn (2016, 2017, and 2018). Each features a different lineup, and measures 11”x17”. We will choose three for you.
- Three different Stereogum stickers! Suitable for sticking on your laptop or omnichord.
- Three Stereogum matchbooks! Keep out of reach of children
‣ ALL ACCESS (A CUSTOM ‘THE NUMBER ONES’)
Stereogum’s The Number Ones series has been reviewing, in order, every #1 single since the start of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1958. (We’re currently up to the mid-‘80s.) For donors at our highest tier Stereogum.com will publish a Tom Breihan-penned, ‘The Number Ones’-format review of any song. OK, well, it has to have been a Hot 100 hit, so Tom can do it properly. Choose your favorite song! Or least favorite! Or “Pac-Man Fever”! We’ll contact you for your pick and credit you in the article when it runs.
Mixing is now being completed for the Save Stereogum tracks, and they’ll be mastered and ready to send out in early September. We will ship all physical rewards in September too. (For all rewards shipped outside the US, taxes and duties are to be paid by the receiver upon delivery. Please contact your local customs office to confirm these costs.)
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
We know there are more pressing concerns in our world right now, and we wish we were asking for money at any other time. Unfortunately we’ve delayed this crowdfunding campaign as long as we could without putting our existence in jeopardy. If you’re not in a position to donate, we understand. You can still help us out by sharing this campaign page. (Also, subscribe to our special email for cool people.)
Our Indiegogo campaign launches now!