The New Stereogum Membership Program Is Here
Today Stereogum begins a critical phase in our evolution as an independent online music magazine. You are no doubt aware that the era of exclusively advertising-supported media has been coming to an end for a while, as ad revenue alone does not seem to sustain any publication these days. This is especially true for a medium-sized blog like Stereogum that does not have a sales team aside from me. That’s why I want to talk you about crypto haha jk, that’s why we are launching a paid membership program and yes, it includes an option to browse the site with no ads. *Lizzo voice* It’s about damn time.
When I first made plans to buy this website back from our corporate overlords in the fall of 2019, subscription money was part of a varied revenue proposal alongside a merch store, affiliate sales for vinyl, sponsored emails, and some other moves that were necessary if not especially lucrative. A membership model that’s fully integrated into the existing platform — as opposed to an auxiliary service like Patreon or Substack — was expected to be key to our survival, albeit a big technological hurdle as we have no full-time developers. Fortunately during the journey to get here, partial paywalls and members-only perks have really taken hold in the modern media ecosystem. Hopefully the idea of paying for digital content you love is now not that foreign to you. For example, I pay $20 a month for DJ Khaled and Fat Joe’s joint OnlyFans even though it is free.
Of course we would not have survived until now without the crowdfunding provided by our Save Stereogum album two years ago. The money raised (minus the not insignificant costs of producing the comp, manufacturing and shipping merch, and Indiegogo and credit card processing fees, incidentally) allowed us to redesign the website, fix tons of site bugs, implement a new commenting system, hire dozens of new freelance writers, and, finally, build this membership experience.
Starting today Stereogum Membership is available at two levels: MEMBER ($5/month) and VIP ($10/month). You can sign up to pay monthly or annually (at a discount). We didn’t want to paywall any aspect of the existing user experience if we could avoid it, so consider all these benefits as really great bonus stuff.
✓ An invite to the Stereogum Discord, which — surprise — has been seeded for the past six months with some of Stereogum’s best and brightest commenters. In the Discord, Stereogum writers share music news and gossip that didn’t make it onto the site, semi-confidential music biz and release info, and previews of upcoming editorial features … plus we ask your input on columns like Album Of The Week and 10 Best Songs. On your birthday you can ask Tom to rate your life on a scale of 1 to 10.
✓ Exclusive articles and playlists. One of them will probably be an Editor-In-Chief column (hi) with inside baseball stuff about our editorial decisions and my adventures running this music blog for the past 100 years. Maybe we’ll do a music movie or book club? We will take your suggestions in the aforementioned Discord.
✓ Exclusive discount codes to our merch store.
✓ Access to articles before 2013. OK, I guess I lied about the not paywalling any existent content; our ancient articles are now members-only.
✓ Everything from the MEMBERS tier
✓ A little red VIP trophy next to all your comments!
✓ No ads!
Some of our ad units are obtrusive, we know. Stereogum partners with a top ad monetization network that helps us determine how we want ads to appear. Pages are optimized to make the most money, and as you might imagine, banners that are hidden or easily ignored are not great for business. So if ads are annoying you or slowing your page load or concerning you because of tracking, you might want our VIP experience.
Whether you become a Member or a VIP, your financial support will help us remain fully independent, hire more writers, and fund more ambitious editorial projects and events. And, in case you’re wondering, stereogum.com does not store of any of your credit card info. All billing is handled through Recurly, so your financial data is safe.
Check it out at stereogum.com/membership.