Dan and I want to do something different. Something removed from advertising and analytics data. A site that doesn’t have to put its “premium” content next to cat .gifs or post slideshows to boost page views. A site without three-sentence news posts. That something is UNCOOL, a website that will publish longform features, essays and criticism — and nothing more. We will not publish 3 times a day, or 10 — just once a week. Our hope is to be a regular source of the kind of great music story you see every once in a while in the New Yorker or even, yes, Pitchfork’s new cover stories, that you’ll come back and spend time with us with your Sunday coffee or during a weekday Twitter debate. We’re inspired by modern sites like One Week // One Band and The Classical, places that are open-minded and enthusiastic without sacrificing intelligence. We want to feature writing that’s funny and creative and personal without being
We want to be reader-supported. We have the supply — writers and editors from Grantland, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, the Atlantic, the Paris Review and many more; the authors behind multiple 33 1/3 books; the next generation of Tumblr bloggers — and we’re going to ask you, in a Kickstarter coming in a few weeks, for the demand. I don’t want to run a single advertisement on UNCOOL ever. No beer. No shoes. Not even music labels. We will not be starting a festival or promoting a CMJ showcase or anything that requires us take money from anyone other than you (and we won’t be rude and ask you for cash to throw ourselves a party). That means we’re free. No conflicts, no nothing. We can write about music that’s hundreds of years old or an album that’s coming out next week; go to the Taylor Swift concert or dig deep into Swedish death-metal. Our work will be limited only by our writers’ curiosity and passion. We’re going to build a beautiful website and work with the best artists and photographers to bring you an experience that’s clear, simple and visually powerful.
We want to pay our writers what they’re worth. Serious journalism isn’t cheap — or at least we believe it shouldn’t be. That means hundreds of dollars, sometimes thousands, for good, long work. We’re not expecting to raise New Yorker money, but we’re betting we can beat Prefix and a few other publications. We’re not looking for donations: we’re looking for (generous) subscribers. If we make more money than we anticipate, we’ll run more work and you’ll be building the foundation for a new kind of publication.
This is the beginning. We’ll be back in early November with our Kickstarter campaign — in the meantime, ask us questions here or at email@example.com. Let’s talk about music.
David Greenwald, co-founder, UNCOOL
This is happening. Tell your friends.
Hooray. That’s great. Loving the aggressive idealism. Also (did anyone ask me this? No? Oh well) pretty sure that this should be a product that is for sale, actually, such as “a line of ebooks” or a “subscription iPad magazine” or similar. I know how it is to get burned out on “analytics” and stuff at “professional publications” (ew, yes) but that doesn’t mean awesomeness shouldn’t make at least some business sense. (No? Am I being too unpunk again?) When did Kickstarter—the act of taking randoms’ money, as opposed to a shoe company’s, with the added onus on creators of making prizes for all and sundry—become the “ethical and pure” way to (very temporarily) fund a publication? And then what happens when the money runs out? (Some publications can tell you all about that already.) Also I always get a little weirded out when I hear “like in the New Yorker” and “hundreds of dollars” together. A New Yorker piece costs, all told, pretty much minimum tens of thousands, but can also be in the six figures, counting fact-checking hours, supervision, editing, art department, travel. All that being said, I still might donate! Because I Want To Believe, even if I don’t always.