Today, in our News & Notes column, Derek Miller talked about changes. I’m also going to talk about some changes at Minnesota Playlist. These are changes that affect nearly everyone who uses our site. They are also changes that will elicit some hand wringing and a hearty amount of grumbling.

Yup. I’m talking about price changes.

So let’s pull the band-aid off quick and get the painful part out of the way so we can talk about the important part (impact).

Starting April 1st, 2018 the price of Talent Profiles and Classified Ads will increase. Here are the details.

New Talent Profile Annual Fee: $50

New Classified Fees: 30 Day - $55 | 60 Day - $100 | 90 Day - $120

I’ve chosen to increase prices for a few reasons, some are practical, and others are wrapped in the future vision for Playlist and how it fits into our performing arts community.


Practical reason #1: Bring down the price of marketing opportunities

The price increase will generate revenue that can be used to drive down the price of other options on Playlist - like for instance - Banner Ads. Very few companies take advantage of the Ad slots on Playlist and my hope is that bringing down those prices will make them more affordable to more companies.

Playlist has 1,000 users viewing 5,000 pages DAILY. That is a HUGE amount of traffic on our site so an ad for your upcoming performance is very likely to be seen and clicked on.

Here are the changes.

Homepage: Previously $200 for 30 Days. Now $100

Middle Page: Previously $140 for 30 Days. Now $70

Skyscraper Ad: Previously $100 for 30 Days. Now $50


Practical Reason #2: Pay our writers more

There is a core team of writers here at Playlist. They create ALL the content in our magazine and do a fantastic job. If you’d like to write for Playlist I’d love to add you to our roster. Playlist has a strong history of supporting as many writers as we can. So I encourage you to reach out if you want to write for us.

Transparency in pay is an important element of changes here at playlist. With the price increase of talent profiles and classifieds I am increasing writer pay to the following:

Reviews: $35 + the pair of press passes to the show you are reviewing

Single issue or single person interview articles: $45

Long form, in-depth, multi-person interviews: $15 an hour, up to $75

News & Notes: $175 a month (requires a weekly article)*


Long Term Vision Reason

In 2014/2015 Alan and Leah (former owners of Playlist) ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000 to redesign playlist. While it would be great to do one of these every time we need to rebuild the site, that’s not realistic. So price increases will go to make long term improvements to the site. There are some very real issues I want to fix to make the experience of using Playlist better for everyone:

  • The shopping cart system is a mess - this is a big project to try and test various options, determine the best one, integrate it and roll it out.
  • User accounts are a constant pain point: company accounts vs personal accounts, multiple logins, old profiles tied to current logins, etc. This type of thing may require moving to a new infastructure, another major project and cost.
  • Automatic talent profile renewal so that you don’t have to do it manually every single year.
  • Better integration between Playlist and our marketing channel (Mailchimp) so you don’t receive emails that don't pertain to you.

Additionally there are long term visions that don’t have a “fix” but that funds can be used to facilitate such as:

  • Adding more writers (and more diverse writers) to our team so that we grow theatre news coverage and provide more in-depth journalism that isn’t possible at other outlets.
  • Expanding our reach of news coverage so that we can make our magazine truly MN and not just Twin Cities and suburbs - this includes paying writers per diems, and covering travel and lodging.
  • Adding more utility to Playlist like ticket purchase options or audition sign ups and scheduling services.

And finally, one that would have a major impact on all companies that utilize the free calendar service: marketing of the playlist calendar to the general audience community. Let’s make Playlist THE place to go for everyone looking for a show.

So yeah, it sucks when something you love costs more. And as the owner of a small theatre company myself I understand that there is rarely (never) any extra money. But when I bought Playlist it was to carry on the mission that this is a community driven service.

Jason Fried, author of Re-work and creator of the software platform Basecamp, recently wrote this in an article on Medium.

“Having a profitable business doesn’t mean squeezing the lemon for every last bitter drop. It isn’t all or nothing. You can be profitable and generous. Profitable and fair. Profitable and kind. These aren’t opposite ends of some moral spectrum. Quite the contrary.

It’s EASIER to be generous when you’re doing well. It’s EASIER to be fair when there’s enough. It’s easier to be kind when it’s not tipping you over the edge.”

Playlist, unlike the bulk of the community it helps, isn’t a non-profit. It is a business that keeps its costs reasonable by staying lean and working to be profitable. So those profits can be used to continue to provide real value to a community that works hard to do so much with (often) so little.

Please let me know how I am doing.

Give feedback on the value of this platform.

Tell me what you’d like to see.

Tell me what I should keep doing.

Tell me what you love about Playlist.

Your voice matters here.

*Want to earn this $175 for yourself? Apply to be our next News & Notes writer.