About this project
Probably the internet’s original crowd-sourced publication, Popbitch sent out its first weekly email newsletter in the dying days of the last century. Since then, we've published more than 600 issues and have almost 400,000 subscribers. We've outlasted a superinjunction, been through the Leveson Inquiry and broken hundreds of stories, from politics to sport, pop music to media. Whatever press and internet regulation is being discussed right now, we have no intention of going away.
And now that we’re entering our teenage years, we're starting to go through some changes.
As well our weekly email newsletter, we want to launch a new, spin-off publication - a full-colour, multimedia digital magazine-style edition of Popbitch - built not for email, but for tablets. The scope of tablet technology will help us shine a brighter light into the darkest corners of media, music, politics, sport and technology, even more than can manage in our weekly email. With your support, we will create a test edition developed and designed exclusively for our Kickstarter backers to own.
What Exactly Will I Be Funding?
Our project is to make a full, working edition of a magazine-style Popbitch for tablets, available exclusively to our early supporters. It will be our chance to see what works and what doesn't – and also your chance to tell us.
If this project works, we will then start publishing Popbitch for tablets regularly - monthly or fortnightly.
What Popbitch Won't Do
This isn't about paparazzi shots of famous people taking their kids to school. We don't care who has sweat patches on the red carpet. And we won’t write things just to linkbait or lobby politicians so that we can pursue some weird personal cause.
What Popbitch Will Do
We want to document the real truth of these celebrity-fuelled times, not just the PR approved version. The ridiculous stuff, the fun, the craziness and the horror. And there will be room for the kind of story that the rich and famous employ armies of lawyers to stop you from hearing.
We will continue to put stupid jokes, funny rumours and scurrilous tales from the media and entertainment world into the mix, but this will also greatly increase our capacity to commission exciting and original journalism, proper investigations and innovative features.
We're in a great position to showcase some of the most interesting and funniest writers, tenacious reporters, ground-breaking photographers and cartoonists, thoughtful TV and video film makers, as many of them have been Popbitch contributors and readers over the years.
Who Am I Funding?
If you don't yet know Popbitch, here are some of the things that have been written about us:
“Like the Drudge Report in the US, Popbitch has carried stories that have been picked up by newspapers” - The Independent
“Even if you have never read or even heard of Popbitch, you will have encountered its cultural influence” - The Guardian
“The scurrilous music industry email bulletin” - New York Times
“Popbitch veroffentlicht uber stars, mit Humor, Charm und Snobismus” - Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeithung
"You first heard about me on Popbitch? That's the first place I heard about me too!" - Mika
"I didn't know they were so important" - Dead or Alive's Pete Burns
"The website where the Beckhams' secrets are buried" - Evening Standard
Why Am I Funding This?
We've kept Popbitch independent and free to readers for 12 years. This independence is something we're keen to keep, which is why we're turning to you ahead of any multinational media giants or billionaire oligarchs with money to burn and a political agenda to push.
We pretty much owe our existence to crowd-sourcing already. Some of you will remember the 2001 crowd-funded Popbitch Server Appeal which held a party to raise the money we needed to keep going back then, featuring Queen's John Deacon and half of London's Fleet Street.
If you decide to help fund this you will be giving birth to an original and independent publication - at a time when big corporations are shutting theirs - and getting the chance to shape what it looks and feels like.
And How Are You Spending The Money?
The bulk of the funds will go towards developing and building the app. There are some great people who have been innovators in this field who are working with us to get it right. And it will go toward paying our contributors. We want to give readers something worth paying for, so we want to be able to reward people for their words, pictures, cartoons, videos etc.
Anything we raise over and above this amount will be put into the fund for 2013 - the bigger the editorial (and, ahem, legal) budget we have, the more great stories, investigations, photoshoots with small furry animals and videos we can do.
We've managed to run Popbitch on a shoestring for more than a decade so we promise not to waste your money on buying expensive offices, limos and champagne or anything like that. We might, however, sponsor a badger at some point. Or a baboon.
What will appear in this exclusive issue?
We want much of this to be a surprise, or it won't be nearly as much fun when you receive your copy. But we can tell you this much:
* A video that features the best thing you're ever likely to see David Icke doing
* An exclusive excerpt from South Park writer Jane Bussmann’s new project, based on her popular stage show “Bono and Geldof are c***s"
* A critical study of the Nazi zombie movie genre
* A night out with Premier League footballers
* Plus lots of insider secrets from the worlds of TV, media and the music industry
Risks and challenges
We have spent eight months researching and planning to get to this stage - working out budgets and flatplans and coding architecture and the like, with the input of some of the biggest brains and most experienced developers in this field. So far, the people involved have very convincing solutions for the challenges we expect to face.
However, it is possible that the following may be true:
- As we are not simply translating a print magazine into a digital format, but trying to create something specific and unique for touch-screen technology, this is slightly uncharted territory. Anything that involves new technology is never easy. It may be that there are delays in testing buggy codes or problems with the formatting. It may be that there are issues and obstacles that no-one has yet imagined.
- In order to distribute the app, we are going to have to secure the approval of a third party - most likely Apple's app store. We don't anticipate a problem with this - we have dealt with them previously, as have our developers - but we can't control their decisions or dictate their timeline.
- Celebrities and politicians in the UK seem to be doing their level best to stop any kind of independent journalism, with what looks like messy and not very well thought through attempts to regulate internet publishing. This makes the climate into which we launch rather difficult to predict, however nothing that emerges from this will stop this test Popbitch app from publishing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Please tell me this new app is supplementary to the current email, and not replacing it? Change is scary!
Don't worry. We have no intention of dropping the free weekly email. Black and white plain text is in our blood. We still love writing it too, so your Thursday fix of Popbitch will continue as normal.
In fact, this new app should help it. Currently, we're still using the custom-made email server we had built to send out the weekly email in 2004. In making the shift into the modern age, we'll be upgrading the tech that helps send out the newsletter - which will mean an even more reliable service.
So even if you don't have a tablet device and have no intention of getting one, you should hopefully see the benefits of this new project in the weekly newsletter too.
Yes, hopefully. We tried to to write "tablet device" in place of "iPads" as much as we could (as we know there is a dedicated Android contingent out there) but saying "tablet device" too often made us sound weird.
The tech we are working on should be usable across a number of different devices and platforms - so should hopefully work across iPads, Galaxies, Nexuses (Nexii?), Kindle Fires without any fuss. The more funding we get, the more we can spend on customising it for each individual market - but, yes, we are assured that an Android version is entirely possible and so will be developed if the demand is there.
(And we only mentioned Apple's App Store in the Risks and Challenges because they are particularly stringent with their content...)
Well, no-one quite knows for sure. We'll have to wait and see. Essentially though, we have options, we have guts and we have very little sense. Oh, and good lawyers. So hopefully it won't affect us at all.
If I choose the reward of the pop song played on the accordion, with a special intro from a member of S Club 7 what songs can I choose from?
Sisqo – Thong Song
Rihanna – Umbrella
Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire
Kanye West - Gold Digger
B*witched - C'est La Vie
Jedward - Lipstick
OutKast - Ms. Jackson
Abba - Dancing Queen
Donna Summer – I Feel Love
R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly
Salt 'n' Pepa - Push It
Soft Cell – Tainted Love
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Guns N Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
The Specials – Ghost Town
David Bowie – Life On Mars?
The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Pulp – Common People
Radiohead – No Surprises
Blur – Parklife
Another Level – Freak Me
Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High
Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart
Bryan Adams – Summer Of '69
Cliff Richard – Summer Holiday
Olivia Newton-John – Physical
Meatloaf – I'd Do Anything Thing For Love (But I Won't Do That)
Daniel Bedingfield – If You're Not The One
Michael Jackson – Earth Song
S Club 7 - Don't Stop Movin'
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