Industry Insights
The FADER on Influencing Audiences through Music, Style, and Culture

Graham Heth
Associate Publisher



For those of us that aren’t familiar with The Fader, please tell us a little more about your platform and core audience.    

The FADER is an award-winning publication that celebrates and documents the best in global music, style, and culture. A haven for breakout artists, since its launch in 1999, The FADER has given early exposure and first covers to a number of acts including Kanye West, Drake, The Strokes, Sam Smith, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, and more. Through web, mobile, video, events, and print, The FADER continues to expand the scope of its coverage and grow its audience through thoughtful reporting, ambitious writing, and unlimited access across music, style, politics, sports, race, and technology.

Our core audience is a highly intelligent, passionate individual who wants to be in the know on the next big movement/artist/genre, in and around music.


It seems as if The Fader audience interacts with your brand across multiple channels and platforms, including print, digital, mobile, social, TV, and even in experiential formats. What made the company want to decide to offer this level of breadth with their advertising offering? 

This was a natural progression on how we were structured as a company from the beginning.  We’ve always tried to leverage any/all capabilities we have at our disposal, and have done so with many advertisers and co-branded partnerships with brands including Sonos, Coca Cola, Converse, Toyota, and many more.


What are some examples of off website/platform advertising that you offer?

The best example would be our work in the experiential space. For example: for more than five years we’ve partnered with vitaminwater on a collaborative series called “uncapped”. Across its five years the program has continued to change in scale, however the core has always remained the same: to invoke discovery and curate the best experience possible. Previous uncapped performances have included Bon Iver, Frank Ocean, Miguel, French Montana, Future and Kendrick Lamar.


Many trade publications have been touting programmatic advertising as the main mode in which advertisers will purchase media in the future – much to the chagrin of many publishers. What is your take on programmatic ad buying?  

Fortunately we’ve always been a very nimble company and have a diverse enough property the will entice our partners beyond just programmatic media.


The inexorable direction of ad tech was to eventually commoditize all ad inventory, force CPMs into a kind of race to the bottom in terms of price. Publishers, in recent months, have started to push back with a much heavier focus on direct ad sales of branded content, native ad units, and sponsored posts. Has The Fader adopted any of these native units, and if so, what has your / your clients’ experience been with them so far?  

We had a bit of head start on branded/sponsored content; we had already done this with our print magazine, and amplified those practices through digital. The real uptick began to take place as we bulked up our team, and brought in our editor in chief, Naomi Zeichner, and our vp of content, Joseph Patel, in 2014. They’ve led our staff toward increasing our readership by about 30% over the past year online and mobile, with an increase of about 1,000% YOY in video views.


To the extent that you can reveal, what do you think is the % of revenue breakout between direct ad sales, ad networks & exchanges, and other revenue streams for a publisher of your size?  

Hard to answer, as we work with our partners on a majority of package deals.


How has the consumer shift to mobile devices affected your business, and as a corollary, mobile advertising offering?  

About 60% of our web traffic comes from mobile devices. We’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources toward ensuring our media property and content is easily accessible wherever our readers are, so that’s been a priority.  Mobile traffic has been a steady increase across the past few years – we even re-launched in 2014 as a mobile-first property.


How do you think the ad blocking conundrum will end up playing out over the next few years?  

This is something you addressed in an earlier question where we are going to see an increase in branded content and other “non-traditional” media offerings. Has there been any material effect of ad blocking on your business, and if so, what has your team done internally to mitigate it?  We’re absolutely paying close attention to it and maintaining as much flexibility and creativity as possible to stay with and front of the industry.


What are some internal tools you use as a publisher on the advertising side? (Google Analytics, Doubleclick for Publishers, Krux for a DMP, Sendgrid for Email Marketing, etc) 

Google Analytics, DFP.


Lastly, what do you see as the future of independent publishers, as it pertains to selling cross-platform advertising?

Great question and every publisher, especially an independent publisher (as is The FADER) is different. We were fortunate that our owners created cross platform opportunities for the sales team to sell from the get go. Whether it be experiential, digital, content-based, or print, we have a lot of properties in our arsenal and we try maximize each in all partnerships we sell.



The FADER is the definitive voice of emerging music and the lifestyle that surrounds it. Through in-depth reporting and a distinct street sensibility, The FADER aggressively covers the most dynamic breadth of music and style emanating from the fringes of the underground to the heart of the mainstream. The FADER is the authority on what’s next.

Hero Image Source