The price of fame: what Popbitch did next


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The Independent Online

The basic, courier-fonted layout is one of the hallmarks of Popbitch. It is both reminiscent of the internet’s earlier days and testament to the argument that content is king.

So it might come as a surprise that the hugely popular e-mailout reporting gossip, rumours and scandal from the world of pop culture is expanding to the flashy, shiny world of apps.

A video on the website describes Popbitch 2 as “a bigger bolder publication... for people who love pop culture, but might not trust the industry and the bullshit that goes with it”. It will cost between £1 and £2.

As well as stories and features, it will also contain longer investigations and short films from cult documentary maker Adam Curtis.

Popbitch will be hoping that the strong reputation and loyal followers that helped it grow from an email its founders sent to 15 friends to one that now has 400,000 subscribers who receive the free missive every Thursday.

Seemingly unburdened by loyalty to stars or their PRs, Popbitch editor Camilla Wright and a roster of contributors, has regularly beaten Fleet Street’s gossip columns to exclusives.

As well as music and celebrity, the mailout also covers topics as diverse as they are unusual. Regular features appear on otters, horse racing, tasteless jokes and nominative determinism. The most recent example: “Popbitch’s favourite sexual health consultant... Imperial College’s Dr Fidler.”

The move comes at a time when not only is the role of gossip and celebrity in the media coming under ever closer scrutiny, but also as outlets are trying to find new ways to make money. If it succeeds, expect copyists.