September 23, 2019
Subscription Affliction – Everything is $10/month

Subscription Affliction – Everything is $10/month


If you watch movies, listen to music, or own
a phone, You’re probably familiar with subscriptions. At least, your wallet is Which, for companies, are pure gold Or, green,
I guess. Instead of selling you today, and tomorrow,
and next week, They only need to convince you once, and the money keeps coming. A steady, predictable stream of revenue. Because each customer is so valuable, they
can focus more on keeping them than doing anything and everything to get more. But it’s no longer just newspapers and magazines,
now it’s everything: Music, Movies, Food, Games, Storage, Clothes,
Razors, Makeup, Software, Cars, animal bones? Seriously – Bonebox ”includes various osteological
specimens such as skulls, claws, and teeth” for just $24.99 a month Ooo-kay?! Why does every business need to be a subscription? Where does it end? Let’s divide subscriptions into two categories. Services, like Netflix, Prime, Lootcrate,
and Spotify, kinda have to be subscriptions Sure, you can buy music and movies individually,
but here, you get everything. 40 million songs on Apple Music times the
usual dollar twenty nine would be $51 million dollars – so, yeah. Subscription boxes, which send you new things
in the mail every month, are services because they’re more about fun and surprise than
the stuff itself. And then there are products – things that
could be sold, but here are rented. And this is where things get hairy You don’t
have to be a master Googler or Binger, or DuckDuckGoer, but, boy do those sound awkward,
to find a million and a half people criticizing this business model. But it’s not actually subscriptions they’re
angry about, nobody’s complaining about Netflix or Spotify, it’s really this second
category – especially software. When companies want to reach in your wallet
every month until you die for what could be a simple, one-time purchase, it feels a lot
like a cash grab, And, sometimes, it totally is. Adobe switched to a monthly fee precisely
to increase profit. But it’s not always so simple, Even when
they seem unnecessary, subscriptions can be good for everyone, including you and I. Companies usually don’t explain why, and
when they do, it’s easy to see as just an excuse to make more money, but there is a
why. And since my thing is taking complicated,
controversial topics and trying to explain them in too little time – let’s get to it… The idea of a rental is nothing new, we rent
apartments, and cars, and if you live in Alaska, where there are still 6 Blockbusters, movies. Hashtag SomeoneTellAlaskaAboutNetflix But, nobody wants to rent, say, their lamp. When you don’t have to, why would you? Owning is just simpler, and usually, cheaper. Losing what we already own is especially frustrating. Apps like Ulysses and Autodesk were a one-time
purchase, then one day, you get an email: I know you already bought this, but if you
want to keep getting updates, now it costs $5 a month. k thanks bye. Ulysses was absolutely flooded with 1 star
reviews. Probably the most life the Mac App Store’s
ever seen… And fifty thousand people signed a Change.org
petition against Adobe. Which, as we know, is very effective…at
spamming your email But here’s the problem: The way most people
think about software just isn’t realistic. Remember that lamp? what if every year you got this popup: Hey,
you need to update to a new version of your house. If you don’t, it’ll be vulnerable to burglars. Sometimes it goes smoothly, sometimes it permanently
changes your wall sockets. Maybe to these cute little ones from Denmark. And you think, What the heck? I bought that lamp and now it’s suddenly
incompatible with my house for reasons completely beyond my control? The house is your operating system, the lamp,
your software. Programming may seem like build once – collect
profit forever, but if an app isn’t updated, it dies. Technology just moves way too fast. Knowing this, do you really want to own that
lamp? Truly owning software means owning all its
bugs and future incompatibility. Maybe your answer is yes, we’ll get to that
later. But me, if I really depend on something, and
there’s a chance it’ll break in a year, well, I’d rather rent it from someone who
maintains it. Fixing bugs is like Sisyphus endlessly pushing
his boulder up the mountain only for it to fall back down. You can’t expect developers to do that forever
just because you gave them 99 cents three years ago. You might say “Obviously these apps don’t
need subscriptions because they did just fine before” – but the truth is, they mostly
didn’t… Big companies always find a way to earn a
profit, Adobe has the power and prominence to ask $53 a month, and make billions doing
it. But many apps, some of the best apps, are
made by a single person, or a small team of them. They compete with 2, 3 million others, and
a feeling that if you can’t hold something, it shouldn’t cost anything. So, unless you trademark the word “Candy”,
seriously that actually happened, or spend millions advertising, your sales look like
this: A huge spike in the beginning, maybe some seasonal bumps, and then, almost nothing. You might make half your salary on the first
day, but by the 20th or 50th, things don’t look so good. So you have a few options: You can get more customers – Do some marketing,
keep updating the app, and cross your fingers. Or, more accurately, pray to the App Store
Gods Sometimes this can work. But the App Store isn’t like YouTube, doing
everything it can to bring audiences to your videos, Right, YouTube? Even a great app can get stuck in a corner
and never be found. And eventually, everyone who needs your app
will already have it. Plenty of happy customers, and no more income
for you. Or: if sales are so good at the beginning,
just release as many paid updates as possible. Again, sometimes it works. But it can also be a dangerous trap, because
the incentive is to release as many paid updates as you can. Just enough new features to make people pay,
but not so many that you can’t do it again in a few months. And sooner or later, it’ll be good enough
for 99% of us, but hey, gotta keep making money, so you’ll keep cramming in new, unnecessary
features. That was Microsoft Office. What I ask from Word is pretty basic: when
I press a key on my keyboard, I want that same letter to show on my screen. ahem Take notes, MacBook Pro keyboard And I guess fonts and tables and images are
cool too. But I have absolutely zero need for 3D pie
charts or smart tags, or research tools, or a talking paperclip. Actually, I take that last back, Clippy. Office was so profitable, Microsoft kept adding,
and adding, and adding, until it forgot Word is, just, ya know, a place to write stuff. At this point, I’ll just use Google Docs,
where I actually know what the buttons do. For many apps, neither option is sustainable. And even if you feel zero sympathy for developers,
it’s in your best interest to find a solution: Because if you rely on an app, for your business,
or hobby, or security, you want to incentivize its developer to care as much as you do. We can say companies should update their apps
forever, and always answer support tickets, or we can design a system where they actually
want to. For many apps, that’s a subscription – taking
what you would’ve paid upfront and handing it out over time. If developers want to keep getting paid, they
want to keep you happy. Over time, subscriptions cost more, but for
that, you’re guaranteed updates, and support, and compatibility. Plus, it rewards the apps you use the longest. In some industries, these better incentives
are even more desperately needed: For news companies, the goal is more clicks,
more views, more ads, usually the worst kind of ads. Clickbait only stops if clicks stop being
profitable, which is the promise of subscriptions like Blendle and Inkl. One price for all the articles you want. Or, a small micropayment per article, refunded
if it turns out to be clickbait. The goal is no longer to deceive you, but
keep you subscribed. Subscriptions give sites like Above Avalon,
Kottke, and Macstories freedom to make quality content on really specific topics, instead
of whatever it takes to attract huge audiences. It also lets you and I try things out, maybe
you only need a service occasionally, in which case you can subscribe only when you actually
need it. But because people think only of services
as subscriptions, products often try to argue they’re actually a service. Something like: “We store and sync your
data, which costs us money” But not very much. All this does is create distrust. Developers should be up-front: “What you’re
really paying for is longevity, which is in everyone’s best interest.” But there is a catch… One movie ticket is an entire month of Netflix,
and then some. Factor in popcorn savings, and make it a lifetime You could own one single album or every noise
ever made on planet Earth for the price of a few Cups of Coffee. But when everything is the price of one or
two cups of coffee, you can very quickly end up buying a whole Starbucks. Say you subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime,
Spotify, Dropbox, and BlueApron. That’s over a hundred dollars a month. Add Creative Cloud, YouTube TV, and the New
York Times, and it’s another hundred. And this is just the beginning Apple takes 30% of an app’s revenue, but
for long-term subscriptions, now only 15. So more and more businesses are going to make
use. For movies alone, there’s already Netflix,
Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and soon, Disney, and Apple. So, not everything can or should be a subscription. Things you use only occasionally and don’t
rely on have no reason to be, or should at least have another option for
people who fall into that category: The app Sketch finds a good balance – One
upfront price, with one year of updates. You can treat it like a subscription, or you
can not. Another solution is Bundles – one price for
multiple subscriptions. Setapp, for example, does this with mac applications. And more companies will follow: Apple could
have one for Apple Music, streaming video, iCloud storage, maybe some other things. Amazon Prime has shown how well this strategy
can work. Students get Spotify and Hulu together for
less than either separately. Or, how about a subscription to be a great
student, on topics like physics, computer science, and problem solving? Brilliant helps you learn new things in a
way that you actually understand, not just memorize for the next test. Last term I took a math class covering some
differential equations, all pretty vague and theoretical, but after looking at the lesson
on Brilliant, I really wish I had known about it. It starts by explaining why the concept actually
matters, and what it’s all about, with visuals, and questions to give you instant feedback. If you answer incorrectly, Brilliant doesn’t
just mark your answer red and move on, it helps you understand how to get it right. If you’re a student, or like learning new
things, find a topic that peaks your interest and dive in. I recommend Computer Science Algorithms – it’s
pretty interesting, and gives you a peak at how our technology works. And speaking of subscriptions, it’s really
the ideal: premium is one low price, they keep adding new topics all the time, and you
have the freedom to jump around to learn exactly what interests you most. You can support PolyMatter by going to the
link in the description – brilliant.org/Polymatter. And the first 200 people to use that will
get 20% off the annual premium subscription. Thanks to Brilliant, and to everyone who gives
it a try.

100 thoughts on “Subscription Affliction – Everything is $10/month

  1. Adobe is a terrible example to use. Not only is every release full of wayyyyy more bugs than we had before subscriptions came in, they aren't backwards compatible and try to make you upgrade every 6 months, meaning the likely hood of things not working is extremely high if you are dealing with someone working on a different version than you are. Also my performance is lower on creative cloud than cs6 and is why the studio i work at, rolled back to CS6, so that rendering would be around 40%-60% faster. Adobe did this as a cash grab, they made worse tools that are buggier because they know they can just release and fix later, as opposed to in the past when they tested the crap out of every new version and made sure that it worked 100% before shipping it out the door. Users are now paying to be the beta testers, and they are paying alot.

  2. And all the food subscription services for idiot people too lazy to go to the grocery store and buy the same products…

  3. “Including you and me” not “including you and I” (because you would say “including me” not “including I”.. such a simple grammar mistake just draws attention away from such a great content.

  4. Well, I rely on the sponsor tag he shows at the top right corner, otherwise, his sponsor transitions are indistinguishable!

  5. I don't understand why you have to pay a monthly subscription to play online for the PS4. So I literally can't play online whenever I feel like it unless I pay huh? So not only do I need WiFi, I also need to pay more to connect to other people. It's also not helping me because I have work and not so much time to play so more money is wasted. It's very understandable because the developers would not gain any profit but the way I see this problem is they just want more money.

  6. or you could release an updated version once every 5 years with bug fixes…. and charge a modest fee so more people buy it…. like we used to instead of i dunno charging 1000 dollars for word processing for an ownership licence. you could charge 4-50 and people might not pirate it like theft was going out of style

  7. >Spends a potentially infinite amount of money on music which would otherwise cost you less than $100
    >The music is taken away if you miss just one single payment for a couple days regardless of how much you have previously spent

    "man, subscription services are so cheap and convenient"
    ?????
    🤔

  8. Once again, in the span of about 10 minutes, you’ve managed to distill the economics of the services and “product” ecosystems, along with the myriad of pricing models, into a concise and well thought-out narrative… Bravo I say! Well done and many thanks!

  9. Adobe a screwing over their customer base by now allowing people to choose perpetual licenses. This is not some small developer, the head of the company makes $875,000 USD a year, so you have to be some sort of fucking schill not to see how Adobe doesn't need subscriptions and could make the same money offering perpetual licence to some customers.

  10. He says it in the video: "Over time subscriptions cost more."
    You were getting updates before they moved over to subscriptions and now you still get updates, but you pay more. Great!

  11. >> I am a professional marketer, and I've used the same Adobe Photoshop 6 (offline, AND with no updates) to this day. No problems, and I use Windows 10. I'm 100% happy and 100% productive—and cost effective. Yes, updates are bug fixes, but mostly they are ways for the company to better capitalize on their relationship with you in one way or the other. It's a bait and switch. I've learned to live with a few bugs.

  12. I have the free version of Spotify and let me tell you, the ads they have trying to tell you to switch to premium are super annoying. I think most of the ads they have on the app are made by Spotify itself. I think Spotify purposely makes their premium ads annoying to make you want to switch to premium. I can’t pay $9.99 a month so I just deal with the annoying ads. I miss the older Spotify when they didn’t make so many ads promoting their own payed version of the app. The annoying ads promoting Spotify Premium make me not want to give up my money to those jerks giving me headaches.

  13. But paying for something in the hopes that it doesn’t break, is just another way to put worries into people’s minds, that in unnecessary. Plus this just gives developers an excuse to make poorer quality products,or products that will break automatically once you update them, so you need to get the new models, once the old ones can’t run the software anymore. Like mobile phones, a lifespan on a phone is only about two years, if you update it. Apparently a business is not there to help people, but just there to get you addicted so they can make more money constantly.

  14. Paid and Subscription are not the only choices. There is also community-maintained Open Software

  15. You forgot about Adobe yes they take money every month and say they are making the products better, but they 1. Use horrible overseas technical support 2. Release updates that should be considered beta due to bugs 3. Rarely truly support hardware that is more than four year old like the old non subscription would do. At the end of the day I need to upgrade hardware more often and have worce technical support than before.

  16. i disagree with you on word. As a uni student the research , drawing, citation etc sections are a godsend

  17. As an Alaskan I will say that yes, there is at least one blockbuster left up here. Yes we mostly use netflix. However many people in Alaska choose to live in a different way than people in the L48, many live rurally and do not have reliable internet. Many towns in Alaska where people do have internet, it is limited in either speed or by not having unlimited options. We deal with more power outages than most places due to snow load on power lines or frost heaves bringing down service lines. So believe it or not, similar to most of the entire world, the streaming option is not always the best option in Alaska. I have cable, I run out of data every month and it slows to a trickle. I dont remember a single month that did not have a substantial internet outage. My friend lives on a sailboat and spends months at a time every winter in various coves and bays. There is NO internet there, no cellular service. I have a friend that lives in a dry cabin (dry meaning no plumbing) that has limited power, but usually will download movies and tv shows when he is in town and then watch them when he is home.

    This may seem like a nightmare to most people reading this. Different people have different preferences. But just try to remember that the other 99% of the world that is not mainland USA may live differently than you guys down there.

  18. @ 7:03 <— "Over time, subscriptions cost more…." Exactly why I don't use any subscription based software of any kind.

  19. My opinion on subscriptions: if you’re just starting a service/product and you make it something you subscribe to, that’s fine. the issue is when something switches, and something you already paid for and didn’t expect to pay for again, and starts begging for your money monthly.

  20. How do the Free Software developers survive then? There is no direct payment, but developing only based on donations seems to be impossible too..

  21. 1:25 the correct terminology for when you look something up on duckduckgo is "ducking", thank you very much.

  22. so you are saying that not everything should be a subscription model and at the same time you are promoting a subscription model? It seems like you are biased 😉

  23. Subscriptions are BETTER for everyone as a WHOLE because of SPECIALIZATION.

    You can choose to pay for the things that you actually want/need.

    I would rather pay $30/mo for a few streaming services than $60/mo for 9000+ channels I don’t even care about.

  24. "STRONGLY DISAGREE" Annual subscription for Autodesk software cost as much as an iPhone!! Not making customers happy at all!!!

  25. Here in Mexico Netflix is $6.80 dollars a month, Spotify is $5.00 dollars a month and a movie ticker is about $3.60 dollars and they are 2 for the price of 1 every wednesday. 😃

  26. I was completely happy using Adobe CS-5. I used it for professional editing for over 7 years. I actually hate the way the new Adobe software looks. Also when I got a new computer. I purposely found a old Version of the software. So I wouldn’t have to rent adobe.

  27. Netflix starts streaming? Piracy drops!

    Netflix loses access to lots of shows, and now to have all your shows, you need Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and probably more? Piracy goes bcak up!

  28. When it comes to being a professional you have to be able to keep up to date. So when it comes to adobe I am willing to pay for the subscription. I do however, think that they could lower the price alittle but when it comes to work flow and updates no one else really has done better. The old model for adobe was to purchase the product but then there weren’t really updates and you had to put a lot of money up front and then a year later they would have something that you actually need that was very useful. This is due to the technology changing and getting better. My point is some things are worth the subscription cost to people who need it for their actual well being.

  29. It's funny that people are complementing the smoothness of transition to the sponsorship message. Some platforms/content (like Hello Internet and other podcasts) make the transitions obvious so that it's clear what is and isn't an ad. It's even a requirement for TV.

  30. I'm fuckin sick of it, I paid for a good 20 something movies so I own them, now apple wants me to pay for them again 😑

  31. … and since my thing is taking complicated, controversial topics and trying to explain them in too little time, let's get into it… 🚀

  32. Speaking of subscriptions, subscribe to this channel for free Chinese news videos and occasional random ones such as this video.

  33. I'm not going to make any new friends by saying this, but I … actually don't believe that software actually needs to be updated. I don't believe that the reason it does need to be updated is for security, and I don't believe that failing to subscribe to it will cause security vulnerabilities. I use Microsoft Office '97 on my computer and my auto-update capacity is completely disabled on my phone. And neither of those, friends, neither of them, is the reason Equifax and Target and B/A may have lost my private information.

  34. Soooo…… I wonder if it’s cheaper to develop a website considering it doesn’t relay on phone updates. Rather then building apps. Which continually relay on phone updates……..?

    Anyone?

  35. I really want to own Photoshop CS6, it works totally fine and provides sufficient functionality for the majority of users

  36. Great. but Autodesk doesn't need $2000 a year to run patches, and tools shouldn't be able to hold your projects hostage if you don't pay their subscriptions.

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