5 Comments

I think this article was asking "why are we in a subscription era?" or rather "why aren't things free - or freemium?" but wouldn't a better question be (and I write this as someone who has just started here on Sustack with a small audience some of whom upgraded to pay, and as someone with several of my own subscriptions in real life)... are people happy to subscribe to services which make life better and easier, that entertain and meet specific needs and wants... i find the answer is yes.

There is a question inside about dog food, I subscribed at one point to a dog food service, it was great i didnt have to remember to get wet and dry food every month... it was individual to my dog and grain free.. it was reasonable price so why not. but then the quality went off during covid so I left the subscription and now have to pick it up we go, it costs more! I want my subscription back but its about quality. I think the same goes for any subscription, if you are quality and consistent people will subscribe.

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Hi Nick, I agree with you that "creative re-bundling" needs to be the future direction. It is difficult to see how this can work in practice. I think Substack's plan for ambitious growth will hit a ceiling for the reasons you mention. While I appreciate their commitment to text, one option would be for Substack to choose certain lesser-known / younger creators with success on the platform and take on a managerial role to build them into brands (editing support, podcast support, etc). If you could create more Taibbis, etc, with a range of perspectives and different areas of focus, that would be great - and also good for the culture as a whole.

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This is super interesting Nick! Just subscribed to your newsletter, looks right up my street re the topics you cover. A lot of this feels really true. I've noticed after 6 years of podcasting that there's been a noticeable decline in energy/resources/spend - and happens to most industries eventually as you say. But I feel like Substack is only just getting started, especially in the UK. I don't think it's an apples-apples thing comparing a Substack subscription to The Times. Substack isn't really about paying for journalism (that's just one part of it) - you're paying for the access/thoughts/writing/content from a fave writer which feels really different to paying for a newspaper. The product feels very different to me. But like you say, we can't pay for everything so ultimately we'll have to choose at some point, which is interesting in itself i.e. what people will value more and what that means for big companies.

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