I've been wrestling with this for a while now, but it's time to rip the band-aid off and make the decision: On the 4 year anniversary of the Plus system (August 1st) we're going to be raising the price from $5 a month, to $8.
I floated the idea in the last Q & A, and many Plus Members were really supportive and understanding about the potential for an increase. The ones who weren't, largely commented to me about the exchange rate for non-US listeners. I think that's a completely valid point, but it's also an issue that's a bit above my paid grade. I apologize to the international subscribers in advance.
Why an increase at all? Things are just different than they were 4 years ago when Plus started. There are many more shows out there, and many individual Patreon users as well. Almost every show that was around at that time, has gone through a price increase. Heck, even Amazon and Netflix have both raised their prices twice in the last 4 years. I'm not going to name names and compare, but I've been analyzing this for a while and I'm seeing some of my peers ask for $8, $10, sometimes even $12-$16 a month. No show is perfect, but I do think I'm competitive with a lot of these higher priced shows. I also think $12 is a bit ridiculous.
I'm happy to be doing what I do, but this is my job, and I haven't taken a raise in 4 years. Life stuff is happening: I'm 33 now, got married last year, drive the same beat up car I've had for 12 years, don't have health insurance, have aging parents that might need my help as an only child, and record my show from the end of the bed in a small 1 bedroom apartment.
So why $8? Well, when I started I didn't really realize how little of the $5 was going to make it to my pocket: You have Paypal fees, on top of credit card processing fees, on top of taxes, etc. That's just the way it is. Plus, the show does cost something to run, so that's even less for life's general upkeep.
Also, going through any infrastructural changes for a subscription based "business" like this is super stressful and nerve-racking. When I suggested an increase, I mentioned $7.00. That was what I had in mind, but when you factor in those fees and the logistics of making the switch, going through all this for $1 and some change per listener, really doesn't seem worth it and I want to make sure I'm not in this same position again in a couple years. $8.00 is a little bold, but it's a bit more future proof. I'm not a guy that's always switching things around. I like simple and clear messages to (potential) listeners, and I do not want to do this again for the foreseeable future. That is why $8.00 is the number I settled on.
Will I get more for my $8? Yes! Granted, I'm still a one man show and I'm spread pretty thin as it is, but I decided to add one thing that's been the most requested addition over the years: An open lines segment with your humble stoner host. I'm still working out which software system would be the best to use, but I envision a 2 hour live session where I sit by the phone (Skype) with a drink and a smoke, and take whatever calls come in. I would hope there could be a live chat as well, but again, still working on the set up.
I think we might call these the THC Joint Sessions. They would obviously be recorded and archived for those who can't participate live. I'm pretty excited, seems like it could be a lot of fun.
I'm a current Plus Member, will I have to do anything with my account? No! At least, I hope not. I want this change to be simple and clean. I'm hiring a web developer who's familiar with my system, to make this transition seamless. We're going to be working together for the month of July, to be ready for August 1st and the big switch. I will by on high alert to take care of any issues also. Of course if you no longer want to be a member, please cancel from the My Account tab before August 1st.
What if I already paid upfront for 3, 6, or 12 months? You're good. Don't worry about it. When this chunk of time is up though, if you're on recurring payments, it will charge at the new rate next time.
That said, thanks to everyone who has supported the show for any period of time. It's a lot to ask, and makes a huge impact on me. I am always conscious of trying to give you your money's worth. I know I will face a little backlash for this, and I'm prepared for it. In my defense, I've never asked for anything but Plus sign ups. I see some other shows with memberships also doing GoFundMe projects for this or that. I see shows with memberships also making lengthy pitches for added donations every week too. Some shows are even so bold as to put ads in their free episodes, to annoy people into signing up for a membership. Not taking ads really isn't anything noble in the beginning, but now that I have built a decently sized show, I've turned down some hefty offers. THC will always be commercial free, with the exception of Plus & Clothing pitches.
Look, my peers are completely justified to handle their infrastructure however they want to. I just hope that I've cultivated enough good will over the years, that my own listeners understand the need for this, and continue to support THC. You're all the best. Please don't hit me.