This is going to be controversial, maybe, but given that we are now getting closer to a 2.1 release I think it’s important to share something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. But first, a little background…
Rekord Buddy is my only source of income. It’s not a hobby or something I do on the side, it’s my one and only job. Rekord Buddy 1.0 came out in 2012. I didn’t expect it to be as big as it became, at first I was even distributing it for free. But as things picked up I realized that the app needed improvements in its workflow so I stopped all work on other projects and started working on 2.0. Releasing this took me all the way to 2016 and it seems like as soon as it was out, I was swallowed by the black hole of porting the code over to Windows and eventually into what is about to become 2.1.
Seven years… phew… I’m loving doing this and I work really hard at it but this has not been a money maker at this point in any way shape or form. The app generates income but that also has to pay for extra developers, trade shows that I demo the app at, servers and hosting cost for development, etc… If I am to continue doing this, I need to change the way I’m approaching the licensing model to make it sustainable (and profitable).
The current 2.0 app sells for $59.99. It’s a lifetime license to any 2.x versions and can be used on up to two computers. For the 2.1 release, I’m thinking of changing the licensing to a subscription for new purchases. In return, I plan on organizing the releases a lot better so that everyone gets new features on a more regular basis (the groundwork I’ve been painfully laying for 2.1 will make this possible). Basically if someone uses the app and enjoys it, then they are supporting its development by their subscription. It’s the way everything is going because it’s the only way to make it make sense financially for a indie developer like me.
So here is the plan I’m considering right now, feel free to comment below and share your thoughts:
- A subscription costs $49.99 initially, down $10 from the current price for the 2.x license.
- I provide updates with new features for the app every 2 months. Subscribers get a say into what gets worked on next and get all the updates for as long as they subscribe.
- After one year, if you still use and like the app, you can renew for another year for $29.99. A reminder email is sent to make sure you get a chance to cancel before the renewal take place (not trying to trick anyone into renewing here but the system I plan on using only supports auto-renewal so the emails will help).
- Existing 2.0 customers retain their lifetime license and the 2.x branch keeps receiving updates for one year after 2.1 ships. One year after 2.1 ships, the app switches to 3.x which will only be available to subscribers.
- Existing 2.0 users can choose to switch a subscription when 3.0 ships at the renewal price of $29.99.
And that’s the gist of it. I know this will make some of you grumble but I think the app is pretty useful, it’s about to become even more useful and I think this is a better to do something like this than to stop working on the app because I can’t make a reasonable living off it.
So, what do you guys think?