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Losing 4M subscribers in 2020

Abby Sullivan Dec 16 2019

On today’s episode, a case of freemium gone wrong with SoundCloud. Plus, a recap on what went down at Recur Boston. And Netflix faces the potential loss of millions in 2020.


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A SoundCloud freemium take back

For the last decade, SoundCloud has been the destination for millions of artists around the world for uploading, sharing, and discovering musical content. 

Earlier this month, though, it announced its intention to change the free upload limit. But the user response was not good (in fact, sort of extreme). Reddit threads with intense commentary against the move, along with talks of a petition, riddled the 'net, so SoundCloud rescinded. 

“We’ve spent the last few days since the announcement listening to you, learning from what you’ve said, and reflecting about what makes SoundCloud special as an open platform that helps creators of all types express themselves.”

They’ll now continue to “refine their balance of free and paid offerings” to make the platform as creative and accessible as possible while still maintaining a sustainable business and revenue stream. 

And with a mission "to empower you with the best tools to build and grow your career on your own terms, and to foster a community where creativity can thrive," the SoundCloud crew ultimately decided freemium was not their future. 

Although in this case freemium was a flop, we know the model can be insanely successful. The mindset switch is what’s important here: Freemium is about acquisition, not revenue. We’ll give you a peek inside an episode of Tradeoffs with Patrick and Hiten further down… and you can decide for yourself.

Plus, access to the Freemium Manifesto, our ebook on why you’ll probably go freemium in the future (but perhaps with a different approach than SoundCloud).  


Netflix minus 4M = ??

Reuters reports that Netflix could lose four million U.S. subscribers in 2020, due largely in part to competitor streaming services. 

Needham analyst Laura Martin, who downgraded the California-based tech giant to “underperform,” believes Netflix will have to add a lower-priced service to compete with competitors including Apple TV+ and Disney+.

But should Netflix heed caution to the competition? Or ignore and forge ahead?

Consistently, we hear the phrase, “Focus on your customers, don’t even think about the competition.” 

But what’s the data actually say?

We studied 2,500 subscription companies to find out. Spoiler alert: the data suggests that companies focused on competition presumably are good at lowering their CAC, but not so great at defending their NPS. We’ll send a link with full data cuts in your subscriber newsletter.


A Recur recap

And Recur Boston was nothing short of a whirlwind, one during which we met some seriously kickass individuals, listening to insight from even more in the space. 

We had the privilege of seeing inside some of the brightest minds in the subscription world. They provided us with valuable insights, facts, and inspiration. They shared their knowledge—their truth—to empower us to succeed.

Learn it, apply it, and share it.

Community is invaluable. The things we learn don’t belong to us, they belong to the greater community. Make sure you pay it forward.

We’ll have plenty more behind-the-conference content for you rolling out in the coming weeks. 



In this freemium-centric episode of Tradeoffs, Hiten and Patrick focus on freemium product strategy.

With more startups looking into this model every day, it’s important to discuss the inherent tradeoffs of using freemium for your business. While both Hiten and PC are big proponents of freemium, it’s definitely not the easiest business model to work with if you don’t understand how to make it work. Here's the intel. 


And that’s a wrap for your December 16 subscription news. Recruit your teammates into the subscription know: to sign up for episodes on the daily.

If you have news to share, hit me up at and we'll collaborate.

By Abby Sullivan

Content Marketer

Subscription market insights you won't find anywhere else.