It has “always” been with us, probably before any of us can remember just when “pay monthly for services/products rendered” came about. Book of the month and record clubs, Publication subscriptions, even utilities, and internet and Cable TV. Now in the new digital world it is taking hold from digital Publications and publication aggregates, music streaming, and even down to some personal use phone apps.
The impact to the squeezed middle class is nothing to brush to the side. Initially a dollar here, $5 there, $10 over there doesn’t seem like it is too bad, but it can add up quickly causing financial pain and serious problems for those living paycheck to paycheck.
I remember back to the record clubs and how a month could be skipped now and then. Those days are gone. Utilities have been another story and we are required to pay these monthly fees just to live in a safe environment. For $10 per month you can stream from a selection of 40 million songs.
Many apps are now charging subscription fees rather than just selling the App for a bought license. Adobe has been doing this for about 7 years now. When you buy an app in the App store, check for the purchase. If you find an app with a subscription and you do not want that, you can usually search and find a comparable app that you can purchase, rather than subscribe. Though the price may be a little higher, it is a budgetary amount with no monthly fees. Admittedly the subscription fee means always the latest version and buying the app usually means you may have additional upgrade fees so it is wise to see if you can cost out the app over 5 years to compare overall costs.
The underlying tragedy in Creative content (music, software programs, news and creative writing) and App Creation as sold in an App Store, for example, is how the creators themselves get paid. So first the end user is dinged by a monthly fee, then the Company hosting/promoting the product takes the bulk of the amount giving the creator a very small amount which is usually, unless you are a very popular Artist/Author, not enough to make a living on. Our world is more and more taking from those who have less and giving it to those who have more while they, in turn, pay the content creators less resulting in those who have can have more. And so the story goes: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer until there is no middle class and there are only the rich and the poor and this bar is climbing higher and higher on the income chain. What used to be a good living even in the early 2000’s now is not enough to even be middle class.
It is a sad day when the shrinking middle class is both driving and supporting the economy and yet is being raped by it. The subscription method of payment is also not going to the creators but the hosts. It is a downward spiral. In reality the rich would not be here without the poor, the music Apps subscriptions would not be sold without the creators and the audience. So until the Creators get a fair share, it is unfair. Everyone working deserves to make a buck and by sharing the wealth it would drive the price down and even grow the middle class again. Think about it, the creators get more which could create a new dynamic where everyone wins. Imagine an environment where the audience has more money and is more apt to buy subscriptions style apps. It is a win-win-win.
My point is the way it is structured, money is going to the wrong place and it is breaking down a society that already is having difficulty affording a reasonable life. In summary:
1. Subscription Costs add up creating leaks in personal budgetary systems
2. The bulk of fees/payments collected go to the top and trickle down to the creator.
Time to spread the wealth and get the world moving back in a groove. We are all humans together on this blue ball, let’s work together for the benefit of Allkind.
Just my view here in this time on planet earth.