Weekly Subscription News Round-up for Jan. 22

In this week's subscription headlines, The Nation erects a paywall and endorses Bernie Sanders for president, Lifesize splits from Logitech, and Apple promotes Meredith app inside the App store. We've got those headlines and more including stories about Recurly, SoundCloud, holiday subscription sales, ebooks, SaaS, digital publishing, ad blocking and more.

Can Apple Music’s Subscriber Growth Last?

In just six months, Apple Music has achieved a major milestone, surpassing 10 million paying subscribers, reports the Financial Times. It launched its streaming music service on June 30. In comparison, Spotify has over 20 million subscribers and 75 million active users. It took Spotify about six years to reach 10 million paying subscribers, so Apple is ahead of the game. Another advantage Apple has over Spotify is that Spotify is available in 58 markets, and…

Spotify Hit with Two Class-Action Lawsuits Totaling $350 Million

Sometimes more is better. In this case, two lawsuits are not better than one. In late December, Mashable reported that Spotify has been sued in a civil suit for $150 million over alleged copyright infringements. Spotify has allegedly been failing to properly track and pay royalties, said Mashable. The class action complaint for damages and injunctive relief was filed December 28 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by musician, songwriter and producer…

WhatsApp Makes App Free, Discontinues Annual Subscription Fees

Yesterday WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced that the company is discontinuing its annual subscription fee, reports the Wall Street Journal. While the messaging app is free for the first year of use, users must subscribe for $1 a year thereafter. With nearly a billion users, this change in strategy is significant. WhatsApp explains why on their blog: "…we're happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. For many years, we've asked some people to…

Daily Paywall Relaunches, Offering 60K Free Articles from Paid News Sites

After being shut down in 2014 for allegations of copyright infringement, Daily Paywall is up and running again, reports The Creators Project. On a safe new server, Daily Paywall has published more than 60,000 articles from 2014, originally published by media outlets like the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. Daily Paywall also prints a free newspaper distributed in New York City. Shortly after Daily Paywall's December 2014 launch, Daily Paywall came tumbling…

The Nation Erects a Paywall, Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

Earlier this week, executive editor Richard Kim announced that The Nation, America's oldest weekly magazine, would erect a metered paywall. Effective Monday, January 11, regular visitors to the site will have to pay for The Nation's content. "We'll be using a meter system that will keep The Nation free for new readers, while also asking frequent visitors to help fund our important work," said Kim. Specifically, here's what will change: Everyone can read six articles for free over…

Children’s Activity Subscription Service KidPass Launches in New York City

KidPass, a children's activity subscription service, launched last week in New York City, says The Wall Street Journal. The startup was founded by three New York-based technology executives to provide families with access to children's activities like sports, music classes, camps, and museums via subscription. The company is backed by leading tech investors of Gilt Groupe, Warby Parker, ZocDoc, Artsy and SailThru.

Dow Jones Announces Key Changes, Creates New Publishing Unit

Last week Dow Jones CEO William Lewis announced major organizational changes, including the creation of a new publishing unit, Dow Jones Media Group. "I am pleased to announce some important structural changes to Dow Jones. These developments build on the excellent work already done over the past 18 months and will provide the platform the company needs to achieve our shared objectives," Lewis said.

Starz to Go Solo with Stand-alone OTT Streaming Video Service

Starz is the latest premium channel to go solo as a direct-to-consumer, over-the-top (OTT) streaming video service, joining competitors Showtime and HBO. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht made the announcement at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, said Adweek. "Yeah, we're in the midst of doing it," said Albrecht. "To have your own app is the opportunity to be distributed, either by our current distribution partners in different ways…or potential other portals. It is early days…

All-You-Can-Watch Comedy Subscription Service Seeso Goes Live

Seeso, NBCUniversal's comedy subscription service, officially launched this week, following a one-month, web-only trial. Unlike other over-the-top (OTT) streaming video services, Seeso is focused solely on comedies. Affordably priced at $3.99 a month, it is also ad free. Seeso's website said the site includes "an extensive collection of hand-picked comedy comprised of hilarious, never-before-seen originals, quotable classics, next-day TV, hours of stand-up specials, bingeable library shows" and more.

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