illustration of the number five, representing the five subscription business topics for this column, Five-on-Friday

Five on Friday:  Listening, Launching and Handing Off

Featuring Spotify, Twitter, Freshly and Discord and Dollar Shave Club

This week, platforms are wrapping things up. Spotify brought back Wrapped, and gave us their own Wrapped as well! Twitter delays the launch of their subscription for blue checkmarks once again, this time after a feud with Apple. Nestle hands off majority ownership of Freshly. Last up, Discord has rolled out their creator subscriptions.

Spotify Wrapped is back, and we’re sure you’ve seen friends and family post all their favorite artists, albums, and songs from this year. Not only did Spotify wrap up the year for their freemium listeners and subscriber, but they’re also reporting back on their own Wrapped for the year. In a newsroom post, Spotify shared the music and podcasts that made their users worldwide dance, sing, and jump for joy.

Singer-songwriter Bad Bunny is topping the charts for artists once again for the third year. This is the first artist to hit this achievement in Spotify history, so they are celebrating by giving him a red heart versus the usual green one. The top five Spotify artists include Taylor Swift, Drake, The Weeknd and BTS.

Spotify also added a category for “viral” artists, where their songs were shared to social media platforms the most. Taylor Swift stole the top spot in this category after releasing her album Midnights. Rounding out this category are other runners for top artists globally, including The Weeknd, Bad Bunny and BTS. Lana Del Rey closes out the top 5.

Spotify shared the most streamed songs in the US and globally as well. In both top spots on each list are “As It Was” by Harry Styles and “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals. Bad Bunny made an appearance on both lists with “Me Porto Bonito.”

Podcasts are continuing to take the world by storm, and the top podcasts both globally and in the US are The Joe Rogan Experience and Call Her Daddy. Crime Junkie also shows up on both lists.

Source: Spotify

Twitter Delays Blue Launch Again

After the blue checkmark fiasco, Elon Musk promised he would relaunch Twitter’s subscription for a blue checkmark. However, Musk has delayed the subscription again, taking issue with Apple’s App Store Fees.

The initial relaunch of the Blue Checkmark was going to be November 29, The Verge reported. Musk said the delay was to ensure the relaunch date would be “rock solid” after the initial launch created mass chaos, including Eli Lilly losing billions of dollars in stock value.

However, the delay this time is due to a feud with Musk and Apple’s 30% fee for apps that earn more than $1 million per year. Musk’s complaint with the fee is that it was a “secret 30% tax.” Though Musk says he wasn’t aware of the “Apple tax,” the fee has been public knowledge since announced in 2008, Mashable reported. Musk is now looking for different ways to get around this.

As a result, Twitter is no longer allowing subscriptions to be purchased through the Twitter iPhone app, Forbes shared. To allow Apple users to purchase subscriptions, they would need to make the subscription accessible on their web browser. This option allows users to purchase a subscription regardless of what kind of device they have. When Twitter is available through the iOS app, the price will be $11 month, reports Engadget, or users can download Twitter directly through the web, and get it for $7 a month.

When the service does launch, there will be more changes to the checkmark verification system. A notable change includes phone number verification, which is aimed to help steer away those who just want to create an account to wreak havoc. Musk also intends to include Help and Marketing pages, Business Insider shared.

If Musk is willing to try to take this big of a bite out of Apple, it could affect their advertising game in the long run. Apple was Twitter’s top advertiser in the first quarter of this year, according to Social Media Today. If they were to cut ties completely, it could stand to cost them up to $50 million per quarter.

Twitter logo on rubber stamps
Source: Adobe Stock

Nestle Gives Up Majority Stake in Freshly

Nestle has made the decision to become a minority owner in meal delivery service Freshly. In a press release, Nestle announced that private equity firm L Catterton would become the majority owner of Freshly, and Freshly will merge with Kettle Cuisine, a food production company. Nestle will continue to be a minority owner, holding a 41% stake.

Nestle acquired Freshly in 2020 when Freshly was being valued at $950M, with earnout potential of $550M. With this acquisition, Nestle was excited to bring together ecommerce and eating at home in a different way, especially during the pandemic. With Freshly, Nestle expected innovation to come to the home cooking sphere. At that time, Freshly was shipping more than 1 million meals per week to their subscribers.

This could signal a shift in how consumers are eating at home, and what that could mean for meal kits down the line. Nestle wants to cut its losses while it can, indicating that Freshly is underperforming, compared to what the food giant is used to.

“There have been dramatic shifts in the external business environment, including direct-to-consumer cost models. With these shifts, Freshly has not driven the scale or performance we had hoped for. This partnership opens the opportunity to bring fresh prepared foods to a broader group of customers and geographies,” Nestle said of the change.

With the addition of Kettle Cuisine, Freshly will add in small-batch soups, sauces and side dishes, which could attract new subscribers. Nestle is focused on convenience and hopes the combination will allow for new partnership opportunities.

Source: Freshly

Discord Launches Creator Subscription

The popular chat app Discord is now letting creators earn money. Last week, they announced tiered subscription plans called Server Subscriptions that lets creators earn revenue for their work. The sweetest part? There’s a 90/10 revenue split, with the creator taking home the majority. Discord will keep 10%, plus possible refunds, chargebacks and associated fees, PC Gamer shared.

Discord tested this feature last year. A handful of creators were able to test the service on Discord to allow for feedback, test options, and more. It was brought in to allow for premium experiences, content and interactions within the service. The feature also allows creators to access analytics on member engagement as well.

Currently, the subscription option is only available in the US. To remain eligible, a creator must have an account in good standing with the platform. This means no recent violations of platform policies and guidelines.

Creators are now able to charge users anywhere between $3 and $200 per month for premium features and benefits. The tiers and perks are up to the discretion of the user, Discord said in a blog post. Creators and server admins are responsible for creating tiers and their descriptions, provide their subscriptions, as well as any associate content and the perks.

“Whether it’s a Discord server dedicated to the world of a certain content creator or a community that gathers around a particular topic, these server owners take their time to facilitate conversation, connection and creativity in their environments. Now it’s time to support them back,” Derek Yang of Discord said of the new offering.

Source: Discord

Dollar Shave Club Switches to Third-Party Subscription Platform

Dollar Shave Club, who previously hosted its own subscription management platform, is making the move to Ordergroove in partnership with Shopify Plus, reports Chain Store Age. This move will allow Dollar Shave Club to do what it does best – sell razors and related products. Using Ordergroove, Dollar Shave Club can offer personalized customer experiences. Dollar Shave Club will use Shopify Plus for one-off and non-subscription purchases.

“There is no one better equipped to handle Dollar Shave Club’s scale, depth, and innovation than Ordergroove,” said Ranil Wiratunga, chief digital officer and global GM of DTC at Dollar Shave Club. “As a subscription-first brand, our mission is to deliver exceptional consumer experiences that help men and women take better care of their bodies so they can be their best selves. To deliver on that promise, we partnered with the most powerful and flexible subscription platform out there.”

Greg Alvo, CEO and founder of Ordergroove, also commented on the new partnership.

“Dollar Shave Club is the godfather of DTC subscriptions. From amazing razors to captivating content, Dollar Shave Club understands that delivering an exceptional subscriber experience is key to fostering long-term brand loyalty. Its decision to partner with Ordergroove shows their commitment to their customers, and we’re thrilled to help them redefine the subscription space once again,” said Alvo.

Source: Dollar Shave Club

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