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On Subscriptions

·2 mins

Roundabout 100 people from the streets, ask them about subscriptions, and you’ll find that nearly everyone is familiar with the concept, unlike a few years ago - at least here in Kenya. Most likely, the majority among them have an active subscription.

Do I like subscriptions? Not really, but I don’t have a strong opposition to them, especially when done right.

What I definitely don’t like is everything becoming a subscription - seems everything has got a toll booth these days. From the controversial locking certain built-in features in vehicles behind a paywall to certain platforms offering subscriptions but still bombarding you with ads - it’s like paying for a quiet library and getting a live concert.

Subscriptions used to be an ad-free and privary-respecting alternative to the free services we are used to.

One bad example is the entertainment industry - not only is it getting pricier but also more fragmented. It’s increasingly becoming better and easier to resort to piracy and use solutions like Plex/ Jellyfin or your local media player.

Perhaps we should switch to local-first solutions or self-hosting everything but not everyone is tech-savvy enough to DJ their own digital content.

Most of the content on the web is a labour of love and for now, I support subcriptions especially when it contributes to the creation of content I enjoy but I hope something changes, be it the profit-hungry business models or the economic system itself.

To conclude, have a listen to this Vergecast podcast that delves into the dilemma of self-hosting: An impossible journey into self-hosting | The Vergecast