Additional sources of income

KoenKoen Administrator

This discussion is a bit different than most. The amount of free users has increased massively, and that is fantastic. Operating the servers for those users is not free, and currently the income generated by most free users is around 0. Don't worry, this is not some plea for donations, Astiga is not close to bankruptcy, etc. However, I have been looking for additional sources of income, so that free users are more sustainable, and that is more difficult than it sounds. What I am trying to find is a way that does not annoy you, the user, and also does not sell your information to a dozen companies, like some ads seem to do nowadays. I still value you and your right to privacy.

So, how does Astiga currently make money? There are essentially two ways: Astiga Premium and pCloud affiliation. I believe both are a pretty "fair", both provide convenience and additional functionality.

What I have been looking into is music recommendations, just like someone in a record shop would recommend an album to you, based on context. E.g. if you are looking at the artist page for Adele, and you own the albums "19" and "21", then it might recommend "25" to you. This would simply be based on the page you are looking at, and not based on some elaborate profile of all things you have done on the internet (or even in Astiga). I don't have such a profile of you, and I intend to keep it that way. This would then either play an excerpt of the album, or link you to a shop of some kind where you can buy the album (of which a small percentage would go to Astiga). This would all be loaded by Astiga, not the external shop, so they would not be able to track you (until you click on the link). They would at most be able to deduce that "someone using Astiga" was looking at Adele.

I think that having such a system would be interesting, and also useful for you and for me. I am pretty sure not everyone would like it, so I do plan to add a switch to turn it off (at least for premium, not 100% sure about free users), or at least make it "Adblock-friendly" (so you can block the entire thing and the space it occupies easily).

The reason I have not implemented any of this yet is because I have not yet found a digital music store that I could integrate this with. Apple seems to redirect their web version of iTunes to Apple Music, which makes sense, but for obvious reasons is not quite what I am looking for :-). Amazon splits everything out between the different countries. If I were to limit it to the USA (where most of you are from), then I would just be able to get paid in gift cards, and gift cards don't pay server bills. Other digital music shops don't seem to be interested in this type of affiliate marketing.

I have also been looking at tracker-free, "ethical" advertising (the ethics of ads itself is a different story of course). There seems to be surprisingly little offering on that front. The only option I found so far is ContextCue, which from testing seems to mostly show ads for ContextCue itself, so I am not sure how effective that is going to be. Plus, they pay per click, and I don't think you (plural) are the type that tends to click on ads anyway.

Then there is merchandise of course, but I doubt anyone would want to walk around in an Astiga hoodie :-)

So, here is maybe a bit of a strange request, but do you have any suggestions? Maybe I have missed something.

Comments

  • CoyleyCoyley Member
    edited March 25

    I pay for both Astiga and Pcloud so I am perhaps not a typical user (I am also in UK not USA). The prices on both are good and I'm happy to do so.

    I think it would be fair to limit the free version a little more to a certain amount of albums or similar. The recent growth is likely due to migration from Google Music, which people were generally paying for (I was).

    I'm a long way into my music listening now, so I do not need more recommendations. I discover new music all the time through such as radio, specific forum sites, Mixcloud and Bandcamp (and inevitably checking back to Youtube for out of circulation music too). My tastes are eclectic, ranging from uptempo Soul music through to Japanese Ambient. I would find anything from Apple or Amazon too generic and focused on obvious recommnedations. Those services are okay at serving up the next choice in general genres, but less good beyond core popular music genres. For all the talk of AI, I have found it has not progressed beyond 'more of the same' in music today across all the services. For example, I found the choices Spotify makes for my son to be fairly mundane.

    I have been around this process many times as I have made money through music in multiple ways - I used to write about and sell music with links to stores, first with Amazon and then I set up a legal music download service that grew so fast, I then ended up working with labels to package the music into themed CDs. That was in a very niche area of music that I expanded out from over time to cover more non-chart bases. But what I was able to do then, isn't really as possible today.

    With the sale of CDs declining to a niche audience alongside vinyl, there are fewer general stores to monetize your association through these days. Apple will not want you to do it, Amazon is fragmented and complex as you say. I'll be intrigued to see where you go. For high download legal downloads I use Qobuz or Bandcamp, but it does not cover everything.

    The primary issue now is that music is moving to online streaming, where it is harder for third parties to make money through their association. I saw the entry of Amazon and Apple to downloading and then the ending of physical music sales entirely over time. I withdrew from legal downloading as artists would duplicate list at Apple or Amazon for less revenue share and sales (as poor discovery methods there) but because of the brand pull. Vinyl is a luxury product that has so many bad pressings even for expensive releases (I have had many vinyl collections and do not intend to go back there now), CDs are a wonderful digital medium but out of fashion (but keep them, they are a very efficienct storage medium for music that will not be available in future or ever on streaming services).

    Over time, the future issue is that copyright holders just do not want customers to buy a product once when they can monetize it online many times - this is true in every entertainment media. That makes it hard to make money from click through recommendations, when the money made is from tiny slices of click revenue each time. The issue with picking one online platform to link into, is the difficult also of who to pick - as that only works for those that people already use.

    I am getting off the subject. I support the aspiration to find new sources of income. I believe Astiga has a right to ask more of its users over time to contribute. Anything that is added, as you say, must have a switch off for paid users. I want a clean listening experience that is not disturbed by ever more content appearing. I try to separate my listening from my discovery, those are two different parts and if not careful we can become drained by finding ever more music but not taking the time to listen to it fully.

    As I say, I know I'm not a general user or typical and maybe also an older user too. So I welcome the other thoughts here.

    I am interested to see where your researches lead. Best wishes with it.

    Post edited by Coyley on
  • KoenKoen Administrator

    Of course everything will be turn-offable (if that's a word). It's something I've been looking into since I believe 2018, and thus far nothing has happened, especially because I could not find a way to implement it in a manner that I would consider to be not obnoxious (otherwise I'd have just used Google Ads or something like that). There is a large chance this time will be no different.

  • CoyleyCoyley Member

    Thanks Koen. That's appreciated as always. I appreciate the purity we have in the playback interface, configured to the individual's requirement.

  • I'm a premium member. And I'm absolutely in love with the service. I think, maybe an option, is to try to increase the pay members... Maybe some limitations for free users? Or some banners?

  • Please no banners (even though I am a premium member). Or only subtle banners relevant to the music (partnership with https://cdbaby.com/ or https://www.show.co/ads/ (more info here: https://soundcharts.com/blog/music-marketing-tools), music magazines or local record shops) or technology (storage promotions from partners).

    Also agree that difference between premium and free should be much bigger. Maybe add limit to how many songs you can play or a certain lifetime to using the app for free. Or only support one storage partner and let people pay for premium account to add others. Or maybe the option to pay a one time amount for the app instead of a monthly payment system (you can provide both options)?

    Any plans to integrate Bandcamp as a storage option? Their app is rather bad, they could gain by letting their library being accessed by a third-party app. Maybe integrate an option where customer can buy music on bandcamp through Astiga (and you can earn a percentage on that transaction). Or use Bandcamp as the digital music store you're looking for.

    Also, with people becoming more and more aware of their online privacy, it wouldn't hurt to focus your branding more on that aspect.

  • KoenKoen Administrator

    I have no intention of adding irrelevant, obnoxious banners. Especially the flashy moving kind. I absolutely hate those, so I think it'd be hypocritical to impose those on others.

    I'll look into CDBaby. I have tried what you describe with Bandcamp in the past (that'd be my first choice, actually), but in the past they have said that they had no interest in that. Maybe that has changed in the last year, although I doubt it.

  • ChrisChris Member

    Hello,

    I'm wondering if one way to differentiate the free verses the paid levels of service might be something along the lines of offering "profiles" associated with types of music in one's storage repositories. That is to say that a person having a free subscription would be limited to one "profile", but a premium member would be able to have multiple "profiles" where each "profile" has a full range of features.

    Let me describe this as examples of what's currently available and what could be done with what I'm thinking of as "profiles".

    Currently, let's say that I, with a free subscription, have a lot of music that would generally be categorized as rock and it's in my Google Drive storage. Right now I can go into the Astiga player (or other players) and select that I'd like to listen to songs/albums that have been identified as "progressive rock", or I can select that I'd like to listen to my music that was released in the 80's. However, I generally prefer to just let the player go Artist/Random/Shuffle so that I can hear all of my rock tunes throughout my work-time listening experience. Now, let's also say that I have a collection of classical music. If I add that to my pCloud storage and sync that along with my Google Drive storage, then I may get some Vivaldi between Tull and the Stones. That's not exactly what I'd want if I was trying to focus at work. I could adjust this by choosing a genre or time period, but limiting my selection to just a narrow subset of my rock collection, just to remove my classical music from that part of my day, would not be preferable.

    Now, as an empowered premium member, I may associate my Google Drive storage with a profile that we'll call Chris-rock, and I can associate my pCloud storage with a profile that may be called Chris-classical. During my work time, I can fire up Astiga and say that I'm Chris-rock, where I can randomly play all of my rock tunes. After work time, I can stop that profile and chill by becoming Chris-classical. When I'm within a profile, I won't have to worry about any music from outside my profile spilling into my preferred profile listening time. And while I'm in one of my profiles, the other features, such as listening to a specific genre or decade of music may still be selected. However, while I'm in Chris-rock I’ll likely still select Artist/Random/Shuffle, and while in Chris-classical I'll likely select Album/Random so that I can listen to a full symphony. 

    I’m thinking that this won't have to be limited to storages provided by different vendors. In an envisioned embodiment for a premier member, one folder of my Google Drive could be my rock collection, another folder could be my classical music, and another folder could be my Doo-Wop collection. As a premium member, I could associate Chris-rock with my rock and Doo-Wop folders, and Chris-classical with my classical music collection. Or, if I wanted to I could have a third profile called Chris-doowop for the Doo-Wop folder. A free subscriber may have these same folders, but would not be able to create/associate those folders with different profiles.

    Best regards,

    Chris

  • KoenKoen Administrator
    edited April 20

    @Chris I think it is an interesting idea, and I am working on something vaguely related to that.

    Basically what it boils down to is that you can create your own custom selections. Currently you have "albums", "artists", "genres", and in the app "albums alphabetically", "albums random". I want to add a system that allows you to create your own view, such as "genre -> artist -> album" or "albums in /Music/Classic", or whatever you can think of. The searching part is working, but the custom grouping part is not.

    Anyhow, I am going to look into that option.

  • CoyleyCoyley Member

    This sounds very helpful, thanks.

  • MartixMartix Member

    Hello,

    IMHO the only realistic and easy to implement way to boost the Astiga income would be to further differentiate the free from the premium accounts. Right now premium is simply not worth it unless you are some special case user that wants to sync daily and I'm assuming there aren't many of those.

    There are many ways you can go about that, you can restrict the free syncs to for example max 100 tracks per sync. You can restrict the free accounts to only play mp3 and move all other formats to premium. You can restrict free accounts to 1 storage max. And so on, possibilities are endless. Of course that would work only if you have enough user base to survive the hit of people leaving because you took away their toys and so is very dangerous.

    The other option would be to leave free as is and upgrade the premium with some new features. Of course that is much more expensive option and may not even work that well if the features added are not that substantial (for example, the mood recommendation thingy you had was way to finicky to warrant premium account). I'd say that further customization is the way to go - as users above noted, more ways to display or organize our music would be nice. Or you can add support for themes or custom page layouts. This sounds like a lot of work but may pay off in the future if you have the user base to support it. And excluding customization, I'm not even sure what you can do to make the service better - Astiga is already working perfectly, performance is good and most problems I've encountered were not even Astiga related but instead were caused by the cloud service. Not to mention that you essentially have no competition so you can't even copy the better apps out there.

    Lets look at some other ways to generate income:

    1.Patreon - not sure if that would work for a software developer as it's usually used by content creators but it's worth looking into. You can make up some easy to provide reward tiers, like $1 monthly - thank you, $4 monthly - Astiga premium, $8 monthly - premium + beta access to test new features(so you can use the users as free beta testers), $20 monthly - access to the super exclusive discord server where users can share the music they discovered or whatever. I doubt such patreon would generate much money but if the price of admission is low, it may be worth it. I would definitely support you with $1 monthly if that was an option :)

    2.Merch - don't fall into that trap, you'll spend more money than you'll ever make, unless Astiga becomes the new Spotify and you get millions of users to buy that merch. International shipping is a big hurdle and should never be underestimated. Not to mention the price to design and produce said merch.

    3.Some magical integration with something like a music shop that would make some money - not likely to happen. Why would they spend the resources integrating with you. Even if you somehow integrate a music shop into the Astiga interface, I doubt it will generate much sales, man hours will probably be more than you'll ever make back from the fractions of the sales the shop will offer you.

    4.Some exclusivity deal with a cloud provider so you force the users to switch to that provider and in exchange, the cloud provider pays you a bunch of cash. That could work but I'm not sure how you can do it without angering the user base. Maybe a tamer version of that where each new affiliate subscription to that provider gets some bonus storage space.

    5.Some hostage tactic where you keep the free accounts active for up to 1 year and then delete them if they do not upgrade to premium. Lol that would be cruel but so maybe don't do that.

    6.You can try providing cloud service yourself (by integrating into some existing provider of course). I assume part of the front gate of using Astiga is that we have to have our music uploaded in the cloud and not everybody have that. I specifically looked for a service that allowed me to stream my own music to different devices and Astiga is the closest I could find even though I had to specifically set a separate cloud account to hold the music. If the storage space was included in the price, I assume more people would try Astiga premium right away instead of settling as free users after they already set their own storage accounts elsewhere. As a bonus, that would warrant creating multiple levels of premium (different prices for different amounts of storage, etc) which would be good for you because right now you have no way to extract extra cash from whale type users which would pay more if they had the option to.

    And on another note, whatever you decide, you can run some survey by the user base to get feedback on the planned change. There are free tools like survey monkey that allow you to create a simple questionnaire with questions like "How much would you pay for astiga premium if I decide to jack up the prices" or "Which features you use most frequently" and so on. It's an easy way to get feedback from the users and maybe even more ideas by people who do not read the forums.

    Apologies for my atrocious English,

    Best Regards,

    Martin

  • KoenKoen Administrator

    Thank you for the elaborate response @Martix

    1. I will consider that, although it's not at the top of my list, as it is effectively premium with extra steps;
    2. I would not even know what merchandise to sell. I very much doubt anyone would be interested in Astiga t-shirts or coffee mugs, although I have looked into some more unusual things, without success;
    3. The idea of advertising (in my mind) is to nudge someone to buy something they did not intend on buying before. I think this can be quite effective for music, as I might not have considered an album before, but having seen it, I might be interested. You are right though that the returns are probably quite low. That said, it also has a double function of being an ad, which some people find annoying, thus adding an extra incentive for premium;
    4. That would go against one of the fundamental reasons I created Astiga in the first place, so that is not going to happen :-) Although to some extend that is what is already happening with the pCloud integration (minus the forced bit).
    5. Yeah, let's not do that. :-)
    6. Providing reliable cloud storage is very tricky, and pretty much only works at scale. It comes with expectations (namely, that your files are secure, but also that they are always available, etc.), that are difficult to meet when it is only a couple hundred users. Then the current pCloud integration is both easier and more effective in that regard.

    I actually did run a survey quite some time ago, which did contain questions along the same lines. Might do that again in the future though.

  • Hi Koen,

    Great thread. I've been thinking a lot about this recently because I'm a big fan of Astiga and didn't even notice when my premium ran out. I felt quite guilty, but the fact that I didn't notice is proving the point of this thread. For this reason, I agree with a lot of the other responses to improve your subscriptions rather than introduce additional revenue streams. In the future, it could add some extra lift, but I believe some there's money on the table right now with subscriptions alone. It's also no surprise subscription is the dominate business model for nearly all competitors offering streaming services.

    Some analytical techniques for discovering and prioritizing features that could help drive subscriptions (apologies if this is obvious stuff and you've already done it):

    User Journey Mapping - This is more of a UX technique, but you can use it to define the lifecycles of your users from discovery to subscription and ideally resubscription. If you have some analytics in place, you could look at the lifecycles of specific users that eventually converted into subscribers. What are the kinds of things that they do prior subscribing? For example, do people do a sync first? Do they generally sync and then become regular users before later subscribing?

    Funnel Analysis - At each stage of this linear lifecycle, there will be fewer users due to attrition. An example of a high-level funnel: landing page -> sign up click -> sign up success -> verify email (only if it's a necessary step - I don't remember) -> navigate to sync UI -> start to hook up cloud storage -> cloud storage authorized -> sync started -> sync completed -> premium subscription page viewed (where the value proposition is described to the user) -> subscription intent/click -> subscription payment complete -> resubscription. Every single one of those steps will have some % drop off. So even though your goal is to increase the successful subscriptions, the focus should be on the entire funnel, or at whatever step could be most improved. In other words, if you were able to increase subscription intent per subscription page view by 10%, that would be awesome, but you would probably have a bigger lift in subscribers if you got 20% more users to complete their first sync. This is a simplified example, as not all users are the same, especially if they come from different channels. In any case though, by observing the funnel, there may be a huge dropoff that is surprising and needs an investigation. Each feature should have a hypothesis to increase the amount of users who get to the next step of the funnel.

    Cohort Analysis - Of your users who follow your idealized user journey, what other features do they engage with? Are they even using the Premium features or are they subscribing just to support you? Do they use the apps or mostly mobile? What is their library browsing pattern? Do they use last.fm integrations? Replay gain? By understanding what they do that is different than other users, there could be value in adjusting the UX to get more users to do these kinds of things.

    Competitor Analysis - All features of your app could be mapped out into a table and compared against your top competitors and their features. Anything that your competitors offer, even if they are an indirect competitor like Spotify, is still a feature that you can analyze. You could use the MoSCoW framework, by categorizing existing and potential features into Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, and Won't Have. Must Have features are your "table stakes" that should be available to all users regardless of whether or not they subscribe. Should Have features should mostly be free, but maybe 1 or 2 could be Premium, and they are the key features you push as your KSP. Could Have features is the opportunity to offer tons of good stuff to Premium users without crippling the free service. Won't Have features don't get built. Last.fm integration is a good example of something that could be Premium but is currently free.

    AB Testing - This one is obvious and we all hear about it, and for good reason. Entire features can be AB tested (by simply hiding them via UI) and results analyzed. This is a lot of work of course, so some quick wins can be cosmetic / UX / informational. For example, your "Premium" screen that sells the subscription could be tested with a couple different layouts and differently worded key selling points. The current one is quite conservative. Similarly, a simple series of tests could be to try putting the "Premium" link in other places in the UI. Right now the home screen doesn't even have it. No need to beat the user over the head with it with popups and flashing banners, but a little more prominence would be well deserved for such a good app.

    Paid User Acquisition - Every user has a lifetime value that you can estimate. While you don't know how long your users will retain, but you have a decent idea from some of your most loyal users, and you could do some simple modeling to estimate this further. This could justify some advertising, but it would probably need to be very targeted and have proper attribution tracking. If you can identify which users are converting based on their acquisition channel, then you can evaluate the ROI of each campaign. Maybe this is far fetched, but I bet keyword searches for "google play alternative", "youtube music alternative", "soulseek", "foobar2000", "dsub" and similarly nerdy music topics would get ads to the right people and potentially be ROI positive.

    Churn/Lapse Analysis - When a user has stopped subscribing, it would be really valuable to know why. If they have churned entirely and no longer use Astiga, then that's a bigger issue. It could be possible that their subscription expired and they didn't notice because they don't use any of the features, like it did with me. A bit more work of a data science task, but some statistical models can identify what factors are most likely to predict a user churning. A simple survey in the case of a cancellation would be super helpful too, which perhaps you already have.

    Reactivation - I'll be brief on this one, but some reactivation strategy could go pretty far. A simple popup to notify me that the subscription has ended would be acceptable and not egregious in the slightest. I would argue that you could send one initially and then one after a certain amount of time has passed as a simple reminder. If the user has churned entirely from Astiga, a simple reminder reactivation email would be very appropriate, especially if there are new features since they churned. I appreciate the subtlety of Astiga's communication style, so I'm not recommending anything super spammy here, just a couple simple reminders.


    This all could be a bunch of work, but there's a committed userbase for products like Astiga, and as far as I know it's the best on the market, so I'm confident that revenue could be magnitudes higher than I suspect it currently is.

    Sorry for the long post. 🤣

  • KoenKoen Administrator
    edited May 20

    @navethechimp Thank you for the response. I have done most things, or have actively decided to not do them. I do not have very elaborate analytics, although that is on purpose, and not by accident, as I do not want to track everyone constantly.

    • User Journey Mapping: currently most users seem to come from syncing first, then running into the 3-day waiting period and/or the playlist import function. This is I believe the largest group, and also the group that does not tend to come back for a second month, because quite frankly, why would they?
    • Funnel Analysis: around 25% drops off after the sign up page (i.e. never confirms their account). I am not sure how large the group is that entered their email wrongly, and thus never confirmed it, but signed up later with their correct email. I believe this is mostly the group that finds Astiga via Google Play, as quite a sizeable number of them are looking for an app (and they get annoyed by the signup). Around 20% of what is left never adds their storage. I am not 100% what the reason is, although from what I have received, it generally comes down to 1) cloud storage not supported, or 2) they see the permissions Astiga requires, and then back out. Premium subscriptions are sold for ~95% via the desktop (5% mobile/tablet), thus I believe most app users never come close to the premium page. However, the Google Play rules make it difficult to lead those users there.
    • Cohort Analysis: these users mostly come from the desktop, some of them use an app as well, but something most of them have in common is that they all use the desktop (web app) as well, together with medium to large music libraries (>10.000 songs). Library syncing is by far the most used feature, along with playlist imports, although that's generally a one-time affair. I do not have any statistics on the usage of other file formats, although judging by the library, it is a minority. Podcasts and AutoTag are not that popular.
    • Competitor Analysis: this is a difficult one, because as I have learned in the past year, there are a lot of different people with a lot of different wants and needs. Also because Astiga is in this strange spot where it does not have any direct competitors. On the one hand there are iBroadcast and Media Leap for hosted music, on the other hand there is CloudPlayer and other cloud music player apps. Then there are Subsonic, Airsonic, Plex, etc. for selfhosted music collections, and lastly there are of course the music streaming providers like Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music etc.
    • AB Testing: I am not sure whether the current Astiga population is large enough to get significant results.
    • Paid User Acquisition: I would do that if I knew where you were coming from, but this is an issue that has been plaguing me since day 1, namely that I don't know where you come from. I know most people search for "music player online" (according to Google), although most users search "Astiga" directly, so they come from somewhere else. I have tried to capture the Google Play Music group directly, and that has paid off, although that group has now mostly found a new home.
    • Reactivation: Astiga actually sends one or two emails. One is "Your Astiga premium will expire soon", the other is "Your Astiga premium has expired". For subscriptions it only sends the latter, for one-time purchases it sends the former as well. That said, emails don't always come through, because spam filters distrust everything coming from .ga

    To give you a sense of scale (at the time of writing):

    • Amount of users: ~17.000 (growth ~500/month) [1]
    • Revenue before tax: ~€500/month
    • Running costs: ~€50/month

    [1]

    I am looking into that, as to the what and why.

  • I appreciate the transparency. Having read your responses to my above suggestions, it's apparent to me that you have strong convictions about how you run your business.

    I personally think it's absolutely justifiable to have more people paying you for the awesome work you're doing. I really don't find the suggests in this thread compelling. They come off to me as contrived and out of place.

    Given your responses, particularly about the lower volume, I've been wrestling with the problem a bit over the weekend. The approaches I listed are a bit more quantitative, and more of optimizations or "hacks" rather than critical product positioning. Trying to distill this down, I think it's really just these three things (obvious stuff of course, but I think it's important to point out).

    • The user understands what they currently can and cannot do without a subscription.
    • The user understands what they would be ale to do with a subscription.
    • The user values the added benefit more than the subscription cost.

    Without being able to speak for each of these generic "users" in the above bullets, I can only speak for myself at this point. As a daily Astiga user, I actually cannot tell you how syncing works for me right now. I'm not a subscriber (see my previous comment, but I will subscribe momentarily just out of principle), yet my library always seems to be synced when I need to to be. I use the storage/folder browser, and all I need to do is a client refresh and stuff is updated with files I've just added moments prior. When I search for artists I've added within the last couple days, they're available in the library view as well. Hmmm. I guess it's auto-syncing on some 3 day interval? I'm partially playing dumb, but I'm being genuine that I don't entirely understand. :)

    What would subscribing get me? It would automatically be added to the library view that I'm not using....? Maybe I'm an outlier in that I use the storage/folder browser primarily.

    I feel like I'm getting too much for free, honestly, but that I had to dig and research quite a bit to even get setup (I'm imagining other users dropping out at this point). For example, automatic syncing does not feel like a feature that non-paying users should get at all, 3 days or otherwise. It also feels like an arbitrary handicap to give it to them and then limit it.

    Trying to think outside the box here to reduce funnel friction while strengthening each of the above bullets. What if the funnel was something like this...

    1. Remove the sign-in upon clicking "go to web player" on web. There could be some notion of "guest" sign-in that had a couple demo songs so they could see the UI and that it's not just some entirely gated experience that needs their email address. The idea would be to make it "alive" as soon as possible for as many users as possible.
    2. Create a new Call to Action (that was equally as powerful as "go to web player" but existed within the web player) for something like "add my music".
    3. Once someone adds their music, it manually syncs as it currently does.
    4. Upon future client launches, Astiga checks in the backend for changes within their library but does not sync the files themselves or show anything to the user. (and of course, keep the folder view static so you don't have horrible free riders like me!)
    5. Upon that moment, there is a new CTA to "resync to get your latest files".
    6. The user then learns that they have to manually sync to keep their library up-to-date. (there can still be a throttle, but only for load reasons and not monetization conversion).
    7. Premium could then be branded as something like "ASTIGA LIVE" -- no need to ever sync. Even if it's only every hour, that may be sufficient to call "live". Some cloud providers (I believe Drive for example) have an API specifically for getting recent changes to a folder, which is much lighter weight, so it's like a pre-check or something.

    Identifying the right user personas, mp3tag, soulseek, foobar2000, LAME, FLAC, whatever things can identify these users in forums or whatever, and shoot out free codes to them. We've got to get these people on board! I only say this because I never want Astiga to go away!

    Thanks for listening. :)

  • CambionnCambionn Member
    edited June 21

    @Koen Reading your last comment I noticed a few things. I don't know if it's useful but I wouldn't want Astiga to go away any time soon, so I guess better more info than less.

    Premium subscriptions are sold for ~95% via the desktop (5% mobile/tablet), thus I believe most app users never come close to the premium page. For me, I simply feel more at ease doing payments on PC than on phone. So if I can, I'd wait for a moment at PC to sign up for services rather than doing it on phone. I'm not sure for how many others this counts, but this could also be the reason for selling mostly trough PC instead of people simply not reaching the page.

    This is an issue that has been plaguing me since day 1, namely that I don't know where you come from. I know most people search for "music player online" (according to Google), although most users search "Astiga" directly, so they come from somewhere else. I don't know if it's still the case. But back when I was looking for something exactly like Astiga but didn't know Astiga itself yet, it still took me a few days of fanatic searching on google before I could find it despite finding a lot of "just not it" options. And I dare say, my experience is that as an IT'er who worked helpdesk and visits social media is that I already tend to be better at googling than the average person. Perhaps, Astiga could profit from better search engine-friendly tricks? Sadly, it's been way too long ago to know exactly what I specifically searched for.

    Aside from that, I found a lot of web pages with "Best X apps/software to do Y" or "Best X alternative apps/software to Y" kinda lists. But again, only alternatives that didn't give me everything I wanted were ever mentioned. While Astiga was 100% what I was looking for. But there are many such lists popping up while much less actual specific software's and app's pages would show until searched for. So it feels mention-worthy.

    In fact, I even asked some other app developers and publishers if they had any ideas for what I was searching for but no one knew anything that did exactly what I wanted, stating it didn't exist. Anyone I know that knows of Astiga's existence has been told about it by me. Perhaps, there are some options in marketing?

    I very much doubt anyone would be interested in Astiga t-shirts. I honestly would be assuming the quality is decent, much like I got a t-shirt and hoodie of my favorite Linux distro, an UESP (an Elder Scrolls wiki) patch on my workbag, etc. But unlike Linux distro's which tend to be full of nerds who enjoy such things, I too have doubts about how much market there is for Astiga as the users are much more all over the place (if I recall correctly that you once said so). But maybe it's worth checking? Not only could buying give money, but people wearing it is free advertising. But once again, I'm not sure it's really worth the trouble either.

    On one other last note, and I know I talked about it before and it's difficult, but your comment regarding custom views and profiles made me think about it again. The only thing I'm still really missing is a way to add multiple genres, artists, etc smoothly. If you could come up with a way to allow for multiple entries in singular metadata fields (for example by dividing them with an ; symbol), that might be a nice premium feature as well.

    Post edited by Cambionn on
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