Laughable Insider – What Every iOS User Needs to Know
Ned Kenney, Co-Founder & CEO of Laughable
This post gives Laughable for iOS users important info about our premium membership tier, Laughable Insider, which is now required for audio playback after your trial period. We plan to introduce Insider to our Android users down the road, but they are unaffected for the time being.
We highly recommend you also listen our brief explainer podcast. We’ve also embedded the same audio below in case it’s a more convenient place to listen ⬇
Start: Background and Headlines 2m 5s: Insider’s Value Today 3m 14s: Future-Looking Reasons to Join Insider 5m 42s: Ari Shaffir, Robert Kelly, Dan Soder, Bert Kreischer, Mark Normand, Joe List, Theo Von, Luis J. Gomez, and Others Weigh in on Laughable 10m 20s: User Feedback on Insider (Overview) – 10m 40s: “I Can Get the Same Content for Free Elsewhere” – 13m 8s: “I’m Willing to Pay Artists, But Not App Developers” – 15m 35s: “I’m Disappointed Laughable’s No Longer Free” – 16m 01s: “I’m Outraged Laughable’s No Longer Free” – 19m 50s: “I’m Pumped to Join Insider” 20m 24s: A Thank You to ALL Our Users / Closing Commentary
Podcaster and/or comedian? Please head here for an artist-focused rundown of Insider.
Laughable for iOS – the App Store’s best rated podcast player for 2 years running, and a true revolution in comedian discovery – now consists of a free/introductory tier, and Laughable Insider.
Insider is just $2/month for founding members who commit to 6 months up front. This offer is only good through mid-September, so sign up now to lock in that price.
If you’re using Laughable regularly, we hope you’ll agree paying 7 cents a day to continue hearing the people and podcasts you love – and avoiding the ones you don’t – is a no-brainer. Especially since no other app, free or paid, can deliver anywhere near as pure a signal.
However, we in no way take this for granted, and will respect whatever you decide to do. Hopefully this post, and the audio below, allow you to make your own choice with a high degree of confidence it’s the right one.
Why Join Insider?
– Listen to unlimited audio through Laughable. (Upon updating to version 3.1, available here, enjoy Laughable for free until 10 days pass AND you’ve listened to 10 podcasts. That’s your grace/trial period. After that ends, you can keep browsing all you want, but will need to sign up for Insider to re-enable playback.)
– The more people who join, the faster we can roll out additional Insider-only perks like exclusive content & advanced app features.
– Back a true underdog. We’re just two guys working on this! To keep punching above our weight, we your help generating sustainable revenue.
– Help us help comedians! We love them just like you do. It’s why Bert Kreischer, Robert Kelly, Joe List, Mark Normand, Jared Freid, and several other 🔥 comedians are shareholders & strategic advisors.
– Support our vision for the world’s largest community of comedy lovers – a place to FIND FUNNY! across everything comedians create – digital content, merchandise, live performances, & more – both online and off.
Special Offer for Founding Insiders
– As a special Founding Insider offer, we’ve discounted our monthly membership to just $2/month if you sign up for 6 months up front ($11.99 total). This offer disappears forever in mid-September.
– Commit to this 6-month plan now, and we’ll offer you an additional 6 months next year at the same $2 price.
– You can also go month-to-month for $2.99.
– As Insider gets even better, we expect to raise prices, so consider locking this in while you can.
To join, just tap the “Join Insider” link in the Menu of the app.
That’s the most important stuff. For those interested, the rest of this post gives more specifics about our new tiers, addresses some frequently asked questions/concerns, and lays out our long-term vision for Laughable.
1. FREE TIER
Where everyone starts. (Stay as long as you want… but hopefully not toolong.)
The app remains completely open for you to explore visually, including all your data (like Subscriptions & listening history).
For the first 10 days you’re using version 3.1 – the clock starts when you see the heads up screen introducing Insider – you can listen to unlimited episodes. That’s your grace period. Once that ends, join Insider to keep listening.
2. PAID TIER, AKA…
By joining Insider, you can listen to all the audio you want in the best-rated podcast player in the entire App Store.
It’s also the only place to hear your favorite comedians & other personalities across alltheir podcasts, even guest episodes.
And remember: while our focus is comedy, you can listen to podcasts of ALL genres through Laughable.
Future Benefits Insiders Will Make Possible
We plan to use the revenue from Insiders to develop additional Insider-only perks. For example:
Exclusive Content. Podcasts and more from your favorite acts that you can’t get anywhere else.
Advanced App Features. The ability to listen to artists’ Patreon feeds, compatibility with Alexa / Sonos / etc., and more.
Why You Matter (!)
The more people who sign up, the faster we can make Insider even better. Let’s get that flywheel spinning…
We also look forward to hearing Insiders’ input on our development priorities – we plan for it to be even more influential than user feedback has been in the past.
How to sign up for insider, should you be so inclined
In version 3.1 or later, you can tap “Join Insider!” in the menu:
In addition, once you reach the end of your grace period, the app will present a signup prompt whenever you tap the play button.
Please note, Insider is available through your Apple ID account – separate from your Laughable account.
“What happens if I’m not using the latest update [3.1]?”
For now, you’ll effectively have Insider access for free. However, our new backend – the system that powers Laughable behind the scenes – is almost ready. When we go live with that and turn off our old backend, only the newest version of Laughable for iOS will be able to access it. Old versions will be inoperable.
And by the time this happens, the Founding Member discount of $2/mo, with its guaranteed full year of no price increase, will no longer be on the table. So if you plan on joining Insider eventually, waiting to update your app will wind up costing you money.
“So… basically you’re asking me to start paying for something I’ve been getting for free?!”
That’s not the whole story, but for those of you who have been using the app for several months already, you’re not wrong, either.
We fully appreciate why you might be disappointed. It’s human nature.
The honest truth is, we’ve worked on Laughable for YEARS. (Curious how we got started? Read this.) And we think our service today is worth well over $2/month given its unique ability to tune you into the highest-quality signal of entertaining, meaningful audio from the personalities you care about the most.
“No, no, you don’t get it. You owe me this for FREE.”
Comedians start out performing for free, building their act and their name.
However, their comedy needs to pay the bills eventually. So they seek out paid gigs. If there are buyers, they can keep going. If not, they pick a new profession.
This is exactly Laughable’s situation. We’re just two guys who love comedy and have sacrificed sleep, salaries, and social lives to bring fans & comics together.
Our product is in great shape and it’s time for us to seek out paying customers. Just like comedians. Just like anyone trying to make an honest living from their hard work.
It’s 100% your choice whether to pay. If you decide not to, that’s fine! You don’t owe us money, just as we don’t owe you Laughable. No hard feelings.
“But why would I pay for Laughable when I can get the same podcasts in free apps?”
Why did you switch to Laughable from your old app in the first place? After all, same content in both places, right?
Probably because you wanted a better way to determine which of the 29 MILLION publicly available podcasts were worth hearing. For this, you were willing to pay a switching cost: the chafe of re-subscribing to stuff and learning a new UI.
If podcast apps are all created equal simply because they “have the same content”, you wouldn’t have bothered.
Switching has paid off for the vast majority of you. 96% of you say Laughable has turned you into a fan of comedians / podcasts you hadn’t been aware of, and 71% of you say you spend more time listening to podcasts than you did in your old app.
You’ll need to decide whether Laughable is worth an additional monetary cost each month.
If you decide it is: awesome! You’re in good company.
And if you decide it isn’t: all good! Please feel welcome to keep browsing Laughable all you want, and we’ll welcome you to Insider with open arms if you ever change your mind.
“Hold on. How is it OK for you to make money off of podcasters’ content?”
(The podcast market is strangely configured, and sometimes people get confused about what’s kosher. Hopefully this clears up why our seeking out paying customers is both 100% ethical and actively good for both fans and artists. All in service of our mission: to help fans FIND FUNNY! and help artists be heard, win fans, and get paid.)
Podcasters put their content on publicly accessible RSS feeds precisely because they need apps like Laughable to deliver it to listeners. Every time someone plays an episode on Laughable, the podcaster makes money off of advertising, among other benefits – and Laughable pays for the computing power and code to make it happen.
And you know those artist profiles that so conveniently show you someone’s podcast appearances? We assembled those, one by one. Thousands of them. Link by link, pic by pic, episode by episode. The amount of time, energy, and passion we’ve invested to make Laughable a reality is incalculable.
The upshot of all this is that Laughable’s value to comedians goes way beyond simply being a great way for existing fans to hear content; we create new fans!
These folks don’t just listen to podcasts through Laughable – in many cases, they also spend money on the comic elsewhere, e.g. subscribing to their Patreon feed, buying tickets to their live show, or buying merch from their website.
And don’t forget that those new fans, in many cases, turn their friends into fans, as well.
So far, between extra podcast ad revenue, and follow-on spending on other platforms, comedians have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars that wouldn’t have been on the table without Laughable.
Now 4 years into this, to keep making life better for fans and creators of comedy, we need revenue. Whatever we take in will always be a small fraction of what we’re generating for comedians. But it simply cannot remain at zero.
Sure, there may be a certain trillion-dollar company 🍏 out there that doesn’t care enough about its podcast app to make it good OR to monetize it. But we’re a tiny startup. This is ALL we do, and we have bills to pay just like everyone else.
And especially since we really are creating enormous value for both fans and artists, it is both imperative and ethical for us to seek paying customers.
Bottom line: paying for Laughable is a GREAT way to help artists grow their fan bases and make more money. Serving them is central to our mission, and always will be.
Want to learn more about how and why Laughable is so valuable to artists? Please go here.
What are our plans for Laughable longer term?
(Note: These plans could change due to a variety of factors both in and out of our control. But this is what we’re currently working toward.)
We have a vision for Laughable as the nexus of the comedy universe – where comedy lovers can FIND FUNNY!across everything comedians create for an audience, both online and off.
We’ll keep pushing the boundaries of technology to deliver the best experiences possible, tailored to your unique sense of humor – which we’ll understand increasingly well over time.
The upshot: Laughable will get even better at helping you deepen your connections to comics you already love, AND find your new favorites, too.
The blueprint: one platform, two models
We plan on powering your Laughable experience with two models working in parallel:
1. CORE LAUGHABLE OFFERINGS
(N.b. Everything we’ve built so far falls into this category.)
– Subscription Bundle – Laughable Insider! Content we produce or license, curation of public domain content (like podcasts), and other perks as part of a monthly subscription bundle.
– Events. Laughable-produced events: live podcast recordings, standup showcases, and more. We’ve already put on five LAUGHABLE LIVE! standup showcases at the Comedy Cellar with many of our favorite comics.
2. THE LAUGHABLE MARKETPLACE
(This will take some time to build the right way, but it’s part of the plan!) – Artist “Storefronts”. Help comics reach you directly with their content, merch, etc. on Laughable, via both one-off transactions (like iTunes and Cameo) and individual monthly subscriptions (like Patreon).
– Event Tickets. Help comics, clubs, and other venues sell you tickets to events. No more hassle finding out about, and buying tickets to, your favorite comics’ performances in your area.
We think this hybrid approach will allow Laughable to have the most positive impact possible on both users AND comedians.
This is crucial, given our dual mission: to help fans FIND FUNNY!, and help artists find fans & money.
The bottom line
We hope you’re excited about everything we’ve got plans!
Of course, it’s still entirely possible we wind up hitting the dead pool well short of realizing our vision. That’s just the nature of startups – they’re risky. But we see no reason Laughable can’t be transformative for comedy in the same way ESPN was for sports.
We hope you’ll improve our odds by joining Insider – and, of course, continue using the hell out of what is ALREADY the world’s best app for podcast and comedian discovery.
Whatever you decide, though, thanks for reading. We ❤️ you all.