This post provides comedians & podcasters with key information about Laughable Insider, our new premium subscription tier on Laughable for iOS (available here), the best-rated podcast player in the App Store for over 2 years.
Laughable for Android (available here) will get Insider in the near future, but for now, it’s iOS-only.
Pricing & Structure
Insider costs users $2.00/month if they sign up for 6 months up front. $0.60 (30%) goes to Apple, and $1.40 (70%) to Laughable.
All users get unlimited access to Laughable for 10 days after downloading, but after that, joining Insider is necessary to continue playing audio.
Those who decide not to join remain free to browse the app – including artist profiles – but need to listen elsewhere.
Going forward, Insiders will get access to new app features (e.g., the ability to hear Patreon feeds they pay for directly through Laughable). And for the first time, we are planning to work with artists to develop exclusive content available only to Insiders. More on this farther down.
Why Now, and Why a Subscription Model?
We’re a two-person company, and for the first 4 years of our existence, we never charged a dime for Laughable. Like a rookie comedian doing unpaid gigs, we nuked our personal finances to get started doing something we love.
It’s time for Laughable to become a sustainable business. Not to profit, but to continue building offerings that help fans FIND FUNNY! and help artists be heard, win fans, and get paid. That missions guides everything we do.
We spent a ton of time thinking about which business model would be best for artists, users, and Laughable. We landed on charging users a small monthly fee for a premium tier of access, which we thought would be much cleaner and simpler than inserting advertising or charging creators.
What Are Users Paying for, Exactly?
Comedy has abundant of supply (talented artists) and demand (everyone loves comedy). However, demand often fails to find supply reliably. This means talented artists have fewer fans and make less money than they deserve. And it means comedy fans struggle to find the good stuff and avoid what’s not for them.
Laughable is changing that. Users are paying for our service for the same reason they’ve spent an average of 9 hours a week using it: we make it easy to hear the people and podcasts they love – and to form lasting connections to the artists that resonate.
The best part is, artists benefit from this even more than users do.
Specifically, Users Love Laughable because…
… They Can Do Everything They Can in a Conventional Podcast Player.
For example, subscribe to podcast series that rely on apps like Laughable for discovery/distribution. We’ve got CarPlay compatibility, automatic downloads, a sleep timer, and other bells and whistles people expect in a high-quality podcast player.
(Of course, every time someone downloads/presses play on an episode in Laughable, the podcaster gets a download credit to their RSS feed.)
And on Top of That…
… They Can Subscribe Directly to Individual Artists
If you have a Laughable profile (example ⬇), users have one-tap access to:
– Your hosted podcast(s) – Pod appearances as a guest – Social media pages, website, tour dates, & Patreon.
Not unlike a podcast-focused IMDB page.
Users can easily listen to not just your past podcasts, but also your future appearances, which appear automatically in their Subscriptions feed ⬇.
… They Can Hear More from Their EXISTING Favorite Artists
Laughable works WONDERS for increasing engagement/loyalty with your existing audience, who listen to guest appearances they never would have come across elsewhere.
And those subscribed to you get your appearances in their Subscriptions feed as soon as they’re released. This is particularly useful when you’re making the rounds to promote something: Laughable makes sure your fans know about that new special, tour, podcast, etc.
Speaking of new podcasts; ever had trouble getting listeners of your existing podcast to subscribe to your new one? Laughable automatically delivers episodes from both – and, of your guest spots – to your subscribers’ feeds.
Laughable builds lasting bridges from your fans to YOU, then lets your content cross whenever it’s ready.
That’s mainly podcasts today, but in the future? EVERYTHING you’re creating for an audience – namely digital media, merch, and tickets to upcoming live shows.
… They Can Meet NEW Favorites, and Hear More of Them, Too
When you have a guest on your podcast, or appear together as guests, that person’s Laughable subscribers tune in for them. But in the process, they hear YOU – often for the first time.
Because they’re long-form, podcasts are the perfect medium to make an impression on people who aren’t familiar with you. And Laughable is the perfect app to do so, because they can easily tap through to your other podcasts, social media pages, tour dates, & Patreon.
And if they subscribe to you on Laughable, you now have a direct line to them in the future.
This illustrates why Laughable is such a game changer: we introduce you to new fans AND help you form lasting connections to them. Which is why…
– 71% of regular users say they spend more time listening to podcasts on Laughable compared to their old app.
– 96% say Laughable has introduced them to multiple podcasts / artists they are now a fan of.
Looking to the Future
Partnering with You on Content Creation
For the first time, we’re planning to work with interested artists on creating podcasts and other content that we release exclusively to Insiders through our app. We have a ton of proprietary data about what and whom users are interested in hearing, which will help us focus on the right artists – even if they remain under-appreciated in the broader comedy world.
Partnering with You on Live Shows
We’ve done 5 live shows so far at the Comedy Cellar. It’s been a great opportunity to build the Laughable community, mint some new fans for the performers, and make some money for the venue.
We look forward to partnering with venues and comics on more live shows in the future – both standup showcases and podcasts. And with buy-in from performers, we plan to record content we’ll release through our app to Insiders.
Building Even Better Ways for Fans to Find and Hear You
We know you rely on a vast number of apps and websites for people to find your podcasts and listen to them. But not all apps are created equal.
Laughable is the only one where people can find all your content and links in one place, and subscribe directly to you. As we outlined above, we’ve already been hugely effective in helping you strengthen your connections to existing fans, and connect with new fans as well.
We’re excited to introduce new and better ways to help you with this by introducing more sophisticated offerings to users and exclusive content.
Providing You with Even Better Analytics Tools
Many of you have told us that you wish you had better ways to understand your audience. Who’s listening? Where? How?
These tools took us hundreds of hours to build, and we’ve never charged a dime for them. We look forward to building even more useful tools in the future.
Sensitivities / 🐘 in the Room
A Corporation in Name Only
We fully appreciate artists can be skeptical toward the “industry” side of comedy, and fiercely protective of their likeness and content.
We also appreciate that Laughable is, legally speaking, a corporation – and that corporations have a tendency to be, um, greedy douchebags.
But the reality is, we’re just two guys who love comedy and creating things. (Read our founding story for more background.)
We can’t be sure what the future holds for Laughable, but we can be sure that we will succeed only if we help comedians succeed even more than we do. That’s by design.
Our Commitment to Artists
Building and operating useful technology is expensive. Just the software and computing power we rely on to keep Laughable up and running costs us over $20k/year.
We know Apple has been willing/able to serve your content to listeners for free through Apple Podcasts, but this isn’t feasible for a tiny startup like Laughable.
For us to keep going, modest revenue must be a part of the equation. Not to profit off of artists – we never have and never will – but rather, to continue making you way more money than than Laughable ever does.
That’s our pledge to you.
The money Laughable has made for artists doesn’t just come from extra podcast advertising income, either – though that’s substantial. Way more importantly, we’ve turned thousands of people into active fans of multiple artists they hadn’t heard of before. And in many cases, these people have proceeded to subscribe to your Patreon, see you live, buy your merch, etc.
We don’t have access to precise data, but so far, this easily adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars that you’ve earned from fans that wouldn’t exist without Laughable.
Skeptical? Laughable users are not your average fans. They are your ideal fans:
– 72% have attended a live standup show in the past year (compared to <5% for the U.S. adult population overall).
– 19% have attended a live podcast recording.
– 46% have purchased a comedian’s merch.
These folks spend money on comedy. They tell their friends about you. They’re the exact people you want a fans. And they’ve already spent a shitload of money on artists Laughable introduced them to.
It will continue to be our pleasure to play this matchmaker role at a way broader scale going forward. We just need to make sure we have the resources to do so.
Feedback/questions? Please feel free to reach out: