I share your sentiment overall, as a user/consumer. However there are examples of products following this path (Peloton being one of them) that did find mass adoption. So although this bothers some users, it has been proven to be a viable business model.
This. The difficult part is finding out how many users are really willing to pay and how much revenue they can generate monthly. Ideally, in my opinion, we don’t want to depend so heavily on hardware sales. That would be the business model I think is more likely to survive and allow us to have time to grow.
Just let me make clear (again) that I too, as a user, hate paywalls, and I hate subscriptions. But I also rather have a product in a viable business model that pays the bills than not having a product at all.
One example I’ll give you about this (as a consumer) is a tennis store near where I live called Tennis Express. They have a few subscriptions that gives access to special deals, discounts and a few other perks. As a consumer, I honestly have no interest in paying them a monthly fee. However, I realized that if I don’t, then Amazon will eat their dinner. So I chose to pay them (it’s like $100/year) because I can, and because I want the physical store to exist so I have a place to walk around and see/try/shop tennis equipment. It’s a deliberate choice.
I really hope you don’t feel that way. This is not about squeezing maximum juice from our user base. It’s about finding a viable business model. I’d love to say that just selling hardware works. Without mass adoption, I don’t think it will. How can we work together and keep the company afloat until mass adoption finds us? Your sentiment here is important because if in the end that’s how everybody feels, then we have ultimately failed.
I think that would no longer be a problem because the company should be structured in such a way that recurring revenue pays the bills of the team responsible for software updates, cloud, content, etc. Producing more units, R&D and etc. would have to be financed some other way.
I think another business model that is starting to get traction is paying a recurring fee to get access to a bundle of professional plugins rather than buying perpetual licenses. This is exactly what Apple is doing with some level of success. Software, in general, is moving away from the perpetual license model and there are good reasons for it.
This isn’t a perfect solution though. There are a bunch of new problems with this idea. We could be in a situation where a user have to pay a fee or else they can’t do a gig which uses a pedalboard that has a plugin that is part of a paid bundle. That would be terrible. But maybe there’s a way, I’m not sure.
All in all, thanks for all the inputs and ideas.