As a journalist, who has gone product manager, I know that there's just one certainty: Change is the new constant. What's true for my daily work once again proves to be valid for my side-project as well.
After initially starting on Revue, I moved to Substack in early 2021 as a platform to publish and distribute the Weekly5 newsletter. Substack provided exciting features that I was eager to incorporate into my service.
However, there's also a fair share of controversy around Substack. They pay high-profile writers directly, some of them with questionable views. The platform has the same problem as Spotify, as demonstrated by the Joe Rogan debate: As soon as you pay content creators, you become a publisher, which comes with new responsibilities.
Now, I never explicitly explained the business model of Substack. They take 10% of every paid subscription on the platform. For those, who support the Weekly5 with a membership, this means: $5.5 of your yearly payment goes to Substack.
With that said, I don't have an issue with Substack taking their fair share (some might argue the percentage is too high), but I struggle more with their handling of the controversies. Substack, nonetheless, remains an intriguing product.
The Case For Ghost
Nonetheless, it's not what annoys me about Substack, but what excites me about Ghost as a new platform for this newsletter.
First, Ghost aligns perfectly with Weekly5's values. It's an open-source project driven by a non-profit community. It's even possible to host the service yourself; however, I'm not educated well enough to achieve this at the moment.
Second, Ghost's business model is based on regular payments by the creators. So I now pay a yearly fee of $108 to use the hosted service, but I can keep the total amount charged for the membership.
Third, the whole user experience and design are, in my opinion, way better—also from a creator-perspective.
What does it mean for you?
Short answer: Nothing.
If you're a free subscriber to the newsletter, you'll continue to receive five new songs each Sunday. But please consider becoming a member and supporting the Weekly5.
With a membership, you keep this platform ad-free and independent. And you'll get full access to the archive and receive special formats like reLISTEN.
In celebration of the switch to Ghost, you can get 20% off of your yearly membership. Take this opportunity today:
If you are already a paying member: Your subscription continues frictionlessly. You can check out your profile here. Just log in with the email address you're using for your existing subscription.
If you need any assistance or have any questions, please reach out to me.
There are still some tasks remaining. Most importantly, I need to work together with the support team of Ghost to import the previous Weekly5 editions and specials into the new environment. And as always, with a migration, things will pop up here and there. Thanks in advance for your patience.