Pocket Casts gives entitled users free “Pocket Casts Plus” tier for life

It’s a little over 24 hours after the team at Pocket Casts took the wraps of their completely free offering of Pocket Casts and new subscription based Plus plan. The combo brings some new enhanced, but non-essential, features to the platform, but the Shifty Jelly team are back out again with more free things for those who were displeased with the free things they already had.

Unfortunately we kind of assumed this would happen, but we’re saddened it did. From what we can tell, the internet’s entitled users took to social media to complain that having previously paid for a product (and used that product in the form they paid for it), being given 3 years free access to a new product was just not good enough.

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Let’s just ignore the fact they never had Pocket Casts Plus in the first place, never paid for it, and have no reasonable justification for expecting it for free.

In true Shift Jelly style, the team immediately responded and now anyone who has ever paid for the web or desktop version of the service will receive Pocket Casts Plus for free, for life.

Sure, it’s a great move, and we congratulate the team for a swift response, it’s utterly ridiculous that people think paying money for one thing would somehow entitle them to have the next version of the product – with completely new features – for free, ongoing.

The good news is that for people like me who actually want to pay for the development of Pocket Casts, which is the computer software that I have used the most hours of in my entire life, they are working on a way to allow us to subscribe despite my new lifetime free membership.

Duncan Jaffrey: @Dunofrey Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

View Comments (6)

  • The tone of this post is unnecessary. I've paid for Pocketcasts twice now, and while I have no problem with it going free for new users, this situation is completely different.

    The web and desktop apps were a one-off payment. Shiftyjelly literally advertised it as “No monthly subscriptions or freemium hoo-ha [...] We’ll ask you for $9. Just once.” Then the deal was altered. Of course Plus features aren't completely 1:1 to the previous tier, but that's not the users' fault. Blame your pricing scheme. Keep the original promise with Plus-exclusive features as a value add, and no one would care.

    So yes, those users are literally entitled to features they had originally paid for. I'm all for supporting supporting devs, especially local ones, but this was a 100% unforced error by Shiftyjelly.

  • You seem to be missing the point made by complainants: Pocket Casts Web App was rolled I to Plus, so user who had already paid for the Web App (advertised as lifetime access) were losing it. Shifty Jelly isn't giving out a freebie here, they're just allowing Web App customers access to something they already bought.

    • I agree. The lifetime web version access I purchased was suddenly going to be taken from me in three years, so I complained. I would have been very happy to support them if I'd been left with my purchased web version access and they simply asked me to subscribe for the other Pro features.

  • I'm going to assume good faith here, and that this is serious. What happened was a large part of the user based paid for the web-version. Which basically just unlocked that feature. Now it was being rolled into Plus. It wasn't about wanting Plus, it was about keeping the web player that was constantly touted as a lifetime thing. Personally, I wouldn't mind paying a fee for the web player but changing a fundamental part of your offering is always going to be a bad move.

  • I paid for the app before it was free and now anyone can get it without paying? What kind of world is this? I should be demanding free access to Pocket Casts Plus for life too. Sure I've used the app for 7 years (in November), and I only paid $3 for it. Still, if I knew I could just wait a bit and get it for free.

    Edit: I should add a /s just in case anyone takes this seriously.

  • Look, I for one am so happy, as strange as it sounds, to have yearly subscription to pay the Pocketcast team. They deserve every cent they get from me and I always thought I definitely got my money's worth. Android and iOS users that are seeing something they paid for now available free have a right to be a little annoyed that they paid for something that is free but in other ways, probably don't deserve to complain to loudly as a) they are still getting what they paid for b) got a bonus for paying.

    But, while I think I paid for web (I really don't remember, I think I paid for all three platforms and was estatic to do so because of the quality of the product), I didn't realise it was sold as a one time life time deal and with that, those that have complained, have a somewhat fair argument. That's why Pocketcasts response is a great one. I wouldn't blame them if they had two teirs of plus. The grand fathered in one that doesn't get access to any of the new goodness but gets the web player ongoing and the new Plus but its probably more work then its worth to do that.

    So in summary, while I feel like we were screwing over Pocketcasts with the value we got for the one time payment, I can understand the complaint of those that bought the web version thinking it was a one of payment.

    JMTC