The New Instagram Subscription Model

This Change is Everything.

Josh Rose
8 min readOct 13, 2023

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About three months ago, Instagram announced they were going to roll out a subscription model to some creators, allowing them to provide exclusive content to audiences who pay for it. And you can set a few different pricing plans, from $0.99/mo up to $19.99/mo. But it was a relatively soft rollout and very few big media outlets picked it up. It finally made its way over to me and, I assume, many others.

I think this is the biggest thing to happen to social media since social media platforms began monetizing and is an immediate game-changer for creators.

We Are All Boiled Frogs

Creators have been throwing things up on social media, basically for free, for so long that we no longer understand the value of what we post. Ask yourself — what is a month of your content worth? Most likely, even though you can probably tell me the engagement metrics of any given post, you don’t actually know its monetary value. This is completely backwards from how the entertainment world normally works and social platforms have built up their own bank accounts on the backs of this inversion.

How did it get to this?

We got here slowly and it’s a bit of a complicated story, but it starts with the idea that social media is just a place to communicate (be social). And yet, Meta owns the number one channel for brands to reach customers now. Despite what we’ve been trained to believe, this is not just where we communicate, it’s enormous business — for some. Our casual content fuels the engine that makes Meta a bigger company than, say, NBCUniversal. Imagine if the people who made content on NBC just threw it up on there for free, caring only about engagement metrics and not valuing their production costs and time. Sure, TV shows and movies have higher production costs than our Instagram content, but that doesn’t make the value zero.

This is why I applaud Instagram for putting subscriptions in place. It’s a whole new model, really, and even at a few dollars a month, every bit worth considering if it’s right for you.

Who Should Do It?

Moving to a subscription model is not going to be for everyone. As I see it, there are…

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Josh Rose

Filmmaker, photographer, artist and writer. Writing about creator life and observations on culture. Tips very very much appreciated: https://ko-fi.com/joshsrose