October 19th, 2017
Every so often something comes along that tries to change, or shift the way things are done. Setapp from MacPaw is that something. I believe it has the potential to change the Mac app market in a big way.
At its heart, Setapp is a Mac app subscription service. Very much like Netflix, but for apps. The twist here is that it's based on quality, not quantity. For a fixed monthly fee you get access to around 100 Mac apps.
Setapp costs $9.99 a month. You get the first month free so you can test out all the apps, and no you don't need a credit card to sign-up. You can also cancel at any time (no long-term contracts).
I personally think the service is ridiculously cheap, especially when you consider there are now over 100 high-quality apps included. If you purchased all of those apps outright It'd easily cost more than $2,500 (USD).
I'm not going to list out all of the 100+ apps here because you can head over to the Setapp website to see the full list. I will, however, list out a few of my favourites to give you an idea of the quality: CleanMyMac, Ulysses, Focused, Screens, iStat Menus, Sip, NetSpot, and of course, our own apps, RapidWeaver and Squash.
I've been asked by a lot of Mac developers what I think of Setapp. I honestly don't know if it'll make sense in the long run, or if it's really got a shot at being one of the major platforms for app distribution. I do however know that I'm willing to give it a chance.
The main concern I've heard from developers is about revenue. They worry they'll lose out as more and more of their users sign-up for Setapp instead of buying directly. I personally don't think it'll affect direct sales or Mac App Store sales in a negative way. For example, RapidWeaver and Squash sales have stayed the same, but we've picked up more users (and revenue) via Setapp.
The service is also invite-only for developers. This means MacPaw can make sure only top quality apps get added to the service. I think this will be key to its success in the long run. If the quality of apps decreases then the subscriber base will plummet. If Setapp was full of junk apps there's no way I'd pay ten bucks a month for it.
Making your apps available in multiple places works just like selling products in the real world. If you put your product in front of more people, you'll sell more units (providing it's a half-decent product).
It's also good to give customers choice. I understand some customers don't like subscriptions and that's fine, they can still buy directly from us. However, if people are okay with subscriptions they can use Setapp. Either way, they are using our apps, and that's what really counts.
Setapp has generated us over $11,000 in revenue so far. As more users join Setapp our monthly revenue should increase, the general trend appears to be an upwards one.
Ideally I'd like the revenue to be in the $4,000+ a month range, hopefully, things will pick up and we'll get there sooner rather than later.
Having fewer apps on the service means there's less competition for developers, and in turn, this should result in developers getting a more respectable amount of revenue (providing their app gets used). This is important because if developers aren't receiving a fair share of revenue they'll soon start to remove their apps. My experience so far suggests this shouldn't be a problem, but again, only time will tell.
Setapp has been allowed to seemingly spring up overnight because Apple appears to be leaving the Mac App Store to languish. I think Setapp is going to be a very popular service, especially as more high-quality developers get on board. I know for sure that Apple will be watching very closely to see how customers on the Mac react to it.
As a user and developer, I've been very happy with Setapp and would recommend it to anyone. Maybe this will change if things don't work out, but right now, Setapp appears to have a very bright future ahead of it.