Darkroom Photo Editing App Switches to Subscription Model for New Users

Darkroom today announced that it has switched to a subscription-based business model for new users, with pricing set at $3.99 per month or $19.99 per year. A one-time $49.99 purchase option is also available. A subscription provides access to all of Darkroom's filters and tools, plus any new features added later.

In a blog post explaining the move, Darkroom says existing users will continue to have access to all of the app's premium features for free. For new users, Darkroom is hopeful that the subscription model will increase its revenues so that it can hire more people and invest more heavily in its infrastructure.


The popular photo editing app for the iPhone and iPad has also been updated to version 4.4 with new features, including a watermarking tool, a selection of custom app icons, and a photo export summary:
- Icon Picker:

It doesn't hurt to have a bit of fun now and then :) Those who have been following us for a while know that every year or so we tend to give our brand a big overhaul to reflect major changes to the app. Now you can pick from old favorites or fun new interpretations of our icon.

- Export Watermark:

Full-featured watermarking tool that allows you to set a text or image watermark, and control its size, location, opacity, and even typeface. More explicit form of protection, particularly in a world dominated by social media where images are often reshared without credit.

- Export Summary:

Now you can see a short summary of your most important options when exporting a photo, such as export file type and quality, is watermark or copyright metadata protection added etc.
Darkroom is available on the App Store for the iPhone and iPad.

Top Rated Comments

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6 days ago at 12:18 pm
I've seen this cycle before. We are currently at step 5.

1. Create an app.

2. Charge money for app.

3. Update app for free for years.

4. Switch to subscription, because money isn't being made.

5. Upset current users by charging them or let current users stay for free.

6. Don't gain enough paying users and eventually shutdown.

Moral of the story: People love apps, but hate subscriptions.
Rating: 33 Votes
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6 days ago at 12:47 pm


For new users, Darkroom is hopeful that the subscription model will increase its revenues so that it can hire more people and invest more heavily in its infrastructure.


More likely, a fair number of people in the future who would've considered a one-time expenditure to purchase this app will now not even look at it.
Rating: 12 Votes
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6 days ago at 01:07 pm


I’d be embarrassed if I made issue with a $20 per year subscription fee. Developers have to keep the money rolling in to make money to improve the product. Photo editing apps are not like games that have gazillions of players.


You’re absolutely right, they don’t have millions of people playing their game but they also don’t add millions of new updates either or require servers to continue to run for a photo editing app. Charge a one time fee and disclose that this one time fee is only good for a few years and then major features require in-app purchases going forward after that, problem solved.

People have had it with subscriptions. There’s way too many. Apps are becoming terrible for it. I like many others don’t even look at an app again once I see it requires a subscription. Sure you can be embarrassed making issue about the $20 a year fee. I won’t be because $20 a year coupled with 10 other apps along with all my other subscriptions is getting outta hand and I can’t afford it.

Cheers.
Rating: 11 Votes
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6 days ago at 12:36 pm
Its a great concept of an app but honestly its just so full of silly bugs to be reliable or be an end all solution.

Apple has added SO much editing capability in ios 13 that its more than enough for 90 percent of people.
Rating: 9 Votes
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6 days ago at 12:32 pm
Delete app.
Rating: 8 Votes
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6 days ago at 12:47 pm
I’d be embarrassed if I made issue with a $20 per year subscription fee. Developers have to keep the money rolling in to make money to improve the product. Photo editing apps are not like games that have gazillions of players.
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
6 days ago at 01:02 pm
I have the Darkroom app installed but I've never really used it much. Time to delete it. The widespread shift to subscription models is really frustrating, and I can't help but feel it's going to hurt developers in the end. I understand all the arguments routinely made in defense of the model and developers, I really do. But as more and more apps switch it's just going to become unmanageable. I have a handful of apps that I subscribe to, mostly weather and storage apps where the subscription supports ongoing data and storage costs that the developers carry. Now I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars a year just to use the apps on my phone, so at some point I'm going to reach saturation and I'm pretty much there. I've picked the few apps I'm willing to subscribe to. Let's say I find a new app I'm interested in that I might have gladly purchased in the past for a one-time cost, but instead it's yet another subscription app...no way I'm adding yet another sub so that developer will have missed out on a potential sale.
Rating: 5 Votes
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6 days ago at 01:03 pm
I would choose one-time purchases in a heartbeat over a subscription. I hate this trend, especially when it doesn’t really come with added support benefits, it is mostly a better revenue model for developers.
Rating: 5 Votes
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6 days ago at 01:23 pm
i will never ever pay for a subscription on software tools. there is not enough new content in productive tools to justify a monthly payment. it’s not for consumption like the netflix or hulu of this world after all
Rating: 5 Votes
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5 days ago at 06:52 pm



Moral of the story: People love apps, but hate subscriptions.



Moral of the story: You can’t make a living or run a company selling apps for $2.99.

Only ones making money are games selling in-app loot.
Rating: 4 Votes
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