Supertop today released Castro 1.5, a significant update to the popular iOS podcast client. The update brings a number of new features tailored to those using iOS 9 and the iPhone 6s but the news likely to garner the most attention is the company's move to a patronage-based business model for the app.
Castro, previously $3.99, is now entirely free. You can download the app and use all of its features for zero dollars. Instead of charging up front for the app, Supertop is hoping loyal Castro users will voluntarily contribute towards the app's continued development with an optional patronage of $1/month. From the Supertop blog:
Yesterday, Supertop needed an endless stream of thousands of new customers to sustain our business. From today, we can be successful with a far smaller number of much happier customers. We can offer better support. We can add new features more often, instead of holding them back for splashy major releases. In other words, we can do the things that indies do best.
It's obviously not the first time we've seen patronage appear in the podcasting space, with Marco Arment pioneering same business model for his Overcast podcast client last month. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, and other services have also proven the viability of crowdfunding in recent years. I'm confident Supertop with its extremely well-polished Castro offering and solid fanbase can achieve success with patronage.
Version 1.5 of Castro, available today, features 3D Touch home screen shortcuts and Peek and Pop capabilities throughout the app, as well as support for Spotlight search and Safari View Controller. Castro patronage options, purchased in-app, come in 3, 6 and 12 month bundles that do not auto-renew.