MindNode switches to a subscription business model

The relentless march continues.

It seems like this is a “safe” subscription model in that a free editor is now standard, so if you unsubscribe you can still access and make basic changes to MindNode files.

Still, I’m disappointed. Developing a product I’m willing to buy isn’t a service I’m willing to subscribe to. I wish more companies used the Agenda model.

Or, alternatively, give subscribers control over the roadmap. If I’m subscribing, I’m paying for future value—let me know what that value is.

But here’s the real question: are app purchases dead? Is every premium/indie app going the way of subscription?

From the comforts of my armchair, I can’t see why most apps would stick with one-time purchases. The plethora of apps switching to subscriptions seems to indicate that the market for subscription apps is plenty healthy.

And if so, what’s this mean for apps in general? Arguably it’s better for the app ecosystem—more developers making a sustainable living means more developers means more apps/competition… doesn’t it?


Unfortunately, I think apps are entering that “dead” area for one-time purchases. Honestly, it’s just not sustainable for the developer to make a living off one-time purchases. Especially with the amount of apps that flood the App Store, all the marketing, etc required to have things be beneficial for them, not to mention Apple’s healthy 30% cut for itself.

I believe this subscription model for software I want to say was Adobe who first started their Creative Cloud approach, after CS6 or was it Microsoft Office?

An interesting article written back in 2002 regarding this. NY Times - 2002-06-27 - Software subscriptions a bad idea

I am sure those who really need it will subscribe. For me personally, I won’t be subscribing, I love being digital and using apps, but sometimes a little analog never hurt. MindNode can easily be dropped for me.

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Subscription is a nice and regular cash flow. One-time purchase happens once and the developer must come up with a new version to ask for another purchase. Therefore, subscription is more favourable for the developer.

I can understand subscription in case of continuous services, but a lot of developers just lures users and once they feel confident, they change their app to subscription. I can also of course understand the developers, but for example Devon Technologies can develop a very complex piece of software and support it for years without a subscription.

I also prefer the way Agenda went. But the amount of subscription is dishearting. Setapp is great, but you will have to limit your choice of apps on the Setapp pool or pay a lot of money every year for subscriptions. Most of my apps are one-time purchases (for now), but if the trend continues, who knows how long will that last.

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Note this is free if you have Mindnode 5 or 6, too. And the price of $20 for a year otherwise seems quite reasonable.


Mindnode’s subscription and other app subscriptions keep
me focused on using only a few high quality apps and less likely to try new apps. Not as much fun as sniffing out the new but it encourages me to cut back on excessive exploration time on the latest apps.

Long time MindNode user


Before you know it you pay more then $100 per month for software subscriptions :zipper_mouth_face:


Indeed we will…

Previous post about that I had started in 2018 regarding that


Yes, I think for indie developers, especially, the subscription model is the future. The funny part is I’m generally ok with it. Think of how much money we spent on box software back in the day — the prices here don’t seem that unreasonable. Yes, if you kept that software for years and never upgraded, it would be cheaper. But for small developers, I don’t think that is sustainable.

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Horrible software. I paid many, many years for Music Collector (same line of apps). Still have a subscription. But finally deleted the app a month or so ago. It took them ages to implement dark mode. There is no progress on the Mac app. And it hurts the eyes.

I am happy to pay a sub for apps I truly get real benefit from but not for apps that are just nice to have.

I bought MindNode basically because I could, it’s nice to have around but for me not with a subscription. As someone mentioned subscriptions certainly do focus the mind.

For me it is going to be a flight to quality, less shiny toys and more reliable, sustainable apps that actually add something to my workflow, sub or one off payment.

The subscription model probably is the future for some, but not all apps suit it, as a dev the trick is to understand your clients, their needs plus your app and how it fits that need. A general move to subs will kill as many indie devs as just staying with the current model.

The answer is those that know and understand their business will get it right those that may be brilliant coders but do not understand business will not.


My experience is great with them. They do frequent updates.
I have been them with them for almost a decade now.
Comic Collector on the Mac was updated 3x this month.
Sorry to hear about your experience with them.
I have Book, Movie, and Comic Collector.

The web site has a new post about the change

Subscriptions do allow the developer to steadily feed us new features (major and minor). Otherwise they would have to develop features but hold back on releasing them. Then they would release a full version number upgrade with upgrade pricing.

Do you want new features released consistenty? Then go for the subscription.

Otherwise would you like to wait for a whole year? Then you’ll be choosing the one time upgrade fee.

i can see the argument for subscriptions. If it’s an app I truly use a lot, I’ll go with the subscription route. But I do love Agenda’s model where I keep the features I acquired over the last 12 months forever and still get bug fixes.

For other apps, I prefer the one time purchase. It if needed, I can go to the one month subscription if I use the app intensely for a short time.

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I have room for a few subscriptions. But I’m not going to subscribe to something that isn’t mission critical.

I’m guessing the recurring revenue from a tenth of the user base works out better in the long run. The same bet that pubs like the NYTimes made when going behind a paywall.

I liked mindnode. Was nice while it lasted.

Very much agree with this. When it comes to new apps that I am interested in checking out, Subscription pricing is an instant “no.” I stop reading and I’m out.

As far as apps that i already use, I suspect those that went subscription first had an advantage. But now I’m looking at a large pile of subscriptions that I already have and am much less willing to throw another onto the pile.

I’d bet there’s some kind of number that most users will get to. Maybe 3 or 4, before they simply won’t add any more.

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MindNode is a very beautiful app but I started out with iThoughts. That app is still a one time purchase.

FWIW, MindNode 7 will have one time purchases still available. The developer did say that it will change when version 8 will come around.

And they’re a fixed cost. My income fluctuates (as is the case with many) and I buy when I can afford or the cost can be justified (they’re not always the same). Subscriptions tie me to fixed outgoings regardless of circumstances.

That’s before you get into questions of how well the devs provide useful updates. Some do, some don’t and you don’t find out until i’s too late

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Earlier this year I rented Photoshop for one project, Thinking that by paying the premium price for a monthly subscription that I could cancel it.
I was wrong, I had to spend 30 min with Adobe on the phone to unsubscribe. Meanwhile I learned that this is not their business model.
I can’t rent Adobe as a need it.

Dove into pixelmator for my following projects :+1:


I think MindNode is doing this pretty well:

We are fully aware that a subscription might not be the best solution for all of our users. This is why we are launching a new Free Editor together with MindNode Plus. Instead of a viewer of MindNode documents, our free version now also allows basic editing operations like adding nodes, reordering and folding them. In the Free Editor , we will also continue to support all import and export formats, so your data is never locked in!

(Emphasis theirs.)

So while you can pay for more features, you will be able to use the app for basic mindmaps for free—something you can’t do right now.


I think the model of “keep the features you have when the subscription ends, but don’t get anything beyond that time”, which Agenda and others are doing, is a fair model. (Of course, this wouldn’t apply to software as a service cases, like O365.)



I agree - let me keep and used what I’ve paid for, but don’t give me anything further until I pay again. The risk t the dev is that I subscribe for one month, get all today’s features , then cancel, and do that every 2-3 years.