Stereophile Scamming Subscribers?

I just got my renewal notice in the mail. I had previously subscribed for 3 years, and now it was expiring. I have been a subscriber for over 20 years. The notice stated I could renew for the low, low price of $33/year if I commit for 2 years. I figured I would go online and renew that way. I searched out and lo and behold, a NEW subscription costs only $15/yr with a 2-year commitment.

What are they doing??


Having a low initial subscription and higher renewals is pretty much industry standard and not a scam. That said $33 seems a lot to pay for a year of Stereophile last time I did it was $7!

You asked a great question.Please call Stereophile and ask them to explain.

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Interesting, audiophiles spend thousands of dollars on a continuing quest for the best sound, while also complaining about $2.75 a month for a related magazine.

"Interesting, audiophiles spend thousands of dollars on a continuing quest for the best sound, while also complaining about $2.75 a month for a related magazine."

That's funny, but true

Anything over $5 is a ripoff for Stereophile or TAS. These magazines are a voice of the manufacturer and always praises the product under review as the best of the best.

BTW: I paid $5 a year for Stereophile so I bought 5 years worth, then I will cancel. 
I pay < $10 a year for HIFI+ which I think is far better than Stereophile or TAS

I think that when you order a "new" subscription on Amazon, Stereophile delays delivery of first issue for a few months forcing you to use auto-renew if you want continuity.

I renewed my subscription about 4 months ago and for 4 months got two copies of Stereophile. I figured it was not the hassle to call them and complain. 

I only subscribe for the digital version and $10.00 

@oddiofyl you are 100% correct and it is so funny.


Interesting, audiophiles spend thousands of dollars on a continuing quest for the best sound, while also complaining about $2.75 a month for a related magazine."

That's funny, but true

I think it's $12 a year on Amazon, for that I just renewed...really just to keep up on new gear and recordings, though some of the reviews are good...definitely worth $12 a year for me

This is not an unusual practice in magazine subscriptions, and it also occurs with things like credit cards. A company will send out different offers ($X for Y years for a subscription, or $W annual fee with Z% interest rate for a credit card) -- with different values for W, X, Y, Z to different potential new or renewing customers. They are trying to figure out an offer that maximizes their revenue, even taking into account the few subscribers that will leave. Different demographic groups can even get different offers.  Welcome to the statistics of marketing. If you are an outlier, your can passively quit (and thus contribute to their experiment), find a different channel to purchase, or call them up and negotiate.

I just got a renewal notice that is attached to the current issue.  The offer is 12 issues for $18 or 24 issues for $30.  

I guess I am a bit too honest. If I ran this magazine, it would be one price. I might consider a discount for longer term subscriptions. Personally, I would subscribe for 10 years and pay upfront if I was incentivized. 

This is a very common lowball initial offer technique where companies give a better deal to complete strangers than to loyal customers. 

Sirius XM is another classic example. Complete strangers get it for $5 per month for a year. Loyal customers pay $18 per month.

Cancel and re-subscribe.  


I call Sirius every year at renewal time and threaten to cancel, I get offered service for $6/month every time. I do the same thing for Direct TV and get loyalty discounts


You can actually now use the chatbot to get the good rate with Sirius. Don’t have to talk to anyone like you have in the past. 

Jeez.  If you like Stereophile $33 is not much to pay for 12 issues posted though your door.

What the hell are you all looking for?

By the time my subscription runs out I'm freakin' sick of reading it anyway, same old blather.  Can't wait to read the review (on-line) of the new PS Audio DAC as they just did a two page spread, pretty picture!

So I let it run out and take a break from it and then offers start coming in the mail and the price keeps dropping.  Sooner or later I'll jump back in.

BTW, as many people here I don't give a crap about $33!  That's laughable.




@barts    That's my point.  If you don't like it, don't bother with it.  But you say you don't give a crap about $33.  If you don't like it, don't buy it.  Even for $10.

But beware on-line reviews.  If you are interested in the PS DAC, go listen, don't take the word of someone you don't know.

I just renewed last week for two years at $23 a year. Yeah, I agree though, tagging existing subscribers for renewals that are higher than a new subscriber gets just doesn't sit right. If you're a loyal subscriber why should you be paying MORE ? 


BTW, not surprisingly (though I bet most of us never think of it) Amazon adjusts prices on product for various customers dynamically  so you and I might see different prices for the same product !

@clearthinker   I understood your point and I do like it from time to time,  it just gets to repetitive for me.  So, I take a break from it.

The PS Audio DAC comment was totally tongue-in-cheek.  I'll bet it will be good, maybe very good.  Seems to fit the pattern of their new speakers, big splash, flashy beautiful pictures and then a sterling review.  And yes I did audition them and was not impressed.

I am well passed buying without trying.



This happens with all magazines I've ever subscribed to. Just went through the same thing with The New Yorker. Offers vary from $60 to hundreds of dollars a year. They do send you a nice tote bag though.

I got mine in the mail and went to the website to renew. The only difference was that the website had a three year renewal option and the mail out only had  a one and two year option. The prices were the same. Seemed ok to me.  

Even though I agree that bitching about $20-30 a year is a waste of everyone’s time... I subscribed on Amazon for $9.74 a year with auto renewal. That is 81 cents an issue... That probably barely covers the postage 

Just got the bill, $23 per year. I'm reluctant to do 2 years however, you never know about the economy and future publications.

Plus, I'm a cheapskate...


I still have a year and a half left on my subscription. Thanks for the heads up.

@jtuba  Yep -they said $18 was the new rate, I told them to cancel and it went to $9.00. I am sure magazines are the same way. Just play hard ball, they need you more then you need them.

Another data point...received an email from Stereophile on 11/17


"Thank you for being a loyal subscriber to Stereophile! We hope you are enjoying your subscription and are looking forward to the new content we’re working on for the year ahead. We also want to remind you that when you placed your order, you responded to a special offer to be entered into our Automatic Renewal Program.

When your subscription to Stereophile comes up for renewal, we will automatically renew it at our special rate of $34.97 for U.S. - Autorenew 24 Print and Digital issues for $34.97. For your convenience, your subscription will continue uninterrupted so you never miss an issue, unless you request it to stop. If you wish to cancel at any time, please call 800-666-3746. For international, please call 386-246-0410."

I have also received two mailings from them for a renewal...with a rate of $46.00 for 2 years. When I called Stereophile they informed me that they had no record of an auto renewal and did not have my credit card on file. So, they’re pushing me to renew for $11 more for the 2 year period. A bit disreputable. Think I will probably not sense rewarding this behavior.

I used to subscribe to the "paper" version but my local library offers me the magazine using my Libby app, which I have on an iPad.  If your library offers the same, I'd say "go for it".