Ever since Elon Musk took over Twitter, one of his aims has been to build up its subscription business, launching a revamped Twitter Blue package that gives subscribers a “verified” checkmark, reduced ads, preferential treatment by its algorithm, and other benefits. The subscription, which is still available only via iOS or the web, now offers a discounted annual subscription for customers, which you can pick instead of the $8 per month web pricing or $11 iOS price that shifts Apple’s 30 percent fee to the consumer.
If you’d like to kick in some extra funds right away, Twitter Blue annual subscriptions are available on the web for $84 per year, saving you a little over 12 percent compared to paying for a monthly web subscription — or 36 percent over paying via iOS.
It’s not clear if Apple will care if Twitter claws back its cut this way, but Apple has historically carved out exceptions in its App Store Guidelines for this sort of thing: “reader” apps and “multiplatform services” can generally let you log into a subscription you’ve already purchased elsewhere without paying Apple’s fees.
Twitter’s new annual purchase option was listed on a Twitter support page as of today, but we didn’t spot any other significant changes to the plan. Whether you pay monthly or yearly, your checkmark will take an unspecified amount of time to appear, and you will need to verify a phone number to enable it.
The accelerated payment option is appearing in the shadow of recent reports that Twitter has failed to pay rent on some of its office spaces. It’s being sued for nonpayment in San Francisco, and in Singapore, there are multiple reports that employees were walked out of the office over nonpayment.
There was also a report early Tuesday from the Financial Times, which cites three unnamed sources saying the first installment of interest payments on $13 billion in loans Musk used to finance his $44 billion Twitter takeover could be due as soon as the end of January. The paper mentions that bankers are in discussions with Musk about restructuring some of the expensive unsecured debt with margin loans backed by his stake in Tesla.
Musk, who is now worth $137 billion or so according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has seen his net worth drop sharply recently, falling far enough for Guinness to call it a new world record. At least with this annual subscription, anyone interested in helping Musk’s financial situation — without buying a Tesla, a future rocket trip around the Moon, or a stake in Twitter at the price he originally paid — can do their small part to keep the lights on and the doors open.