Why Upgrade to a Paid 'Flagging Down' Subscription

bob dylan banknote 4

“Indispensable” — Rolling Stone

“Indispensable” — Aquarium Drunkard

Rolling Stone and Aquarium Drunkard agree: If you’re a Bob Dylan fan, you literally cannot dispense with this newsletter. Critic Steven Hyden used that same word too, “indispensable,” and while that was technically in reference to my book, said book spun off from this newsletter so I’m gonna count it. Flagging Down the Double E’s is triply indispensable!

You know who’s indispensable to me? The generous, smart, and devastatingly attractive people who upgrade to a paid subscription. While I am grateful for all subscribers (genuinely, thank you), these are the people who enable me to keep doing this. So, I thought I’d create a page to answer three obvious questions for anyone on the free plan considering upgrading.

First, the most important one…

1. “Why should I pay for a subscription?”

The big question. Also known as “What do I get with a paid subscription that I don’t get with a free subscription?”

Three main things (well, four, for now):

  1. Twice as many newsletters! Half of my newsletters I send out to the free list, and half to the paid list, all with tapes. I tend to make the paid newsletters the ones for the real superfans too. Deep dives into how a song’s arrangement has changed, silly posts about bootleg art, and every single Rough and Rowdy Ways tour dispatch by myself and other writers—all only to paid subscribers.

    Here are three recent newsletters that you can only read as a paid subscriber:

  2. Discord chatroom. Now, for most people, this probably sounds like some combination of confusing and nerdy. It’s not! (Well, it’s not confusing at least—this whole endeavor is fairly nerdy.) It’s basically a private, paid-subscribers-only chatroom to talk all things Bob. I didn’t know what Discord was when I first joined, and it took me less than a minute to figure it out. Here’s a screenshot I just took:

    As of this screenshot we’re speculating about Dylan’s Summer 2024 tour plans
  3. Assign me a show. Most newsletters I run are tied to a particular Dylan show from the past, whether it’s from 1966 or 2016. I usually pick ‘em myself, but every annual subscriber can pick one for me to do! Your first show? Your favorite show? Email or message me and I will tackle it on the show’s anniversary (which is why this is only for annual subscribers, to ensure you will still be around when it runs).

    These three shows were all subscriber requests:

  4. Private Dylan-bootlegs streaming service. Note: This one I’m calling a bonus rather than a perk, as I can’t guarantee it will last forever. But, for now at least, there is a secret Spotify-esque streaming service where you can choose among hundreds of Dylan live tapes to play with a single click. More added every week. Invite-only for paid subscribers.

    Part of the Rolling Thunder section

2. “How much is a subscription?”

Five bucks a month or $60 a year.

If you do the math, you’ll realize that works out to be the same rate, but, as noted above, annual subscribers get that bonus perk. (Also I think you end up saving a buck or two over the course of the year due to transaction fees.)

And, listen, if you really want the full shebang but your wallet is tight right now, don’t worry about it. Just drop me a line, I’m always happy to work something out.

3. “Fine, I’m convinced. How do I upgrade?”

By clicking the button below, or any of the newsletters I linked above (which will give you a free one-week trial too).

When your confirmation email comes, it will include links to all the perks I mentioned earlier: The Discord, the archive with all the extra newsletters, the streaming service, etc.

I’m excited to have you aboard!