Nov 21, 2023

Inflation finally hits Tangle (kind of)

Some bad news, good news, and great news.

I’m Isaac Saul, and this is Tangle: an independent, nonpartisan, subscriber-supported politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from across the political spectrum on the news of the day — then “my take.”

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I have some bad news, some good news, and then some even better news. Bad news first: The price of Tangle's memberships are about to go up, unless you are already a member (more on that in a second).

The reasons for this are pretty simple. When I started Tangle four years ago, I was working from home putting out a single newsletter four or five days a week. Tangle was just one person, and its price was $50 per year or $5 per month.

Today, I have four employees, several part-time editors, a team of interns, an office space, a YouTube channel, a podcast, social media channels, live events, a burgeoning campus ambassador program, and two teams hosting and managing our website. The quantity and quality of our news coverage has gone up. All of these things cost money, and while the number of our subscribers has grown, so too have our costs and output. Of course, this has all happened over a four-year period where pretty much everything has gotten more expensive for everyone, and while I hate to add to that trend, I also recognize the realities of the situation we’re in. 

Finally, it's also true that, after looking around the space, we have realized that our product is very, very cheap — maybe too cheap. The average cost of a newspaper subscription five years ago was $120 per year. Most newsletters like ours are closer to $100 per year than $50, despite the fact they typically produce far less content than we do. And we give four newsletters away for free every week (and will continue to, forever).

So... we're raising our prices just a little bit: From $50 per year to $60 per year, and from $5 per month to $6 per month. For most consumers, I imagine that won't make a big difference, but the cumulative effect for us will be huge. And, of course, for anyone who wants to subscribe under the “thank you” tier at $199/year, you can still do that to throw some extra support behind our work.

That's the "bad" news.

The good news is this: If you are already a subscriber, the price you are subscribed at now will be your price forever. We are calling you our "legacy" subscribers: the folks who got in early, got us off the ground, and helped make Tangle possible. This is one (of many) ways we hope to say thank you. So, if you're already subscribed, you don't need to worry; your price won't change, you're only going to get more and better content.

The great news is this: If you are not yet a subscriber, you can subscribe now and become a legacy member. We are going to raise our subscription prices before the end of the year, but we want to give everyone already reading Tangle a few weeks to jump to paid memberships before the price goes up in 2024. A reminder that paid members get:

  • Paywalled Friday editions
  • Access to the comments section on all our articles
  • Ad-free newsletters
  • Updates on the business
  • Our entire archive of past editions
  • You can say you are supporting sustainable, independent news 
  • And a new newsletter coming out this year (more on that below)

Some even better news is this: This week, as part of a Black Friday offer, we are going to shave 20% off the first year of a Tangle membership. So if you want to become a subscriber, get locked in at the legacy price, and save some money, you can subscribe under our Black Friday discount to get your first year for $40 now instead of for $60 in a few weeks. That's 34% off.

And the best news is this…

It didn't feel right to ask for more money without offering more as part of our membership. So, along with unlocking Friday editions and getting ad-free newsletters, Tangle members are also going to get our new Sunday newsletter. This newsletter is going to include: 

  • Brief breakdowns of each of the week's editions, so you can read a summary of our coverage in one email to catch up if you want
  • A word game created by Tangle's managing editor, Ari
  • Selections of compelling, non-political content from the internet that we come across during the week (things like recipes, comics, and other interesting news)
  • Q&As with our staff

We're really excited about this new offering, and a new way for people to connect with Tangle. Our plan right now is to debut the Sunday newsletter in early December. Also, if you have ideas about what you want to see in that Sunday newsletter, take today’s reader poll below to make a suggestion!

But don't forget: You have to become a Tangle member.


I just wanted to say thank you. The only reason we have a team and an office and new products at all is because of the first Tangle members who took the leap of faith with us and helped get this thing off the ground. It feels like we are beginning a new chapter now, and we’re really excited about what’s to come and what we can offer in 2024 and beyond.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a regular newsletter on the George Santos ethics probe, and then taking a couple days off for Thanksgiving. But I wanted to make sure everyone got this notice before you all took off for vacation. Thank you again for your support.

Quick hits.

  1. United Auto Workers ratified their new labor contracts with 64% of members casting ballots in favor. (The deal
  2. Former White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain joined Airbnb as their chief legal officer. (The hire)
  3. The United Nations released a climate report warning that the world is on track to surpass a critical warming threshold within the next decade. (The report
  4. 12 Palestinians were killed, including patients, at a hospital encircled by Israeli forces. Israel says it is looking for Hamas command centers. Ceasefire negotiations continue. (The latest)
  5. A federal appeals court ruled that only the federal government, not private citizens or civil rights groups, can sue under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The ruling, which would weaken the act, is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court. (The ruling

The extras.

  • One year ago today we wrote about Nancy Pelosi stepping down.
  • The most clicked link in yesterday's newsletter was House Republicans making January 6 footage public.
  • Playing the cards he was dealt: 483 Tangle readers responded to our poll asking about House Speaker Mike Johnson's split appropriation bills strategy, with 50% saying they mostly approve. 22% highly approve, 21% neither approve or disapprove, 5% somewhat disapprove, and 2% highly disapprove. "He's dealing the best he can with the hand he was dealt," one respondent said.
  • Nothing to do with politics: An Alabama woman born with two uteruses is pregnant. With twins. One in each womb.
  • Take the poll. What would you want to see in a Sunday edition of Tangle? Let us know

Have a nice day.

Runner ducks are a slender, upright-standing species of duck that, unlike more commonly known breeds, runs gracefully rather than waddles. They are known for their flocking instinct and running with synchronized precision in groups. All that was a distant dream for Hope, a pet runner duck who was born with a twisted left leg and could only limp around his enclosure while his able-bodied companions raced past him. He had an operation to straighten it but still could not walk properly, let alone run. But his owner, Jennifer Laszenszky, refused to give in. She contacted artificial-limb designer Nicole Gottschalk, who measured Hope and printed a plastic limb that can be strapped onto the crippled leg with Velcro. As soon as it was fitted, Hope waddled off, apparently happy to be more mobile at last. “It brought tears to my eyes, he was quacking so excitedly,” Laszensky said.  The Times of London has the story.

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Isaac Saul
I'm a politics reporter who grew up in Bucks County, PA — one of the most politically divided counties in America. I'm trying to fix the way we consume political news.