/DRIVE Creates /DRIVE+ Subscription Car Videos, Here’s How We All Benefit

So the day has come. I do feel badly for JF Musial and crew. Why? Because the boys at /DRIVE have just done one of the ballsiest things that absolutely had to be done: A paid subscription service in order to survive in the rough world of the Internet.

Just for those who don’t understand or know yet, /DRIVE now has three ways to watch their content. There’s always the free stuff with ads, but it’ll be limited to 3-4 minutes, or you can get the full video and newer, exclusive content on /DRIVE+, a paid subscription through YouTube of either $3.99 a month, or $39.99 a year (I paid for the year. You get a free 14-day trial), and you can check out more unique shows on NBC Sports Network on your cable or satellite provider. So three ways to watch some of the best and most intriguing automotive content this side of Top Gear UK.

I remember talking to JF at the NY Auto Show a couple of years ago about the deal with YouTube and /DRIVE. I was excited and I congratulated and wished him luck with everything.

A few of the hosts that have been with /DRIVE over the years, along with JF, have been some good friends of mine.

I remember meeting Mike Spinelli the first time and treating him like a hero. They say never meet your heroes, but those people never had the pleasure of hanging out with Spinelli. His humor and wit is just as brilliant as you’d expect from his writing and videos. He’s arguably the best living journo-writer in the world, along with Clarkson and Jack Baruth.

Matt Farah is someone you always want on your side, because he’s loyal, kind, and wants to see everyone get a good opportunity. I barely knew him before he invited me to his Birthday party in Redondo Beach back in 2009 the day before the LA Auto Show. Let’s just say I didn’t make it to breakfast the next morning to hear Bob Lutz speak. Derek D. of FastLaneDaily was there, as was Leo Parente and Tom Morningstar. Tom literally kicked everyone’s ass in Mario Kart.

Leo is, by the way, one of the more entertaining individuals I’ve met. He’s just like he is in all his videos. I always enjoy chatting with him for a minute whenever I see him.

Alex Roy, while no longer being with /DRIVE, did one of my favorite shows, “Live and Let Drive”. Alex is someone that I know I can call any time of day, and most likely he won’t answer. Regardless, he’s always lent his ear, been honest with me, and is a kind hearted guy with a lot of love for anyone in his life.

Sadly I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting, Chris Harris, Mike Musto, Ian Whelan, Larry Kosilla, or most of the other staff.

So here’s the deal: people are bitching like crazy because they’re angry they have to pay. Yeah, okay, I’m sorry you have to part with the money you were going to spent on weed or shitty beer for your party to finally get into the pants of the girl who wants nothing to do with you anyway. But here’s the thing. This isn’t about paying /DRIVE so they make money off of you. No, all you’re doing is paying to have the best auto content show up in your YouTube news feed every day for however long to come. You aren’t just supporting an idea, you’re keeping a dozen amazing people working on completely unique stuff for you. Some may argue, “Well Motor Trend doesn’t make me pay!” Yeah they do… if you buy their magazine, that’s how they make their money to support dozens of people making videos. I’d be afraid to see how much Motor Trend spends on hiring and renting personnel and equipment. And /DRIVE still have higher quality stuff with fewer people and less funding.

Here’s a special economics lesson from Chris Harris on the matter. And Road and Track got in on the advertising, too.

So quit your bitching and subscribe if you appreciate high quality content tailor-made just for you. This isn’t Comcast or Verizon trying to weasel money out of Netflix or you for “faster Internet”. This isn’t a lying scheme to profit off you. It’s about people. People keeping their jobs doing what they love doing.