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Substack User and Revenue Statistics

Brian Dean

Written by Brian Dean

Substack User and Revenue Statistics

Substack launched in 2017 as a tool for starting paid email newsletters.

Within a year, the company had turned a mission to help writers reach audiences that value them into a platform with 25,000 paying subscribers.

Now, the company boasts having over 2 million paid subscriptions (out of 35 million active subscriptions on the platform).

So, how big is Substack in the overall economy? And what were the details behind their rapid rise?

Here’s a summary of what you’ll find out on this page:

Substack Usage Statistics (Top Picks)

  • Substack has more than 20 million monthly active subscribers.
  • Substack hit 2 million paid subscriptions.
  • More than 17,000 writers get paid on Substack.
  • The top 10 authors on Substack collectively make $25 million per year.

Substack Monthly Active Users

According to the company update shared in February 2023, Substack has over 20 million monthly active subscribers.

Substack has over 20 million monthly active subscribers

Traffic estimates show that Substack had 49.4 million unique visitors to its website across desktop and mobile devices in January 2024. That’s an increase of 41.95% since August 2023.

Here’s a table with unique visitors to Substack since August 2023:

Date Substack unique visitors
August 2023 34.8 million
September 2023 38 million
October 2023 39.8 million
November 2023 38.9 million
December 2023 45.9 million
January 2024 49.4 million

Sources: Substack, Semrush

Substack Paid Subscriptions

According to the company, Substack has more than 2 million paid subscriptions on the platform. Number of paid subscriptions on Substack doubled from 1 million since November 2021.

Substack has more than 2 million paid subscriptions on the platform

Paid subscriptions may not represent unique paying subscribers.

To put in a perspective, the total number of active subscriptions hit 35 million (as of April 2023).

Paying subscriptions account for 5.71% of all active subscriptions on the platform.

Sources: Substack 1, Substack 2, Axios

Substack Paying Subscribers

According to the latest update, Substack has more than 500,000 paying subscribers (as of February 2021). Substack no longer provides updated data on the number of unique paying subscribers publicly.

Substack has more than 500,000 paying subscribers

Here’s a full breakdown of Substack’s paid subscriptions over time:

Date Paying subscribers
July 2018 11,000
October 2018 25,000
April 2019 40,000
July 2019 50,000
March 2020 100,000
September 2020 250,000
December 2020 250,000+
February 2021 500,000+

Sources: Niemen Lab, Substack 1, Substack 2, TechCrunch, Axios, Youtube

Substack Writers

There are more than 17,000 writers who get paid for their newsletters published on Substack.
Source: Axios

Substack Business Model

Publishing is free for creators on Substack. For paid subscriptions, a 10% commission fee is charged by Substack. And another 2.9% + 30 cents per payment and 0.5% for recurring payments is charged by Substack’s payment provider (Stripe).

Source: Substack

Highest Earning Newsletters on Substack

Top 27 highest earning newsletters on Substack are estimated to generate at least $22 million in subscription revenue.

Highest Earning Newsletters on Substack

Here’s a complete list of top earning newsletters on Substack ranked by minimum implied revenue (Substack doesn’t provide specific data on number of paying subscribers; data as of February 2023):

Newsletter Annual subscription revenue
Letters from an American $5,000,000
The Pragmatic Engineer $1,500,000
Lenny’s Newsletter $1,500,000
Bulwark+ $1,000,000
The Fifth Column $1,000,000
The Free Press $800,000
Slow Boring $800,000
Tipping Point Prophecy Update $770,000
House Inhabit $700,000
The Isolation Journals $600,000
Parent Data $600,000
Unreported Truths $600,000
Blocked and Reported $550,000
Racket $500,000
Dr Mercola’s Censored Library $500,000
Culture Study $500,000
a newsletter $500,000
Your Local Epidemiologist $500,000
The Weekly Dish $500,000
Popular Information $500,000
Steady $500,000
Who is Robert Malone $500,000
Proof $500,000
Robert Reich $500,000
Steve Kirsch’s newsletter $500,000
The North Star $500,000
The Martyr Made Substack $500,000

Source: Press Gazette

Substack Funding

Substack has raised a total of $90.2 million across 5 funding rounds.

Notable investors include Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz.

Funding round, Date Funding amount
Pre Seed, January 2018 $120 thousand
Seed, April 2018 $2 million
Series A, July 2019 $15.3 million
Series B, March 2021 $65 million
Community Fundraising (Wefunder) $7.8 million

Sources: Crunchbase, Fortune, Axios, Wefunder

Substack Valuation

After Substack’s latest Series B round, the company is now valued at $650 million.

Substack is now valued at $650 million

That’s up from a valuation of only $48.65 million in July 2019.

Source: TechCrunch

Substack Top Author Earnings

The top 10 authors on Substack collectively make more than $25 million a year. An increase from $15 million in February 2021, and $10 million in December 2020.

The top 10 authors on Substack collectively make more than $25 million a year

Here’s the complete breakdown of Substack’s author earnings:

Date Annual earnings of top 10 authors on Substack
September 2020 $7 million
December 2020 $10 million
February 2021 $15 million
October 2021 $20 million
October 2022 $25 million

Sources: Substack 1, Substack 2, Axios, YouTube, Fortune,


That’s it for my collection of Substack growth data and figures.

Demand for non ad-based media models has been taking off. With newsletters leading the pack.

Substack is both riding and driving this growing trend.

So it will be interesting to see what’s coming next for Substack.