How Product Managers Should Sunset a Product: A Case Study on Spotify Premium

Rohit Verma
4 min readMar 25, 2024


Sunsetting a product is a critical process that involves phasing out a service or product that is no longer viable, profitable, or relevant. It requires careful planning, communication, and execution to minimize disruption and maintain trust with stakeholders. In this article, we’ll explore a structured approach to sunsetting a product, using Spotify Premium as a hypothetical example.

Understanding the Need to Sunset

Before diving into the sunsetting process, it’s important to understand why a product like Spotify Premium might be considered for sunsetting. Reasons could include shifting market dynamics, evolving consumer preferences, or the introduction of superior alternatives. For Spotify Premium, let’s imagine the company has decided to integrate its premium features into a new, comprehensive streaming service, rendering the standalone premium option obsolete.

Step 1: Conduct a Comprehensive Assessment

The first step is to thoroughly assess the product’s current state, including its financial performance, user base, market competition, and strategic fit within the company’s portfolio. For Spotify Premium, this might involve analyzing subscription trends, user engagement metrics, and feedback to understand the impact of sunsetting on existing subscribers.

Step 2: Develop a Sunsetting Plan

After assessing the situation, develop a detailed sunsetting plan. This plan should include:

  • Timeline: Establish a clear timeline for the sunsetting process, including key milestones and deadlines.
  • Communication Strategy: Define how and when you’ll communicate the change to users, stakeholders, and the public.
  • Transition Options: For Spotify Premium, offer alternatives to subscribers, such as transitioning them to the new service with special offers or refunds.
  • Support Strategy: Plan for customer support to handle inquiries and concerns throughout the process.

Step 3: Communicate the Decision

Transparent and empathetic communication is crucial. Inform all stakeholders (employees, subscribers, partners) about the decision to sunset the product. For Spotify Premium, this might involve:

  • Emails to Subscribers: Personalized messages explaining the decision, outlining the next steps, and offering transition options.
  • Public Announcement: A press release or blog post detailing the reasons for sunsetting and what it means for users.
  • FAQs: A comprehensive FAQ section to address potential concerns and questions.

Step 4: Offer Transition Options

Provide clear, attractive options for users to transition from Spotify Premium to the new service. This could involve:

  • Exclusive Offers: Special pricing, extended free trials, or exclusive content for transitioning subscribers.
  • Seamless Transition Process: Ensure the process is as smooth as possible, perhaps by migrating playlists and preferences automatically.

Step 5: Execute the Sunsetting Process

With the plan in place and communicated, begin the sunsetting process according to the established timeline. For Spotify Premium, this might involve:

  • Gradual Feature Integration: Slowly integrate premium features into the new service, allowing users to adapt gradually.
  • Customer Support: Ramp up customer support to assist users through the transition, addressing any issues promptly.

Step 6: Post-Sunset Review and Analysis

After successfully sunsetting the product, conduct a thorough review of the process. Analyze feedback, transition success rate, and any impact on brand reputation. This step is crucial for learning and improving future sunsetting processes.

Mind Map

Closing thoughts

Sunsetting a product like Spotify Premium is a complex process that requires careful planning, transparent communication, and empathetic handling of customer transitions. By following a structured approach, product managers can ensure a smooth transition for users and stakeholders, while aligning the company’s offerings with market demands and strategic goals. Sunsetting, when done correctly, can pave the way for innovation and growth, ensuring that the company remains competitive and relevant in a changing market.

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