Fender migrates 70,000 subscribers in 3 hours using the Stripe Billing migration toolkit

Fender, the world’s largest guitar manufacturer, has been making guitars for over 70 years. In the summer of 2017, the company launched the app, Fender Play®, an online teaching tool featuring video lessons from accomplished teachers. Today, Fender Play® has about 250,000 subscribers, from novice guitar players who just bought their first guitar to seasoned musicians honing their skills.

Products used

North America


Fender’s innovations in guitar design established it as one of the best-known and best-loved guitar makers in the world. To help further cultivate loyal customers, the company created the Fender Play® online guitar lesson service. Guitar buyers can purchase a monthly subscription to help them develop their skills, which has the additional benefit of making them more likely to purchase other Fender® products in the future.

After growing the service for several years, Fender began to question whether it was using the right billing provider. Fender Play® isn’t a big revenue driver by itself, so the large flat fee the provider charged taxed the service’s already low margins. In addition, there was no easy way to schedule changes to a subscription when customers wanted to switch to a different plan.

Fender began looking for a new billing provider, and Stripe was an obvious candidate, given that Fender already used Stripe to process credit card payments on its website. However, the company had concerns about undertaking a billing migration. Namely, Fender wanted to minimize the time and effort required from its internal teams to enable the migration and while ensuring that all customer data was transferred accurately.

“We wanted to do the migration quickly and accurately and make sure that our customers wouldn’t be adversely impacted,” said Michael Garski, director of platform engineering at Fender.


In 2023, Fender began using Stripe Billing to handle subscriptions for all new Fender Play® customers. Billing offered a per-subscription fee model that saved Fender money and ultimately improved the customer service experience. But Fender still wanted to consolidate both existing subscriptions and new ones under Billing in order to have a single source of truth for subscriber data, and to simplify the customer service interface. That meant migrating legacy subscriber data from the old billing platform over to Stripe.

For that task, Fender used Stripe’s Billing migration toolkit—a self-serve dashboard where customers can upload, validate, and migrate subscriptions using .csv templates, making the migration process easier, faster, and more accurate. To prepare for a smooth migration, Fender’s team, led by Garski, exported customer and subscription data. The team simultaneously recreated its product catalog in Stripe, so it could map existing subscription prices and promotions from its previous provider.

Next, Garski’s team worked with Stripe's professional services team to translate the data into a Stripe .csv template that would align the two systems. The Billing migration toolkit offers multiple .csv templates based on the business's needs and types of subscriptions, which allowed Fender to use the template that best fit its model. From there, the migration process involved simply uploading the migration-compatible .csv file with all existing subscriber data to the Billing migration toolkit.

After uploading all the subscriber data, the migration toolkit provided automated data validation, including: field-level validations to make sure all values in the .csv were accurate; conditional validations to make sure the migrated fields complied with the subscription creation; and date validations to make sure billing dates were correct. In addition, the professional services team provided another layer of validation tests using representative samples of the various types of subscriptions.

With the migration complete, Fender simply canceled the subscriptions managed by the previous billing system and moved forward with all customers on Billing.


Streamlined customer service

Stripe Billing’s subscription schedule feature makes it easy for Fender to accommodate users transitioning between different subscription plans.

70,000 subscriptions migrated in 3 hours

After completing the data dictionary, Fender completed the migration in three hours, which included the time spent preparing the .csv file and migrating and validating subscriber data.

“Without the Stripe Billing migration toolkit, we would have had to devise a process to migrate subscribers one by one,” said Garski. “It would have been possible, but it would have been several weeks of work.”

Nearly zero errors in the data migration and no customer information lost

Using Stripe’s .csv templates and automated migration and data validation system, Fender met its goal of completing the migration with no negative impact on its customers. Because Fender was already using Stripe for payment processing, it was able to maintain high authorization rates post-migration.

Always know what you pay

Integrated per-transaction pricing with no hidden fees

Start your integration

Get up and running with Stripe in as little as 10 minutes