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Topic: Sample library prices

  1. #1

    Sample library prices

    I\'ve been thinking lately about the pricing of sample libraries.
    We all know they are expensive (some prohibitively so), but why?
    Yes, creating a sample library is costly, no doubt about that.
    However, it seems these libraries are priced so ridiculously high, that the developers feel they should be able to recoup their entire investment on the first day of sales!

    What an interesting business model! What if Microsoft spent a billion dollars developing the next OS...should they charge $50,000 per copy? Should General Motors sell their new family car for $350,000?

    Why, then, does GOS sell for $1000? Why is QL Brass $650?
    Why not sell MORE copies at a REAL price, instead of making a conscious decision of setting a price point which will exclude nearly everyone?

    I know that if GOS were $300, a fair price, I would not hesitate for a second to purchase it.
    Same thing for QLB, if it cost the $150 that it should.

    Even though I am a full-time working musician and could justify the expense (and write it off), it\'s the principle. A thousand dollars for some string sounds is just outrageous.

  2. #2

    Re: Sample library prices

    It must be the law of \"supply and demand.\" Apparently there aren\'t enough prospective buyers out there.

  3. #3

    Re: Sample library prices

    Maybe reducing prices would reduce the problem of piracy. I mean, with the prices today it is tempting for the hobby-musician, who doesnt have the kind of budget that pros do, to just download whatever he/she needs.. With cable and adsl it doesnt take long for them to download it either..

    ItAvisen (www.itavisen.no) is a webbased news-service in norway, and they printed a article about piracy. They also spoke to one of the top-guys in the warez community and got a list of what was currently available on their servers:

    07/13/2001 SonicFoundry-Vintage Analog Synths Vortexual Amplitude Acid TZ7iSO [xx/08]
    07/13/2001 SonicFoundry-Synthetic Sound Effects Twisted Reality Acid TZ7iSO [xx/15]
    07/13/2001 SonicFoundry-Sounds Of Asia Opium Acid TZ7iSO [xx/15]
    07/13/2001 SonicFoundry-Industrial Toolkit Method Of Mayhem Acid TZ7iSO [xx/ 34]
    07/13/2001 SonicFoundry-Classic Drum Machines Syntonic Generator Acid TZ7iSO [xx/15]
    07/13/2001 Things That Go Bump In The Night 2 AKAI TNC [2 CDs]

    07/12/2001 Dan Dean\'s Solo Woodwinds *GIGA* TNC [2 CDs]
    07/11/2001 Dan Dean Giga Bass GIGA FXiSO [xx/41]
    07/11/2001 Soundscan 26 Big Beat II Samples And More Akai TZ7iSO [xx/25]
    07/11/2001 Soundscan 23 Historical Instruments Akai TZ7iSO [xx/25]
    07/11/2001 Soundscan 19 HipHop And RnB Akai TZ7iSO [xx/29]

    07/10/2001 Sonic Foundry ACID Pro v3.0 RiSCiSO [2 CDs]

    07/09/2001 Kawai KG 2E GiGA DELiRiUM [xx/19]

    07/07/2001 Soundscan 18 - Funky Vocals AKAI TZ7iSO [xx/27]
    07/07/2001 Soundscan 15 - Acoustic Percussions AKAI TZ7iSO [xx/17]
    07/07/2001 Soundscan 12 Analog and Synth Bass AKAI TZ7iSO [xx/19]

    7/07/2001 Steinberg HALion Content Volume 2 TNC [2 CDs]
    07/05/2001 Soundscan 17 Acoustic Keyboards TZ7iSO [xx/21]
    07/05/2001 Soundscan 15 Acoustic Percussions TZ7iSO [xx/17]
    07/05/2001 Soundscan 11 Dance And Groove Drums Loops TZ7iSO [xx/19]

    07/04/2001 Big Fish Audio Raricussions TFL [2 CDs]
    07/03/2001 Techno Identity CDDA & AKAI DELiRiUM [2 CDs]
    07/03/2001 Steinberg Halion Content Volume 1 TNC [2 CDs]
    07/03/2001 Roland L-CDX 03 Brass And Woodwinds Sxx TZ7iSO [2 CDs]
    07/03/2001 Roland L-CDX 04 Strings & Orchest Percussions Sxx TZ7iSO [2 CDs]

    I have sorted out the things relevant to this forum, but the list was ALOT longer than this.

    Check this page out for the full list: http://www.itavisen.no/art/1297101.html

    Its in norwegian so only a few ppl will understand the article, but everyone can understand the list [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    So how about it? What other way to deal with this seemingly big problem? Doesnt the developers care, or do they really still belive that this problem could be solved otherwise? Without causing alot of problems for those who actually pay for this stuff..

    It would be really nice if some of the developers in this forum would give their views on this matter..

  4. #4

    Re: Sample library prices

    My developer opinion:
    If you want to make music get the proper tools.
    If you don\'t have the money, start with a cheap instrument, don\'t become a thief. If you have enough talent, expensive instruments will come to you. After all they were made by people with talent for people with talent.

    This warez guy is going to jail.

    The developer and software community has successfully sent a few warez people away for good, thanks to increased enforcement of copyright protection by FBI and international organizations. Many countries will no longer risk trade sanctions and problems for one a__hole who trys to sell porn by giving away other peoples property.

  5. #5

    Re: Sample library prices

    Originally posted by franz:
    My developer opinion:
    If you want to make music get the proper tools.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I agree with that, but not in this case. Even if the industry wants to support an attitude of \"These libraries are priced for professionals only,\" we all know there are some GARBAGE libraries out there priced at $500 and up.

    I heard a certain library at the university recently, (said library shall remain nameless), that was such utter and complete crap, I can honestly say that if I\'d shelled out $400 for this thing, I would be going to small claims court to get a refund.

    I have no problem at all investing money into my studio and my business. In fact, I will need some huge write-offs this year. But I can\'t help feeling we are being gouged.

    The other post makes a good point, although it\'s impossible to support one way or another.
    I wonder if the price point of these libraries helps to create and perpetuate the piracy culture that the developers claim is costing them money? I guess that\'s an endless loop.

  6. #6

    Re: Sample library prices

    Just a little post scriptum here [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    I think the cycle is like this: FBI or whatever closes down a warez-group and send em to jail, 10 more groups pop up!

    Because of the total freedom most of us enjoy on the internet (thank god for that, just look at china) and the \"rebel spirit\" that lives in people, there will always be someone who feels that this is the \"little man\"\'s chance to strike back at big industry.
    How many of those who use pirated software actually feel guilty when they do so?

    My personal view is that this is one fight \"Big Brother\" is gonna loose.. They cannot shut the internet down because they rely on it themselves..
    I dont think there can ever be a truly bulletproof piracy protection.. Someone will always manage to crack it..

    Anyway, i have said enough now..

    \"Take me to peace of mind, and nothing to rebel\"

  7. #7

    Re: Sample library prices


    \"$300 for GOS (a fair price)\"

    Well, in the case of GOS, $300 just is NOT a fair price.

    I certainly do understand what you are trying to say, but in the case of GOS, it\'s a truly massive library, worth much more than $300.

  8. #8

    Re: Sample library prices

    But GOS is available for 300 bucks. The lite version.

    Dont you realize that some people are trying to actually support smaller budgets?

    There are the Pro Sample\'s versions from East West. Dan Dean sells some of his libraries in Single instrument form.

    Youu guys are focusing on the the flagship products of sorts. This is similar to buying Microsofts full development kit as well as the OS. Which by the way I dont agree as a good comparison. OS\'s are needed, not to mention Microsoft gets a kickback for every computer that \"comes with\" Widnows. In fact its a HORRIBLE comparison.

    the market is smaller than one suggests. We\'ve been through it before. Just read past posts. Libraries that get used more often are loop libraries IMO. Which is why I believe those can sell cehaper. More people use them because my dead grandmother can use an app like ACID. (how good is a different story). Not to mention paying gigs ask for music that can easily be produced by loops, so they are bought by near everyone.

    A string library however is a different story. There are people very content with Synth Strings. Then there are peopel who are struggling to create the perfect virtual orchestra. This is a very small group of people. Mostly professsionals (some who have recorded their own samples) and some hobbyists. You spend a hundered grand on recording strings for a sample library, you want to get it back. Not to mention pay the people involved because some of them will surely ask for a percentage. So you might get possibly 100 units sold over a year or two time...wow at 1000 bucks..thats...hey 100,000 bucks...just what you put it...

    Now sell the library for 300 bucks, add the fifty hobbyists that will buy it, whats that? 45000 bucks?

    Its still a small market no matter how you look at it. The onyl way you\'ll get people to buy something whether they need it or not, is to seel it int eh 29.95 range (digital Complete), but honestly are you ever going to sell enough to recoupe that 100,000 dollar investment?

    And about GOS, come on , you get free updates. Possibly new recordings in the future. The possible addition/fix of things you want to see changed just by discussing it with users.....for free? Thats all worth the investment of 1000 bucks for me.

  9. #9

    Re: Sample library prices

    I\'ve never gotten involved in price speculation debates regarding what is fair and what is not on this forum, mostly because I didn\'t believe I could postulate what really would be fair. After pondering this for well over a year and reading the many threads that have popped up regarding this issue, I feel I\'ve come to a conclusion that suits me, for what its worth.

    I was totalling the costs of building my home studio, which grows every month, attempting to guess at what the end result will have set me back. I noticed how wildly expensive each peice of gear here really is. It seemed ridiclulous at first, but then I remembered how I pamper it, and how long these things will last in this enviornment is really beyond me, probably most of my life if I wanted to hang on to them that long. The same is definitley true with the sample libraries. They are one time purchases, with no monies from the buyer ever going back to the developer after that single investment. It is a small market, I see that every time I\'m talking to a fellow student composer and find out he\'s never even heard of gigastudio, much less the libraries that accompany it, and some of these guys have been doing this for many, many years!

    It is expensive, I couldn\'t do it, and still it must be done, even if there\'s only small groups of people to buy in the end. In my guesstimation it sorta makes sense that many peices of gear in a studio would be priced similiarly. I wonder just how many 960L\'s Lexicon has sold at $15,000ish a pop? No big deal, just a circuit board coupled with some software... An OS like XP took far more time to research and create, and yet it only sells for $150. My only guesstimation is relative market size, among other things.

    As far as sample library piracy goes... well I was on an MIRC channel not too long ago, and totally freaked when I saw some of Dan Dean\'s stuff being advertised for download... directory after directory of it. I still don\'t have em tho, and I am on a 3Mbit cable line. The reason was pretty simple. The market is small. I couldn\'t show anyone anything I did with them, much less use them for a paying gig... at some point it would be noticed, and I would never let that stigma follow me around. Then there\'s the fact that this forum (for the most part imo) promotes better relations with the developers themselves. Truth be told, I could give less than a flip if I get a legal or illegal copy of anything Microsoft makes. It\'s a bohemoth of a corporation, and if I can\'t see that I\'m directly hurting anyone there, then I don\'t care. I do, on the other hand, pay for audio software, as that industry isn\'t nearly as large, and it is certainly in my best interests to promote their well-being. I suppose, even tho I know its not much, that doing my small part does still help them visibly on a moveable scale (wether this is true or not, is irrelevant, it\'s just how I feel). I wonder just how many copies of gigastudio are sold in a year? The same logic applies to developers. I have never written a single email to any of them that did not end with a \"thank you for making what I do possible.\" They need our support.

    Anyway, the piracy can\'t be stopped. Tinkerers and small time hobbyists will continue to download if they can, play with it, and never do anything more. They wouldn\'t have dished out the cash for those samples anyway, and its doubtful, other than their computer itself, that they\'ll even dish out money for even something as basic as a decent set of studio monitors. The \'real market\' will pay (or save for), as they always have, every piece of expensive gear in their studio that will help them make better music, including samples. As was mentioned earlier, it almost seems to \"come to us\" over time. I guess it can be such a slow process that it would certainly seem that way [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Basically what I\'m rambling on about is that I feel the libraries (including the pricier \"flagships\" that I don\'t own yet) are appropriatley priced. Would I love to see prices drop down to only $300 or less? absolutley. Then again, it\'d be nice if my bank called me up and said I didn\'t have to pay anything else on my car note, they felt I\'d paid enough already.

  10. #10

    Re: Sample library prices

    Seems to me if you add up the studio (typically $250/hour, block book for $200,) the musicians (assume $125-300 per musician per three-hour session time) and the produciton crew, etc. - how you gonna do that for $100K? Add to that the editing time (say 48 notes per instrument times 4 velocity levels=192 edits per instrument, match precisely for pitch, start and end times, level, timbre, and lord-forbid-looping. Multiply that by the number of styles and articulations and you\'ve got some real time (=$.)

    Now, how much would you pay? But wait, there\'s more! Mastering, reproduction, cover and label design, advertising, and on and on.

    I don\'t want a $1000 string library. The kind of music I make doesn\'t need it, can\'t justify it. And it would take far too long for me to learn to play it, when I can get the simplistic string lines I need from a basic string pad. But for you orchestral/film score composers, whose other option is live musicians (even student orchestras) that\'s cheap by comparison.

    Those who complain about the price-consider this:

    A decent synthesizer: $2-3K
    A CHEAP synth that sounds halfway decent-$900.
    An expansion card from Roland, Korg, Kurzweil or Yamaha-$179-379. (I bought the Roland U220 when it came out specifically for the rock guitar-which came on an expansion card. Well worth it at the time!)
    Ability to acheive the music you hear in your head-priceless!

    \"I can buy the latest Brittany or M&M music CD for $11.95 at Warehouse or Amazon - and it cost over a mil to make!\" - yeah, and they\'ll sell 5 million of \'em. How many people that YOU know (outside of music school, if you\'re a student) are composers? How many of them use Giga? That\'s your market base. A few thousand at best, of which maybe 10% if you\'re REALLY lucky will find your product useful enough to spend money on, even if it\'s $99.95!

    Granted, the no-return/no-resale policy most vendors impose is a real bummer. This severely limits MY purchase options. If I don\'t REALLY need something expensive (and even then if I\'m not completely convinced by the product demo files) I leave it alone and go back to my hardware synths and existing Giga libraries...

    The fact is, no return/no resale hurts the vendor as much as it does the buyer. I have refrained from spending at least $2000 this past year simply because I was not convinced the libraries would do what I need. Several brass and wind libraries are NOT on my shelf because I don\'t hear what I\'m looking for in the demos (plus as I\'m not doing orchestra, I can\'t blend multiple libraries. Whoever heard a 90-piece big band?)

    But this is not a Giga problem. It\'s an industry-wide phenomenon, that will only get more draconian until someone comes up with a musically transparent, foolproof way to insure and assure the developers of getting their ROI.

    Until then, kwitcherbitchin! And look for real solutions...


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