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Topic: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

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  1. #1

    Angry You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    While Group buys are a good marketing maneuver, I am kinda getting tired of a lot of people starting to think that all software should be offered at a group buy price. So, I thought I would make the following points seemingly based on common misconceptions.

    1) A group is a marketing strategy.
    2) It is not there for your convenience, but as an enticing offer for new customers.
    3) Just because one company offers a group buy does not mean that all customers with similar products should.
    4) You (the individual) do not deserve a group buy.
    5) Do not ask every developer when their software will go on a group buy. They will offer it when it is the right time (and also with agreements with NS).
    6) Software is offered 365 days a year at a normal price. Some software is over priced, some under priced. However, this is life.
    7) A group buy is like "black friday" - High volume and a lot of sales in a short period. You can't ask Macy's to have another "black friday sale" because you missed it.
    8) Be thankful that group buys exist.
    9) Expect to pay full price and be surprised if a developer offers a group buy.
    10) Don't beg and plead.

    I don't mean to add negativity to this board. I always offer impartial and positive advice. I am just getting a little frustrated at people who think they deserve a group buy.

    Thank you to all of the developers who have had group buys and I wish you continued success on this new sales tactic. I hope there are many more to come. But, do it on your time, not on the pleads of others.
    Jonathan Kerr
    J.Kerr Music, Inc

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    Colleagues, I hope you will forgive the crosspost, but I think a reply I just posted to another thread is more fitting for this discussion:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Edi
    Like most tools and instruments in human affairs, such as guns, religious icons, etc., the "group buy" has no inherent moral rating, but rather depends on how it is used and to what purpose.

    We all agree that Gary and his team have shown the highest standards musically, technically and in the conduct of business.

    Therefore, I would like to see Gary follow his own perception of the business needs of his organization, rather than our collective moralizing about it.

    Ed
    I agree. It does nothing for the tone of discussion here to keep hashing this out. Ultimately, even if the tool of "Group Buy" is well used, talking about it is divisive because each person has very different stakes in this discussion.

    Where I have a bigger concern is when people begin to insist that a vendor is somehow out-of-touch with the market, unresponsive, et. al., if he or she does NOT offer some kind of Group Buy pricing.

    Mr. Garritan may or may not offer a group buy on his product. It is certainly none of our business whether he does or not. But the perception, and further the behavioir, that concerns me is that there would be anyone (expecially here in a somewhat more educated group of musicians) who would fail to recognize that GPO is already a very discounted/value packed product.

    Because the underlying message--again, just to my perception--is that even this is not good enough, that a product be a low-margin tremendous bargain. Now, we're saying that this is not enough bang for the buck. It has to be reduced more. It may have been worth the money to people who are giggling about its value, but it's not worth that much to ME.

    That disturbs me. Not because I am an elitist. Not because I am concerned that some young buckeroo with $250 in his pocket is going to challenge my world domination. None of that.

    I am disturbed because when you see a product like GPO already whittling the price/value equation to the point that its marketing model must produce high volume, and then you see people say that even this is not enough, where does that end? If it ends in fewer people being willing to innovate and take the risk to bring new ideas out, then everybody loses.

    These people are not swimming in bowls of cocaine and taking money baths. I know this because I have personal relationships with many of the vendors you see here. Some of your favorites barely clear enough to make continuing onwards worthwhile. For some of them it's a labor of love. Those with the very, VERY best business plans are still working their brains out every day to stay in business.

    If you doubt that is the reality, then you need to make some friends in the industry yourselves.

    That has inherently nothing to do with some tool like "Group Buy." As Edi very wisely pointed out, it is a benign tool like any other.

    But don't doubt the greater risk, that if we consumers as a group devalue these tools to the point where good, sane, artistic people cannot comfortably remain engaged in the business, we are screwing ourselves--penny wise, but pound foolish. If we devalue the products to the degree that only "hit" products which can move are risked--the consequence is that we are forcing products to be risk averse; to play it safe and stay in the mainstream.

    That would be sad.

    We, as consumers, are co-creators in any market, but more so in markets where the volume is small. If we create a market where we force risk aversion and force mainstreaming, we will live with that result.

    I have observed very little elitism in the artists I have met in my life...it would be excruciatingly difficult to make art with such a plank in one's eye. Elitism is a mighty strong word to be flinging about in a debate among well-meaning artists. Don't make the mistake of considering voices of caution to be elitist. I can't speak for other producers here, but I have been in the business of making music for a very long time, and I have seen the market "kill the goose that lays the golden eggs" dozens of different times in my career. It can happen. That is really the only point I am making.

  3. #3

    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    Bruce, good points. And I'm not debating the whole group buy thing. I agree that it should be a "once in a blue moon" deal, not an everyday event. I think Doug and Nick have been very generous with their QLSO line this season. Not only offering Gold for a steal but also allowing those folks to move up to Gold Pro for almost half off.

    But the whole "de-valuing" the products well, this falls in line with the genesis of pricing in music technology on the whole. Back in the mid-'80's, products like Fairlight and Synclaviers were running in the neighbourhood of $250,000. For 8 voices of sampling nonetheless! Synclavs also used addititive synthesis I believe as an adjunct. The "cheaper" models were the Emu- Emulator and Kurzweil K250 (the beast that Michael Kamen swore by). They were $10, 000 to $20,000. Then Ensoniq came onto the scene with the Mirage that listed for, I believe under $3000. Now, New England Digital and Fairlight have gone out of business. Kurzweil was bought by Young/Chang and Emu was bought by Creative Labs. Steinberg was just bought by Yamaha. Point is, technology is always getting cheaper while improving its functionality and accessibility.

    Am I mad that 100 guys with no music background that wouldn't know a triad from a tritone are scoring films and television shows with their Acid-loops and sampled orchestras? Well, actually, in principle, yeah a little. But I cannot dwell on that because I know that the world is not what wwe would like but what is. More and more people will have access to these sounds. A few will learn to make better music, others will be content to play their music for hobby purposes. I'm glad Garritan has put out GPO at $250. to my ears, and this is just me, I don't think it can compete with QLSO Silver much less Gold or VSL Horizon products. But at its current price point, it does offer a super jump up from soundfonts or worse those cheesy GM sounds on the average sound card.

    I keep hearing how 8 more companies will be releasing their orchestral libraries at Winter NAMM 2005. I'm curious to see what price tag these products will be set at. Personally, I think no more than $500 would be a good starting point. Upgrade paths like QLSO are great as they get people in the door with SIlver, wet their appetites and then they move up to Gold. And possibly Platinum if they win a small lottery. I'd love to add VSL Opus 1 to my set-up but funds just will not allow for it. So I'll use the plethora of other orch. libraries I have and will keep my eyes posted on developers like Project SAM who CONSISTENTLY undercut the market with solid libraries that kick total ~~~. I mean, Solo Sessions is 9 gigabytes, has 3 mic settings and sounds freakin' amazing. And I got it for $300 CANADIAN, and that's for GS3!!! So what's the criteria that a developer sets to determine the price point? Number of samples? AMount of memory? Number of patches/instruments?

    Obviously this topic is open-ended. It will be telling to see what types of orchestral libraries come out at NAMM and how much they are selling for.

  4. #4

    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    A propos of concerns about the negatives of group buys, it seems to me(and I really do not want to inflame anyone) that we have a good recent example of something good for one guy and not so good for another.

    A very fine creator of piano libraries, Michiel Post, made a couple of terrific libraries last summer and this fall was very successful with group buys for these products. In the same time frame, the Black Grand came out from Worra and he started a group buy and soon withdrew it. I do not know the circumstances for either producer. However, I am pretty sure that Black Grand sales have suffered because of the Old Lady success.

    Has anyone done anything "wrong" here. No. But still the outcome is not good.

    Ed

    by the way, one way out of this that has precedent in other fields might be that of the "academic pricing" model, wherein a product is sold to people who will not be using it professionally such as students, university scholars or researchers or amateurs, at a reduced price. Michiel Post actually does this but I do not know how it is working out.

  5. #5

    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    No offense, but I think this anti-group buy tirade and, in particular the "you don't deserve a group buy" finger wagging is ridiculous. I think the real motivation is an elitist concern that powerful tools at reasonable prices can be available to more than just a tiny group.

    I am grateful that market forces, rather than some self-proclaimed elite, determine how products are priced. Many musicians benefit greatly from the lower prices resulting from group buys. If the lower prices do not sustain the development of these products (but the products are profitable at a higher price point), then developers will not create the libraries for sale at the lower price point. In reality what usually happens (where markets are functioning well) is, what used to be an elite product comes down in price to pick up greater sales, while a new group of elite products is developed to appeal to the elite consumer.

    The non-elite musician/consumers have every right to tell developers of their interest in group buys (and developers have a right to ignore the requests), unless of course the purpose of the forum is to keep prices high and avoid the introduction of competition to this market.

    jeffn1
    For original progressive electronic rock influenced by J.S. Bach and (old) Rush, check out: www.soundclick.com/jeffreynaness.

  6. #6

    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    This stikes me as both premature and misplaced fretting. But, as you say, it's a product of your own frustration. It seems to me that you manage to underestimate both developers and buyers. I doubt having cataloged the obvious will matter one wit to either.

    Quote Originally Posted by jkerr
    While Group buys are a good marketing maneuver, I am kinda getting tired of a lot of people starting to think that all software should be offered at a group buy price. So, I thought I would make the following points seemingly based on common misconceptions.

    1) A group is a marketing strategy.
    2) It is not there for your convenience, but as an enticing offer for new customers.
    3) Just because one company offers a group buy does not mean that all customers with similar products should.
    4) You (the individual) do not deserve a group buy.
    5) Do not ask every developer when their software will go on a group buy. They will offer it when it is the right time (and also with agreements with NS).
    6) Software is offered 365 days a year at a normal price. Some software is over priced, some under priced. However, this is life.
    7) A group buy is like "black friday" - High volume and a lot of sales in a short period. You can't ask Macy's to have another "black friday sale" because you missed it.
    8) Be thankful that group buys exist.
    9) Expect to pay full price and be surprised if a developer offers a group buy.
    10) Don't beg and plead.

    I don't mean to add negativity to this board. I always offer impartial and positive advice. I am just getting a little frustrated at people who think they deserve a group buy.

    Thank you to all of the developers who have had group buys and I wish you continued success on this new sales tactic. I hope there are many more to come. But, do it on your time, not on the pleads of others.

  7. #7

    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffn1
    No offense, but I think this anti-group buy tirade and, in particular the "you don't deserve a group buy" finger wagging is ridiculous.
    jeffn1
    Exactly. It's silly.

    I don't think it has anything to do with elitism. Just sour apples of another sort.

  8. #8

    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    "one way out of this" ? Do you really think that you see much more clearly than developers the hazards of a group buy (it being of course one model also used in academic setting)? Worra and Michiel can speak for themselves as to the decisions they've made. But I'll venture that both see the group buy as having far more positives than negatives from a strictly business perspective. Certainly a group buy will effect competiting products, as do other kinds of sales. That's business. I'm glad to see that developers here have graciously offered group buys and I trust their business acumen is the very underpinning of that graciousness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edi
    A propos of concerns about the negatives of group buys, it seems to me(and I really do not want to inflame anyone) that we have a good recent example of something good for one guy and not so good for another.

    A very fine creator of piano libraries, Michiel Post, made a couple of terrific libraries last summer and this fall was very successful with group buys for these products. In the same time frame, the Black Grand came out from Worra and he started a group buy and soon withdrew it. I do not know the circumstances for either producer. However, I am pretty sure that Black Grand sales have suffered because of the Old Lady success.

    Has anyone done anything "wrong" here. No. But still the outcome is not good.

    Ed

    by the way, one way out of this that has precedent in other fields might be that of the "academic pricing" model, wherein a product is sold to people who will not be using it professionally such as students, university scholars or researchers or amateurs, at a reduced price. Michiel Post actually does this but I do not know how it is working out.

  9. #9

    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    Guys - in case you didn't notice - $249 for GPO is an introductory price.

    It **IS** a group buy already...





    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  10. #10

    Re: You Don't Deserve a Group Buy

    Please tell me this whole dust up isn't over GPO and whether GPO is available as a group buy?

    If Mr. Garritan wishes to offer it as such that's great. If not, that's great too. Why do some seem so bothered? Really. It's his decision. The whining pro or con really is silly.

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