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POLL: An idea for VI-Control sponsored sample library reviews

Do you think VI-C sponsored independent library reviews would be something you would like?

  • Yes, I like the idea, and would consider contributing on a per-library basis

  • Yes, but I would need to see a specific rule in place (please suggest)

  • No thanks; I like the intention of Musicians helping Musicians - nice idea, but not for me

  • No thanks - I don't trust online stuff like this - even a <$5 contribution.


Results are only viewable after voting.

Garry

Senior Member
  • The problem:
    • Sample libraries can be expensive, and can be a risky purchase for the reasons below.
    • Most libraries cannot be experienced before purchase:
      • You (mostly) can't go to a retail outlet and listen to it, (as we would expect to be able to do for almost all other audio-based products), as few are available to try out in music shops
      • You (mostly) cant' try it at home first, as few developers provide demos/trial periods/returns
    • If you are disappointed after your largely blind purchase, there is no recourse for many libraries, as few developers offer resales/license transfers
    • Information available prior to purchase is incomplete and risks bias:
      • Developer demos/walkthroughs only focus on positives; negatives are not covered, and there is an obvious, unavoidable bias.
      • Reviews paid for by the developer can be impacted by this relationship, and the reviewer may find it difficult to be objective, no matter how well intentioned, or at least, a perception of bias is difficult to avoid, real or not, when the developer has paid for the review, or provided a free copy of the library
      • Reviewers who buy the product themselves can be seen as more independent, but:
      • some reviewers are more skilled than others (I'll leave it at that!)
      • it comes at a risk to the reviewer, since they can't return the product, so they have to bare the cost of the library themselves
    • We therefore have to rely heavily on the feedback of this community (recent poll here found >100 respondents (>80% of total votes) took into account one reviewer's Youtube reviews for their purchasing decisions).
    • Bottom line: given this context, how can we make better informed decisions in a way which is fair to the developer, customer and reviewer?
  • The idea:
    • A new library is released by a developer
    • A poll is taken here on VI-C to determine whether there are a sufficient number of people that would like to see a detailed review of it.
    • Based on the feedback, a decision is taken whether to make a review (for example, the cost of the library is $300, and there are 150 respondents who would like it to be reviewed - a price is thereby set at 300/150 = $2 contribution per person) - if a reasonable price is found (ie, max of $5 per contributor), reviewers are invited to be considered
    • A poll is taken with the names of all reviewers wishing to be considered: the person with the most number of votes wins. Reviewers don't have to participate in all library reviews - they choose, based on their interest/availability on a per library basis
    • The library is purchased using the community funds, and the reviewer provides the review within an agreed time; the reviewer gets to keep the library, and agrees to provide additional responses to comments/questions.
  • Potential for failure and mitigation:
    • Reviewer takes the money and doesn't do the review. Ok, everyone is down <$5, trust is broken, and we'd probably never do it again.
    • Reviewer provides inadequate review. Seems unlikely, as we'd be voting for reviewers with demonstrated experience doing this, but again, you placed a <$5 bet, and on this occasion it didn't benefit you. Better luck next time.
  • Draft of suggested rules (to be amended based on community feedback):
    • Reviewers must have already completed online reviews (for other libraries, so people have an idea of the standard)
    • Reviewers must agree to complete review within agreed period (eg 1-2 weeks)
    • Reviewers must agree to respond to comments on the thread for an agreed period (eg 1 week), and perhaps supply additional requested quick demos (eg, 'here's 2 bars of staccato with the close mics')
    • Contributions are paid using PayPal to a central point (administered by someone who is willing and the community agrees to).
    • Reviews are only conducted if there are a sufficient number of respondents for the library - decided on a per library basis. eg. 'we have 100 positive responses for this $400 library - does everyone agree to go forward at $4 each?' Library is purchased only when the required amount is achieved; or: we got 50 responses for this $700 library - no review due to insufficient interest.
    • Reviewer keeps the library; must not enter into agreement with developer (for that library).
So, in the spirit of 'Musicians helping Musicians' - is this a useful idea? It's just a thought anyway; but if you don't agree or don't like it, feel free to politely decline, not participate or ignore the thread. If there's enough interest, let's see, maybe we'll take it forward. Would be particularly interested to hear from the potential reviewers who might put themselves forward to review.
 
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halfwalk

Member
I think it's a nice thought, however I feel like the same reviewer would get picked over and over, once past the initial polling process. And this sort of creates a popularity contest among reviewers, could hurt feelings and create tension, etc.

The problem as I see it is: devs don't offer demos or returns or resale. Despite this policy, everyone seems to keep throwing money at them anyway, so they have no incentive to change the policy. They get your money regardless.

Vote with your wallet, don't buy from devs unless they allow resale/demo/returns. (yeah... right. i know its not that simple)
 
OP
Garry

Garry

Senior Member
I think it's a nice thought, however I feel like the same reviewer would get picked over and over, once past the initial polling process. And this sort of creates a popularity contest among reviewers, could hurt feelings and create tension, etc.
I take your point, and thanks for putting it fairly, but personally, I see an upside to the competition amongst reviewers:
  • I don't think it would always be the same reviewer, as reviewers would be unlikely to participate in every library review; depends whether they're interested in that particular library, and whether their current workload allows. This itself would create some variability
  • Competition amongst reviewers would encourage each reviewer to provide the best review they can; perhaps they might take feedback more rigorously about what the audience they're reviewing for want to hear, to the benefit of everyone. For example, they might provide additional value (Cory has provided multis; Ashton often provides Logic/Cubase files for download; Daniel often writes a cue specific to that library). This is a creative bunch of people, and who knows what they can come up with if incentivized by competition.
  • The reviewers are currently doing this for free to the community, and at their own expense/risk; I don't think they would consider hurt feelings as too much to bear to potentially have the library bought for them, and to get increased interaction on the reviews they worked hard to produce.
The problem as I see it is: devs don't offer demos or returns or resale. Despite this policy, everyone seems to keep throwing money at them anyway, so they have no incentive to change the policy. They get your money regardless. Vote with your wallet, don't buy from devs unless they allow resale/demo/returns. (yeah... right)
Hasn't happened so far, and I don't see it doing so in future. Time to unite and help each other! Unity is power! :)
 
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rrichard63

Perpetual Novice
I think it's a nice thought, however I feel like the same reviewer would get picked over and over, once past the initial polling process. And this sort of creates a popularity contest among reviewers, could hurt feelings and create tension, etc.
I think I agree. In addition, the process feels cumbersome to me -- too much process for the amount of substance it would produce.

I chose the "No thanks; I like the intention of Musicians helping Musicians - nice idea, but not for me" option in the poll. What I mean by that is "nice idea, but not likely to be workable in practice".
 
OP
Garry

Garry

Senior Member
I think I agree. In addition, the process feels cumbersome to me -- too much process for the amount of substance it would produce.

I chose the "No thanks; I like the intention of Musicians helping Musicians - nice idea, but not for me" option in the poll. What I mean by that is "nice idea, but not likely to be workable in practice".
No need for it to be complicated or a protracted process:

Suggested Process:
  • Poll 1: do you want this library reviewed? Answer yes/no. (1 day)
  • Thread 1: reviewers, please suggest yourselves for consideration (1 day)
  • Poll 2: please select your preferred reviewer (1 vote per person) (1 day)
  • Poll 3: we got X positive responses and the library is $Y - contribution per person is $X/Y. Do you confirm? (answer yes/no). (1 day)
  • If $X response is > cost of library, each person makes one <$5 payment via PayPal (3 days)
Estimated time: <1 week.

Contribution per person: 2 poll responses and 1 PayPal payment of <$5

Value: independent review, with opportunity to ask additional questions for <$5, on a per library basis, only for those libraries you're interested in buying; ignore those that you're not going to buy.
 
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OP
Garry

Garry

Senior Member
I think it's a nice thought, however I feel like the same reviewer would get picked over and over, once past the initial polling process. And this sort of creates a popularity contest among reviewers, could hurt feelings and create tension, etc.
One other thought on this: I think if there's one group of people who may have developed invulnerability to pitching their capabilities, waiting to see if they win the bid, and not taking it personally when they lose out to the competition, I think it might be precisely THIS community! Composers' thick skins will have been refined over many iterations of such experiences of far greater consequence, and I don't see their winning/losing a VI-C poll being too detrimental to their (in)delicate sensitivities! ;)
 

Cory Pelizzari

(Solonoid Studio)
  • The problem:
    • Sample libraries can be expensive
    • Few developers provide demos/trial periods
    • Few developers offer resales/license transfers
    • Developer demos/walkthroughs only focus on positives; negatives are not covered, and there is an obvious, unavoidable bias.
    • Reviews paid for by the developer can be impacted by this relationship, and the reviewer may find it difficult to be objective, no matter how well intentioned, or at least, a perception of bias is difficult to avoid, real or not, when the developer has paid for the review, or provided a free copy of the library
    • Reviewers who buy the product themselves can be seen as more independent, but:
      • some reviewers are more skilled than others
      • it comes at a risk to the reviewer, since they can't return the product, so they have to bare the cost of the library themselves
    • We therefore have to rely heavily on the feedback of this community (recent poll found >100 respondents (80% of total votes) took into account one reviewer's Youtube reviews for their purchasing decisions).
    • Bottom line: given this context, how can we make better informed decisions in a way which is fair to the developer, customer and reviewer?
  • The opportunity:
  • The idea:
    • A new library is released by a developer
    • A poll is taken here on VI-C to determine whether there are a sufficient number of people that would like to see a detailed review of it.
    • Based on the feedback, a decision is taken whether to make a review (for example, the cost of the library is $300, and there are 150 respondents who would like it to be reviewed - a price is thereby set at 300/150 = $2 contribution per person) - if a reasonable price is found (ie, max of $5 per contributor), reviewers are invited to be considered
    • A poll is taken with the names of all reviewers wishing to be considered: the person with the most number of votes wins. Reviewers don't have to participate in all library reviews - they choose, based on their interest/availability on a per library basis
    • The library is purchased using the community funds, and the reviewer provides the review within an agreed time; the reviewer gets to keep the library, and agrees to provide additional responses to comments/questions.
  • Potential for failure and mitigation:
    • Reviewer takes the money and doesn't do the review. Ok, everyone is down <$5, trust is broken, and we'd probably never do it again.
    • Reviewer provides inadequate review. Seems unlikely, as we'd be voting for reviewers with demonstrated experience doing this, but again, you placed a <$5 bet, and on this occasion it didn't benefit you. Better luck next time.
  • Draft of suggested rules (to be amended based on community feedback):
    • Reviewers must have already completed online reviews (for other libraries, so people have an idea of the standard)
    • Reviewers must agree to complete review within agreed period (eg 1-2 weeks)
    • Reviewers must agree to respond to comments on the thread for an agreed period (eg 1 week), and perhaps supply additional requested quick demos (eg, 'here's 2 bars of staccato with the close mics')
    • Contributions are paid using PayPal to a central point (administered by someone who is willing and the community agrees to).
    • Reviews are only conducted if there are a sufficient number of respondents for the library - decided on a per library basis. eg. 'we have 100 positive responses for this $400 library - does everyone agree to go forward at $4 each?' Library is purchased only when the required amount is achieved; or: we got 50 responses for this $700 library - no review.
    • Reviewer keeps the library; must not enter into agreement with developer (for that library).
So, in the spirit of 'Musicians helping Musicians' - is this a useful idea? It's just a thought anyway; but if you don't agree or don't like it, feel free to politely decline, not participate or ignore the thread. If there's enough interest, let's see, maybe we'll take it forward. Would be particularly interested to hear from the potential reviewers who might put themselves forward to review.
While I think this is an ideal concept, it's unfortunately not an ideal world. The truth of the matter is that if a paid review video does get posted and someone's opinion differs about the library (which will be nearly all the time), that viewer will harbour resentment and entitlement towards the reviewer because they "paid money for this". Nitpicks about what was and wasn't shown and many other details will arise in the comments section (double what already does appear). That's why donations only really work when given by die-hard fans of a particular channel rather than a varied community.

And let's be completely honest here - I may be a little cynical but I know for a fact that the majority of people, whether they're good people or not, simply don't want to hand over any amount of money for anything if they can get it for free. It's human nature - even I get a tight wallet when someone mentions the idea of donating, so I can't blame anyone else for feeling the same way. Those willing to donate will likely only be 10% of the people on the site.

All us content creators are very happy though to see you trying new ways to support us and help us out. It's truly a great gesture.
 
OP
Garry

Garry

Senior Member
... because they "paid money for this"
That's reason 1 to keep it <$5 - I don't think anyone will feel beholden to their individual payers for this sum! If you're going to sell your soul, price it a little higher!! ;)

Nitpicks about what was and wasn't shown and many other details will arise in the comments section (double what already does appear).
Yup, it might not work. If we don't try, it definitely won't! Yes, you'll get both negative and positive feedback, but you get that already, and do it for nothing. Might as well be paid for it! ;)

And let's be completely honest here - I may be a little cynical but I know for a fact that the majority of people, whether they're good people or not, simply don't want to hand over any amount of money for anything if they can get it for free. It's human nature - even I get a tight wallet when someone mentions the idea of donating, so I can't blame anyone else for feeling the same way.
I don't know that's true, indeed the success of Patreon argues against it. People are willing to pay for bespoke content; particularly when the cost is minimal and is offset against the cost of the library, which can cost >100-200x the contribution for the review.

Those willing to donate will likely only be 10% of the people on the site
If 10% of VI-C contribute, that would be an ENORMOUS success! What's the readership of VI-C, I don't know, 10,000, 20,000? For a typical library of around $400, you need around 130 replies to make each person's contribution <$3, so more like <1% required!

All us content creators are very happy though to see you trying new ways to support us and help us out. It's truly a great gesture.
You're welcome! :)

I'm not wedded to this idea by the way - if people don't see the value, no problem, it's just a suggestion for conversation.
 
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Garry

Garry

Senior Member
But I bought this app for 0.99$, why is IT NOT WORKING FOR ME? WHY!!!

I really don't think the price does matter with grudges...
Yup, anyone who might be upset by negative comments on their reviews should probably not volunteer to review, as a certain amount of these are to be fully expected. But, as I mentioned in the reply above, those reviewers who are currently doing this for free anyway, already get a proportion of negative comments. Why not get a few negative comments and a free library?!

As for the contributors, if they weren't happy, they won't contribute next time that reviewer is reviewing. I expect it would become a self-refining process. Good reviewers will be rewarded with future support; bad reviewers (as judged by the overall opinion, not specific individual trolls) will not and thereby not selected to do future reviews. Win/win, no?!
 
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Garry

Garry

Senior Member
No. I did library reviews and only found it to be a great way to lose friends.
Ok, then that's a great reason not to volunteer to review - rule no.6: no one will be burnt at the stake for refusing to review! ;)

However, there are reviewers out there who continue to do so, and it's to the benefit of everyone that they choose to; having them do it for free is unfair to them; having the developer pay them is unfair to us. Even if you don't want to be the person reviewing, perhaps you might see value in this arrangement for those that do?
 
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Garry

Garry

Senior Member
I'm not wedded to this idea by the way - if people don't see the value, no problem, it's just a suggestion for conversation.
... and looking at how the votes are going so far, that certainly seems to be the case! :thumbsdown: Hopefully there will be some people who log in tomorrow and see the visionary genius of my plan! :sneaky: If not, then ah well, it was just a thought, and an interesting conversation.:thumbsup: In that case, I guess I'll take my free reviews with everyone else! :2thumbs:
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
Hey, it's still awesome to share and discuss these kinds of ideas, even if they don't gather steam. For me - I think this forum already serves to solve [at least some of] the problems you're bringing up.

Want to hear 2,413,523 opinions about the latest sample library? Someone can come here and find the 3 long threads about it, skip through all the drama, try to extract gems of observations about the library, and decide how each point of observation maps onto their own personal workflow and preferences. And combine that with walkthroughs and videos, I feel that's led me to make to decently informed decisions.

Of course, if everyone did that, no one would be the first adopters to have opinions on this forum in the first place. So I encourage everyone to still honor their G.A.S. and discuss things excitedly so that I can enjoy the wisdom from it :sneaky:

By the way, one of the biggest problems with reviewers for me, I think was not mentioned in your original post: I feel like often times it's quite hard to determine "will this library be something I would want" from reviews, because it's hard to know the reviewers' workflows and musical preferences, and hard to know how they differ from my own preferences. e.g. some reviewers may prefer one-track-per-articulation where I prefer keyswitching instead, a reviewer might de-prioritize articulation breadth and consistency but greatly favor playability and combi presets, which might be different than my priorities. They may have a different approach to mixing, and they may have deeper experience on different genres than I personally do. And most of all - they'll naturally have these biases from their own perspective, even when they sincerely try to be objective.

Among other reasons this forum is fun to visit, it already serves this purpose for me of getting more information than single reviews can provide, just unfortunately requires the additional effort of sifting through the conversations.
 
OP
Garry

Garry

Senior Member
Hey, it's still awesome to share and discuss these kinds of ideas, even if they don't gather steam.
Thanks for saying so! :)

For me - I think this forum already serves to solve [at least some of] the problems you're bringing up.
Thanks, but I have to disagree, You'll find TONS of posts complaining (rightly in my view) about the lopsided relationship we have with developers: products that we can't review personally until after purchase, and then if it doesn't meet our expectations, that were based on insufficient information, then people are understandably bitter and negative towards the developer. TONS more examples of that! So while I too come to VI-C first before I buy a library for people's opinions, I feel supporting a reviewer that I appreciate, to conduct an independent review, for a minimal fee, would not replace, but add a lot to those 2,413,523 opinions!

By the way, one of the biggest problems with reviewers for me, I think was not mentioned in your original post: I feel like often times it's quite hard to determine "will this library be something I would want" from reviews, because it's hard to know the reviewers' workflows and musical preferences, and hard to know how they differ from my own preferences. e.g. some reviewers may prefer one-track-per-articulation where I prefer keyswitching instead, a reviewer might de-prioritize articulation breadth and consistency but greatly favor playability and combi presets, which might be different than my priorities. They may have a different approach to mixing, and they may have deeper experience on different genres than I personally do. And most of all - they'll naturally have these biases from their own perspective, even when they sincerely try to be objective.
Yes, I agree; it's not a perfect system and there's no replacement for having the thing in your own hands, but typically that's not possible before purchase. Also, I think people take this into account: if the reviewer is complaining about keyswitching, and that's a preferred workflow for you, I think people are capable of dismissing certain points that don't pertain to them. It's not necessarily that reviewer's conclusion on the library that counts, it's the quality of their review. For example, MANY people disagreed (and just as many agreed) with Daniel's review of HZS for example, but greatly valued him having done the review, because that usefully informed their decision - doesn't matter whether their conclusions are the same - that's not the objective.

I seem to remember Daniel saying at the time he had bought HZS based on convincing someone paying him for a current job he would be able to use it on the cue he was writing for them. It was around $600 at the time - given the amount of insight that review generated, it seems only fair that he shouldn't be the one to have fronted the cost of it, irrespective of whether he did or didn't end up regretting the purchase. We as a community benefitted enormously, and it's in his and our interest to support honest, independent reviews like this. Indeed, it's in the developers' interests too, because the more our expectations can be grounded in facts and information, the less likely buyer's remorse will happen, and that's good for them.
 
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Garry

Garry

Senior Member
ooh, I'm losing badly in the vote though! 75% against! :shocked: Guess this one's a non-starter! Not to worry! :sad:
 
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Garry

Garry

Senior Member
Haha I take enough shit every time I do a video on something as it is. I wouldn't want to make it any worse by saying something, that someone who paid to watch my review, didn't like XD Let alone feeling guilty for being chosen to do so over other reviewers.

-DJ
Really? So you’ll take payment (in the form of a free copy) from the developer and feel unhindered, but if someone has paid 2 bucks, then they’d have you over a barrel? Seems odd.

As for the guilt, I guess I expected thicker skins from composers. Do you feel sufficient guilt when you win a pitch for a job that you can’t take the job? I’m guessing not? Perhaps I underestimated the prestige of a VI-C poll. Did I mention there’s no gold clock that comes with it?!

Still, that’s 2/2 of the reviewers I’d named and have commented who don’t support the idea and the majority of poll respondents, so I guess this doesn’t fly. C’est la vie! Moving on...
 
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Daniel James

Senior Member
Really? So you’ll take payment (in the form of a free copy) from the developer and feel unhindered, but if someone has paid 2 bucks, then they’d have you over a barrel? Seems odd.

As for the guilt, I guess I expected thicker skins from composers. Do you feel sufficient guilt when you win a pitch for a job that you can’t take the job? I’m guessing not? Perhaps I underestimated the prestige of a VI-C poll. Did I mention there’s no gold clock that comes with it?!

Still, that’s 2/2 of the reviewers I’d named and have commented who don’t support the idea and the majority of poll respondents, so I guess this doesn’t fly. C’est la vie! Moving on...
I wouldn't change a single thing I would say, but its just another level of people having a go at me if they don't like what I say. Something I can do without to be honest.

No guilt if I win a pitch for a gig as that is my profession, the competition is what keeps it healthy and moving forward. Videos I do for fun on my own terms, as do many others, I have no desire to compete just to be beholden to the expectations of viewers at the expense of someone else.

-DJ
 
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