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Pricing your virtual instruments/sample libraries...

purple

Senior Member
How does one go about pricing their virtual instruments? Say you found a really cool sounding piano or something, recorded it, and concluded there's some cool and unique content in there worth selling to the world. What next? I'd assume you'd go through something like Kontakt hub, but how can you know what price is fair to you and the buyer and also low enough to move some units? Apologies if this question is too broad or silly, maybe I should have gotten a degree in business instead of sound engineering hehe...
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
Yeah, look at competing products, if you're a new developer then look especially at competing products from developers who haven't been around for years, and which have a similar depth of sampling (number of samples, size in GB). Look both at regular price, depth and frequency of sales, and intro price. For piano, stuff like Lekko or Frozen Piano would be decent benchmarks.

The harder part is knowing what your expectations should be, in terms of numbers sold. Once it's out, is it selling "well" or "poorly"? It's much harder to find comparisons for that.
 
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purple

Senior Member
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Yeah, look at competing products, if you're a new developer then look especially at competing products from developers who haven't been around for years, and which have a similar depth of sampling (number of samples, size in GB). Look both at regular price, depth and frequency of sales, and intro price. For piano, stuff like Lekko or Frozen Piano would be decent benchmarks.

The harder part is knowing what your expectations should be, in terms of numbers sold. Once it's out, is it selling "well" or "poorly"? It's much harder to find comparisons for that.
Thanks, that seems like a good way to figure it out.
 

Lode_Runner

Sample librarian
Yeah, look at competing products, if you're a new developer then look especially at competing products from developers who haven't been around for years, and which have a similar depth of sampling (number of samples, size in GB). Look both at regular price, depth and frequency of sales, and intro price. For piano, stuff like Lekko or Frozen Piano would be decent benchmarks.

The harder part is knowing what your expectations should be, in terms of numbers sold. Once it's out, is it selling "well" or "poorly"? It's much harder to find comparisons for that.
There's been quite a few new developers who've set their prices too high (IMHO) relative to other products on the market. eg Superball Percussion, 24 Tone Gongs, Pripyat Pianos, everything from Sonica. The products are very good, but they enter the zone of 'I like the sound but I can't justify spending that much for the amount of times I'd use it. Going to have to pass on it unfortunately.'
 
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gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
well, kontakt hub takes like 40/50 percent of a sale so its not really the best way for some. if you go that route then price it to something that looks similar competition wise and add double when selling in kontakt kub. if you decide for kontakt hub and other places and your own store then a little less and so on. depends on the plan. just like any prodcut out there. basically anyone can sell black watter fizzy cola. its not a super secret-no one can imitate type of thing. but they spent more than half a dollar per sale in marketing. every prodcut you see out there, if you see it, then it means they are spending more than half of sales in marketing so you can see it. then work backwards to lower costs more and more. then there is the business to business thing. or skipping marketing but its a staple in the home. etc. different business plans. obvously you are not going to compete with 8dio or spitfire. but
if you own a recording studio then doing the piano sampling will be much lower costs than renting a place. you are leveraging the costs one way or another. if you are a programmer you can do some cool scirpting and not have to pay for that.
 

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
also, my degree in business is worth jack in this industry ;)
i had to read a lot of specific business books. and all this new stuff in social media marketing and new digital business models.
so dont think this is a specific market thing. you can learn about this stuff in general business specific for digital prodcuts.
your silly question helps you see what you have to learn. which one of it is about business plans, some accounting, marketing, etc.


OR, you can reach out to different sample library companies and provide the service of making instruments. get half of sales or upfront dough that way you only deal with making the prodcut. not the customer service, selling platform, marketing, accounting, taxes, etc. maybe kontakt hub might help sell via some of their emails but you are also competing vs everyone there. but if you made stuff for souniron or 8dio then it can give you a lot more sales.
 
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purple

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well, kontakt hub takes like 40/50 percent of a sale so its not really the best way for some. if you go that route then price it to something that looks similar competition wise and add double when selling in kontakt kub. if you decide for kontakt hub and other places and your own store then a little less and so on. depends on the plan. just like any prodcut out there. basically anyone can sell black watter fizzy cola. its not a super secret-no one can imitate type of thing. but they spent more than half a dollar per sale in marketing. every prodcut you see out there, if you see it, then it means they are spending more than half of sales in marketing so you can see it. then work backwards to lower costs more and more. then there is the business to business thing. or skipping marketing but its a staple in the home. etc. different business plans. obvously you are not going to compete with 8dio or spitfire. but
if you own a recording studio then doing the piano sampling will be much lower costs than renting a place. you are leveraging the costs one way or another. if you are a programmer you can do some cool scirpting and not have to pay for that.
Yes, in my case I have access to a recording studio through school and would do everything, or at least almost everything, on my own. Costs aren't really an issue besides any fees or things associated with distributors. I'm shocked they take such a big cut at kontakt hub but I doubt I'd be able to move as many units through my own site.
 

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
Lots of factors. People have to know about your product, too, and that requires advertising.

I don't think that the prices of other products out there are necessarily a good guide. You don't know how many copies they're selling at the asking price. Lots of developers are giving away stuff for free to attract interest (both big players, and small ones).
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
I had a devilish idea. I hope nobody actually does it, but it's fun to think about it. You know how a lot of ebook sellers will do the "it's $19" thing, then in a few weeks say "price goes up permanently to $200 next Tuesday" to try to pressure people into buying?

Put it on your own site. Don't tell anybody. Sell it for a really cheap price, like $10 or even $1 if you're really brave and have servers that could handle 1000 downloads in a day, and write on the page that every day the price goes up by a dollar. Update every day. If your page gets any casual traffic for other reasons, someone will sooner or later notice and tell a friend (or, if they don't have any friends, tell an enemy). People will be motivated to buy today, those who hear about it a few days later will have missed out on the lowest price but hey, it's still pretty good, and by the time sales grind to a halt you might have made a couple thousand bucks. Do that with another product a few months later, and people WILL be checking updates to your site.

REAL gimmicky, but in an era where even developers who rarely did sales are doing bigger and bigger ones, going "nah we're never dropping our prices, in fact we're gonna keep raising them and there's never gonna be a better day to buy this than today" is, if nothing else, a way to get some "did you hear about the crazy guy who's raising his prices every day" word of mouth.

I've never bothered with advertising, though someday I probably will, when I have a product that I think will sell well enough without advertising. What I mean by that, spending $500 to double the sales of something that would otherwise make $400 during the period the ads run, not doing that. Spending $500 to double the sales of something that would otherwise make $1000 - now that's worth trying.

Without advertising, I just post about stuff here, KVR database and forum, a single Facebook group, label Twitter and audio production deals Reddit. I could skip the last two and lose maybe 1-2 sales. Though I do have a site that's got a good amount of traffic from people looking for free stuff, so that is also good for getting the name out there etc.
 

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
yep. like WAVES plugins that cost $399 but are now at $29. maybe 10 years ago that would of fly but now after 10 years of just $29 for any of tgheir plugins im still amazed poeple fall for it. the whole: this week is REALLY discounted to 29.99 from 300. when ou just wait another week and its again discounted.
its liket he corner store matress stores with the eternal "going out of business sale" or last week sale" and after a while its just a sign thats left there :)
 

Land of Missing Parts

Grumpy Monkey
REAL gimmicky, but in an era where even developers who rarely did sales are doing bigger and bigger ones, going "nah we're never dropping our prices, in fact we're gonna keep raising them and there's never gonna be a better day to buy this than today" is, if nothing else, a way to get some "did you hear about the crazy guy who's raising his prices every day" word of mouth.
It's a fun idea. But the fact of the matter is that all software instruments devalue over time. Or at least the market's evaluation of them will devalue.

Developers don't have to lower the price, of course. But they'll sell less and less if they don't.
 

Old Timer

Active Member
Kontakt Hub is quite a nice way to go, IMO, if you are a (very) part-time sample library creator like me.

Yes, Kontakt Hub take their cut, but they do a lot of the work too. I created several sample libraries for their sister site, Sampleism (currently working on another), but I didn't have to worry about setting up a website, or the mechanism of charging for my library and managing downloads etc. They also market the products on their site, especially the new ones. Of course it is up to the developer to market their work too, but Kontakt Hub have regular sales and send out mailshots to a far larger number of potential purchasers than I would ever be able to manage. If there is a downside, it is that so many people are doing this kind of thing - it's easy to get lost in the crowd.

Price wise, it's finding the balance between charging enough to make it worth your while and not so much that you put people off buying it. It's better to sell 10 copies of something at $5, than 1 copy of something at $20. But if you price something too low, people are likely to think your product has no value. Another cool thing about Kontakt Hub is that they have experience of pricing and what sells. They were able to help me with my sample libraries. I won't be retiring any day soon but my Plink library, for instance, has done well enough that I don't feel I wasted my time.

Good luck with your project!
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
One way you can go about this is the way the "big boys" do it...make the library with whatever YOU would use and want to see in a library of sorts, because if you wouldn't use it over anything that's out there, then no one else will either...THEN decide how much to charge for it once you have figured in your expenses and what it will take to recover it over "x" amount of years (your decision here). So if you want to recoup your total expenses within a year, the price will need to be double that if you were to wait 2 years...and so on. Then once you have recovered costs, you can lower the price and should be all profit at that point...but don't forget to figure in any tech support and updates, and if you are charging for updates or if they're free...then for any additional bugs that come up. Best of luck.
 
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purple

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One way you can go about this is the way the "big boys" do it...make the library with whatever YOU would use and want to see in a library of sorts, because if you wouldn't use it over anything that's out there, then no one else will either...THEN decide how much to charge for it once you have figured in your expenses and what it will take to recover it over "x" amount of years (your decision here). So if you want to recoup your total expenses within a year, the price will need to be double that if you were to wait 2 years...and so on. Then once you have recovered costs, you can lower the price and should be all profit at that point...but don't forget to figure in any tech support and updates, and if you are charging for updates or if they're free...then for any additional bugs that come up. Best of luck.
Yeah, I don't really feel like I'll be making sample libraries as a job. I don't think I'd want that even if I had the ideas or resources to do so. It's not like it has any motive behind it other than to sample this cool instrument so I can easily implement it into my own stuff, but I think it will be useful to others so why not share it? (and of course make some money on the side with it). It's not something I'd spend much on unless I was explicitly looking for it, but some brief window shopping on kontakt hub has me confident I could probably charge a bit more than I had originally thought would be good for it.
 
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