Sample Developers, and Direct Feedback from their Customers ?

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by muziksculp, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. muziksculp

    muziksculp Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Los Angeles

    I don't ever recall receiving a survey/questionnaire, or feedback type email from any Sample Developer that I'm a customer of, asking me what sample library I would like to see them develop in the future, and/or how I like the library/s that I have purchased from them, and what would make it a better product, ..etc. Basically some direct feedback from their customers. Which I think would be quite valuable, and useful for Sample Developers, to know if they are on the right track.

    I'm curious why they don't make an effort to communicate, and get some valuable feedback directly from their customers via email (I'm sure they get quite a bit of feedback from forums), but that's not the same as receiving direct feedback from their customers via email.

    Your thoughts on this would be interesting.

  2. bozmillar

    bozmillar Senior Member

    Nov 26, 2015
    I would assume you don't see this because it's really really hard to sort through the good and the bad feedback. When you ask people "do you like X feature?" and 50% of the responses say they love it, and 50% of the responses say they hate it, it becomes almost impossible to make decisions off of such mixed feedback.

    Secondly, what people say they want with their mouths is very different from what people say they want with their wallet. It's really hard to get accurate feedback from people. Some people don't want to give negative feedback when asked directly, so they'll only say good stuff. Some people will complain about anything and everything, and they'll only give negative feedback. Surveys are just a notoriously bad method of getting user feedback.

    Also, while developers do want to make products that sell more, they are generally musicians themselves and tend to lean towards the stuff that they are most excited about.

    If there are issues that many people are having, developers will find out pretty quickly what those issues are from support.

    That said, I think user feedback is really important. When you are making a product, it's easy to get your nose stuck too deep in the product to be able to step back and get a "first glance" view of the product. It's not much different from listening to a song too many times while mixing it, you tend to (or at least I tend to) focus on details that aren't important, and ignore details that are.

    So I do think getting feedback from users is absolutely important. I just don't think that surveys are a good way to do it.
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  3. Jimmy Hellfire

    Jimmy Hellfire Senior Member

    Jun 28, 2015
    I agree, it's tricky to receive precise feedback - most people aren't very good at that anyway, and surveys are a very superficial tool. Also, people tend to think and speak differently as long as the wallet stays in the pocket. I've heard of cases where a developer asked stuff like: would you be interested in a feature XY / a product that does this and that in this particular manner, and people we're, oh yeah, that's what we were always waiting for, I'd definitely buy something like that. Then it comes out, but nobody's bying it.
    Mike Greene likes this.
  4. leon chevalier

    leon chevalier Cinematic Studio Bumper

    Nov 19, 2015
    Every years Steinberg send a feedback survey about their DAW and VSTi.
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  5. GearNostalgia

    GearNostalgia Senior Member

    Jun 11, 2018
    I agree that it is not easy to make sureveys that gets clear answers and helps the developer, but as Leon pointed out Steinberg does it every year and about more and more things. I think their surveys are reasonably well constructed so I guess they get valuable input from it.

    From my fresh bitter experience with the present EULA situation I think it could be valuable to make a survey to their customers about what would keep them happy customers and how they would like to fund future products. Do they want totally new products(if so which?) or to expand and improove existing products? Are they willing to crowdfund new products. Do they want to pay subscribtion for improoving existing products. About products I would like to know if users would rather buy a smaller flawless library or a big library with some parts of lesser quality thrown in as a bonus that may work out for very limited purposes. Things like that could be of value I guess.
  6. AllanH

    AllanH Senior Member

    Oct 11, 2015
    Central Coast California
    I've certainly answered several surveys: Steinberg had one earlier in the spring primarily about audio interfaces and there is another live at the website. Surveymonkey and Google forms are both simple and efficient.
  7. fretti

    fretti Senior Member

    Got one the other day from Sonuscore where they asked exactly that stuff. You could write what it is you wish to exist (as a free text) and also you could rate (1-10) e.g. how you would find Action Strings 2, Action Choir and Action Brass (as an addition to Action Strings and Action Strikes, if I recall correctly). Also got now 2 emails from Spitfire asking about how happy I am with my purchases and the process around it etc. Though not asking what I‘d like to see...
    From others I think I also haven’t gotten something...would be cool though to have a little more influence:)
  8. SoNowWhat?

    SoNowWhat? realised I can type here

    Jul 26, 2016
    U-he had one at end of last year.
    I don’t know how useful they are to devs but if I have time I’m usually happy to complete. Of course, the U-he one had a discount voucher sweetener.
  9. Mike Greene

    Mike Greene Administrator

    I think a survey is useful more as a marketing tool than for getting information. As someone said above, tech support tells you most of what you need to know regarding what people like and don't like. Lots of tech support emails are suggestions/requests, rather than problems, and even with problems, you can read between the lines to see how things could have been better. For instance, we (Realitone) get a number of installation questions because our instructions are from when you would add a library by clicking the "Add Library" button, which no longer exists. I don't need a survey asking "Should we update our installations?" to tell me that, yeah, I should get off my ass and update our installation instructions. :grin:

    Even regarding new instruments or features, we already get those emails all the time. Tons of them. In fact, I would dare guess most developers don't need more ideas for instruments. They're certainly good to have and we want to hear them (a couple requests are in our pipeline), but speaking for myself, it will be a decade before I finish the stuff I already really, really want to do.

    Thats not to say a survey wouldn't be valuable for gathering even more info, and the larger info base would be a better way to gauge whether people really want an electric soprano banjo. Plus this thread reminds me that I do have some specific questions that would best be handled in a survey. Still, though, I would guess that it's the marketing departments that are driving most surveys.

    Which brings me to the real reason you don't see a lot of surveys from sample library developers: Most of us are simply not good businessmen/women and for the most part, we're not good managers, either. I would guess that almost any developer who reads this thread will be thinking, "Hey, Muziksculp is right! I should send out a survey, because it's a great excuse for a mass email, plus I could learn a few things about what customers want." That certainly describes me, because I probably should send out a survey.

    But they won't do it. Why? Because they're just like me. We'd have to write that survey. We'd have to figure out how to send the survey. And then we'll remember that before we send the survey, we should make that better installation video, because people have already been complaining about the old one. Then after we send the survey, we'll get emails from people who were reminded by our survey that they never did update Realivox Ladies to version 2.1, and they can't find their links, and they think they bought it with a different email, so could I please find it for them? Ugh. This is gonna be a lot of work! And what I really need to do is get back to making that color changing knob I was working on. Ooooh, purple!
  10. Jaap

    Jaap Best audience ever...booh!

    Mike Greene likes this.
  11. JoelS

    JoelS Senior Member

    There's also the relatively recent issue of GDPR compliance governing how a developer may communicate with anyone in the EU. If you are a resident of the EU, unless you explicitly opt-in to a developer's newsletter/mailing list, they can't collect that info (say, from a purchase) and communicate with you. At least, that's my understanding of it.

    You might have received a ceaseless waterfall of 'hey, we have to comply with the GDPR' emails about a month ago before it went into effect, asking you to confirm and re-opt-in to marketing and other communications from anyone you have bought anything from, ever. Make sure you update your status on any of the ones you care to hear from, even if you had previously signed up for their communications. Collecting data (and presumably, launching surveys by email) is more complicated for developers now.

    If you really want a particular developer to offer a specific thing, I'd say reaching out to them with an email is better than waiting for them to ask for suggestions. Devs are people, and I think most welcome feedback from those who care about their products. For example, I bought Fluffy Audio's Dominus choir a month or so ago, and after using it a bit there were some features I thought would be great to have. I emailed them, and Paolo replied saying that they were already working on some of what I'd requested, and in fact one thing was already there in the library and I had missed it because who reads manuals or instructions, anyway? This is not to suggest you'll always get what you want just by asking, but it can't hurt to try.
    muziksculp likes this.
  12. DSmolken

    DSmolken Senior Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    Well, I once asked here whether I should sample a nice, high-quality guitar, or a cheap weird one made in a government factory. Everyone wanted the government one. We'll see in a few months what listening to the customers is worth, haha.
  13. Chris Hein

    Chris Hein

    Shouldn't NI provide a template for that?

    Chris Hein
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  14. zircon_st

    zircon_st Lead Developer

    We've done a handful of surveys and interestingly, the results don't really match the trends of what actually sells! Not to say they're useless, but it's certainly interesting. For example, Super Audio Cart is one of our most popular libraries by far, but nobody ever asked for anything like that...
  15. gpax

    gpax Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    “They” aren’t all the same they, of course, just as the user base is all over the map as well.

    In terms of a barometer for customer input to be potentially gauged, I know I’ve had discussions at NAMM, have sometimes sent emails with ideas, and so forth. I’m guessing some developers get constant feedback from select users and composers they trust. Just a thought. I’ve seen at least two ideas come to fruition, though it may be more coincidence.

    As zircon-st indicated, trends can inform development. That being said, some devs no doubt see themselves as still influencing user trends (believing they offer the next must-have); Others see themselves as tapping into existing trends. Disparate string libraries now obviously reflect tastes, workflows, and budgets far more than they used to. Notice how a recent thread went to great pains to list all these, where one could see it’s an apples and oranges world now.

    The parallel discussion I see is how trends like ensemble and/or thematic libraries have grown in appeal, and what that says about how these things are being used.
  16. bigcat1969

    bigcat1969 Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2013
    Well I suggested that Spitfire make a $100 starter orchestra / intro drug on Christian's Youtube thread and then Red Room put out a free orchestra, so I think they were listening in...
    Polkasound likes this.
  17. OP

    muziksculp Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Hi Zircon_st,

    Thanks for the interesting feedback.

    Your Super Audio Cart library sounds wonderful, Which is one of the libraries I'm considering to buy in the near future. Sometimes developer's own ideas for new libraries even if it is a bit different, and has not been requested, or not main stream, can be very popular, but that's not usually the norm.

    Regarding feedback from customers, I think there is still a good value for developers to get direct feedback via email from customers, be it to ask how they like the libraries they already purchased from a developers, any additional features they like to see, or what future libraries they might be interested in. That's just my humble opinion, I'm not a developer, so I might be missing something regarding the sample library business model, but I will surely like it if sample library developers asked me for my opinion on libraries I purchased from them, or would like to see them develop in the future. It just makes me feel they care, and want to communicate directly.

  18. NYC Composer

    NYC Composer Senior Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    Just curious, Andrew-how did/does Archtop do? Man, I love me some Archtop. ROP as well.

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