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Sample Library Depreciation thread

cyoder

Active Member
I do agree that VI purchasing is a pretty risky thing for consumers, and I'd love to see more solutions to correct that, but there is also a balance that the consumer unfriendly policies (if you feel that way about most EULAs) have allowed for the saturation and price drop of libraries in the last few years. I imagine if more risk is consolidated into sample library development, the bar of entry to produce them would increase, thus less new ones would hit the market and the price would increase to offset the risk. Just recording the audio is an expensive endeavor, detailed QA takes a looong time, effective marketing is not only expensive but also a long game, and so especially for small teams, that's a lot of sustained risk before anyone even has a chance to purchase, if they even hear about it or are interested in the least. I'm not blindly pro-developer and I'd be interested in seeing the status quo shift more toward demos and resale if possible, but there is a balance between price and quality/resale/scope. I don't think it's possible to have it both ways, or at least, I think to change the norms of the market to make it more consumer friendly will have an effect on the market in terms of pricing and projects attempted.

Maybe it's worth the trade though. And maybe I'm wrong...but there's my 2 cents at least.

Best,
 

JoelS

Member
There was a very long, very heated argument about this exact topic here on this forum just last year. You could probably save yourself about twenty pages of rehashing identical stuff by unearthing it, but if you watch movies you might surmise that reanimating the dead usually doesn't end well. The other thread got locked, eventually. This one probably will, too, about seventeen pages from now.

I don't think there are a lot of good answers to 'should a developer allow resale.' Developers face a lot of challenges.

What can be said, though, is that the current ecosystem is one where developers are now almost forced to put their products on extremely deep discount sales to compete. They pretty much all do it, at this point. So, if you are really concerned about the quality of a library and all the reviews and forum opinions aren't enough to say to you 'this will be worth my money,' then.... maybe just wait?

Is the absolute monetary value of a library now to be judged by its...
  1. Pre-order discount price
  2. Loyalty discount price
  3. Stated retail price
  4. Seasonal discount price
  5. Black Friday OMG WE HAVE TO SELL THIS NOW price
After seeing how absurdly discounted things got last November, I decided that this year I would not buy anything until Black Friday unless I need it right away for a project. I'm pretty happy with this decision so far. The few libraries I have bought were on discount sales, anyway.

As a former 'small developer' myself, I can also say I am glad to no longer be one.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
There was a very long, very heated argument about this exact topic here on this forum just last year. You could probably save yourself about twenty pages of rehashing identical stuff by unearthing it, but if you watch movies you might surmise that reanimating the dead usually doesn't end well. The other thread got locked, eventually. This one probably will, too, about seventeen pages from now.

I don't think there are a lot of good answers to 'should a developer allow resale.' Developers face a lot of challenges.

What can be said, though, is that the current ecosystem is one where developers are now almost forced to put their products on extremely deep discount sales to compete. They pretty much all do it, at this point. So, if you are really concerned about the quality of a library and all the reviews and forum opinions aren't enough to say to you 'this will be worth my money,' then.... maybe just wait?

Is the absolute monetary value of a library now to be judged by its...
  1. Pre-order discount price
  2. Loyalty discount price
  3. Stated retail price
  4. Seasonal discount price
  5. Black Friday OMG WE HAVE TO SELL THIS NOW price
After seeing how absurdly discounted things got last November, I decided that this year I would not buy anything until Black Friday unless I need it right away for a project. I'm pretty happy with this decision so far. The few libraries I have bought were on discount sales, anyway.

As a former 'small developer' myself, I can also say I am glad to no longer be one.
It’s quite tough lately because people want/expect more for less. There has to be a better middle ground where developers can protect themselves, and their business and customers can protect themselves from disappointment and wasted investment.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
I do have a few libraries I didn't like. In every case they were hasty purchases. Only one company used to put out what I thought were misleading demos; not even sure if they do that anymore as I haven't bought from them for some time.

For me, patience has been my friend.

Just to throw in a little for the developers: I feel sorry for the level of piracy they face, almost instantly, when they release libraries that clearly took months of work to produce. The first (and often the second, third, fourth etc.) result that comes up on my search engine if I search "Spitfire [library name]" is torrent downloads. That really bugs me.

I don't like wasting money either, but when I think of over $4k for the original EWQLSO, I think things are great today. (not that I regret that purchase one bit -- it reenergised my willingness to write after a hiatus when I just couldn't face another day / year of feeble samples.)
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
when I think of over $4k for the original EWQLSO, I think things are great today. (not that I regret that purchase one bit -- it reenergised my willingness to write after a hiatus when I just couldn't face another day / year of feeble samples.)
On a personal note I wish I had something like that to get me out of the same kind of hiatus right now
 

richardt4520

Active Member
Plenty of developers allow resale so saying they can't do it is bunk. They just don't want to lose out on another sale, which is understandable. For all the touchy-feely PR stuff they do (and it is much appreciated for sure!), they are software companies trying to make a profit.

I've bought a few pricey libraries that I thought were wasted money but upon revisiting them, have found great use for most of them. So my interest in this isn't exactly personal. If they are going by the argument that sample libraries are sound recordings and should be protected as such, they are eventually going to lose that battle. Because the intended use of the product is not what they're trying to argue it is: Sound recordings for listeners' enjoyment.

The intended use of a sample library is the exact same thing as a software synth using waveform oscillators. It's a tool for the end user to make musical works with. It really makes no difference that the sound generation in the software is coming from oscillators, FM, or samples, the intended use of the product is the same. And according to the EU's ruling, if I'm not mistaken, is that soft synths with non-recorded methods of sound generation fall under the ruling.

Any attorney or prosecutor on the opposing side to the software companies would see this argument within a few minutes of looking at that claim of protected sound recordings. The recordings themselves are designed for a completely different use than what the developers are claiming they are intended for in that argument.
 

WhiteNoiz

';...;'
Some good points here. To add: Other than resale, there are also the right to repair (if dev goes out of business should they be obligated to make the product available in a recoverable, workable state? example: ilok with encrypted samples?), ownership (do you actually just license sounds or do you also need the software to put them in a usable state and make them the product you actually bought?) and losing your license outright (a few devs actually have that). You could say it's cheap enough I can buy an extra license. But should you have to make that argument in the first place? Also considering that "affordable" is relative. And also some that charge you again to re-download (warranty, plus warranty in digital vs physical terms, as in paying to fix something that requires more materials, planned obsolescence and re-providing a download whose the cost is just the bandwidth it uses, licensing for use vs licensing for publication, as in offline collaboration in the same space and getting extra licenses if you put someone's name on a publicised product who wasn't an original licensee; that goes for using the sound recordings, not the program or a shared pc to compose, but that has [unnecessary] managerial costs). Rent-to-own is a good by-product. And subscription being a recurring service vs a product you buy once (even trickier).

It's a difficult situation. Indeed, professionals could probably bare any extra costs compared to hobbyists but to what extent should even they be expected to? On the other hand, this has allowed for a massive drop in prices, offsetting costs and increase in accessibility (which in turn makes music cheaper and you have to make up for that value loss in other ways; better quality samples help in that, but also adjust expectations of finished product). But, way I see it, the law should definitely be modernised. For example, sure you must have a responsibility to maintain your stuff, but should your hardware fail, should you completely lose access to something you paid for (no matter what amount and no matter what the EULA says [what was said about things being in EULAs in the first place])? I feel it's mostly an issue of accessibility and morality, if not practicality. If a dev goes out of business is piracy justified for example? In absence of demos, is piracy justified if you end up buying anyway? Some good arguments here. What about pressure to fix and innovate if you're "guaranteed" an income?

(Another thought: EastWest has adopted a hybrid of subscription and buying licenses, albeit with DRM, which is diversifying their income streams and seems to be succeeding [even if they recycle and restrict a lot; you have a choice to a big extent])

Games as a service is a really good equivalent for this, it reminded me of this:
(Replace game with program or VST)

(I don't think he makes THE best analysis, but it's decent) A good solution is to support/buy what you feel you can actually afford potentially burning money into (but even then there are arguments for failsafes and roads to accessibility). I realise a lot of this is a bit salad-y, but mostly wanted to throw some thoughts out there for people to consider.
 
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MartinH.

Senior Member
I'm curious what is with this trend of bitching and complaining about this stuff recently. Not this post specifically.
On youtube it seems like most major releases of entertainment stuff nowadays are followed by more complaints than anything else. I believe part of that is because the algorithms these sites run on figured out that negative content keeps people hooked for longer.

I've seen a youtuber complain about how the algorithm keeps deliberately showing people that hate him his content, because they can't help but watch till the end, and that's "great user retention" in the eyes of the algorithm, so it keeps doing it.

Here's an interesting video on the brain-side of the issue:

 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
I don't like wasting money either, but when I think of over $4k for the original EWQLSO
And guess what? There was no return or resell policy. I think I paid just over $2k for my old EW Complete Composer Collection (40 DVD's). I still use many of those instruments over ten years later! I think I paid $1000 for Hollywood Strings. Bought the 8Dio Adagio bundle a couple years ago for $400.....on a selfish impulse. I hated it! However, I pulled my head out my ass a while ago and really dug deep into the library, it's actually not too bad and I now appreciate it. In hindsight, it was well worth what I paid.

I don't see any shortage of demos/walkthroughs from developers and users these days, I don't get all the bitching and whining. My recent purchase of Spitfire Studio Strings and Brass paid for itself already, an easy recoup of $270! Plus, a tax write off. Even for a hobbyist, the prices of some of these libraries are incredible, we just take everything for granted. $225 for Albion One? $20 month for EW Composer Cloud? Come on, that's like two coffee's at Starbucks. There are so many great deals out there.
 

WhiteNoiz

';...;'
On youtube it seems like most major releases of entertainment stuff nowadays are followed by more complaints than anything else. I believe part of that is because the algorithms these sites run on figured out that negative content keeps people hooked for longer.
That's true, but I also try to keep myself from falling in the other trap that all of it is unjustified or useless or whiny for the sake of it. I make a conscious effort to see if there's something in everything I can keep, if I choose to engage with it.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
Some good points here. To add: Other than resale, there are also the right to repair (if dev goes out of business should they be obligated to make the product available in a recoverable, workable state? example: ilok with encrypted samples?), ownership (do you actually just license sounds or do you also need the software to put them in a usable state and make them the product you actually bought?) and losing your license outright (a few devs actually have that). You could say it's cheap enough I can buy an extra license. But should you have to make that argument in the first place? Also considering that "affordable" is relative. And also some that charge you again to re-download (warranty, plus warranty in digital vs physical terms, as in paying to fix something that requires more materials, planned obsolescence and re-providing a download whose the cost is just the bandwidth it uses, licensing for use vs licensing for publication, as in offline collaboration in the same space and getting extra licenses if you put someone's name on a publicised product who wasn't an original licensee; that goes for using the sound recordings, not the program or a shared pc to compose, but that has [unnecessary] managerial costs). Rent-to-own is a good by-product. And subscription being a recurring service vs a product you buy once (even trickier).

It's a difficult situation. Indeed, professionals could probably bare any extra costs compared to hobbyists but to what extent should even they be expected to? On the other hand, this has allowed for a massive drop in prices, offsetting costs and increase in accessibility (which in turn makes music cheaper and you have to make up for that value loss in other ways; better quality samples help in that, but also adjust expectations of finished product). But, way I see it, the law should definitely be modernised. For example, sure you must have a responsibility to maintain your stuff, but should your hardware fail, should you completely lose access to something you paid for (no matter what amount and no matter what the EULA says [what was said about things being in EULAs in the first place])? I feel it's mostly an issue of accessibility and morality, if not practicality. If a dev goes out of business is piracy justified for example? In absence of demos, is piracy justified if you end up buying anyway? Some good arguments here. What about pressure to fix and innovate if you're "guaranteed" an income?

(Another thought: EastWest has adopted a hybrid of subscription and buying licenses, albeit with DRM, which is diversifying their income streams and seems to be succeeding [even if they recycle and restrict a lot; you have a choice to a big extent])

I think some of the points are valid, but at the same time there are real world examples of the similar concepts. Not being able to resell is probably the only thing about digital products that cant be attached to a real world equivalent, however in any situation if you bought something and the maker goes out of business, you can no longer get parts, you no longer receive service and thats just the way it goes.

if you bought a water cooler and it went out of business, and you no longer receive water every month, another business cant just come in and say they'll pick up where the old company left off and start servicing that brands cooler in its place. realistically, that brand would be decommissioned and you'd be expected to get an alternative cooler and service from someplace else.

I dont think its unfair to still limit how the products are legally managed after that fact. i mean if a car manufacturer goes out of business, it doesnt really give you the right to repackage it and sell their designs as a new car brand. i feel like thats the argument being made when people want to take the scraps of a decommissioned library and make something new with it. If for personal use, sure, but for distribution, you really have no ownership over something you didn't actually create. Love it or hate it samples are like loops. They can give you permission to adjust them for your own use, but none of them give you permission to take the work they did and make a new product for yourself to sell at their expense.

so is piracy justified? i mean, does it ever feel like it should be? if someone pirates songs from your catalog with the promise to buy eventually, is that satisfactory for any creator? in the same way i think we should also consider that samples are like songs. people are obligated to royalties for the sales of libraries and to encourage piracy and free distribution would create all kinds of problems for the companies and the people who were involved in making the samples. that may also factor into why its hard to give a trial on some libraries. its complicated and of course could be better, but i dont think its really that bad for most companies, despite some reallllllly bad ones.
 

Syneast

Active Member
Personally, I don't think resale is the way to go. It seems too punishing for developers, especially smaller ones who can't necessarily afford to regularly lose sales to people selling "used" copies.
Developers should be punished for making products that make people want to return them. How else do we push for quality products if we can't vote with our money?
 

Syneast

Active Member
Bad reviews? YouTube can be a killer
You don't think sales would be further affected if all developers started releasing trials? If I see a trial I know the company is confident enough in their product. Having no trial seems to me like the developer is scared of letting us try their library.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
You don't think sales would be further affected if all developers started releasing trials? If I see a trial I know the company is confident enough in their product. Having no trial seems to me like the developer is scared of letting us try their library.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be trials, I’m just saying it’s difficult because no one seems to agree on the conditions. Giving out a free library may not be doable with royalty agreements and so many people demand a trial but demand it be without the use of a dongle system...it’s not really doable with current kontakt and it’s costly to make a stand-alone VI. plus people tend to dislike stand-alones and often demand it be kontakt or compatible with some other popular sampler.
 

Confuzzly

New Member
Developers should be punished for making products that make people want to return them. How else do we push for quality products if we can't vote with our money?
I don't know if you are confusing my use of resale with refund, but resale has no indication on the quality of a library.

Lets say I buy a library. I then proceed to spend 6 months writing a score that will make me a boat load of money with that same, great library. Afterwards, I decide I don't need the library anymore. Next, you come along and decide that you would rather buy from me at a slightly reduced cost instead of buying directly from the developer to get your own copy. I get some money back after using a library for 6 months of good use, you get a reduced cost, and the developer gets nothing except for a lost sale (your copy) and maybe a small transfer fee. That doesn't seem fair to me. The big companies can probably handle it, but I don't know about the smaller developers where individual sales could be of notable consequence.

I guess theoretically, one could have a time limit for resales, but at that point you might as well just have a return policy assuming that both a equally possible.
 
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