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Sample Library Depreciation thread

Daryl

Senior Member
It's a tricky one Daryl. If I am not mistaken Oracle argued that they don't sell the software, but a personal license to use it. Therefor it wasn't a tangible good and they don't have to facilitate a license transfer. The court didn't follow that line of argument. Now sample library developers are taking whata looks to me like a similar stance to Oracle: we don't sell a software consisting of recordings plus a code and GUI to use them in a certain way. No, we sell personal licenses to use our audio recordings.
No, it's totally different and comes under different laws, because you are not using software per se, you are licencing a sample of an audio recording to use in your own music. What you are saying is:

I agree that XXX TV company can use one of my tracks on their film. Then when they've finished using it they can sell that right to another company to use my track on their film with no further payment to me.

It is established beyond doubt that this would be illegal.
 
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gpax

Senior Member
Do I have to choose appreciations and depreciations in two different locales? Can I put a different spin on this?

My frequent interactions with, and imploring of developers in the past few years, has taken a different direction altogether as I go blind. Whether I have the options of trying before buying, reselling later, or in most cases, neither of those, have all taken a backseat to imploring developers behind the scenes to simply consider creating more accessible workflows, if not common sense GUIs, particularly as there are quantifiable standards being ignored in the sample library sphere. Progressive blindness sucks on this count.

The point being, all sample libraries go partially unused, or are partially unusable. For me, some of the best sample content I purchase is regrettably inaccessible, as I then scramble to off-load to other workflows, which is to say, work around a developer’s particular point of view. All too often, a developer’s (dark, brooding, mood-attempting) interface becomes my impediment to overcome.

If I were to get angry or bitter - which I hope I am not - they would most all owe me my money back in various ways. But even before the visual acuity decline of the past two years intensified, I have always felt that my investment of the past eighteen years amounts to one giant sample library, the sum of its parts how I prefer to create the “perfect” orchestral sections, anyway. Like so many others, I’ve shed off outdated approaches, have resold some of the few that allowed this, and fine-tune that giant ball of creativity each time something new is released - if, I determine I can use it at all.

Maybe I’ve just been doing this long enough that when I listen to developer walkthroughs and demos, I can almost immediately detect what is being masked, what is being pushed forward to hype, and what usable aspects are apparent to me. The beautify of this forum is in cross-referencing those things in discussions, but where this weird sense of those who need others to divine on their behalf, saving them from a purchase, has never made sense to me.

I am not trying to preach, but humbly offer personal perspective here. For me, its not just about sample quality, or licensing druthers: adaptable and accessible solutions have been a venture unto itself, and I could fill this post with multiple pages of examples of how developers are responding, and even affecting change. As in my daily surroundings, I find people tend to have some rudimentary sense, if not presupposition about those who are completely blind, yet have no working vocabulary for the 300,000,000 million visually impaired worldwide, which constitutes a broader range of what it means to develop tools that are accessible for them.

Analogous to the broader discussion here, there are developers who are receptive to change; some who actually implement it per the digital content standards I share, which quantifiably measure what is universally accessible. But there will always be those developers who either ignore me, or defend their GUI as being suitably exclusive for “most” of their user base. And sometimes, though it may feel like it, it’s not intentionally personal.

While there is a temptation to depreciate and shame (and I am writing an article about the lack of universally accessible design perspective itself in music production) the majority of receptive feedback falls in the appreciation category, even as I still find myself clicking into a dark mixer window, on sample library, where I have to guess where the elements are before they then sort of light up.

BTW, if anyone wants to raise up a chorus of what can actually - and readily - be fixed, I will not object. How these are licensed will still be debated, perhaps after I cannot effectively see them at that point; an accessible interface for next year’s rollout is attainable, and arguably rant-worthy, for those so inclined to communicate that way.

We each have our realities, and reasons for why we want change. Relating this back to the ethos of the discussion about licensing and purchasing options (or lack thereof), might I caution against inferring that a pro/hobby distinction be leveraged here? As was intimated recently in another contentious thread, people who bought a particular library were being implicated as complicit in developer mediocrity, which no matter how valued or erudite that assertion was, did not adequately speak to the nuances and specific realities of why we each settle for, or advocate, or rally against things like an EULA, let alone live with, and creative with, disparities in sample library qualities all the time.

For those who value such select erudite opinions so highly (and there is nothing wrong with that), or have this perception that a so-called fanboy faction is spoiling honest discussion, hence a need to counter/depreciate, I think there is also an argument to be made for some to strip out the language of (perpetual) victimhood when making their case. That we’ve all been burned by a purchase is not unique, though perhaps that is the point of advocating change that would benefit many.

As for appreciating what was once depreciated, I was delighted during the first two weeks of Logic Pro X’s release, years ago, when both a member of LPX development and Apple’s accessibility teams responded to set up a conference call, as I pointed out how so many customizable options I’d relied on for accessibility through the years, had been stripped out in the name of a so-called “modern” interface in LPX. That design trend, unfortunately, was then emulated in myriads of ways by other developers I’m sure we could all name.

My developer depreciation, then, if there is such a condition, is for those who advocate low contrast design, dark elements on darker backgrounds, and the use of micro fonts (not to mention skeuomorphic intentions gone bad), which are the daily realities I have to figure out, irrespective of the investment itself.

The public feedback after a Kontakt 5.X release a couple of years back comes to mind, as a kind of change-of-course success, as I watched forums full of users, with presumably much better visual acuity than me, let NI know what was not acceptable in the GUI (and which NI took to heart). And yet, as I recall, some in this forum were content to host a pissing contest about who could see better (“looks perfectly fine to me,” some said), even as I realized I would never win such a contest, particularly as their mode of talking about these things had no bearing to my reality. I see that mindset as a variation of faction-building consensus which is not, I pray, what this forum is ultimately about.

The moral of the story I share with various developers of my ongoing discussions about libraries is simple: when you come out with an update, or redux, or version x to replace what was, please don’t take something away (from me) that was accessible before. If you are trending toward low contrast, and dark on darker elements, or convinced that skeuomorphic buttons and knobs are ideal, be prepared to also defend what functional benefits these things actually provide. At the very least, consider digital content standards which actually exist for digital creators, where a boost to contrast ratios can go a long, long way, if not overhaul the design itself.

In terms of appreciated changes I can, and do routinely invoke, six months after the LPX release discussion, a lighter background option for the MIDI editor was added (in direct response to me telling them I simply needed a way to turn the lights back on), and there have been incremental accessibility improvements since. Incremental seems to be the thing I hope for, even as eyesight time is now at a premium for me.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, turning the depreciations into a workable appreciation is an ongoing project for me. Begging your forgiveness for nuancing this with the discussion about hoped-for licensing options, even as I totally am on board with that discussion as well, I can only add that pejorative naming schemes, or thread titles, have only ever gained limited traction for me, personally, though maybe it works better for some.

Greg
 
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Sean

I don't know what I'm talking about
I think at the least sample companies should allow some sort of demo. I don't care as much about reselling or returns, I think a demo would be consumer friendly enough. If your library is as great as you say it is, then a demo should make my decision to purchase easier and provide more sales for you. If your library is not so good, well then who's fault is that? I've definitely held out on buying a lot of libraries because I couldn't demo them when in reality if I could've demo'd them I probably would have bought them.
 
OP
N

NYC Composer

Senior Member
For clarity’s sake, I want to say this:

Various posts in this thread would suggest that one should make lemonade out of lemons, as in, they find uses for purchases they originally regretted. Some posts bring up anecdotal pricing, like John G.’s comment about the initial pricing of EWQLSO.

If I had wanted to start a thread of developer appreciation, it would be easy. I too am an EWQLSO Platinum owner, upgraded through various cycles, and I loved it and Symphonic Choirs and Silk and HB and HS and and and from EW. I could fawn over Eric Persing all day (starting in the 80s). Alex Walbank, Andrew Keretzes. Spitfire SCS, awesome, many others.

However, this thread wasn’t about anecdotal matters or appreciation, and truthfully I think those matters are off topic. My purpose was to talk about the downside of policies that affect all who purchase licenses to use sample libraries and the policies that companies use to maximize their profitability at the purchaser’s expense. These policies are not written in stone, they are business decisions.

So, in counterbalance to some of the deep appreciation expressed by customers here, I find it instructive to explore the problem, as I see it, of developer policies as well.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
For clarity’s sake, I want to say this:

Various posts in this thread would suggest that one should make lemonade out of lemons, as in, they find uses for purchases they originally regretted. Some posts bring up anecdotal pricing, like John G.’s comment about the initial pricing of EWQLSO.

If I had wanted to start a thread of developer appreciation, it would be easy. I too am an EWQLSO Platinum owner, upgraded through various cycles, and I loved it and Symphonic Choirs and Silk and HB and HS and and and from EW. I could fawn over Eric Persing all day (starting in the 80s). Alex Walbank, Andrew Keretzes. Spitfire SCS, awesome, many others.

However, this thread wasn’t about anecdotal matters or appreciation, and truthfully I think those matters are off topic. My purpose was to talk about the downside of policies that affect all who purchase licenses to use sample libraries and the policies that companies use to maximize their profitability at the purchaser’s expense. These policies are not written in stone, they are business decisions.

So, in counterbalance to some of the deep appreciation expressed by customers here, I find it instructive to explore the problem, as I see it, of developer policies as well.
this is hard because this is a landmine discussion for developers. I mean even if more developers gave us clarity into why they choose to do what they do, regardless of profit incentive, I get the feeling that the message would be twisted and used to further a false narrative.

in my mind, Native Instruments is really the one with the responsibility to help provide a demo option for developers. if thats not an option, then can we agree that we would settle for iLok standalone libraries for the sake of providing trial periods on libraries? If we cant at least accept the terms of the current situation, I think ultimately this conversation will go nowhere because Trials are not realistically possible system-wise if NI doesnt change, or if users refuse to use the options available.
 

JoelS

Member
If there was a 100% secure and convenient way to preview a library that delivered a flawless end-user experience, I think developers would probably jump all over that.

I've not used TrySound, but I'd be surprised if it gave a perfectly representative experience of how a library would perform on your specific machine(s). It's certainly a better option than no demo at all, for those who can access it and want the libraries that are available to be tested on it.

EastWest has offered trial periods for certain libraries that have timed, iLok'd licenses. I don't know if that covers all security concerns. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they really only started doing that after their Composer Cloud service was active. I don't know how their Cloud service interacts with potential piracy concerns. They may just not care anymore, the whole subscription model is probably a reaction to piracy in a way, since the sub fees likely make up a lot more of their income now than selling individual licenses. That's just a guess, though. I assume Adobe (and lots of 3D software developers) came to the same conclusion. Subscription models would probably work well for the big developers with huge catalogs, but a lot of people hate subscriptions and probably don't want that to become a dominant business model.

The discount culture is all part of it, too. Sure, you have to wait a while if you miss the pre-order discount, but another deep price cut is always on the way. It seems almost crazy to buy a full price library now. That is probably sustainable for the top dogs, but it has to be making life harder on smaller developers.

For anyone developing 'big' sample libraries, they have to contend with...

- initial production and development costs
- a very saturated market
- the expectation of deep discounts or comparatively low pricing
- immediate piracy, and costs associated with combating it (iLok, NI, whatever)

Nobody's really coughing up the figures from the dev side on what all that costs vs. their income, so it's open to speculation.

I wish sample libraries were perfect out of the box and devs were able to swiftly and efficiently address any problems that come up. That would be great. Some libraries (and devs) have more issues than others. Maybe I'm just lucky that I've not run into anything I found unusable... or I'm more forgiving of libraries I got at 50% off.
 
OP
N

NYC Composer

Senior Member
this is hard because this is a landmine discussion for developers. I mean even if more developers gave us clarity into why they choose to do what they do, regardless of profit incentive, I get the feeling that the message would be twisted and used to further a false narrative.

in my mind, Native Instruments is really the one with the responsibility to help provide a demo option for developers. if thats not an option, then can we agree that we would settle for iLok standalone libraries for the sake of providing trial periods on libraries? If we cant at least accept the terms of the current situation, I think ultimately this conversation will go nowhere because Trials are not realistically possible system-wise if NI doesnt change, or if users refuse to use the options available.
Maybe, but aren’t all Kontakt libraries cracked almost immediately? (Or so I’ve been told.)

Clearly, a lot of people pay for libraries.
 

dzilizzi

I know nothing
This is one of those price things too. If I buy an 8dio library for $28, even if it only is half good, I'm very happy. I guess that's why they call it a no-brainer.

Now when I bought OT's WW's, even though it was 40% off, I did a whole lot of research, because it was still very expensive to me. I didn't think their strings or brass was worth the price because I had HWO Diamond for less than the cost of the OT WWs. On sale. Probably good for me they didn't offer a demo. I'm happy with the winds, but for me? I really didn't need them. They aren't that much better than HWWs to me.

However, it sounds like the new setup OT is planning on will allow for a lot more picking and choosing, so less complaints. Not that I hear many on their stuff.
 

dzilizzi

I know nothing
this is hard because this is a landmine discussion for developers. I mean even if more developers gave us clarity into why they choose to do what they do, regardless of profit incentive, I get the feeling that the message would be twisted and used to further a false narrative.

in my mind, Native Instruments is really the one with the responsibility to help provide a demo option for developers. if thats not an option, then can we agree that we would settle for iLok standalone libraries for the sake of providing trial periods on libraries? If we cant at least accept the terms of the current situation, I think ultimately this conversation will go nowhere because Trials are not realistically possible system-wise if NI doesnt change, or if users refuse to use the options available.
I thought @EvilDragon said NI offered the ability to do demo libraries for Kontakt?

There maybe other reasons they don't do it.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
I thought @EvilDragon said NI offered the ability to do demo libraries for Kontakt?

There maybe other reasons they don't do it.
ah i think you're right. this would be for all libraries that are officially supported by kontakt right? i recall you could load up libraries not yet registered in native access and it gives a certain amount of time to try the VI, but im not sure about how well protected these libraries are from piracy in that method.honestly i forgot all about it because i dont think ive ever come into a situation that uses it on purpose as much as i think i had pirated software from a decade ago that i gave up on as I became a professional who could and should buy it the right way.
 

MartinH.

Senior Member
30 day money back refund policies are much friendlier to developers than resale. Resale is worse than piracy for devs because it takes the money from people willing to spend it on legit products entirely out of the income stream of a developer, where a pirate wasn't planning to pay anything to anyone in the first place. The loss of profits through that and the gain of profits through people that only buy libraries that can be resold are not easily quantifiably though, so who knows if or how it affects the bottom line...


ah i think you're right. this would be for all libraries that are officially supported by kontakt right? i recall you could load up libraries not yet registered in native access and it gives a certain amount of time to try the VI, but im not sure about how well protected these libraries are from piracy in that method.honestly i forgot all about it because i dont think ive ever come into a situation that uses it on purpose as much as i think i had pirated software from a decade ago that i gave up on as I became a professional who could and should buy it the right way.
NI once sent out links to updates of one of their player libraries (NI Symphony Series Essentials) out in a way that looked like they were giving it away for free and I downloaded and installed it. It ran in "demo mode" (15 minutes before it goes silent and needs to be reloaded if I remember correctly) in Kontakt because it wasn't registered through the NI service center app (nowadays native access). For those libraries, they could just make the installer available to all for demoing. I think the protection against piracy is low, but the stuff is probably showing up on pirate sites as soon as it's released anyway, so what difference does it make?
For what it's worth, I later bought the full set of NISSC.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
I have to say I disagree with that. On a personal standpoint, walktroughs made by skilled mockupers and naked demos are the key to understand if a product will work for me or not. 99% of times that is enough. I tend to refer to user opinions only to spot programming bugs or other technical difficulties, and that is really useful.

About demos, I believe that the whole concept of "well, he's good so he makes everything sound good" is somehow wrong. To me, knowing that someone is able to create an illusion and make a product sound great, that is "exactly" what I'm after. I'm an illusionist myself. I have a problem when even skilled mockupers can't make a product sound good, THAT is different. I also have to say that "in context" demos are nowadays less informative and I tend to kinda ignore them and just look for the word "naked" in the audio demos.
Absolutely. What the library is ultimately capable of in the right hands is the absolute marker for me, assuming I intend to use the library in the same way.

I go on the assumption that they’ll be a few issues with any library and that the demo makers will have side-stepped them. Which is exactly how I work.

To that end, I don’t put much credence into little naked noodles etc, because any flaws that they expose is something I’ll just work around or avoid during writing.
I don’t think I have *any* library that doesn’t have a couple of sounds that annoy me. It’s part of the challenge and I try not to be absolutist.

The only library I regret buying was Edna Earth. Not because it isn’t great, simply because I’ve never put the time into it and used it properly. That one I guess is on me.

This is only my own set of criteria of course, and everyone should use their own.
A

(Edited for clarity.)
 
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Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
For me, demo pieces and mockups are pretty uninteresting. I rarely even listen to them. I think it's totally backwards to base purchases around that.
I'm trying to distill any useful information from walkthroughs, since demo versions are rarely available.

It's completely irrelevant what "can be done" with a library. What it does for me is the only thing that matters. Everyone has their own way of working, and most importantly, their own kind of headspace when working with this stuff. When I'm able to actually play the patches, see and feel how they're scripted, get a feel for how the samples are edited, and sequence something on my own system, in my own workflow etc., that's when I can really tell if a library works for me or not.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
So if you're looking for a library with certain traits (ie; performance legato), how do you know how it sounds without watching a developer demonstrate?
Stuff like legato is especially tricky and almost impossible to evaluate without having it under your fingers.
But what I said is that I don't find much use in listening to demo pieces, and in fact prefer at least walkthroughs/patch demonstrations if I can't try out the stuff myself.
 
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