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Spitfire Westworld - Winner Announced!

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charlieclouser

Senior Member
Yes, it's another long read - but there's a point if you make it all the way to the end.

Few give Spitfire the benefit of the doubt on their motives, but I do. I've been good friends with Christian, Paul, Harry, Stanley, and a few more of them for a bunch of years now, and I've had more than a few long days (and long dinners!) with them - so this isn't just me guessing based on stuff I read on the internet, this is all coming from close personal experience:

- Not everyone and every decision is driven by a desire for more market share, more customers, more money. Spitfire has got more customers and products than they need in order to keep their company of seventy-plus employees a "going concern".

- They spend a lot of time and effort on products that are decidedly "niche", and probably don't make any sort of economic sense in terms of money spent on development vs sales revenue. How many of you paid full pop for Euphone and Scraped Percussion? I did, but I'm a "niche" composer and a sound/sample fanatic who's willing to spend whatever just to taste the sweet sweet nectar of a sound I've never heard before. (I also pay no attention to how much money I spend on sounds and software, but that's another discussion!) Even their more mainstream products veer strongly to the left - Evo Grids, Whitacre, etc. aren't what you buy if you're doing "epic trailer" tracks, and their oft-criticized love of the soft flautando aren't going to be heard in a Two Steps From Hell soundalike any time soon. So why would they spend all that time/money/effort on these niche products? Because they genuinely want to hear and use those sounds, want to reward and appreciate the sonic and musical innovators whose work they respect, and hope (perhaps naively) that there will be others out there who do as well; hopefully enough who will pony up the price so it's not too big of a loss for their company.

- Whether you believe it or not, there IS a wholesome motivation behind a lot of the stuff they do, whether it's Piano Book, Labs, tutorials, the free/cheap versions of BBCSO, templates, those "Salons" they put on a while back, or Christian's wacky YouTube channel. While that stuff might expand their reach, grow their customer base, etc., none of it is by any means a sure bet, or a move dictated solely by sneaky strategic marketing. Lots of folks will download Labs and Piano Book and the free BBCSO, and will happily use that stuff and never spend more than a few bucks on actual paid Spitfire products. In fact, I'd guess that their "conversion rate" of people who come for all of the free stuff and wind up spending thousands is so low that the end result is a net loss of time, effort, and money on Spitfire's part.

- It would be so much simpler, and save them hundreds of thousands of $/£/€, just not to do any of that stuff, and simply do what every other library developer does: release a product, make one walkthrough and one tutorial video, offer a reduced introductory price, send out an email blast, and move on to the next. That business model certainly seems to work just fine for developers both large and small.

- None of the other big players in this space do anywhere near the amount of extracurriculars that Spitfire does. Sure, some of them flirt with the idea or make token efforts like releasing a few freebies as a very thinly-disguised way to harvest email addresses for their next promotional email blast, but none of them even approach the level of "community involvement" that Spitfire does.

- Besides the ridiculous planning and recording logistics involved in acquiring signal to tape, the editing and programming work involved in turning a ProTools session of single-note recordings into a playable, sellable product is IMMENSE, and has only grown more so over the years as more articulations and mic positions have become the norm, resulting in a logistic/production/IT nightmare, and a "smart" businessman would have tried to find ways to shave costs at every turn long ago. Outsource the recording to buy-out sessions in Eastern Europe? Outsource the sample editing to Mumbai? All of these would have been on the table if this was simply a money grabbing operation.

So... why? Why doesn't every developer do it the Spitfire way? Is it solely because Spitfire are so successful that they have deep cash reserves that nobody else has? And, if so, why aren't Paul and Christian just stacking the chips and preparing to fold up shop when the cash meter hits some pre-determined red line? Don't you think they've got enough cash already? I mean, why do they even BOTHER?

You'd be forgiven for assuming I'm naive, but after 35 years of fending off attempts to screw me over in every facet of the music industry (with mixed results) I can confidently say "I may be a lot of things but naive I ain't."

I really think that most of what's behind Spirfire's motivation to do all this "other stuff" is a genuine love for the craft and a wholesome enthusiasm for what they do, what other composers + sound designers do, and what their "customer base" will do with their products - even the free stuff like Labs or Piano Book. Sure, it might stoke their egos, and probably "builds the brand", but let's be real - nobody's going to be "tricked" into buying a thousand-dollar library just because of Christian's enthusiasm while taking his dogs for walkies on his YouTube channel. And if the products weren't up to snuff then anyone who felt tricked wouldn't keep coming back for more on the strength of a slick website or a quiet-talking voiceover on a video.

Here's the point that not everyone can wrap their brains around, and which, embarrassingly, I was unable to wrap my brain around until I got to a certain point in life/career/experience:

Not everyone is driven by the lust for filthy lucre.

Not everyone is always in "Cash Rules Everything Around Me" mode.

Some don't give a shit about money. Or, at least, not so much anymore. Most did at one point, out of sheer hunger while living in an unheated warehouse next to the Gowanus Canal while eating discount Ramen, bike messengering, and collecting returnable bottles and cans out of the trash in NYC for money to buy MIDI cables (Yes, I've actually done this), but (and here's the cringey part), once you get "enough" money, it can sort of... cease to have any meaning. At first, you stop looking at every plan of action in strict terms of spend-vs-return, figuring, "It's okay if I lose money on this because it will lead to better things." Later, you start thinking, "It's okay if I lose money on this because it's what I want to do." Even later, you might start thinking, "I don't care what it costs, it's the RIGHT thing to do."

For sure this isn't a universal truth - for every rich idealist for whom "money means nothing", there's a dozen Steve Mnuchin types whose boundless lust for filthy lucre has turned them into Smaug, perversely scheming and hoarding money or power over others for reasons that have long ceased to have actual relevance to them, and, once their soul is no more than a charred cinder on a bed of shiny coins, can only do harm to the rest of humanity, the planet, and everything and everyone that has nourished them during their demented quest.

But I really don't think Paul and Christian are like this at all.

I don't think they're in it solely for the money. If they were, they'd be making a lot of different (smarter?) moves than the ones they so publicly make, and for which they are often pilloried on ze forums. They started doing sample libraries just for themselves, were then harangued into selling them to other composers in their bespoke era, and it just sort of snowballed into what it is today - because of their enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of other composers for what they were doing.

The money is nice, sure - it eliminates barriers to achieving goals and dreams, provides security for the family and the future, yadda yadda yadda - but they spread it around like nobody else. Seventy employees on a London standard of living? Freebies, give-aways, and "community-building outreach"? That's all very generous - and mostly unnecessary if all they wanted to do was to stack chips.

If they were all about that C.R.E.A.M. then they'd have found ways to cut costs and raise revenues long ago - and we wouldn't have as much stuff like Piano Book, Labs, BBCSO free, or the damn Westworld contest that so many people got pissed about for any reason they could pull out of their ass. (The fix was in! He broke the rules! Puh-leeeeeeze. They tried to do everyone a solid and y'all still found something to complain about, as always. I guess no good deed goes unpunished. Aaannnyyyywaaayyyy...) Sure, these things help "build the brand" in some intangible way, but it would be simpler and cheaper to just skip all that mess. They don't need to do that stuff, they want to do that stuff.

But then they'd be just another library developer with high-end, expensive products. People would still bitch and moan about the legato transition volumes, just like they do about every other freaking library out there, but all they'd have when they sit back and reflect would be the Smaug-like pile of coin and that feeling of "the big empty". That's nothing more than hollow joy - they know it, and I think they run their company and lives accordingly.

As to their products, buy or do not buy, it matters not. As to the contests, enter or do not enter, it matters not.

But cut 'em a break before assuming that all this stuff is just various manifestations of some big cash grab.
 
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Rossy

Active Member
Why is it problematicissimo for Spitfire to do a contest? This competition was a blockbuster success for them. I totally relate to anyone entering the contest that did not win and got let down. However, don’t share your feelings about how upset you are about that with the public or social media. Keep it to yourself. This forum is not about puking 🤮 up every complaint one has about anything and everything in life. For that one must talk to your dog or pet or find a therapist, though most of those people are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!!
First of all, it wasnt a complaint it was just a suggestion. Not sure what your so bent out of shape for, and I certainly don't see it as puking as you put it. This is a forum, questions and suggestions as what keep it going, if you find it offensive or pointless, I suggest you stop reading, constructive criticism helps in many ways, yours dont.
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
I recently had some composer telling me that he will vote down my videos on my YT channel with like 19 accounts he had. It turned out later, that this person organized an anonymous hacker group and paid them to "ruin my channel". In the end, they downvoted 5 of my videos with 30-50 dislikes.

I told him that the YouTube algorithm actually only cares about the activity on your channel. It doesn't matter if you receive likes or dislikes, appreciate it as someone boosting your channel. So the outcome was positive after all. After I told him, and also exposed him as a fake profile he used on Facebook and connected with over 300 people I've known, he disappeared. I have a "slight" hint of who that person was, but I'd rather keep that for me. I am not really sure if that person was really drop-dead stupid, but he told me that: He wanted to hurt my channel. *lulz*

What I am trying to say, there might be people being jealous, don't like your face or voice, simply disagree with something you have said or have written or simply love to bully people because they didn't learn it any other way and have problems to work out their personal shit and instead of going for others.

Even when I upload a video, I receive almost an instant dislike as if someone is just waiting out there that my new video comes up.

The best thing you could do is to appreciate people taking the time to interact with you. On my reaction video, I received over 200 likes but also around 75 dislikes. I am thankful for this all and keep going and learned to not take any of this personal.

I even received a few personally insulting comments and someone on my recent live stream popped up and spammed the channel with f*ck you and so on.

So in the end, just appreciate it all and know that you are heading in the right direction out there. Lots of weird people out there but sometimes it is just a little thing they are criticizing and their way to communicate is, is to vote down your video - without meaning any of it in a really negative way.

Almost everyone is going for that "I want to be a successful movie composer". I am convinced that some more famous or well-known composers on this forum can tell you that a few dislikes on your YT channel is just the beginning of the shitstorm that can and will happen once you are at a certain stage :)
I enjoy your vids. :)
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
Totally don't understand why people ever "disable comments" on their videos... Just let it roll. If you put it up, live with it. Otherwise why bother?

Only time I've ever deleted comments... I have a video I made of my daughter when she was maybe eight months old... about a way to you help battle COLIC... (a trick I learned from a friend of mine...) and I've had a few comments that were so horrifying, about wishing to do harm to her, calling her ugly... I wanted to put those pricks down, of course... and do much worse than just deleting their comments. But it was probably some thirteen-year-old moron, just firing keystrokes into the air like a thumb-twiddling twit.
That’s par for the course for this generation of anonymous bullies on the internet. I’m from an era where if you talked shit to someone in person you’d get your ass laid out. Methinks some of these keyboard warriors deserve to be humbled the old school way.

then again, like Ben Kenobi said “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy” as YT comments section
 

StillLife

Senior Member
Yes, it's another long read - but there's a point if you make it all the way to the end.

Few give Spitfire the benefit of the doubt on their motives, but I do. I've been good friends with Christian, Paul, Harry, Stanley, and a few more of them for a bunch of years now, and I've had more than a few long days (and long dinners!) with them - so this isn't just me guessing based on stuff I read on the internet, this is all coming from close personal experience:

- Not everyone and every decision is driven by a desire for more market share, more customers, more money. Spitfire has got more customers and products than they need in order to keep their company of seventy-plus employees a "going concern".

- They spend a lot of time and effort on products that are decidedly "niche", and probably don't make any sort of economic sense in terms of money spent on development vs sales revenue. How many of you paid full pop for Euphone and Scraped Percussion? I did, but I'm a "niche" composer and a sound/sample fanatic who's willing to spend whatever just to taste the sweet sweet nectar of a sound I've never heard before. (I also pay no attention to how much money I spend on sounds and software, but that's another discussion!) Even their more mainstream products veer strongly to the left - Evo Grids, Whitacre, etc. aren't what you buy if you're doing "epic trailer" tracks, and their oft-criticized love of the soft flautando aren't going to be heard in a Two Steps From Hell soundalike any time soon. So why would they spend all that time/money/effort on these niche products? Because they genuinely want to hear and use those sounds, want to reward and appreciate the sonic and musical innovators whose work they respect, and hope (perhaps naively) that there will be others out there who do as well; hopefully enough who will pony up the price so it's not too big of a loss for their company.

- Whether you believe it or not, there IS a wholesome motivation behind a lot of the stuff they do, whether it's Piano Book, Labs, tutorials, the free/cheap versions of BBCSO, templates, or Christian's wacky YouTube channel. While that stuff might expand their reach, grow their customer base, etc., none of it is by any means a sure bet, or a move dictated solely by sneaky strategic marketing. Lots of folks will download Labs and Piano Book and the free BBCSO, and will happily use that stuff and never spend more than a few bucks on actual paid Spitfire products. In fact, I'd guess that their "conversion rate" of people who come for all of the free stuff and wind up spending thousands is so low that the end result is a net loss of time, effort, and money on Spitfire's part.

- It would be so much simpler, and save them hundreds of thousands of $/£/€, just not to do any of that stuff, and simply do what every other library developer does: release a product, make one walkthrough and one tutorial video, offer a reduced introductory price, send out an email blast, and move on to the next. That business model certainly seems to work just fine for developers both large and small.

- None of the other big players in this space do anywhere near the amount of extracurriculars that Spitfire does. Sure, some of them flirt with the idea or make token efforts like releasing a few freebies as a very thinly-disguised way to harvest email addresses for their next promotional email blast, but none of them even approach the level of "community involvement" that Spitfire does.

- Besides the ridiculous planning and recording logistics involved in acquiring signal to tape, the editing and programming work involved in turning a ProTools session of single-note recordings into a playable, sellable product is IMMENSE, and has only grown more so over the years as more articulations and mic positions have become the norm, resulting in a logistic/production/IT nightmare, and a "smart" businessman would have tried to find ways to shave costs at every turn long ago. Outsource the recording to buy-out sessions in Eastern Europe? Outsource the sample editing to Mumbai? All of these would have been on the table if this was simply a money grabbing operation.

So... why? Why doesn't every developer do it the Spitfire way? Is it solely because Spitfire are so successful that they have deep cash reserves that nobody else has? And, if so, why aren't Paul and Christian just stacking the chips and preparing to fold up shop when the cash meter hits some pre-determined red line? Don't you think they've got enough cash already? I mean, why do they even BOTHER?

You'd be forgiven for assuming I'm naive, but after 35 years of fending off attempts to screw me over in every facet of the music industry (with mixed results) I can confidently say "I may be a lot of things but naive I ain't."

I really think that most of what's behind Spirfire's motivation to do all this "other stuff" is a genuine love for the craft and a wholesome enthusiasm for what they do, what other composers + sound designers do, and what their "customer base" will do with their products - even the free stuff like Labs or Piano Book. Sure, it might stoke their egos, and probably "builds the brand", but let's be real - nobody's going to be "tricked" into buying a thousand-dollar library just because of Christian's enthusiasm while taking his dogs for walkies on his YouTube channel. And if the products weren't up to snuff then anyone who felt tricked wouldn't keep coming back for more on the strength of a slick website or a quiet-talking voiceover on a video.

Here's the point that not everyone can wrap their brains around, and which, embarrassingly, I was unable to wrap my brain around until I got to a certain point in life/career/experience:

Not everyone is driven by the lust for filthy lucre.

Not everyone is always in "Cash Rules Everything Around Me" mode.

Some don't give a shit about money. Or, at least, not so much anymore. Most did at one point, out of sheer hunger while living in an unheated warehouse next to the Gowanus Canal while eating discount Ramen, bike messengering, and collecting returnable bottles and cans out of the trash in NYC for money to buy MIDI cables (Yes, I've actually done this), but (and here's the cringey part), once you get "enough" money, it can sort of... cease to have any meaning. At first, you stop looking at every plan of action in strict terms of spend-vs-return, figuring, "It's okay if I lose money on this because it will lead to better things." Later, you start thinking, "It's okay if I lose money on this because it's what I want to do." Even later, you might start thinking, "I don't care what it costs, it's the RIGHT thing to do."

For sure this isn't a universal truth - for every rich idealist for whom "money means nothing", there's a dozen Steve Mnuchin types whose boundless lust for filthy lucre has turned them into Smaug, perversely scheming and hoarding money or power over others for reasons that have long ceased to have actual relevance to them, and, once their soul is no more than a charred cinder on a bed of shiny coins, can only do harm to the rest of humanity, the planet, and everything and everyone that has nourished them during their demented quest.

But I really don't think Paul and Christian are like this at all.

I don't think they're in it for the money. If they were, they'd be making a lot of different (smarter?) moves than the ones they so publicly make, and for which they are often pilloried on ze forums. They started doing sample libraries just for themselves, were then harangued into selling them to other composers in their bespoke era, and it just sort of snowballed into what it is today - because of their enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of other composers for what they were doing.

The money is nice, sure - it eliminates barriers to achieving goals and dreams, provides security for the family and the future, yadda yadda yadda - but they spread it around like nobody else. Seventy employees on a London standard of living? Freebies, give-aways, and "community-building outreach"? That's all very generous - and mostly unnecessary if all they wanted to do was to stack chips.

If they were all about that C.R.E.A.M. then they'd have found ways to cut costs and raise revenues long ago - and we wouldn't have as much stuff like Piano Book, Labs, BBCSO free, or the damn Westworld contest that so many people got pissed about for any reason they could pull out of their ass. (The fix was in! He broke the rules! Puh-leeeeeeze. They tried to do everyone a solid and y'all still found something to complain about, as always. I guess no good deed goes unpunished. Aaannnyyyywaaayyyy...) Sure, these things help "build the brand" in some intangible way, but it would be simpler and cheaper to just skip all that mess. They don't need to do that stuff, they want to do that stuff.

But then they'd be just another library developer with high-end, expensive products. People would still bitch and moan about the legato transition volumes, just like they do about every other freaking library out there, but all they'd have when they sit back and reflect would be the Smaug-like pile of coin and that feeling of "the big empty". That's nothing more than hollow joy - they know it, and I think they run their company and lives accordingly.

As to their products, buy or do not buy, it matters not. As to the contests, enter or do not enter, it matters not.

But cut 'em a break before assuming that all this stuff is just various manifestations of some big cash grab.
Great. Logical and coherent. Super post.
 

StillLife

Senior Member
I recently had some composer telling me that he will vote down my videos on my YT channel with like 19 accounts he had. It turned out later, that this person organized an anonymous hacker group and paid them to "ruin my channel". In the end, they downvoted 5 of my videos with 30-50 dislikes.

I told him that the YouTube algorithm actually only cares about the activity on your channel. It doesn't matter if you receive likes or dislikes, appreciate it as someone boosting your channel. So the outcome was positive after all. After I told him, and also exposed him as a fake profile he used on Facebook and connected with over 300 people I've known, he disappeared. I have a "slight" hint of who that person was, but I'd rather keep that for me. I am not really sure if that person was really drop-dead stupid, but he told me that: He wanted to hurt my channel. *lulz*

What I am trying to say, there might be people being jealous, don't like your face or voice, simply disagree with something you have said or have written or simply love to bully people because they didn't learn it any other way and have problems to work out their personal shit and instead of going for others.

Even when I upload a video, I receive almost an instant dislike as if someone is just waiting out there that my new video comes up.

The best thing you could do is to appreciate people taking the time to interact with you. On my reaction video, I received over 200 likes but also around 75 dislikes. I am thankful for this all and keep going and learned to not take any of this personal.

I even received a few personally insulting comments and someone on my recent live stream popped up and spammed the channel with f*ck you and so on.

So in the end, just appreciate it all and know that you are heading in the right direction out there. Lots of weird people out there but sometimes it is just a little thing they are criticizing and their way to communicate is, is to vote down your video - without meaning any of it in a really negative way.

Almost everyone is going for that "I want to be a successful movie composer". I am convinced that some more famous or well-known composers on this forum can tell you that a few dislikes on your YT channel is just the beginning of the shitstorm that can and will happen once you are at a certain stage :)
Think of all the time that gets lost in disliking, hating, coming up with fresh insults.
Even regarless of common decency, I'd say: Life is too short for this. Even the great Ennio Morricone got only 92 years to enjoy it.
 

NoOneKnowsAnything

Active Member
First of all, it wasnt a complaint it was just a suggestion. Not sure what your so bent out of shape for, and I certainly don't see it as puking as you put it. This is a forum, questions and suggestions as what keep it going, if you find it offensive or pointless, I suggest you stop reading, constructive criticism helps in many ways, yours dont.
I don’t find it offensive at all 🍾 But for those complaining in big or small ways you have to realize that if you are a professional or want to become one publicly complaining about a contest is not going to help your career and it will hurt it. I have no problem with people being upset behind the scenes that’s understandable and anyone being upset doesn’t bother me at all. But those people are only potentially hurting themselves. If someone is not interested in becoming a pro composer then airing your grievances publicly about a contest is not a big deal but boy oh boy has it really pissed a lot of people off, which I was surprised 😲 to see also aired publicly. I was really speaking to that kind of composer that is either a professional film and tv composer or one that wants to become one. If you want to be in this biz one needs not just a super thick skin but also needs to have the confidence and determination to preserve given how much rejection lies before your path. For those types of individuals publicly complaining about a nothing contest is not the hardened mentality one needs to weather the travails of this biz and can actually be seen as such a negative reaction that someone who may have wanted to work with you one day will no longer feel that way about you and would want nothing to do with you. For those who are hobbyists and have no interest in entering this biz openly complaining really doesn’t affect you. Though realize in the days of social media any negative comment or any comment at all can always be read by ones current or future employer and influence their decision to fire you or not hire you so one has to be extremely careful what one says openly to the public. In general I would say this to anyone, life is tough and unfair so is it really that big a deal who won a contest with no entry fee? I don’t think it is and I suggest to anyone complaining to re-examine why they are upset. This contest cost you nothing to enter. What’s the big deal? You walk away with a fun experience and a piece of original music for your reel or just for fun. Either way everyone won in this regard. When you look at the big picture of life and understand how difficult and tragic life can be, those complaining come off really immature like a bunch of infants crying because their warm milk is too hot or too cold 🥶 It’s just a no entry fee contest, it’s not such a big deal so why complain at all when there is such serious things going on in the world 🌎
 
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Dale Turner

Member
That’s par for the course for this generation of anonymous bullies on the internet. I’m from an era where if you talked shit to someone in person you’d get your ass laid out. Methinks some of these keyboard warriors deserve to be humbled the old school way.

Yep! Pretty infuriating/disgusting! My wife certainly would've ripped that sub-human apart, had she seen his/her horrid words.
 

charlieclouser

Senior Member
I don’t find it offensive at all 🍾 But for those complaining in big or small ways you have to realize that if you are a professional or want to become one publicly complaining about a contest is not going to help your career and it will hurt it. I have no problem with people being upset behind the scenes that’s understandable and anyone being upset doesn’t bother me at all. But those people are only potentially hurting themselves. If someone is not interested in becoming a pro composer then airing your grievances publicly about a contest is not a big deal but boy oh boy has it really pissed a lot of people off, which I was surprised 😲 to see also aired publicly. I was really speaking to that kind of composer that is either a professional film and tv composer or one that wants to become one. If you want to be in this biz one needs not just a super thick skin but also needs to have the confidence and determination to preserve given how much rejection lies before your path. For those types of individuals publicly complaining about a nothing contest is not the hardened mentality one needs to weather the travails of this biz and can actually be seen as such a negative reaction that someone who may have wanted to work with you one day will no longer feel that way about you and would want nothing to do with you. For those who are hobbyists and have no interest in entering this biz openly complaining really doesn’t affect you. Though realize in the days of social media any negative comment or any comment at all can always be read by ones current or future employer and influence their decision to fire you or not hire you so one has to be extremely careful what one says openly to the public. In general I would say this to anyone, life is tough and unfair so is it really that big a deal who won a contest with no entry fee? I don’t think it is and I suggest to anyone complaining to re-examine why they are upset. This contest cost you nothing to enter. What’s the big deal? You walk away with a fun experience and a piece of original music for your reel or just for fun. Either way everyone won in this regard.

Agreed.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" - Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, the Bible, etc.

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is in the process of making a mistake" - Napoleon Bonaparte, etc.

"Never murder a man who is committing suicide" - Woodrow Wilson

"If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all." - everybody's grandmother

"The internet never forgets." - everybody who's ever had a late-night forum argument or nude pic come back to bite them years later.
 

NoOneKnowsAnything

Active Member
Agreed.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" - Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, the Bible, etc.

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is in the process of making a mistake" - Napoleon Bonaparte, etc.

"If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all." - everybody's grandmother

"The internet never forgets." - everybody who's ever had a late-night forum argument or nude pic come back to bite them years later.
🍾 And, let’s not forget the classic WWII saying “Loose lips sink ships”

On a personal note, I have discovered throughout my life that saying less is more and always a good thing, while saying too much typically backfires and only prevents you from getting what you want.

On a related but different note, for anyone out there that may ever have to deal with an insurance claim quietly record every phone call and in person encounter with these people including opposing legal counsel, and videotape immediately any damage caused by water especially like if your apartment dwelling gets flooded videotape and take pictures immediately to prove you had tons of water all over your property or one is in a car accident. Insurance claims adjusters are notoriously the scum of the earth and so are the insurance companies legaldefense attorneys along with all those who work at insurance companies in the claims Dept and supervising the claims Dept. These people have no souls and will say the most outrageous things to you over the phone and in person so always record them as that is one way to apply leverage over them when they try to commit racketeering and criminal business fraud. Don’t ever let them know that you are recording them. If there is a fire or gas leak get out of your dwelling immediately and save any people and pets then call 911. And, if you ever give a legal deposition in your lifetime or have to testify on the witness stand keep your mouth shut as much as possible. Just say “sure” or “yes” or “no” or “I understand your statement” or “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand your question” or “those would not be my words “ and never embellish as it will always be used against you especially if you are telling the truth and in the right. You can always tell a police office if they ask you questions “I don’t answer questions” and just repeat that over and over each time he asks you something. Too many people in the world with power are disgusting so let’s not help them hurt you.
 
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redlester

Senior Member
Yes, it's another long read - but there's a point if you make it all the way to the end.

Few give Spitfire the benefit of the doubt on their motives, but I do. I've been good friends with Christian, Paul, Harry, Stanley, and a few more of them for a bunch of years now, and I've had more than a few long days (and long dinners!) with them - so this isn't just me guessing based on stuff I read on the internet, this is all coming from close personal experience:

Great post and from the perspective of a hobbyist as opposed to a music professional, I agree with your view not from any experience in the industry, just from the vibe that comes across.

I've said it before but to me Spitfire, partly because of their obvious love of it all but also partly because of the strong graphic design element, come across as the sampling world's version of Manchester's Factory Records, who's (in)famous supremo Tony Wilson used to say that they did it all simply because they wanted to, and that their aim was to make history above making money. Spitfire seem to have managed to do both successfully, which is where the comparison ends. I wish they'd hurry up and open their Hacienda though. :grin:
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
Yep! Pretty infuriating/disgusting! My wife certainly would've ripped that sub-human apart, had she seen his/her horrid words.
True, but then again, they are just words, from some person who obviously needs to grow up, or get a clue. I think if we all agree that YT can be a cesspool for these kind of people, then we won't be too surprised. I posted some examples of my StaffPad works and almost immediately, the thumbs down showed up. It bothered me for literally 2 seconds. Then I moved on. Negative comments can only hurt if we are already insecure about something.

It's easy for people to sit around and criticize compared to those who are willing to try and fail at something. Any real successes have been built on those compelled to succeed no matter how much adversity they encounter.
 

Jeremy Spencer

Senior Member
I find that really odd, and reading some of the points in these posts (and others), makes me think that there is a line of thinking here that suggests everyone should have simply said how wonderful everything was about it or just said nothing at all.

Aside from wondering their process for listening to all of the entries, this is precisely how I feel. It was a public, free contest open to anyone, with nothing at stake (except ego’s, apparently). Winners announced, we give the winners a congrats, and move on. It’s quite clear who are cut out to be professional composers and who aren’t.
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member
Great post and from the perspective of a hobbyist as opposed to a music professional, I agree with your view not from any experience in the industry, just from the vibe that comes across.

I've said it before but to me Spitfire, partly because of their obvious love of it all but also partly because of the strong graphic design element, come across as the sampling world's version of Manchester's Factory Records, who's (in)famous supremo Tony Wilson used to say that they did it all simply because they wanted to, and that their aim was to make history above making money. Spitfire seem to have managed to do both successfully, which is where the comparison ends. I wish they'd hurry up and open their Hacienda though. :grin:


Indeed, It is possible to be well-motivated, love what you do, AND want to make money. They are not mutually exclusive.

I don't own much Spitfire, because I don't feel I need to, but I like what I have seen of them as people.
 

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
Yes, it's another long read - but there's a point if you make it all the way to the end.

Few give Spitfire the benefit of the doubt on their motives, but I do. I've been good friends with Christian, Paul, Harry, Stanley, and a few more of them for a bunch of years now, and I've had more than a few long days (and long dinners!) with them - so this isn't just me guessing based on stuff I read on the internet, this is all coming from close personal experience:

- Not everyone and every decision is driven by a desire for more market share, more customers, more money. Spitfire has got more customers and products than they need in order to keep their company of seventy-plus employees a "going concern".

- They spend a lot of time and effort on products that are decidedly "niche", and probably don't make any sort of economic sense in terms of money spent on development vs sales revenue. How many of you paid full pop for Euphone and Scraped Percussion? I did, but I'm a "niche" composer and a sound/sample fanatic who's willing to spend whatever just to taste the sweet sweet nectar of a sound I've never heard before. (I also pay no attention to how much money I spend on sounds and software, but that's another discussion!) Even their more mainstream products veer strongly to the left - Evo Grids, Whitacre, etc. aren't what you buy if you're doing "epic trailer" tracks, and their oft-criticized love of the soft flautando aren't going to be heard in a Two Steps From Hell soundalike any time soon. So why would they spend all that time/money/effort on these niche products? Because they genuinely want to hear and use those sounds, want to reward and appreciate the sonic and musical innovators whose work they respect, and hope (perhaps naively) that there will be others out there who do as well; hopefully enough who will pony up the price so it's not too big of a loss for their company.

- Whether you believe it or not, there IS a wholesome motivation behind a lot of the stuff they do, whether it's Piano Book, Labs, tutorials, the free/cheap versions of BBCSO, templates, those "Salons" they put on a while back, or Christian's wacky YouTube channel. While that stuff might expand their reach, grow their customer base, etc., none of it is by any means a sure bet, or a move dictated solely by sneaky strategic marketing. Lots of folks will download Labs and Piano Book and the free BBCSO, and will happily use that stuff and never spend more than a few bucks on actual paid Spitfire products. In fact, I'd guess that their "conversion rate" of people who come for all of the free stuff and wind up spending thousands is so low that the end result is a net loss of time, effort, and money on Spitfire's part.

- It would be so much simpler, and save them hundreds of thousands of $/£/€, just not to do any of that stuff, and simply do what every other library developer does: release a product, make one walkthrough and one tutorial video, offer a reduced introductory price, send out an email blast, and move on to the next. That business model certainly seems to work just fine for developers both large and small.

- None of the other big players in this space do anywhere near the amount of extracurriculars that Spitfire does. Sure, some of them flirt with the idea or make token efforts like releasing a few freebies as a very thinly-disguised way to harvest email addresses for their next promotional email blast, but none of them even approach the level of "community involvement" that Spitfire does.

- Besides the ridiculous planning and recording logistics involved in acquiring signal to tape, the editing and programming work involved in turning a ProTools session of single-note recordings into a playable, sellable product is IMMENSE, and has only grown more so over the years as more articulations and mic positions have become the norm, resulting in a logistic/production/IT nightmare, and a "smart" businessman would have tried to find ways to shave costs at every turn long ago. Outsource the recording to buy-out sessions in Eastern Europe? Outsource the sample editing to Mumbai? All of these would have been on the table if this was simply a money grabbing operation.

So... why? Why doesn't every developer do it the Spitfire way? Is it solely because Spitfire are so successful that they have deep cash reserves that nobody else has? And, if so, why aren't Paul and Christian just stacking the chips and preparing to fold up shop when the cash meter hits some pre-determined red line? Don't you think they've got enough cash already? I mean, why do they even BOTHER?

You'd be forgiven for assuming I'm naive, but after 35 years of fending off attempts to screw me over in every facet of the music industry (with mixed results) I can confidently say "I may be a lot of things but naive I ain't."

I really think that most of what's behind Spirfire's motivation to do all this "other stuff" is a genuine love for the craft and a wholesome enthusiasm for what they do, what other composers + sound designers do, and what their "customer base" will do with their products - even the free stuff like Labs or Piano Book. Sure, it might stoke their egos, and probably "builds the brand", but let's be real - nobody's going to be "tricked" into buying a thousand-dollar library just because of Christian's enthusiasm while taking his dogs for walkies on his YouTube channel. And if the products weren't up to snuff then anyone who felt tricked wouldn't keep coming back for more on the strength of a slick website or a quiet-talking voiceover on a video.

Here's the point that not everyone can wrap their brains around, and which, embarrassingly, I was unable to wrap my brain around until I got to a certain point in life/career/experience:

Not everyone is driven by the lust for filthy lucre.

Not everyone is always in "Cash Rules Everything Around Me" mode.

Some don't give a shit about money. Or, at least, not so much anymore. Most did at one point, out of sheer hunger while living in an unheated warehouse next to the Gowanus Canal while eating discount Ramen, bike messengering, and collecting returnable bottles and cans out of the trash in NYC for money to buy MIDI cables (Yes, I've actually done this), but (and here's the cringey part), once you get "enough" money, it can sort of... cease to have any meaning. At first, you stop looking at every plan of action in strict terms of spend-vs-return, figuring, "It's okay if I lose money on this because it will lead to better things." Later, you start thinking, "It's okay if I lose money on this because it's what I want to do." Even later, you might start thinking, "I don't care what it costs, it's the RIGHT thing to do."

For sure this isn't a universal truth - for every rich idealist for whom "money means nothing", there's a dozen Steve Mnuchin types whose boundless lust for filthy lucre has turned them into Smaug, perversely scheming and hoarding money or power over others for reasons that have long ceased to have actual relevance to them, and, once their soul is no more than a charred cinder on a bed of shiny coins, can only do harm to the rest of humanity, the planet, and everything and everyone that has nourished them during their demented quest.

But I really don't think Paul and Christian are like this at all.

I don't think they're in it solely for the money. If they were, they'd be making a lot of different (smarter?) moves than the ones they so publicly make, and for which they are often pilloried on ze forums. They started doing sample libraries just for themselves, were then harangued into selling them to other composers in their bespoke era, and it just sort of snowballed into what it is today - because of their enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of other composers for what they were doing.

The money is nice, sure - it eliminates barriers to achieving goals and dreams, provides security for the family and the future, yadda yadda yadda - but they spread it around like nobody else. Seventy employees on a London standard of living? Freebies, give-aways, and "community-building outreach"? That's all very generous - and mostly unnecessary if all they wanted to do was to stack chips.

If they were all about that C.R.E.A.M. then they'd have found ways to cut costs and raise revenues long ago - and we wouldn't have as much stuff like Piano Book, Labs, BBCSO free, or the damn Westworld contest that so many people got pissed about for any reason they could pull out of their ass. (The fix was in! He broke the rules! Puh-leeeeeeze. They tried to do everyone a solid and y'all still found something to complain about, as always. I guess no good deed goes unpunished. Aaannnyyyywaaayyyy...) Sure, these things help "build the brand" in some intangible way, but it would be simpler and cheaper to just skip all that mess. They don't need to do that stuff, they want to do that stuff.

But then they'd be just another library developer with high-end, expensive products. People would still bitch and moan about the legato transition volumes, just like they do about every other freaking library out there, but all they'd have when they sit back and reflect would be the Smaug-like pile of coin and that feeling of "the big empty". That's nothing more than hollow joy - they know it, and I think they run their company and lives accordingly.

As to their products, buy or do not buy, it matters not. As to the contests, enter or do not enter, it matters not.

But cut 'em a break before assuming that all this stuff is just various manifestations of some big cash grab.
Hobbyist here, but can't agree more :D
 
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Mike Greene

Mike Greene

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At 46 pages, I think everyone has had their say on this. Plus I think most people are tired of seeing this in their Latest Posts feed. (Speaking for myself, I find myself dreading each day that the This was unfair! debate will reemerge.)

Charlie's post is a particularly good way to end things (obviously Spitfire detractors will disagree, but we have a Drama Zone thread for that), so I'm closing this thread.
 
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