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Fair Pricing

Discussion in 'Recording' started by hueseph, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    There's been a great deal of discussion and disgust over the pricing of Pro Tools upgrades. This goes hand in hand with Software Piracy. A lot of people complain that Software is too expensive. Many justify their piracy on the fact that most software is overpriced. Just looking over Reaper again and thought that this is worth posting:

    This is something that all business and specialized software producers would do well to adopt. A fair price for people who are making little or no profit from their product. Wouldn't this lessen the desire to pirate? Not only would it make people less likely to pirate, it would make people more likely to purchase. That means hobbyist, hacks, weekend warriors. Anyone who has a desire to record.

    It seems to me that a policy like this would expose more people to their software, whether they use it to it's full or once in a blue moon. More sales at lower prices. Just ranting here.
  2. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    We should be disgusted over the price of a Pro Tools rig, I sure am. Ah, but lets not forget the fact that Avid is appealing to the almighty dollar budget producers out there who have bling to burn. They know they have the upper hand on the market and are exploiting it well. Yet there are DAW's out there that do very well compared with Pro Tools. I know most professionals use Pro Tools and it has become the standard, however its still just a DAW. Give me an analog console and a well maintained muiti track tape deck with some decent outboard gear and I'm loving the sound! Its too bad multi-track DSD is still not available, anything else is just pcm.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    This is not to say PT isn't great, because it is , but its also clever marketing that makes a company grow too.
    Once you use something as complicated as any DAW, you don't have time to goof around trying to relearn something you are proficient in and smart marketing knows this too.

    The curtain has been peeled back now/ we are learning, coming to terms that all DAW's will null if null tests are done correctly. Do I trust this 100%? Yes and no but thats another hideous topic that is as stupid as discussing religion in a bar with atheists. ( No I'm not religious or an atheists either)
    For the most part, tests show they are all equal until processing begins and that's good enough for me and where I step aside.
    I believe pro tools users keep buying into pro tools because it is marketed this way and they were the first on the block. If you spend $10,000 plus on a system (even if its not worth that) and it only costs 10% to keep up on things every year, you will do it. The alternative isn't good.
    If the pro's are using it, the rest will follow. This is clearly follow the leader at this point in history. But this is changing more and more. We can sense the change is coming and its about time.

    Is a U87 really worth $3200.00 ? I don't think so either but it sure sounds great.
  4. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Once again, I get to point out that ProTools is actually the "Industry Standard" due to the fact that it's a subset of the high end, high paced and high dollar entry point of professional video production.

    When you look at the economies of scale, even $120k-$150k for seamless integration of audio production in a $12M-$15M facility is rather cheap. To spend 1% of your investment on 50% of your product revenue is a damn good ROI... no matter what industry you're in.

    Pro Audio is a TINY market when compared to video production... especially when compared broadcast video. So, while expensive... its all relative.

    To complain about the market price of a truly professional DAW, is like complaining that a Neve 8000 series, API Legacy or SSL 9000 is too expensive and shouldn't cost what they do. The bottom line is that good $*^t ain't cheap, and cheap $*^t ain't always good. Go price a new Harrison broadcast console or a Fairlight post system... and I have yet to see a VDOSK priced at bargain basement dollars. $25k is cheap for a broadcast camera, with prices going much higher than that. Is that too expensive? Not really. To operate a professional facility is a significant investment. Always has been, always will be.

    Either you pay the asking price for a Porche', or you buy a lesser priced mode of transportation. So why does a Porche cost so much more than a Kia? Afterall a Porche has 4 wheels, as does a Kia, right? Might it not have something to do with the quality of the materials, craftsmanship and design that went into bringing the product to market?

    So, does it really do any good to complain that Porche overprices their vehicles? No... because the market will bare what they ask for it. When the market cannot/will not support the asking price, the price will come down... but not until. That's just the way free markets work.

    Welcome to reality.
  5. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Then, we can turn this around and ask if it's "fair" to give some people discounts, while charging "professionals" the outrageous price?

    Just because they use it to make money centered on that particular product (and, it's getting more difficult these days), why should they pay more to make up for others' lower costs?

    What if a lawyer pulling down, say, $3 million a year, only used it for his and his buddies' own weekend amusement...maybe thinking they might actually someday sell something? He's not using it at that time as a "profitable business". But, at $3 mil a year, he can certainly afford to pay full price, couldn't he? Probably much more so than a struggling studio? But, he qualifies for the discount under the stated rules, leaving the struggling studio making up the difference.

    Maybe the software companies should consider lowering their prices to EVERYONE, just to be more competitive, lessen the allure of pirating, and actually make MORE money? Less pirating + more volume sales = more $$$. Of course, as is now with many programs, different levels of functionality could be offered at lower-to-higher price points to get people started, and then decide if they need to add on?

    If only 1000 in 50,000 people could afford, say, $2500 for something they'd all like, but 10,000 in that same 50,000 would pony up $1500...which makes more money?

    $2500 x 1000 = $2,500,000. Nice payday. But, $1500 x 10,000 = $15,000,000. Seems to me that since the work has already been done on the basic platform, and they've recouped their money (otherwise, they'd be out of business), then $15 million would go a lot further in R&D and profits (and maybe even educational discount overhead) than $2.5 million?

    About the only ones I might consider giving discounts to are non-profit educational purposes, and even at that, if the software was used to create any "personal" profits from selling music, then some royalties might be in order? Any profits to only benefit the school may be considered allowable? Of course, that, in itself, might be difficult to track.

    Anyway, I just don't think it's fair, or that there are even adequate requirement/enforcement standards, to offer discounts to pretty much everyone BUT people who use it to make their living entirely from it.

  6. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    This wasn't specifically to protest Pro Tools pricing. And, if you want to talk standards, let's not forget that they are JUST catching up to Steinberg, Logic and others when it comes to program features. So, let's not bring quality into this just yet. There are certainly a number of people(HD users and Standard users alike) who would argue that stability is an issue with ProTools.

    I'm glad that ProTools wants to keep their standards above the rest. When it comes to Hardware I think they've achieved that boutique ideal. HDX is an amazing platform and I don't think anyone can argue that at this point.

    Their business standards might be questionable and I think they've taken more than a few of their customers for a ride in the past year. You could argue that the hardware upgrades were a fair price but you know they weren't. Knowing that they had the new cards ready to sell probably last year, they were just trying to ditch the older cards but at a premium. They didn't have to do that. They more than likely made their profit on the old cards long ago and now people who have JUST bought their Accel cards are finding that they have this one upgrade to rely on before their new hardware is defunct.

    That being said, I'm talking about software. Software like Pro Tools which is essentially the same all around. Only the licensing is different. So no more or less work has been put into the software. Only the key is different.

    On the other hand I see Kapt.Krunch's point that it's not fair to the people who are the core customers. Namely the professional studios who depend on the software. They shouldn't have to support the larger majority who are not making the big bucks.

    I hate pirates. I would love to see a solution but I guess there isn't one.

    I suppose I was WRONG on this post. I am glad however that there are companies who are willing to sell their product at less of a profit but, at a profit no less.

    I did NOT intend this post to be yet another Pro Tools bashing thread. I'm actually quite eager to buy the next version but not 10. On that I'm out. It's just not enough for me to upgrade at this point. 9 still works just fine for me.

    EDIT: To address the equating software to a car. You just can't do that. Diesel to Gasoline, that's more on the same level. Or, petrol to propane. I can run software on many grades of hardware. I can also run my hardware with many grades of software. Just like a car can run different grades of petroleum. Some cars will use the gas up more quickly than others so they have to spend more on fuel. Other cars stretch that fuel as much as possible. We aren't talking about the car. We are talking about the fuel.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    What hasn't been mentioned here is how much money we all pay for our cache of equipment. The cost of software is still commensurate with the cost of an inexpensive microphone, a digital effects processor, a boutique microphone preamp. And for those that want to learn, most of the software manufacturers offer LE editions that are quite capable at ridiculously low prices. Nobody even mentioned the fact that Digidesign would have essentially gone out of business if Avid hadn't purchased them. Avid like Ampex are 2 of the companies that have been the most important in video production. Most audio manufacturers don't usually dabble much with video and as a result, many have been bought up by other conglomerates such as Harman & Bosch since they couldn't survive on audio alone. Hell! We can hardly survive on audio alone. So I do plenty of video also. But that stuff is even more expensive. High definition isn't really high-definition unless it's Professional High Definition, even if it says it is. Whether it's audio or video. I know. I come from an advertising and marketing background. There is no truth in advertising anymore and really never was. Free software for poor folks? Why not. It's called cornering the market. I actually think that Bill Gates should send everybody in the United States and Canada and hell, why not Mexico, free computers? And if everybody is familiar with his operating systems, why would you want to try anything else? But then most folks wear white underwear while there are those of us that prefer to be more colorful, even if no one can see it. And while the colorful ones may be slightly more costly, there are those of us that believe it makes our day go by better. Although I must admit, I don't usually wear boys underwear even though I know some girls who do. But if you're editing video with Avid-based systems, why not keep things as consistent as possible by matching it with their audio junk?

    Riding on your laurels doesn't make Laurel very happy.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    My hobbyist friend runs a roughly 5 yr. old le 7.4 system that still doesn't crash, and he works w/in the systems limits. It does what it always did.
    I majored in finance at a state school, and one of the classes spends a week or so discussing morals vs. business. It's one or the other, you choose to care, or care about the highest money sign.
    The point of diminishing returns is what investment is about, and that point is different for everyone. I run w/ the working class and accept it. You can't blame someone for having what you can't afford. you can try to blame someone who sold you something that doesn't work, like a buggy .x upgrade.
    Freeware is one thing, and Reaper is another, i used it happily at home for 3 months, when the '...still evalutating' button read that long i felt guilty. Buy or stop trying. I just resorted to the academic version of PT that i had paid for. I NEVER charged my buddies to record on PT, i was just glad to have something else to record besides my lame songs.
    As far as pricing goes, if you can't run w/ the big dogs, don't leave the porch.
    Compromise is a part of all of our everyday lives. There are certain things like sudden/unannounced 'non compatibilities' that are kinda low blows. There are 'singers' who can't sing and make more than all of 'em. It's a weird balance of cutting edge, dulled out, and never worked.
    lets face it for a music technology giant to not make any substantial, 'new' or 'upgraded', hardware over that long, gotta expect they have something in the works, and need a way to pay for it. (i.e sell exisiting product at full price, then for sale price, introduce new product) it's the moral-less business stuff. I still think it's soul-less.
    minding the alternative card based options that have been well regarded in the past few years, to buy 'the standard' maybe it's the buyers fault at that point.
    The masses pay too. they buy stuff that doesn't work well @ high profit margin. this leaves them longing for the 'professional version'. give an inch they'll want a mile, save up, and finally accomplish it, at full price, on it's way out. Enabling the funds for the 'pro' products.
    You know what your buying when you buy it. That's all you get. We all know computers are obsolete when they hit the shelves. Do you buy your favorite bands new record, and the new one that's being recorded? no. You can listen to what you got for as long as it does what it does, and hopefully it justifies the means. Or the album sucks besides that one song your now sick of, and you get a new one anyway.

    It's a big deal to me when i let myself into the studio and discover the boss had just installed a new piece of gear, or there's a new mic there. this occurs fewer and further between than the bigger budget studios, but maybe i get to spend more free time messing w/ it than those engineers do. If anything, the new expensive software upgrades (that usually don't work right away) people rage about, usually give me headaches for a few hours, if they even work well at all. Headaches are also achieved from the finicky gear problems that seem to happen only in front of clients. I stare at a calrec dual channel pre that has been 'fixed by an expert', twice, that has never transmitted a sound properly. maybe someday.
    -kyle (happy rookie)
  9. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Consider this. When I bought my UAD card three years ago, Universal Audio were not trying to promote this as the deal of the century. They were forthright in declaring that this card would be replaced by a newer, faster card. In other words, they told it straight. "We're blowing out our old stock" is essentially what they said. So I got my UAD-1e for $125 instead of the $500+ that originally retailed for.

    Business doesn't have to be fair but it certainly could and should be. They are after all gaining customers in the long run if they treat them with respect as intelligent individuals. Avid has not done this. Although it has been plainly obvious to most of us that something was up, they promoted their hardware upgrade programs as if you were getting the latest and greatest only to let the people know a year later that "Oh by the way, we won't be supporting your hardware in the next release". Thank you very much. The incremental upgrade garbage. First it was the upgrade to HD with your trade in. Months later HD Native comes out and yet a few months later HDX. Get on with it already. This is all within the course of a year. Who are they scamming. Do you think that their (existing) customers are too stupid to figure it out?

    This wasn't meant to be a ProTools bashing session and as i said, I look forward to the next release. I did NOT get burned this time around and i don't plan to in the future. Sure. Buyer beware. I just think that if you treat your customers well, they will be loyal to you because of it and they will bring more customers.

    The major studio is a dying breed. The new major is Joe Blow in his basement/back yard set up. I don't want this to be the case but it is. There are so many good reasons to maintain professional studios apart from home hobbyists. Unfortunately, the larger part of the public are unreasonable. They don't care about quality and they wouldn't know what it was if it bit them.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    In the 80's keyboards were the buzz. I spent thousand every few years on them. The Emulator II was on my radar so I did mass research on it, contacted the company to and picked a dealer to buy it through. It cost me $12,500.00 for it. 7 months later they came out with the Emax that was better in every way. It retailed for $3200.00. I was so pissed. They knew this and didn't care.
  11. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member


    I was more addressing jamster's position of not liking the pricing structure of the marketplace... e.g. if the price was too high and no one was purchasing product, the price will fall to an equilibrium point, or the company will fail and go out of business.

    I don't see ProTools as just software. I see it as a complete hardware and software solution... a completed car/mode of transportation, if you will.

    While there is truth in the statement that there are many software packages that can perform audio editing, you still need hardware to actually have a complete DAW.

    No, I don't like paying too much for anything. But I don't mind investing in something that will give me a decent ROI... as a business investment.

    For manufacturers, business and ethics go hand in hand like government and honesty... they're mutually exclusive, and it's generally not wise to trust either one.

    Whenever I see a major sell off of gear from any number of industries, I know that new product is coming to market soon. Because the prosumer market was bitchin' about not wanting to buy low end Digi hardware, they had to respond to the market demand and brought a purely software based solution to the market.

    That ultimately left anyone with any business savvy, the foregone conclusion that Avid was indeed bringing a new hardware solution out. It took about a year and a half longer than most of us speculated, but we knew it was indeed coming. It was about as predictable as the new model year in cars. It's gonna happen.... and did.
  12. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Hello all,

    I guess I jumped the gun a bit in my expression of disgust with Pro Tools.

    My disgust is more over the competition of all the developers to make products that are incompatible. All music software should be more accountable to compatible files so that each environment is easily accessible.

    It's not that I am upset over their system, after all its not fair for me to judge it since I have not worked with it and do not share the interest after having invested into Logic Pro throughout the years. The fact of the matter is that I was poor when I decided to buy my first DAW.

    Many musicians are poor, they are not rich and in order to produce art and be creative you are often stuck with a small amount of money and a large amount of time.
    I guess now that I've had a bit more time to think about it the real fact of the matter is I am disgusted with some of the complexities of digital audio.

    Many users peg Logic Pro as illogical as compared with Pro Tools. The one advantage that sold me on Logic Pro was the fact that there is many plug ins, samples/loops and instruments that come with the software, I believe its about 50 gigs worth of material if you include the sound effects and music beds that are included. It was a wise choice for me at the time and I certainly do not regret buying it.

    I do not remember Pro Tools having the MIDI capabilities that Logic has, however that may have changed now?

    The minute Pro Tools or any other DAW (such as Ableton's Live) offers MIDI capabilities that meet or exceed Logic is when I would look more seriously in investing some money into it.

    I hope software developers work on making the user interface easier to deal with, having as few barriers to making quick tracks as possible makes the work easy.

    I'm sure I could learn more about the Pros and Cons of a Pro Tools environment in the future. One of my good friends swears Pro Tools is the way to go and to be honest I should give it a try before cutting it down.
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well, BT, everything has been like that since pro audio was developed. It's no different than Detroit was and look where they are today. Might we be seeing the same thing happening to pro audio in the United States and Canada, the world, the same way? A lot of this is based on the world economy along with corporate greed profit margins. How many times has API & Neve gone out of business? At least three times each that I know of. Or was that 4 times each? Maybe it's because their equipment was built too well. Most obviously, it all was, since we still see a lot of 30-40-50-year-old consoles still in use today. Nothing built today will ever last that long except for perhaps an API, built in still an old-style tradition and costing it too. And still, some equipment won't be able to be maintained due to a lack of compatible parts availabilities. I mean I don't know anybody that can still maintain an Allison 65 K automation computer anymore because the old-fashioned chips it requires aren't made anymore. And IC chips are not one of those things a backyard enthusiast can produce themselves. But then again, you can still find 4136 Quad op amp chips, which sound like crap. But you can't find TLO-75's anymore, which sound and perform a lot better than a 4136, which is older but the 75's aren't made anymore. Sure, you can get the 74 which is identical in circuitry to a 75 but the pinouts are completely different. And remember when 5534's were available as a standard and a low noise version, no longer available as the low noise version. WTF? Everything is planned with obsolescence in mind in the guise of Progress. A good case in point is the difference in consumer wireless services in the United States and the rest of the world. That's because other countries have their governments running their wireless industry. In the United States, it's all private industry. So they have to have a business plan that starts at the low-end with a plan to take a new step up each year. Why do you think we still don't have eco-friendly powergenerating systems in our backyards? They can even keep telling us that solar panels are expensive and inefficient. But these new electric cars... they don't have any solar panels either. Nothing but a big fat electrical plug to further burden our already overburdened power grids. So this new business plan will ensure the fact that the big powergenerating conglomerates will have to raise prices, building the infrastructure to charge millions of vehicles all at approximately the same time, every day. What? Your car can't charge in the parking lot, of the office, during the day when you're not driving it, utilizing solar panels on its hood, roof, trunk? Now who's being inefficient? (HINT: It ain't the solar panels.)

    I think my LCD flatscreen needs more ink?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  14. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    So true Remy,

    What ever happened to all those positive predictions about what might be happening with technology? They turned from working for the people to working against the people. Now the powers that be want it all to themselves and suppress any real progress in technology for the masses in support of their NWO. Agenda 21?

    I too adhere to the concept of Money being a root for all kinds of evil.
    I've never really been known for predictions but I do read and listen to many different opinions about the future of the market and it does not look very friendly.

    I personally think planed obsolescence is a plague that will haunt us in the days to come when hyper-inflation becomes a reality in the United States and very possibly around the globe.

    The Banks are playing God, they better think about the almighty pretty soon before they get scorched!
  15. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    It's all a fascist scheme. The Nazi's are behind this! :tongue:

    What were we talking about? :rolleyes:

    (Curse you Godwin's Law!)
  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Come on everybody, I saw & heard multitrack DSD 10 years ago. I saw none of it this year. That I believe is our digital of the future for some time to come. It's the only digital medium to more faithfully sound like analog as opposed to digital. And if you want resolution, how does a flat response to 100 kHz strike you? No more problems from the technical sonic atrocities created by brickwall filtering. So while everybody is fixated on having the " best" of something I'm just going to continue recording at 16 bit, 44.1 kHz (okay 24-bit) until that more properly sounding refined digital format becomes the recording standard up for the next across-the-board adoption. Everything else is just the same PCMY horrific florescent light sounding stuff that I have no problem complaining about. It seems as though people think that 24-bit 192 kHz is way better than 16 bit 44.1 kHz. Well it ain't because it's still PCM. And I really don't hear anybody complaining about PCM as much as I hear them complaining about microphone preamps, microphones, software. Nothing in the latter will make as much difference as DSD. So where the heck is it? Somebody worrying about copy protection again? We go through that with every new recording gizmo, every time. And in the end, it's always defeated by those who really want to. It also doesn't do a thing for creating a more robust piece of digital data without a lot of extra confusing numbers mucking it up. And you all know how we ever so love digital failures. So are we waiting for them to build in extra more capable failures to keep people from not doing what they're going to do anyhow? I've had enough of that nonsense also. And that's precisely the reason why I am now willing to wait for the next great leap in our pursuit of pristine recording technologies coupled with 40-year-old microphone preamps that actually sound like something. What say you?

    DSD is not short for Doesn't Sound Decent but actually something of a more direct nature
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  17. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I have been teaching college students since 1979. One thing I have learned in those years is that there are a lot of people in this world who do not understand the meaning of the word "fair." This thread has not contradicted that observation.
  18. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    glad to see people sharing similar thoughts here...
    Money is debt.
    follow the money to find the truth who is behind it..
    not really audio related, but it touche so many ppl lives, can we turn our head ?
  19. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    That new Reynold's nonstick aluminum foil makes a great hat liner.
  20. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Do you suppose it would also make a good panty liner?

    The demure
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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