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Old 22nd May 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
James Lehmann's Avatar
Originally Posted by colinmiller ➡️
Pirates bring the sales down and threaten to put companies out of business.
The problem is that it's so difficult to provide hard evidence for this, isn't it?

If I make a high-end EQ costing $500, then my target market is upper-end project and solid, professional studios, staffed by folks who neither want nor can afford downtime from cracks screwing up their OS or the legal consequences of getting caught.

My business plan might be to try to sell into 5% of such studios in a year.

So if we hypothetically take 1,000 studios, then I am hoping to sell into 50 of these in the first year in order to break even. That is, 50 honest and professional users who will pony up $500 for a good-quality product that they will use daily.

Of course, I've got to provide a full trial version (one that doesn't cut-out or beep or not allow me to save or ask for my mother's maiden name) just to get my product properly evaluated by as many of the 1,000 as possible in the hope that 50 like it enough to buy it.

Now of course there's a 'dishonesty margin' in any business - most shops lose something to lifters every month. So how many of of my target 50 professional end-users, after trying the demo, are going to go out and actively seek a cracked version of the software they just tried to use in their studios every day, risking OS failure and legal action? Call me naive but I believe there are few serious professionals who go to work every day relishing the fact that they have stolen software on their computer.

How can we possibly put a figure on this that can determines whether or not my business model is viable?

My view is that pirate activity will have little long-term effect on the actual market for a $500 EQ. If 1,000 17-year-old college kids get off on boasting that they have cracked it, big deal - that is not translating into lost sales, in my opinion.

Originally Posted by colinmiller ➡️
Before the ilok, pretty much every studio in LA and every rental rig had pirated software on it..
Well, I can't speak for LA, but even if this was the case I think this phenomenon can be partially explained, if not justified.

I think a few years ago, let's call this the plug-in boom years, there was, how shall we say, a crazed enthusiasm for 'acquiring' a plug-in list as long as your arm in a sort of game of producer one-upmanship. "Yeah - I've got all those plugs, yeah I've got all that bundle." Part of the thrill of the chase for these misguided people was finding the latest and best crack too. However, after a while, folks realised it was totally impractical to have such an infinite number of tools available that all did more or less the same thing, so they narrowed down their choices and purchased one or two bundles that did the job for them. All those cracks had really only functioned as demos. I think now companies have got smart to this and made their demo versions more properly useable and easily available, such as there's really little point in toying around with cracks just to try something out that may end up buried in your plug-in folder for ever more.