Here’s a different take on soundware business models: offer your stuff for free, then depend on donations. That’s the tack at Togeo Studios, who have an impressive collection of packs. Wave Attack I, for instance, includes single-cycle waveforms with arpeggiated sequences and leads. Their work is available on BitTorrent, too, which could help defray bandwidth costs. (Well, single-cycle waveforms don’t take up much, but perhaps larger packs might.)
I have to admit, I’m skeptical of the donationware model. The issue is, it seems like a lot of folks just aren’t going to donate – not necessarily for any sinister reasons, but simply because they don’t “get around to it.” Heck, just selling soundware is hard enough. And the brilliant, open source Ardour DAW has struggled to cobble together even a few licenses’ worth of income monthly, despite very reasonable subscription fees and powerful features.
I’m skeptical, but I’m also intrigued. Donationware or freemium models once powered the PC shareware industry and launched the now-massive game company Epic Games (of Unreal fame). Challenging as it might be, these models could open new tools to musicians and would be particularly powerful with open source. It’s something that could help us start new projects here on CDM, while paying our rent / electric bills. So what do you think of Togeo’s work? And that specific example aside, would you be willing to “donate” to software, soundware, and learning materials the way that you do American public radio and TV?