Adventures In Audio

Waves Ultimate Subscription Plan - Ultimate subscription or ultimate mistake?

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@mu_zines:  Balanced, sensible, and well -presented as ever - thanks David!

@AudioMasterclass replies to @mu_zines: Thank you, I appreciate your input. DM

@j7ndominica051:  Waves plugins have seen little improvement in their brains behind the interface.

Software developers have been pushing updates that users don't want. A decade-old copy of Microsoft Office, Sonic Foundry Sound Forge, Izotope RX or Adobe Photoshop satisfies me, works much faster and has a more readable non-flat GUI. I think that asking an upgrade price for a new platform is fair.

Your washing machine has built-in planned obsolescence too. The main bearing is made out of aluminum alloy that gets corroded. And on top of that manufacturs encourage us to buy new appliances that more stylish, more energy efficient or powerful before the end of life of the hardware we already own.

@ras.4913:  I enjoyed your editorial. Please make some more. Listening from my Dell bundled Waves.

@nickwallette6201:  This was a line in the sand moment for me. I've been using Waves plugins since around 2005 (give or take a year or so), and have upgraded gradually to a pair of Horizon bundles, plus a plethora of side collections (all the SSL, API, Abbey Road, etc..) and some one-offs.

I have been guiding them both to Mercury + Analog Classics + AR. It takes some strategy, because the upgrade options can be.. uhh.. quirky... (can't use a collection and bundle to upgrade to a bigger bundle that includes one or two plugs from the collection, for e.g.), and the sales, of course, stretch your buying power considerably, so you have to plan carefully. And since WUP is basically throwing money away compared to upgrading (which includes WUP coverage), I've "done without" several times when I wanted to update to a newer version (particularly during the M1 transition), but couldn't justify the cost of an update, and couldn't afford (or justifiably afford) an upgrade yet.

The real problem for me is that, I'm one of those aspirational ones. It's a hobby, and I love it, but it's a monetary sinkhole, so I have to spend wisely. Also, my "day job" and life in general can get in the way, and it might be days or weeks or months or years before I come back to a project. That makes subscriptions a lousy value, since I might have to pay for literally years where I don't use the product at all, just to ensure that it WILL work when/if I decide to use it.

The other thing is, I can and have and will have computer systems I mothball as audio appliances. If I install v11 plugins on some random computer, I expect them to be there and functional if I decide to power it up in 15 years. If I can keep the hardware alive, the software should be willing and ready. I'm not asking anything of Waves to make that happen -- no free updates necessary. But I think it's fair that, if I'm not getting any value over a period of time, that I not have to pay during that time either.

Foremost, it all comes back around to whether I can actually expect any of this software to even work in 10, 20 years. Will it run without "checking in" first? Will a phone home even work anymore, and if not, what then? If I'm required to reactivate for any reason, will there be anyone home to activate with? If they are still there, will the activation hosts even respect my old entitlement? It's so fragile and requires a ton of trust in the viability and commitment of a vendor.

The move of software to some ephemeral, house-always-wins paradigm is a really shady trend. I don't like it, and it seems exceedingly unfair, all in the guise of ensuring that I, paying customer, honor my licensing agreement. In exchange, the software may or may not work when called upon, and will more than likely at some point just cease to function with no recourse. OTOH, if I wanted to go out of my way to circumvent all the protections and just get it all for free from some unsavory corner of the Internet, it would likely work perfectly today and forever.

Who benefits from that mentality? Surely not me.

@MacinMindSoftware:  With license prices according to use (personal, non-profit, commercial) the drawbridge is open and the software is not underpriced for those who get much more value out of it. The only trouble is this relies on people's honesty as this is not easy to enforce. Another common practice is to offer different tiers of features/capabilities at different prices. As to recurring income for the developer, a nice balance to subscriptions is to only charge for update plans spanning a year at a time for features and new OS versions, otherwise old versions work in perpetuity on their original setups. This keeps the developer busy making sure they are on top of new OS versions and architecture and/or developing compelling new features, even bug fixes and polish.

@1622steve:  I'm a professional "amateur" user. I use the software intensively for several months, then not much at all for several years. I use audio software for a while, then move on to software development for a while, then on to hardware development, then I'm helping customers. I can keep using the software for a very long time, so I like to just own it outright. I don't need updates. The software outlasts my computers, and that's where my problem is. I can't just move the software to a new computer. There are license keys. I can understand that the companies don't want to waste time helping me to move obsolete software to a new machine, but that leaves me having to buy the latest version when I'm perfectly happy with and proficient on the obsolete version.

@rabarebra:  Just stop buying their products. They will learn the hard way.

@victormihai3929:  I came out of my casket
out of the grave
to suckle on the nipples of the unshaven
*Please like and subscribe for more for more nipple shenanigans*

@javieralejandro8144:  They just committed suicide. No one trust them anymore

@ronnysmobilephone:  This is a false argument... Cost is based on neccery labour. Once you write the code there is no more labour involved with reproduction of the product. But they still sell the product at hyper inflated prices.

The only time more labour is required is when the code needs to be updated. But the cost for that labour has already been achieved in the hyper inflated original cost.

All that is needed is a delivery system. Which is a direct download. But since reproduction costs are zero as its a digital asset. So tje capithad to figure out a way to control access. Hrnce putting a licence fee on it and various other convoluted access systems.

@fakshen1973:  1. If you have to update a plug-in to keep it current because of changes in an operating system, you really should do it for free. You'd have to update the plug-in for NEW users.
2. Free OS related updates is a selling point. If you make free updates a policy and MARKET that difference to me, I will prefer your product.
3. I won't mind paying for UPGRADES if they are counter balanced with free updates. Again, marketing. All version 3.x releases are free while version 4.x costs to cross-grade to.
4. Factor in compatibility releases into the initial cost. Yes. Now that we are familiar with how often plug-ins will NEED to be updated, that can be factored. Build it into the upfront costs. Then the true cost is fair. See point #2.

@einstuckparts:  Plugin companies should;
Grade their plugins value "A" "B" "C" etc..
Allow Bundle "1" to pick 5 "A" grade plugins, 20 "B" grade plugins and so on.

@editingsecrets replies to @einstuckparts: Like Disneyland's coupon books. Remember E Ticket rides?

@KristianWontroba:  We've reached "peak plugin". With some rare exceptions, new plugin releases are re-skins and/or updated marketing of basically what has already been available. Also, stock plugins from today's DAWs have greatly improved from the early days to the point where most 3rd party plugins are completely redundant. Finally, with the rise of AI, it is conceivable that, in the future, more producers might be able to easily generate their own DIY plugins to their liking, cutting out 3rd party developers entirely. Knowing this, software developers feel compelled to move to subscription models to maintain the same revenue that they have enjoyed in the past.

@editingsecrets replies to @KristianWontroba: The subscription idea came from the then leader of Autodesk, suggesting that Autocad and Microsoft Office were examples of software that could be sold on perpetual subscription. Bill Gates loved the idea! But John Walker was only following up on Bucky Fuller's prediction years earlier that everything, even housing, would ultimately be sold on a subscription model. What if, he supposed, you could just continue your subscription and switch to an equally nice house elsewhere if you wanted to move?

@leirumanuel:  Great example is MCDSP

@jimhines5145:  Once upon a time, I spent money on plugins. Then I discovered Linux back in 1994. While in 1994 is not very useful at all as a DAW, it was new and very compelling, and I knew it would not be (too) long before it would make a fantastic audio machine. Then came 2000 and the release of Ardour. That was a game changer in the Linux audio world. It was quickly followed by hoards of free LADSPA plugins, which were a mix of good and bad, but none were outstanding. It was not long after that Linux VSTs started showing up, then the new LV2 plugin format which gave us decent free OSS plugins with a real GUI. Then in 2009 the unthinkable happened. Harrison Consoles decided to create a custom DSP Mixer for the Ardour DAW. The need for multiple plugins magically went away. The mixer was so robust (loosely based on the Harrison 32C console), having only a handful of plugins was more than necessary. Eventually, Harrison did incorporate an emulated Harrison 32C mixer as a new and separate product, along with a 32C channel plugin strip for use in any DAW. While there are now plenty of commercial VSTs available for Linux, I tend not to buy them often, as my professional audio days are behind me and I am presently just a hobbiest. BTW, Waves did release a live recording app based entirely on a stripped down version of Ardour called Waves Tracks. It was completely free to download and use, but they did charge for a tech support. Not sure what the state of that project is now, but it was and probably still is available for download on their site. Love your channel. Very informative!

@ABC_A:  The point is,
When I buy the software, I can "subscribe" (pay periodically) when I choose to
Not when I'm forced to, repeatedly

@Soundivad:  Just got IK Multimedias Total Studio 3.5 today for incredible 122€, goodby Waves

@davidspingler6337:  the answer for me is more hardware, less plugins - I’m handy with a soldering iron and most hardware I’d invest in has an excellent track record of reliability, so I thank Waves for speeding along a decision I’d already been leaning towards 🤷🏻‍♂️

@rabarebra replies to @davidspingler6337: Analog always sound better than digital. There is no question about it. Good choice!

@TonyPelosi-music:  Please investigaste Airwindows (from Chris Johnson) - it is something different

@marc942:  Airwindows 😍

@greedokenobi3855:  I don’t want do subscription, my machine is offline as much as possible, just the way I like it.
I don’t like the WUP system, I prefer companies that calculate the costs of maintenance in the price they charge and don’t charge per maintenance update, that’s how most companies are doing it, just the way I like it.
I do like it when they have subscription models as an option, it’s not for me but it’s great to give people options.
The option to buy a perpetual licence should always be there in my opinion.

@musicalneptunian replies to @greedokenobi3855: You would love Reaper. It's designed to work online or offline; when offline your product registration still shows and you still get all features. This happened to me last year; my internet cable snapped and I lost internet for a week. But Reaper still worked so I could do my pre-downloaded narration scripts.

@rabarebra replies to @greedokenobi3855: Now, even Cubase Pro 12 needs to stay online, at least once a month. It is pure evil if you are at a cottage without internet for a couple of months. The software asks to log-on to keep continuing. Not sure if I am going to laugh or cry. The program costs a fortune these days also.

@greedokenobi3855 replies to @greedokenobi3855: @@rabarebra Agreed! And I am a Cubase user too, it’s very annoying since I keep my computer offline as much as possible. I actually prefer the dongle.
The best thing would be if people could choose between physical and machine licence.

@rabarebra replies to @greedokenobi3855: @@greedokenobi3855 A thought I got is that it should be enough to ping them (Steinberg) with a code even from another computer, just to tell them "I am here", and once a year should be enough.
Using a dongle were a lot less cumbersome.

@Bag-Of-Hammers:  Software developers are going to update their programs whether you pay 5hem to or not. They HAVE to, or else they got no product to sell. Charging clients to update is predatory. I've never had an app charge me for updating. That's just sleazy.

@rabarebra replies to @Bag-Of-Hammers: I always thought of update as their bug-fixing. Issues shouldn't be our problem, but their errors. Upgrade is something else, and should be a choice. But forcing upgrades is pure evil. It just force you to upgrade hardware, which is also evil. The best is to log off the internet, and use your tools when you feel "this is it". Why change something that is working?

@Pete731:  I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned subscriptions tend to work for companies and businesses but not the individual. I am a music 'hobbyist' and I am happy to upgrade plug-ins and software whenever suits me. But as I have long spells of not doing any music then a subscription for me would not really be viable. But that is just me.

@phadrus replies to @Pete731: Plus we’re getting nickled and dimed by so many subs. Waves sub is awful. There is no flexibility, no discounts for owners, etc.

@skoneal007 replies to @Pete731: I would say that is for the vast majority of us. I would say the semi-pro’s and hobbyist’s vastly outnumber the professionals.

@MKD371:  Waves has been the leading plugin company and the first to invent the digital eq with its Q range. I'm sure thousands of audio engineers have used all sorts of waves plugins, so it surprises me that all of a sudden people are saying they only use one or two plugins from the pack. That cannot be the case, because the outrage comes from those who did spend a lot of money on waves plugins, with the update plan costing upwards of 300 dollars or more, per update. I say good riddance to their update plan. It will be cheaper for those who no longer need to do that plan. If anything they were paying for a very expensive subscription plan to start with.

@alexanderewing3779:  Absolutely agree. Even if Waves allowed individual updates, instead of their ridiculous WUP @ £300! I might have considered continuing but alas, that ship has now sailed into the distant horizon...

@DaniTorresOfficial:  Waves shot itself on the foot. I bought a bundle and some plugins i needed to build up the system i needed. Never had to buy the updates, so i didn't, worst case scenario, my machine stays as it is for a long time. OR in that unlikely case that i feel the urgent need to upgrade the sys, waves won't come up as a choice, as there are PLENTY of other manufacturers with great options, no need to have these subscription models.

@rabarebra replies to @DaniTorresOfficial: Exactly!

@adkywun:  In a professional and business investment point of view ,It don't really matters, as long as the plugs are worth it, Since waves start introduce noise as a feature in some of their vintage lines, I am sorry, I don't use them much until not at all. Beside they don't have much thing that are really not replaceable. After all these years they slowly became just a fancy good looking GUI drawing company.😔 Thanks for the video.

@Seiskid:  Good discussion.

@stripedelicstudios:  Same reason cars don't have chain timing belts anymore. And all those good cars end up trash

@stripedelicstudios:  Capitalism...

@xanataph:  I just run old versions of the plug-ins on an old version of a DAW on an old OS on old metal. No connexion to the internet. That works fine, and short of hardware issues developing with the machine itself, it'll keep on going forever.

However, for some newer setups that I work with, their are so many free plug-ins now that totally rival the expensive stuff. LoudMax!

@bertalx44:  For Waves, Update plan was already a(n expansive) way to reward the developers.

@kingech_B15:  25 a month is Netflix subscription. But Waves was the real victim in this situation.

@DolphinWave replies to @kingech_B15: Netflix provides you with services of streaming video. Services are perfectly ok to be subscribing to, if you want recurring services. And if you decide to stop subscribing - it will not render your workflow inoperable.

Waves do not sell you services - they sell you tools. A service would be mixing or mastering a track for you, to give you a result. But that's not what Waves sell for 24.99 a month. They sell you plugins.

Plugins are tools used by you to do your task, they are not services. And people don't "subscribe" to tools, they buy it to use it any time they need. Because failing to pay such "subscription" will make your whole workflow inoperable. That's why we want to own tools, not "subscribe" to it.

@rabarebra replies to @kingech_B15: @@DolphinWave Exactly.

@teashea1:  Good balance presentation ----- Reaper is a model of selling their DAW ---- Great price and free upgrades for years. Very fair and and as result their users are quite loyal.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @teashea1: I don't mind paying my subscription to Pro Tools. But - being of a certain age - suppose I want to retire and I have to pay my monthly sub for what will then be a hobby? Reaper would be a tempting option. DM

@teashea1 replies to @teashea1: @@AudioMasterclass If you are interested, there are a dozen good videos on YT by people who discuss the advantages of Reaper, including some who discuss it in relation to Pro Tools.

@rabarebra replies to @teashea1: @@AudioMasterclass Pro Tools is a hyped old DAW. Nothing special about it.

@teashea1:  They were greedy and got hammered and were forced to retreat --- but they are still scum.

@Threemicsrecords:  It is time to set up my old digi001 and PT5.6 with all rtas plugins. Oh good old winxp.

@ValiantSheep:  Buying something that needs servicing from time to time or even on a regular basis is not the same at all as a subscription. I like to buy my plugins once and “service” them at my own pace whenever I feel I should instead of having to pay every month to use them or else I would lose access to them. So it’s not really the same thing

@phadrus replies to @ValiantSheep: Right

@yourstruly1665:  You have to be some sort of masochist to keep putting up with the outrageous nonsense that Waves uses to continually empty your pocketbook. Most of their plugins have remained virtually unchanged over the last 5 years and yet Waves makes subtle changes to the code so they begin to crash with DAW and OS upgrades, thus forcing their captured users to "upgrade". No more. It's long past time to abandon this plugin vendor who so badly abuses their users over and over again.

@thexfile.:  Adobe would have you pay every time their software is being used.

@landonfinnerty2391 replies to @thexfile.: And I quit using Adobe, though years ago, I took lessons to learn it. Because they changed.

@musicalneptunian replies to @thexfile.: @@landonfinnerty2391 People need reminding of how far back their shenanigans go. In Adobe CS5, well before CC Cloud, Adobe took away the ability to create your own colour slider tool sets. People loved this feature and were outraged. But Adobe didn't listen. It's been their way or the highway. Then came the CC Cloud joke; I left them behind after CS6.

@sinntax:  One of the top independent developers is Reimund Dratwa for sure. He used to work for Brainworx, was one of the main developers of Black Rooster Audio and now founded his own company Fuse Audio Labs. Additionally he is part of the team of Neold. At his company Fuse Audio Labs you can get the highest quality plugins for a fair price and without BS.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @sinntax: Thank you for your interesting input. There is further information on Reimund here... DM

@morbidmanmusic:  In a way, with OS updates it kinda does "wear out", based on that. Just not the way you're thinking. The idea of using them wears out due to forced OS updates

@nickmontopoli9129:  This whole situation I think shows a great example of "keeping the big guys honest" - instead of giving in and shuffling along, the response was deep lists of (often better) alternatives to everything Waves offers. Per your update-vs-upgrade point, I'll happily pay again for any product that offers a significant improvement (Fabfilter). Maintenance should be built into the original price, and the design (Fabfilter again).

I'm reassured to see this response, and hoping it'll shed some light on what I consider unethical subscription models elsewhere in the audio industry (*cough* Avid) - if folks think you're irreplaceable, you can gouge with impunity apparently... But as soon as other options are discovered, as we saw, there's much less willingness to accept this.

@Noone-of-your-Business:  The problem with subscriptions is not the subscription - it is the insane prices that most developers charge, which often equal to buying the full price product every frickin' YEAR (and FIFA players are even stupid enough to play along). Which is an outrageous lifetime assumption to make about software. If I can use a piece of software for a realistic 10 years - give or take - the subscription must categarically NOT exceed 10% of the "buy-to-own" price. Adobe, Microsoft, Avid and Apple are lightyears away from this mark.
Also, it must remain possible for people on really tigh budgets to use outdated products, just like people drive 50-year-old cars. Yes, getting those to run requires work, but so does getting obsolete software to run. My old MS Office 2000 still mostly works, and I rarely use it, although it does not meet all my current requirements. But I am not buying Microsoft's shitty "365" suite because of the outrageous price and addictive product policy involved. AND because there is a great open source alternative which does everything I need. And that is something that needs to be addressed as well once we are comparing hardware and software: there are so many generous developers out there who are willing to share the results of their work - for whatever reason! - for free that the current subscription models are flatout insulting. Photoshop and Pro Tools need to lose a lot more customers to drive home the point. And in some areas, you can already see the Fat Cats losing revenue due to their greed: I have seen several professionals switching their DAW to Reaper - and celebrating their coice, because Reaper seems to be objectively the better product, most notably of all, more stable.
Current subscription models show many ugly faces that betray their purposes all too clearly: make the customer dependent on your proprietary format and milk them until they collapse. This will not stand indefinitely. The market will regulate itself, and networking via Internet is a powerful weapon that costumers hold against corporate greed.

@markitoxi:  Absolutely great to see this video a couple of days after I paid for Roon lifetime subscription, thank you very much (worried in distress emoji).

@AudioMasterclass replies to @markitoxi: Lifetime? Your lifetime, Roon's lifetime? The lifetime of the universe? Or until they get bored with the product and want to work on something else? Just throwing a few things in there. DM

@rabarebra replies to @markitoxi: @@AudioMasterclass 😂 Good one.

@herbst1398:  Do you "own" youre guitar by subscripton???

@AudioMasterclass replies to @herbst1398: As I said about hardware, there are ongoing costs. A guitar doesn't need a lot of maintenance other than strings, but it does need to be insured. DM

@redinger44841 replies to @herbst1398: @@AudioMasterclass you are totally right, your insurance is just like a subscription. And just like a piece of subscription software if you neglect to pay your insurance bill your guitar will instantly become unusable.

@herbst1398:  To be honest, its okay if they greedy. The market wil regulate itself in some weeks, byitself. There will be free and open alternatives, soon - Waves is done and will not recover from this - Even if this was a "mistaken" april fool, this is not aceptable and EVERY SING EMPLOYE AT WAVES SHOULD SAY THANK YOU - To there CEO

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Thursday April 20, 2023

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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