International Music Software Trade Association Asks – Why Are We Loosing Sales – Gets Answer Wrong.

I was shopping online for some more recording hardware, when I came across a link to a questionnaire about software piracy, specifically software piracy of music production and editing software. I filled it out, with comments, but I think that it needs to be addressed here as well.

The International Music Software Trade Association is concerned. They point out that Sound Card sales have been rising faster than Software sales. Their assumption is that the only reason you’d buy a sound card is to edit music. They have a nice graph which illustrates their point:

IMSTA Numbers
IMSTA Numbers

Their problem is that they don’t know what they are talking about.

Sorry guys. I know a lot of gamers. Hell, I used to be one. We buy sound cards. We also buy home audio equipment, and hook it up to our computers, to get the most of our gaming experience.

And then there’s the home theater folks, many of whom are running Windows Media Center (note that you appear to need Internet Explorer to view this page) and have sound cards installed to get the best sound. I know some real avid home theater users, who have spent a lot of money on their sound cards.

And then they think that everyone buys software for editing. I did once. Bad mistake. Cakewalk was a disaster (note that this was the DOS version of Cakewalk, and I suspect it has improved since).

But when I started serious recording, I used Rosegarden and Audacity, both of which are licensed under the GNU General Public License, and which were, and are free downloads. After my experience with Cakewalk, I wasn’t willing to spend money on something that might or might not work (for excellent lists of DAW and MIDI software see Wikipedia here and here also).

And then some friends introduced me to Garage Band… I quickly bought a Mac. Sure, I could have tried to contribute to the Rosegarden or Audacity, but it’s a time thing. I had to make a decision as to what would get me to where I wanted to be, and going Mac was the best choice. And switching from Linux to Mac OS X on the desktop was easy. My servers still run Linux of course – I don’t trust Windows.

And I’m not the only one to make the decision to move to a Mac. Talk to the artists. There’s been a huge shift since Apple moved to Intel processors in the music community, and that shift has been to Apple. Even a lot of pros, like Nine Inch Nails, are using Garage Band. Sure, it can’t do everything that the professional tools can do, but like any classical Disruptive Technology, it’s good enough.

Heck, visit your local music store, and see how many customers and staff are using IPhones, or are carrying IPads. Ask the people you see what they use them for – the answer is music. Ask them if they have Macs at home, the answer will probably be yes.

So like a lot of other people, I don’t purchase recording software anymore. We buy Apple computers. And we save a fortune doing so (many professional packages cost over $500.00 U.S. for a single user license, Garage Band ships on every Mac sold).

So I’m sorry guys, but you’ve lost me as a customer, at least for the high end software. My last purchase of software produced by an IMSTA member company was Amplitube, which cost me about $10.00. It’s a neat little package that makes my IPad into an effects rig for my guitar, which I can use with earphones, or hook into my amplifiers (yes, plural), and man is it fun to play with.


Wayne Borean

Saturday December 11, 2010


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