How can you grab the
music software you need without braking the bank?
Music software costs
peanuts compared to the studio equipment it can replace. But if you can
save on this too, well...why not?
This is neither a page about comparison shopping nor something to trick
you into buying what you don't need. It's rather a page to save you
I just saw people too
often buying software they never used. Some recording studios are
spending huge amounts of money for music
software, especially plug-ins,
just to show it to their clients. They hardly ever use them. It's just
bragging. Hype. Name it. It's not what we want.
I am also trying to
save money. Therefore it might be a good idea to tell you what I'm doing.
I don't get a full version for testing from the manufacturer
and I'm so greedy to grab that brand new piece
of written code (That's what music software is-let's face it) with my sticky
Do I go to the next
shop to buy it?
No sorry, it's too far
away and I'm usually too busy to go there.
Do I surf to the biggest online
and place the order?
No boy, I'm not silly.
I don't have any idea if this music
software is crap or not. Chances are good
that it is crap, or simply just not what I want.
So, what do I do?
I go to a friend or a studio who already owns
the software, to see if
it is really doing what it should do. I try to stay cool and really test
software. You might not see the weak points because you're so
enthusiastic about a certain sound or function,
that you forget about the rest.
Sometimes (if it's a
gooood friend) I can take the software with me to test it at home.
That's even better. I can test it in an environment that I am used to
and I can compare it to what I have already.
If there is a good
demo available, I download it. (A good demo has all functions
working but a time limit. A silly demo has some important functions
disabled. Unfortunately there are a lot of silly demos around)
I go to an online
shop like zZounds or to the manufacturers homepage to find
out what the regular price of the music software is.
I decide If I really
need that software. That's not the same as wanting a software. Sometimes we want
things because they look good or because their marketing department does
a good job, not because we need them really.
I answer myself a few
questions. How often will I use it? Is there a better software
for that job? Is it worth the money? Can I do the same tasks with
software I already own and know to work with?
When I have made my
decision, I usually take a look into online auctions like
eBay. Chances are good that I find a cheaper offer than the regular
price. Sometimes I can get
older versions of the
music software, that
I can upgrade for
little money. That's a deal!
But I have to be careful that I get all the stuff I need, like serial, dongle,
additional sounds etc...
If there's no manual, I take a look if I can
download it from the manufacturers homepage before I bid. And since I
had serious trouble, I always read the
feedback comments about the seller before I bid. I only had
problems when I skipped that point.
Music software is not "used". It is fresh and
beautiful like at the first day it was written. That makes it different
from other "used" stuff you may get on eBay.
When eBay has nothing
to offer, I call my favorite music store if he can make me a deal below
the regular price. I often buy for some other people too, so sometimes
If I don't get a better deal, I see if I can get the
software at a big online retailer like
zZounds. I compare prices and order online. Usually a few days later
I get a nice little package with a beautiful picture on it (that still
has more style than to just download software) and it feels like
Sometimes the big
"Onliners" don't have what I
want. Then I go to the manufacturers home page and look for an offer or
a clue about some retailers.
If nothing else works, I ask a friend or Google where
I can get the software. I always found out
somehow how to get it. Even the strangest programs want to be sold by
What I try NOT
I never buy outdated
software without a chance to update it immediately.
I don't buy because of
a single or few features in a music
software, that seem sooooo great but I have not tested
I don't by software
to show off. It is nothing to brag with. You are not a better musician
or a smarter producer because you own all new software.
I never buy new music
software off the shelf. I test it
first (maybe that's why I have this site here ;-)).
I do not hunt for
cracked software (see details below)
If the above process is way too boring for you or you are rich and have
no considerations about money whatsoever, go to
zZounds and buy all you can grab, instantly. Music software
developers do a great job and they need to be supported. Even if you do
that, you save money, because they use to work with a lowest price
guarantee (...and maybe hope nobody will ever use it ;-)).
About Cracks, Hacks, Warez...
Some thoughts on cracked (whuuuuuu...horrible
For some people, this seems to be the
"cheapest" way to get
music software, but they
will notice sooner or later that they still have to pay one way or the
This is a topic that seems to be
taboo on "serious" sites. It looks just as nobody would use
cracked music software. But that's
simply not true. A lot of people use cracked software, but of course
very few want to talk about it.
It's a problem for the software
industry and on the other hand it can be something like a marketing
Don't believe that? Well, let me give
you an example.
The crack of Cubase 2.0 for
the Atari was the most most popular
of it's time. I used it myself, because it
was much more stable than the bought version with this darn Steinberg-dongle,
that crashed the computer when you just moved it slightly.
That has made Cubase the "standard"
on the Atari and gave an advantage over the "Notator" (now Logic pro).
When an update came out you either had to wait a long time for a working
crack, or you had to buy
the regular version.
That means that cracks can give a
program a much wider user base that consists of new potential customers.
Why that, you ask? Why should someone
start using regular software when he has used cracks before?
I give you some very good reasons:
Updating cracks can be a
nasty task. It's not
really cool to constantly ask your friends, clients or strangers for the
newest music software
It's illegal (didn't you know that?). That puts you
at risk, especially when you use
the software for professional and commercial purposes.
You might have some competition, especially when you are successful,
that's just waiting for a chance to put you in trouble.
You don't get support by the manufacturer. Well, maybe
you don't get support on paid software too, but it's less likely.
You support the development of new and hopefully
People using cracks
sometimes do not
sleep so well, dreaming of all the starving programmers of music
software dying in their software labs.
My conclusion after nineteen
years in the business of music software: You save time, hassle and also
money when you buy the software, that you really use.
Especially when you're a Pro. Maybe it's fine to use cracks for
testing reasons when no real demo is available, but I do not suggest
to use it for serious music production for the above reasons.