Apple Rejects Music Developer’s App Update & Why It’s A Good Thing

iOS music app developer Audanika has a post on their site explaining how their latest update to SoundPrism was rejected by Apple.

Today our latest version of SoundPrism got rejected from Apples App Review team after an excruciatingly long waiting period of 22 days since we submitted it to them (you can read about it and the things I’ve found out about the review process in my excruciatingly long previous post).

So far, I’m feeling sorry for Audanika. They had to wait a long time to get an update published. I’m feeling their pain.

But they go on to explain why Apple had to give SoundPrism some extra attention and, ultimately, reject it:

We didn’t comply with section 11.8 of the App Store Review Guidelines which says (Statement #1):

“Apps that use IAP to purchase access to built-in capabilities provided by iOS, such as the camera or the gyroscope, will be rejected”

Apparently CoreMIDI is considered to be on the same level of importance as the camera or gyroscope which is probably a correct assumption by Apple.

Now, I’m not feeling so sorry for Audanika. They tried to do something that Apple forbids, and their app got rejected. And it’s for a good reason. 

No MIDI Tax

What would you think if you bought a hardware synth and then found out that you had to pay another 50 bucks to enable the MIDI connectors? Ripped off. What if you bought a virtual instrument for your DAW and had to pay extra to enable MIDI support? Nickel and dimed.

In this case, it looks like Apple’s interests are aligned with users.

Music apps need to support CoreMIDI. It can’t be something that might work on some apps but not on others. It can’t be something that you have to pay another $2 to unlock.

It’s too bad Audanika had to learn the hard way – but music developer will be better off in the long run if musicians can buy music apps knowing that MIDI will work and that developers aren’t going to demand a MIDI tax.

There are a lot of things musicians may want that make sense as in-app purchases: preset libraries, audio sample libraries, audio effects and MIDI control UI’s for individual hardware synths are some things that come to mind.

Just don’t try to charge a MIDI tax.

61 thoughts on “Apple Rejects Music Developer’s App Update & Why It’s A Good Thing

  1. A Hong Kong based developer of games for mobile devices says that its online, multi player games are being besieged by users making fraudulent purchases from compromised iTunes accounts and says that iPhone maker Apple has turned a deaf ear to its efforts cut off the bogus activity.

    In an e-mail interview with Threatpost, Ted Kong, a marketing executive at Lakoo wrote that fraudulent transactions account for as many as 4 of every 10 in-application purchases on iOS versions of his company's multi player games. The bad purchases and user complaints about them, are in danger of damaging Lakoo's brand, but Kong said his 11 year-old company, which is backed by Sequoia Capital, has been unable to get cooperation from Cupertino-based Apple Computer in addressing the fraud.

    Apple did not respond to numerous phone and e-mail requests for comment on the fraudulent purchases.

  2. Hello Synthtopia,

    I am saddened to see you misunderstand the situation like this. Let me clarify a few points:

    1. Many InApp Purchases enable access to built in capabilities of iOS.
    Examples: Enabling to save tracks in LoopJ or Beatwave? Built in iOS capabilities (file generation, export) are used for that. They got approved.

    2. There is no such thing as flicking a switch to enable CoreMIDI. The way we did it took a large development effort. Had we known that we couldn't monetize it like that we wouldn't have made it as cool as it is right now (velocity control, multiple touch points, multiple midi channels, etc.).

    3. We're a company. We work for profit. Therefore we have to charge for our work. To justify this development effort we would have had to raise the price for SoundPrism which would have sucked because few people need MIDI. We didn't want to do that.

    4. It's unfair to compare an app like ours to that '50$ hardware synth'. SoundPrism is on sale right now for 1$. Usually it's 3$. SoundPrism is based on 5 years of research and 6.5 years of software development. Do you really want to argue that you're getting a bad deal when buying SoundPrism for this price?

    5. There is little we can do about guys like jonah feeling ripped off. We can't refund people because Apple doesn't tell us who our customers are. Which really sucks for us. (By the way Jonah – Contact me via our homepage or twitter and I'll see that you'll get a free version of the MIDI enabled SoundPrism once it's in the App Store).

    6. Other developers are doing the same thing as we tried to do, only they're not doing it via InApp Purchases. Instead they're releasing new with added features apps which they charge more for. It's the same thing. Nobody complains about that.

    7. iOS Developers can't charge for updates and they can't sell new features via InApp Purchases apparently. Do you really think making it harder for developers to monetize their work is a good thing?

    8. Please ask other iOS developers what they think this. I'd be very surprised they disagree with me.

    I'd be glad to talk about this if there are any other questions.

    Sebastian Dittmann
    CEO of Audanika http://audanika.com/ http://twitter.com/audanika.

  3. Hello Synthtopia,

    I am saddened to see you misunderstand the situation like this. Let me clarify a few points:

    1. Many InApp Purchases enable access to built in capabilities of iOS.
    Examples: Enabling to save tracks in LoopJ or Beatwave? Built in iOS capabilities (file generation, export) are used for that. They got approved.

    2. There is no such thing as flicking a switch to enable CoreMIDI. The way we did it took a large development effort. Had we known that we couldn't monetize it like that we wouldn't have made it as cool as it is right now (velocity control, multiple touch points, multiple midi channels, etc.).

    3. We're a company. We work for profit. Therefore we have to charge for our work. To justify this development effort we would have had to raise the price for SoundPrism which would have sucked because few people need MIDI. We didn't want to do that.

    4. It's unfair to compare an app like ours to that '50$ hardware synth'. SoundPrism is on sale right now for 1$. Usually it's 3$. SoundPrism is based on 5 years of research and 6.5 years of software development. Do you really want to argue that you're getting a bad deal when buying SoundPrism for this price?

    5. There is little we can do about guys like jonah feeling ripped off. We can't refund people because Apple doesn't tell us who our customers are. Which really sucks for us. (By the way Jonah – Contact me via our homepage or twitter and I'll see that you'll get a free version of the MIDI enabled SoundPrism once it's in the App Store).

    6. Other developers are doing the same thing as we tried to do, only they're not doing it via InApp Purchases. Instead they're releasing new with added features apps which they charge more for. It's the same thing. Nobody complains about that.

    7. iOS Developers can't charge for updates and they can't sell new features via InApp Purchases apparently. Do you really think making it harder for developers to monetize their work is a good thing?

    8. Please ask other iOS developers what they think this. I'd be very surprised they disagree with me.

    I'd be glad to talk about this if there are any other questions.

    Sebastian Dittmann
    CEO of Audanika http://audanika.com/ http://twitter.com/audanika.

  4. Hello Synthtopia,

    I am saddened to see you misunderstand the situation like this. Let me clarify a few points:

    1. Many InApp Purchases enable access to built in capabilities of iOS.
    Examples: Enabling to save tracks in LoopJ or Beatwave? Built in iOS capabilities (file generation, export) are used for that. They got approved.

    2. There is no such thing as flicking a switch to enable CoreMIDI. The way we did it took a large development effort. Had we known that we couldn't monetize it like that we wouldn't have made it as cool as it is right now (velocity control, multiple touch points, multiple midi channels, etc.).

    3. We're a company. We work for profit. Therefore we have to charge for our work. To justify this development effort we would have had to raise the price for SoundPrism which would have sucked because few people need MIDI. We didn't want to do that.

    4. It's unfair to compare an app like ours to that '50$ hardware synth'. SoundPrism is on sale right now for 1$. Usually it's 3$. SoundPrism is based on 5 years of research and 6.5 years of software development. Do you really want to argue that you're getting a bad deal when buying SoundPrism for this price?

    5. There is little we can do about guys like jonah feeling ripped off. We can't refund people because Apple doesn't tell us who our customers are. Which really sucks for us. (By the way Jonah – Contact me via our homepage or twitter and I'll see that you'll get a free version of the MIDI enabled SoundPrism once it's in the App Store).

    6. Other developers are doing the same thing as we tried to do, only they're not doing it via InApp Purchases. Instead they're releasing new with added features apps which they charge more for. It's the same thing. Nobody complains about that.

    7. iOS Developers can't charge for updates and they can't sell new features via InApp Purchases apparently. Do you really think making it harder for developers to monetize their work is a good thing?

    8. Please ask other iOS developers what they think this. I'd be very surprised they disagree with me.

    I'd be glad to talk about this if there are any other questions.

    Sebastian Dittmann
    CEO of Audanika http://audanika.com/ http://twitter.com/audanika.

  5. Hello Synthtopia,

    I am saddened to see you misunderstand the situation like this. Let me clarify a few points:

    1. Many InApp Purchases enable access to built in capabilities of iOS.
    Examples: Enabling to save tracks in LoopJ or Beatwave? Built in iOS capabilities (file generation, export) are used for that. They got approved.

    2. There is no such thing as flicking a switch to enable CoreMIDI. The way we did it took a large development effort. Had we known that we couldn't monetize it like that we wouldn't have made it as cool as it is right now (velocity control, multiple touch points, multiple midi channels, etc.).

    3. We're a company. We work for profit. Therefore we have to charge for our work. To justify this development effort we would have had to raise the price for SoundPrism which would have sucked because few people need MIDI. We didn't want to do that.

    4. It's unfair to compare an app like ours to that '50$ hardware synth'. SoundPrism is on sale right now for 1$. Usually it's 3$. SoundPrism is based on 5 years of research and 6.5 years of software development. Do you really want to argue that you're getting a bad deal when buying SoundPrism for this price?

    5. There is little we can do about guys like jonah feeling ripped off. We can't refund people because Apple doesn't tell us who our customers are. Which really sucks for us. (By the way Jonah – Contact me via our homepage or twitter and I'll see that you'll get a free version of the MIDI enabled SoundPrism once it's in the App Store).

    6. Other developers are doing the same thing as we tried to do, only they're not doing it via InApp Purchases. Instead they're releasing new with added features apps which they charge more for. It's the same thing. Nobody complains about that.

    7. iOS Developers can't charge for updates and they can't sell new features via InApp Purchases apparently. Do you really think making it harder for developers to monetize their work is a good thing?

    8. Please ask other iOS developers what they think this. I'd be very surprised they disagree with me.

    I'd be glad to talk about this if there are any other questions.

    Sebastian Dittmann
    CEO of Audanika http://audanika.com/ http://twitter.com/audanika.

  6. Hello Synthtopia,

    I am saddened to see you misunderstand the situation like this. Let me clarify a few points:

    1. Many InApp Purchases enable access to built in capabilities of iOS.
    Examples: Enabling to save tracks in LoopJ or Beatwave? Built in iOS capabilities (file generation, export) are used for that. They got approved.

    2. There is no such thing as flicking a switch to enable CoreMIDI. The way we did it took a large development effort. Had we known that we couldn't monetize it like that we wouldn't have made it as cool as it is right now (velocity control, multiple touch points, multiple midi channels, etc.).

    3. We're a company. We work for profit. Therefore we have to charge for our work. To justify this development effort we would have had to raise the price for SoundPrism which would have sucked because few people need MIDI. We didn't want to do that.

    4. It's unfair to compare an app like ours to that '50$ hardware synth'. SoundPrism is on sale right now for 1$. Usually it's 3$. SoundPrism is based on 5 years of research and 6.5 years of software development. Do you really want to argue that you're getting a bad deal when buying SoundPrism for this price?

    5. There is little we can do about guys like jonah feeling ripped off. We can't refund people because Apple doesn't tell us who our customers are. Which really sucks for us. (By the way Jonah – Contact me via our homepage or twitter and I'll see that you'll get a free version of the MIDI enabled SoundPrism once it's in the App Store).

    6. Other developers are doing the same thing as we tried to do, only they're not doing it via InApp Purchases. Instead they're releasing new with added features apps which they charge more for. It's the same thing. Nobody complains about that.

    7. iOS Developers can't charge for updates and they can't sell new features via InApp Purchases apparently. Do you really think making it harder for developers to monetize their work is a good thing?

    8. Please ask other iOS developers what they think this. I'd be very surprised they disagree with me.

    I'd be glad to talk about this if there are any other questions.

    Sebastian Dittmann
    CEO of Audanika http://audanika.com/ http://twitter.com/audanika.

  7. Hello Synthtopia,

    I am saddened to see you misunderstand the situation like this. Let me clarify a few points:

    1. Many InApp Purchases enable access to built in capabilities of iOS.
    Examples: Enabling to save tracks in LoopJ or Beatwave? Built in iOS capabilities (file generation, export) are used for that. They got approved.

    2. There is no such thing as flicking a switch to enable CoreMIDI. The way we did it took a large development effort. Had we known that we couldn't monetize it like that we wouldn't have made it as cool as it is right now (velocity control, multiple touch points, multiple midi channels, etc.).

    3. We're a company. We work for profit. Therefore we have to charge for our work. To justify this development effort we would have had to raise the price for SoundPrism which would have sucked because few people need MIDI. We didn't want to do that.

    4. It's unfair to compare an app like ours to that '50$ hardware synth'. SoundPrism is on sale right now for 1$. Usually it's 3$. SoundPrism is based on 5 years of research and 6.5 years of software development. Do you really want to argue that you're getting a bad deal when buying SoundPrism for this price?

    5. There is little we can do about guys like jonah feeling ripped off. We can't refund people because Apple doesn't tell us who our customers are. Which really sucks for us. (By the way Jonah – Contact me via our homepage or twitter and I'll see that you'll get a free version of the MIDI enabled SoundPrism once it's in the App Store).

    6. Other developers are doing the same thing as we tried to do, only they're not doing it via InApp Purchases. Instead they're releasing new with added features apps which they charge more for. It's the same thing. Nobody complains about that.

    7. iOS Developers can't charge for updates and they can't sell new features via InApp Purchases apparently. Do you really think making it harder for developers to monetize their work is a good thing?

    8. Please ask other iOS developers what they think this. I'd be very surprised they disagree with me.

    I'd be glad to talk about this if there are any other questions.

    Sebastian Dittmann
    CEO of Audanika http://audanika.com/ http://twitter.com/audanika.

  8. I think Apple is right to enforce the rules in this way, despite the headache it causes for us early adopters of innovative "legacy" apps. I just bought SoundPrism today for $1, thinking it had MIDI since the website said it was coming in March. Then I read Audanika's blog post and realized what had happened.

    Sebastian just wanted to give users a way to get a cheaper app without MIDI if you don't need it, and a more expensive app with MIDI if you want that feature. InApp purchases seem a perfect way to implement this. Apple sees it differently, and I can't say I disagree. As annoying as it will be, it makes sense to release separate apps, because as this article states, MIDI support should not be seen as something you pay extra for. I don't mind having to pay again to get that sweet interface controlling my other synths.

    Really appreciate the obvious care you put into your work Sebastian. The demo you showed of the new features look awesome, can't wait to try it out. I can imagine that the (mild) criticism stings a little, but in the end it'll be good for everyone. This is the price we pay for playing in Apple's sandbox, but I feel the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

  9. As I've just pointed out to one comment on our facebook page by another developer I don't think Apple is doing themselves and the users a favor.

    I'm going to explain this on the example of Photoshop and I'm quoting said other developer here:
    " each year the company needs to release a (paying) upgrade, and for that they need to add always more features. As a developer from Adobe wrote, like a tree that you've cut and you can know it's age by counting the circles on the trunk, you can evaluate the age of each tool palette in Photoshop by counting the number of buttons…"

    This sucks.

    We tried to prevent charging people for features that they don't need by creating our App in a modular fashion. Users get a basic applications that they like and that they get free updates for… forever.
    Whenever we develop a feature that we think works for a subset of our users (our current MIDI implementation for example) we offer it seperately. Nobody has to buy it, everybody still gets free updates, no matter if they bought the new feature or not.

    That way the Application grows in value to our users depending on what they actually need.

    It's a perfect way of doing things, it helps the users, Apple makes money with it, developers can focus on ONE application instead of a set of multiple apps.

    And now Apple forbids this saying that we charge for access to a feature 'provided by the iOS'. Which doesn't make any sense because – as I've stated before – other Apps like LoopJ and Beatwave and most likely lots more do the same thing.

    Last but not least: If charging for updates is so bad – why exactly are we being charged for updates of iPhoto, Garageband, Mac OS X, iOS etc. by Apple?

    Sebastian Dittmann

  10. iceGear for the Xenon have added support CoreMidi ABSOLUTELY FREE-OF-CHARGE!!!
    Apple right, Audanica – NOT !!!

  11. Just so I understand this correctly:
    If we don't offer a feature free of charge… you're not going to "buy" it?!

    Also our behavior to charge for our work is shameful and wrong. And it's a good thing that we're stopped from doing so by Apple … who charge for updates and who let other people do the exact same thing that we tried to do.

  12. As a user I'm with Audanika on this in general. Audanika is the best judge of how much development effort was put into the app for any new feature. Adding CoreMidi is not just adding a few lines of code and resubmitting the app.

    It is true that they broke Apple policy and, thus, Apple has every right to nix the app. The policy is arbitrary, however; just because it's Apple policy doesn't mean it is right. In app purchases makes it easy for developers to put out a single app that can be customized to the needs of the user.

    I have Goodreader and they charge for extra bits like accessing GoogleDocs. There are lots of users out there who don't need this, but some do. Why put the financial burden on those who don't need it?

    The iOS app ecosystem is weird. Since apps are cheap compared to desktop application (and look at the price for Garageband!) it seems like user have become used to paying $1.99 and assuming they'll get infinite updates to an infinite number of features from thereon (not to mention the ever increasing list of iOS models that need to be supported). That can't work out financially for developers over the long run. The only option is for them to come out with new versions as new apps.

    I think it was fair for Audanika to come out with an update to Soundprism and, for those users who wanted it, buy Midi support for a bit more.

  13. Hi Sebastian, I'm of the idea that no one should have the right to tell you how your marketing should work, as long as you don't fool the people. Honestly I don't know your case, but if you really wrote in your site that you were going to add an important feature (to actract people with candies) and then made it available for a fee, then you were wrong. On the other side, in a "fine" context, I think that you're free to do whatever you want. If people don't like you, they just leave you.
    Also, I agree with you that people can't compare expensive stuff, especially hardware, with apps that cost a few bucks. And by the way, I'd like to point out that in all iDevices the stereo line input of the dock is disabled: the only way to enable it is to buy expensive hardware from third parties (which I think pay Apple for using their products). Moreover Apple don't let use their portable devices as normal external storage memory, a feature that I believe should be obviously available. I don't want to open a discussion against Apple, but thinking that the MIDI feature should be free and available in any case in an app is not correct from my point of view.
    If you're wondering, I'm also an app developer, but years ago, when I wasn't, I would have replied with the same answer.

    Alessandro De Nardi http://www.ricecode.com

  14. Hi Sebastian, I'm of the idea that no one should have the right to tell you how your marketing should work, as long as you don't fool the people. Honestly I don't know your case, but if you really wrote in your site that you were going to add an important feature (to actract people with candies) and then made it available for a fee, then you were wrong. On the other side, in a "fine" context, I think that you're free to do whatever you want. If people don't like you, they just leave you.
    Also, I agree with you that people can't compare expensive stuff, especially hardware, with apps that cost a few bucks. And by the way, I'd like to point out that in all iDevices the stereo line input of the dock is disabled: the only way to enable it is to buy expensive hardware from third parties (which I think pay Apple for using their products). Moreover Apple don't let use their portable devices as normal external storage memory, a feature that I believe should be obviously available. I don't want to open a discussion against Apple, but thinking that the MIDI feature should be free and available in any case in an app is not correct from my point of view.
    If you're wondering, I'm also an app developer, but years ago, when I wasn't, I would have replied with the same answer.

    Alessandro De Nardi http://www.ricecode.com

  15. Hi Sebastian, I'm of the idea that no one should have the right to tell you how your marketing should work, as long as you don't fool the people. Honestly I don't know your case, but if you really wrote in your site that you were going to add an important feature (to actract people with candies) and then made it available for a fee, then you were wrong. On the other side, in a "fine" context, I think that you're free to do whatever you want. If people don't like you, they just leave you.
    Also, I agree with you that people can't compare expensive stuff, especially hardware, with apps that cost a few bucks. And by the way, I'd like to point out that in all iDevices the stereo line input of the dock is disabled: the only way to enable it is to buy expensive hardware from third parties (which I think pay Apple for using their products). Moreover Apple don't let use their portable devices as normal external storage memory, a feature that I believe should be obviously available. I don't want to open a discussion against Apple, but thinking that the MIDI feature should be free and available in any case in an app is not correct from my point of view.
    If you're wondering, I'm also an app developer, but years ago, when I wasn't, I would have replied with the same answer.

    Alessandro De Nardi http://www.ricecode.com

  16. Hi Sebastian, I'm of the idea that no one should have the right to tell you how your marketing should work, as long as you don't fool the people. Honestly I don't know your case, but if you really wrote in your site that you were going to add an important feature (to actract people with candies) and then made it available for a fee, then you were wrong. On the other side, in a "fine" context, I think that you're free to do whatever you want. If people don't like you, they just leave you.
    Also, I agree with you that people can't compare expensive stuff, especially hardware, with apps that cost a few bucks. And by the way, I'd like to point out that in all iDevices the stereo line input of the dock is disabled: the only way to enable it is to buy expensive hardware from third parties (which I think pay Apple for using their products). Moreover Apple don't let use their portable devices as normal external storage memory, a feature that I believe should be obviously available. I don't want to open a discussion against Apple, but thinking that the MIDI feature should be free and available in any case in an app is not correct from my point of view.
    If you're wondering, I'm also an app developer, but years ago, when I wasn't, I would have replied with the same answer.

    Alessandro De Nardi http://www.ricecode.com

  17. Hi Sebastian, I'm of the idea that no one should have the right to tell you how your marketing should work, as long as you don't fool the people. Honestly I don't know your case, but if you really wrote in your site that you were going to add an important feature (to actract people with candies) and then made it available for a fee, then you were wrong. On the other side, in a "fine" context, I think that you're free to do whatever you want. If people don't like you, they just leave you.
    Also, I agree with you that people can't compare expensive stuff, especially hardware, with apps that cost a few bucks. And by the way, I'd like to point out that in all iDevices the stereo line input of the dock is disabled: the only way to enable it is to buy expensive hardware from third parties (which I think pay Apple for using their products). Moreover Apple don't let use their portable devices as normal external storage memory, a feature that I believe should be obviously available. I don't want to open a discussion against Apple, but thinking that the MIDI feature should be free and available in any case in an app is not correct from my point of view.
    If you're wondering, I'm also an app developer, but years ago, when I wasn't, I would have replied with the same answer.

    Alessandro De Nardi http://www.ricecode.com

  18. Hi Sebastian, I'm of the idea that no one should have the right to tell you how your marketing should work, as long as you don't fool the people. Honestly I don't know your case, but if you really wrote in your site that you were going to add an important feature (to actract people with candies) and then made it available for a fee, then you were wrong. On the other side, in a "fine" context, I think that you're free to do whatever you want. If people don't like you, they just leave you.
    Also, I agree with you that people can't compare expensive stuff, especially hardware, with apps that cost a few bucks. And by the way, I'd like to point out that in all iDevices the stereo line input of the dock is disabled: the only way to enable it is to buy expensive hardware from third parties (which I think pay Apple for using their products). Moreover Apple don't let use their portable devices as normal external storage memory, a feature that I believe should be obviously available. I don't want to open a discussion against Apple, but thinking that the MIDI feature should be free and available in any case in an app is not correct from my point of view.
    If you're wondering, I'm also an app developer, but years ago, when I wasn't, I would have replied with the same answer.

    Alessandro De Nardi http://www.ricecode.com

  19. Whoever wrote this post clearly isn't a developer. Also, comparing a hardware synth to an iPad app is apples and oranges completely. If this was a $400 microKORG, then I can understand why you would expect MIDI support. But it's not, it's a $3 iPad app.

    There's also never been any falsehood on Audanika's part. They never said that the app had MIDI support and then suckered people by making them pay unexpectedly. It was all transparent and up front. It's the exact opposite of getting a synth home and finding out you had to pay to unlock the MIDI ports.

  20. They want an extra $2 to add midi and people are freaking out? I'm sorry, I really have to side with the dev here. If you want dev's to stay in business then you have to compensate them for there work sometimes. I could see people getting mad if the app's base price was higher, but 1$ or $3? Another $2 so these guys can eat is no big deal,you spend more on a cup of coffee nowadays. Also, apple added the core midi support after the app came out. While in principle I agree with apple's thinking, on a case by case basis it doesn't always hold up.

    The key to me is a) the base price of the app and b) the price they are asking for the midi update.

  21. I own a game app development company and I have to agree that selling core midi support as an update is a bad idea, for several reasons. It's fine to either include it or not in your product, but selling it as an update is a three-shell game you play with the user. Here's an example from my industry… Sony advertises that you can use the new Move controller on their system, as long as you have that hardware. They never let a developer sell you a game and then charge extra for that functionality. You get it for free, because you own the hardware, or the game simply doesn't support it. This makes sense to customers, and gives them agency to choose how they want to interact with the system, and what products they want to use. It also allows developers to get more sales out of a product by adding that support if they so choose. If a user spends money on hardware, then money on a game, then finds they need to spend more money just to use them both together, it really makes them mad. What you as a developer spent to develop it has nothing to do with that consumer experience. I think Apple is doing a good thing here by keeping a similar approach.

    Considering all upgrades as equal would also be mistaking the map for the territory. Selling extra sounds/samples as an upgrade makes sense, because a user can make their own instead of purchasing, and Apple never advertised "support for 100 patches per program". But a user can't create their own midi support, and they have been led to believe that their hardware now supports that. They are looking to you to give them software that takes advantage of their hardware purchase decisions, not software that takes advantage of their pocketbook.

    But here's the main reason I think it's a bad idea. Audanika said in a post above that "if we knew it wouldn't get published, we wouldn't have spent all the time making it so cool". As a developer I understand the cost you incurred, but it was the result of your bad decisions. You could have released basic but functional core midi support for free, saved yourself much of that dev cost, and won over a lot of support and customer loyalty while maintaing a competitive product. Then hold back the "cool stuff" for a later release, and use it as a selling point. This still let's users do as you said and make a choice about how much they want or need.

    Seriously, you have to consider what a customer really wants and how much they will be willing to spend to get it, and then develop within those boundaries. The days are long gone when you can do what you want and expect customers to absorb the cost. I wish you the best in this, your program is really cool and I understand the hit that dev time will cost. But don't create a customer relation problem on top of all that!

  22. When I hear the term 'charging in a modular fashion', I think "add a sequencer. add some FX. add some etc etc etc.

    But adding MIDI as some sort of modular add-on? Is there even a way to count how big of a FAIL that is? lol.

    Then, to sit there and defend that position with WRETCHED comparisons to Photoshop or whatever… Wow. Just…wow. Smacks of desperation.

    And from what I gather from several devs, MIDI functionality is not difficult to implement at all…just takes a bit of time. This notion that it was 'oh..so..difficult' and therefore we must charge for it…lol.

    Oh my.

    Again, the Android platform awaits, lads! lol

  23. "Other developers are doing the same thing as we tried to do, only they're not doing it via InApp Purchases. Instead they're releasing new with added features apps which they charge more for. It's the same thing. Nobody complains about that. "

    Name one synth or music controller app in the iTunes store that has done this.

  24. it does kind of suck, you're right. one especially large issue, in my mind, is that with the release of GarageBand for $5 what's the new ceiling for prices? it's crazy to think that ANYONE is complaining about you wanting to get more than $1 for adding MIDI, but as much as it'd be nice to write off ppl who complain as "corporate dick suckers" a developer really can't afford to, because these are the ppl who litter the review section if you piss too many of them off.

    still, i think it's better to just swallow your pride and grin and bear the "master's" wishes. we really are all slaves to Apple and have to be happy with the scraps they give us. it's a lot better than the old days of indentured servitude, and if you just learn to get over it and do things their way it'll save a lot of anguish over something you're not going to change. that's just my opinion.

    like i said, i'll buy it happily when it comes out. thanks for making something so cool. hopefully you'll find a way to be properly compensated. i say screw the cheapskates 🙂

  25. I feel like I'm missing something here. Couldn't you just sell two versions: a regular and a "pro", with the pro including MIDI support? That would give users the ability to pay for what they will use, and still allow you to monetize your efforts.

    Am I missing something obvious here?

  26. I didn't realize Apple was denying them in either case, through InAppPurchase or as a seperate version/purchase.

    In that case, I agree w/the developer. Fuck Apple.

  27. Sebastian

    Thanks for the thoughtful response.

    I definitely want to see developing music apps be viable, and in no way want to suggest that you should be forced to give away your work for free.

    I also understand that adding MIDI support is substantial effort.

    My point is that Apple provides guidance not to treat CoreMIDI support as an in-app purchase add-on, and that this is actually good for users and developers in the long run.

    In the short run, it sucks for Audanika.

    In the long run, the iOS platform should be a more coherent one for musicians, where MIDI support is a given, just as it is on hardware synths, VSTs and AUs.

  28. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth your buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to enable MIDI support.

  29. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth your buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to enable MIDI support.

  30. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth your buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to enable MIDI support.

  31. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth your buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to enable MIDI support.

  32. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth your buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to enable MIDI support.

  33. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth your buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to enable MIDI support.

  34. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth your buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to enable MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  35. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  36. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  37. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  38. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  39. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  40. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  41. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  42. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  43. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  44. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  45. jeremysexton –

    If you reread my post, you'll note that we never suggested falsehood on Audanika's part, nor did we suggest that developers don't deserve to get paid. Regular readers know that we've written positively about Audanika and SoundPrism multiple times.

    Clearly, though, a lot of readers agree that you shouldn't have to read the fine print to know if a synth you're considering buying supports MIDI by default or if you have to pay extra to unlock MIDI support. A "MIDI tax" is bad for users and, ultimately, bad for the iOS music app platform. The platform needs more consistent support for standards, not more confusion.

    As we suggest in the article, there are lots of other things that make sense as in app purchases.

  46. Sebastian

    "I'd be glad to talk about this if there are any other questions. " – I followed up to you on Twitter. I'd be interested in sharing your thoughts on this issue and also what thoughts you have on what Apple should be doing differently. Send me a DM with your email or preferred contact method!

  47. It's probably correct that MIDI support should not be a paid upgrade.
    (IMO osc support should be baseline, but that's another issue)
    In this case, maybe Audanika just underpriced themselves if they feel the need to triple the fee to add reasonably expected features.
    Anyway.

    Another matter of principle is, do you think that Apple should be the arbiter of business practices, and in the end censor of what applications and business models are allowed, ie what music applications we get to see at all?

    You support it in this post, but I seem to remember you've written otherwise about this before…?

  48. Klik Trak

    Asking the question "Do you think that Apple should be the arbiter of business practices" is rhetoric, along with the suggestion that they censor people.

    I've agreed with some of Apple's app rejections in the past and disagreed with some. The main concern is that Apple needs to have a process that developers understand and that Apple enforces consistently.

    In general, though, having an app approval process in place protects users from malware, which has already proven to be a major problem on other platforms, and from getting ripped off with deceptive apps. For developers, the approval process is a condition for getting your product into a store where people feel very comfortable spending their money.

    As to matters of principal, companies should generally be free to decide what is sold in their stores and not have it dictated to them.

  49. Same here. They're on my blacklist now. I can't think of anything much shadier than charging for access to things that are part of the OS. Can you imagine if software companies did this for other operating systems? "Mouse support available for $5 as an in-app purchase!" "Use the *right* channel of your sound card for only $8.99!"

  50. > The main concern is that Apple needs to have a process that developers understand and
    > that Apple enforces consistently.

    Wow. While you stated that you've sometimes been for and against certain Apple approvals and disapprovals, the above statement is pretty much a generic stamp of approval for Apple's policies.

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