Bleep Labs’ BleepDrum In LittleBits BitLab Vote

LittleBits Electronics recently debuted their bitLab where users, prototypers, and designers can submit their idea for what the company should manufacture next.

LittleBits eCommerce Manager Phil DeGisi explains, “If the module gets enough votes from our community, we review it, and in many cases will manufacture it. If we manufacture it, the module designer gets 10% of the revenue. We like to say that it’s the app store for hardware.”

One bitLab submission that may be of particular interest to Synthtopia readers is The Bleep Drum by Austin, Texas-based Bleep Labs.

LittleBits_BleepLabs_bleepdrumBilled as “the perfect companion to the littleBits Synth Kit,” The Bleep Drum is a very small Arduino-based drum machine that can be triggered from any changing signal from any littleBits module.  Bleep Labs has shrunk their original design down to a single littleBits module that allows the user to “add some crunch” to the smooth sounds of the littleBits Synth Kit.

Bleep Labs describes the Bleep Drum:

“The Bleep Drum is a lo-fi Arduino-based drum machine. The littleBits module version can be triggered from any changing signal, like the output from an oscillator, sequencer, or even a simple button. These crunchy samples go great with the smooth sounds of the synth modules!

“The Bleep Drum module has two modes. In “analog” mode, the drum sample and its pitch are determined by an incoming analog level like that of the sequencer module. In “digital” mode the pitch and sample are selected by the Bleep Drum’s knob. The sample is activate every time a pulse is received from any module, from a button, light sensor, oscillator, or anything in between.”

Right now, through Friday, the Bleep Drum is up for vote in the littleBits bitLab. The folks at Bleep Labs say that “you don’t have to commit to buy the module if it wins and goes into production by LittleBits, but if you do like it/ vote on it, you will receive a 20% off discount code when/if it comes out.”

LittleBits_NewSynthBitsDeGisi from BitLabs also wanted Synthtopia readers to know that the company is “still planning to release the MIDI, CV and I/O modules for the Synth Kit in the coming months. Any folks interested [in the Synth Kit modules] can sign up for our waitlist to reserve theirs.”

12 thoughts on “Bleep Labs’ BleepDrum In LittleBits BitLab Vote

  1. They are 80% to their goal of 1000 votes. Please vote – there’s no commitment & you don’t need to provide any info. If you want the module, though, you can register and then you’ll get 20% off when it’s released!

  2. Voted, but I don’t like the littleBits model. You do all the hard work, they give you a mere 10% of “revenue.” This is a company with $100 million in venture cap funding, and it seems their Big Idea is to crowd source their product engineering. Get other people to make clever stuff, and then appropriate it as “open source” modules connected with proprietary patented connectors.

    Aww, hell. I’m off to visit the bleep site to see if the bleep drum is in stock. That way, the creator gets 100% of revenue.

    1. In this model LittleBits are the one manufacturing the product and not Bleep Labs. Bleep Labs only gave them the plans to build it, they did not manufacture the module themselves unlike the Bleep Drum which has been entirely built and manufactured by Bleep Labs.

      1. Sure, but let’s look at the economics. The module will probably retail for around $24, in line with littleBits other offerings. The wholesale price is probably 50-60% of retail, so $12 to $14.40. Assuming that “10% of revenue” = “10% of wholesale,” that means Bleep Labs will receive $1.20 to $1.44 per unit.

        The Bleep Drum kit sells direct from Bleep Labs for $75. Let’s estimate that they make $50 per unit sold. That means that they’d need 40 littleBits module sales to equal the net revenue from a single Bleep Drum. So to earn the same revenue as selling 250 kits directly, littleBits would have to sell 10,000 bleep drum modules.

        The math just doesn’t work in favor of the designers.

        1. Frodo –

          If the numbers you pulled out of your rear are correct, you’d be right.

          The fact that Dr. Bleep is interested in doing this, though, tells a very different story.

          And your arguments suggest that you think that Dr. Bleep doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s been around a few years, and can be expected to know what he’s doing.

          Why do you think you know better than he does? Have you created any products or distributed them on the Internet?

          1. Yes, I have a more than a decade of experience with offshore consumer electronics manufacturing and online marketing.

            Dr. Bleep’s situation is unique. His product is one of a handful of exceptional products that are being used to launch the bitLab. It will be one of the first to go into production and will sell extremely well. That said, it will have to sell in the tens of thousands to earn a reasonable amount of money for Bleep Labs. So far, it doesn’t even have 1000 *votes*, let alone 1000 sales.

            1. How can you assume that Bleeplabs can make clost to 70% profit on sales? It sounds like you’re completely ignoring overhead, development costs, his time, etc.

              Apple is considered to have crazy high profit margins, and their profits are about 20%.

              The reality for most indie hardware developers is that they make enough money for their companies to be glorified hobbies. Most of the modular gear vendors that I’ve met run their companies as second jobs.

              For these guys, getting a 10% royalty on sales is going to be an interesting option to try out. It’s the same as Google & Apple’s App Stores. Most developers aren’t going to get rich on it, but getting global distribution, with zero overhead, is VERY compelling.

        2. I think its a much too high estimate at $50 profit for every $75 sold if you consider the price of the parts (there must be at least 10$ of parts in a Bleep Drum), shipping (including other countries), and the time spend to assemble and prepare the package, and not counting the time he spend making the designs.

          In comparison with Little Bits he just sold them the rights to sell items based on his design for 10% of the profits. I think its really not bad considering he doesn’t need to buy parts or assemble them or ship anything himself.

        3. I think its a much too high estimate at $50 profit for every $75 sold if you consider the price of the parts (there must be at least 10$ of parts in a Bleep Drum), shipping (including other countries), and the time spend to assemble and prepare the package, and not counting the time he spend making the designs.

          In comparison with Little Bits he just sold them the rights to sell items based on his design for 10% of the profits. I think its really not bad considering he doesn’t need to buy parts or assemble them or ship anything himself..

    2. The upside for the person with the idea is 10% profit with no investment, no overhead, no risk & broad distribution.

      Think about it – there’s a good chance Dr Bleep will make more money through the bitLab channel than selling direct. Otherwise, why would he experiment with this option?

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