Slate Wants You To Stop Buying Plugins, Because “They’re Too Damn Expensive”

Slate Digital wants you to stop buying plugins, because ‘they’re too damn expensive.’ 

They want you to give up on upgrading that plugin that you just bought, because the developer added a cool features, but is charging $150 for the update.

They want you to quit using hacked warez plugins, because you’re a pro and you can’t trust your studio to hax0rz.

But most of all – they want you to try a new subscription option for using their plugins.

Check out the video intro for the new Slate Digital Mix/Master bundle, and let us know what you think! But be warned, this guy could probably sell ice to Eskimos.

Details on the new bundles are available at the Slate Digital site.

via aymat

77 thoughts on “Slate Wants You To Stop Buying Plugins, Because “They’re Too Damn Expensive”

  1. It’s bad enough I will never ” OWN ” the plugins I purchase a license to use, so I’ll NEVER go subscription based.

      1. Oh I agree, but my problem is “Space ” I barely have enough space for just my computer and a 61 key USB controller.

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing!
      I do not know if he works for the company but he can sure grab your attention.
      But I still managed to use all my powers within me and did press “stop” two thirds down the video (thanks to my early morning coffee). I think I deserve a tap on the back for that!

      1. I went to the site, but could not find much info like FAQ.
        I can’t help but think that all is good as long
        as you maintain your subscription, but if you fall on
        hard times and cannot renew your subscription,
        does that mean that the plugins you use in your
        projects stop working and will not work until you
        pay your subscription ? I would assume so.

        Another reason I’ll stick to purchasing
        the license to use plugins…at least then
        I can still make music whilst eating cup-o-soup

  2. It seems like an OK idea in theory (netflix for everything, right?), but Slate’s plugins are not that expensive to begin with so the value proposition is not that great.

  3. My solution, don’t get plugins. Overpriced bits and bytes. Buy hardware. But hey, that is just me. It really cramps my style and I love using real hardware. Maybe it’s because I am a web developer and already spend 8+ hours a day on the computer. Who knows…

    1. A 200 $ software compressor sounds extremely better than a 200 $ hardware one. And you can use it on more than 2 channels.

    2. I dunno, I have the same day job and really don’t have a problem mixing with plugins. Cost-effective. My hardware can be used on one channel, my plugins can be used all over.

  4. Plenty of excellent quality free plugins out there?

    Only reason I could imagine buying would be two or three key crucial bits, mostly mastering related or something (and that’d be worth it)

    1. Problem with the free plugins is that 90% of them suck and the other 10% are made by hackers to corrupt your PC.

      1. “the other 10% are made by hackers to corrupt your PC.”

        I’ve literally never encountered this in the wild, or recommended on audio sites.

  5. “but wait… if you call now, we’ll throw in an additional Snuggie for free. that’s right. for free.”

    1. No, this business model was perfected by the telcos over many profitable decades. The modern notion of software as a service can’t hold a candle to their wicked history of forcing consumers to rent handsets, charging extra for touch tone service and nasty service bundles (bundle voicemail with 2 other calling features for only $19.99, that’s right -just pennies a day!)

      1. maybe but nothing can beat out the ELUA and the ultimate bend over
        it technically says you do NOT own the software in most cases

  6. Sometimes software rental is awesome, but usually it’s a bum deal for the users. These software rental plans generally only make sense if you use the whole collection all the time. But it’s really punishing for anyone who just wants one or two products. Even if the prices are really low, by the time you subscribe to a lot of services/products it really adds up. Looking at what’s happening in other industries for reference, imagine if you paid $10 a month for each of your 5 favorite plug ins, $30 a month for a big collection like Native Instruments, and another $30 a month for your DAW. That’s $110 a month, or $1320 a year. Consider buying all of those same items on deep sales, and not upgrading them constantly, and it’s a total rip off.

    A rental only pricing policy will inevitably alienate all buy your most active users, thereby leaving you with too thin of an income base to remain active and competitive for long. The only exception is if you are the 800 pound gorilla in the room, like Adobe, but their pricing has still fueled countless new $30-$50 applications that replace photoshop and other tools in the suit for a huge amount of users.

    1. I was with you, but then I thought about what I could get for $1320, and remembered how Live 9 Suite would take up more than half of that budget. The obvious benefit of subscription services are getting the refresh, so it all depends on the track record of the publisher, if they are putting new stuff out every year, it could be worth it.

  7. i think for people who like plugins the subscription route could be good. especially when computers update and some stuff dosent work . im sure they update all there stuff for you for free . so that is a benefit. but i don’t fuck with plugins. too many things make me crazy. im cool with hardware and ableton/m4L

  8. There is no need to upgrade all the time thats just hype i ve been working with the same system and plugs for years now and i can still come with new fresh sounds, other alternative is independent plug in developers upcoming they are making cheaper and intresting stuff and those ideas needs support, i would never get a suscription because you dont own a thing even my old plugs are mine and i decide wheter or not buy the new ones which is just GUI improvements most of the time with same enginee, as in tron movie whats new with this version of the soft? We put a 10 in the box!! Lol

  9. “A rental only pricing policy will inevitably alienate all buy your most active users”

    This isn’t a rental-only pricing policy – it’s just another option.

  10. I think one of the reasons why buying a full, permanent license is most appealing is that I know that I can use that software forever, even if I have to boot from an older system.

    The only way I’d ever entertain a subscription based software license is if the price is if the price was spreading the original price out over 60 months. That’s right. If the software is $1000, charge me $15/month for 5 years, and after that I own it permanently in the last version (or I can pay for updates thereafter).

    1. It looks like they’re giving a $99 voucher for each year you rent from them. Plus, if you own some of their existing plugins, you get the first 1 to 6 months free (for the first year).

  11. It’s an illusion that if you buy a pluggin you will own it an use it forever. Someday you will have to change computer and your pluggin may not work with the newest operating system. There are many things that can go wrong and you will be pushed to buy an update, which it’s like a suscription.

    1. Of course, forever is a very long time. But a person could continue to use a single version of software for as long as they can find compatible hardware to run it. Some software will continue to run on newer hardware for 5-6 years, and it is not impossible to have a computer that is 20 years old to run an older OS, DAW, and plugins.

      It is not always practical, but for me, just the knowledge that I COULD keep using software–even under pretty extreme circumstances– is a way to justify the higher up-front cost.

      1. “and it is not impossible to have a computer that is 20 years old to run an older OS, DAW, and plugins.”

        It’s definitely not impossible, just very improbable.

        Don’t get me wrong: I 110% get where you’re coming from. I’ve long been the same way. Like 20 years long been and in all of that time I’ve never actually kept the old gear working long enough for me to go back to it. Still have floppies with DR. Ts and Voyetra songs on them. No idea why, really. I guess it’s the same notion as your COULD.

        If digital longevity matters to you, you’re bouncing to audio stems and printing the effects (perhaps on their own stems) anyway. I don’t do that either, just know I orta. 🙂

  12. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

    $24 a month sounds decent for a monthly plan for all you can eat plugins.

    1. It sounds ok with one vendor. But do the math right now. Count EVERY piece of software you use. All of it. Email. Web browser. DAW. OS. Each plug in company. Each little fiddley tool, etc. now pay $24 a month for each of those, and you see how absurd this system really is. And make no mistake, this is what “software as a service” means to the end user, and it’s what every company wants to try for obvious economic reasons.

    1. Yes because we currently have so many awesome plugins thanks to the entire lack of support software companies received throughout the 90s and 00s.

      Such software should be priced almost exactly where it is.

    2. Oh great! Presumably this means you offer your hard work for free too, what do you do? Whatever it is I will happily let you work for me for nothing all day long for as many days as you like!

      I’m guessing you’re 12 years old and have no real idea of how the world works, so I’ll forgive your indiscretion, but seriously, get a grip on reality and stop being so horrible to other people that make beautiful things that you like – that’s totally disrespectful!

      OK, now I’ve got that distasteful rubbish out of the way, here’s what I think about this…

      Software as a service is fine, but it gets better the finer the granules are, so if I can have an account and pay based on time actually used in pennies, i.e. like Amazon Web Services, then AWESOME!!!

      Thats’s fantastic because it makes otherwise expensive software available for use in a minimal sense. I can just fire up a plugin for a few minutes or an hour or two and then never bother with it again, pay my 50p or whatever and be done. If I end up firing it up a lot and the costs start adding up, I can them make a decision to buy! This works well for everyone and is a total no brainer. Conversely, a monthly subscription for the whole lot is a bad business model for everyone and should be avoided and not supported.

  13. While “you get what you pay for” sometimes has a ring of truth when it comes to hardware, it never ceases to amaze me how many people believe it also applies to software. If spending £400 on a couple of channel strip plugins makes you feel more “inspired”, have at it though.

  14. In fairness, Slate plug-ins are amazing and one of the few ones worth a huge price tag. This is a brilliant deal for people who might spend 10 months of the year writing music, and 2 months recording it. 30 dollars to use the best plug ins available on your work? I don’t see how anyone could complain.

    1. I agree. It’s the smaller lesser-known companies such as TAL, Klanghelm, Valhalla, etc. where the best bang-for-buck lies.

  15. Sorry, I’m not a professional yet. And, yes! I’ll still downloading ALL pro plugins for free at Warez. Let the professional pay for that

  16. 3 words: VARIETY OF SOUND
    It’s that simple.
    Oh, and for PC only and 32 bit, so use a j-bridge type of thing if you need something like that.

  17. Not such a different plan from Adobe’s (and soon everyone else’s) cloud computing plan. Why sell a blanket license with a copy of the software when you can lease the software on a monthly basis and have the customer paying forever? Like filling your house with “rent to own” furniture and appliances at 400% interest. What’s not to love? Oh, and by the way, I think that guy is a plugin. I’m pretty sure most of the people in the most effective ads are simulations created in DAZ studio or something like that. Why settle for second best faulty humans when you can manufacture perfect attraction and charisma?
    You load sixteen tons, what do you get
    Another day older and deeper in debt
    Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
    I owe my soul to the company store

  18. I have experience in the subscription vs. ‘own it’ field that might be of interest to Slate. As a graphic artist, many decades ago I earned my publisher hundreds of thousands of dollars by taking a subscription service–clip art–and turning it into book form. Buy a book, you get what you see and it’s cheap. Instant success. In the process, I learned this about subscription services: people will buy it to try it, but they won’t come back a second time. Not unless Slate constantly releases great new plug-ins and fantastic updates. If they are perceived as being a little slow, it’s over. Just an observation.

  19. this just leaves me with nothing at the end of the year… please explain how this is a good deal in ANY way shape or form

  20. I can only recommend all of the Toneboosters pluggins. They are really affordable, sound great and are easy to use. I have Ozone 6 and stopped using it since i got some of the Toneboosters pluggins cause i get the same quality result in less steps and frankly i don`t hear that much of a difference from the super duper Ozone thingy. I must be getting old and priorities change i guess or my hearing is getting worse.. I find spending hundreds or thousands of bucks on pluggins is mainly driven by insecurity over ones own work thinking “polish here, clean this up, make it louder, brighter, more bass…and so on and so on. Even in mastering like in all things in life there is a point where enough is enough and you could spend your money going to see something like a strip club or something (and while you are there decide if your track is good enough) or travel or get someone you love to dinner. All this perfection madness and “more and better” pluggins and music….. After all (and not from a romantic view): Did music (as in a whole) really get that better with the new production methods and hi tech gear? Or could it be that it mainly became a bit dull and kind of something like ” photoshoped music” ? I am still meditating on this i must. Sure enough yet i am not

  21. why would you need more than a delay, reverb, eq and compressor ?
    these are already free in most DAWs
    add a Digitech Studio Quad,fx unit (`$250) and your good .

  22. I think the ad is really well done and a clever way to make the company stand out. For me, I get to use the studio for proper recording only really on holidays lately, so this idea works well. It is a good point that if you want to come back to the mix later and the plugin expired, you’re screwed. Also, a 1 month subscription where you could pause it from day to day, could last me a lifetime, which is why I’m sure they’re not offering that.

    I dunno, lots of pros and cons… In the end I’d always want to OWN.

  23. Imageline has the same cool free updating for lifetime and I use it since version 3 ( im now on 12) … The mean question is how long they will produce plugins…

  24. do plugins like these sound “better”… always just used the included plugins in logic and now ableton.

  25. I wonder what’s so different about music software that people get riled up about a company adding a subscription plan as an optional alternative? People subscribe to all sorts of stuff, never own the thing and they do it happily. Netflix, Spotify, Evernote, Dropbox, Cable… Well, no one is happy about cable (see netflix). And again at work with stuff like Github, Basecamp, Salesforce…

    Is it because people see them as services instead of ‘products’? If this were somehow marketed as a plugin service, would it be easier to swallow?

    I don’t really use plugins much but from my perspective this seems like a pretty great option for those that want it. It’s not infringing on those that want to buy a perpetual license, it offers a company like slate a more reliable revenue stream (instead of fits and bursts all year) and makes (apparently) high quality plugins available for weekend recording projects for 20 bucks.

    1. This is actually a really bad idea. Subscription for music instruments or effects are bad idea and just another to capitalize on musicians and sound engineers because in the end you’re paying way more than what you would normally pay to them. Some us prefer just to pay and own what we want and use. I don’t pay for subscription (except my cellphone). No Netflix, Dropbox, Adobe, Spotify and so on… It’s like furniture rent to own except that you will never own them and pay at least three to four times their real value. It’s a bad idea and I will never sub to any software to produce and mix music, even thought I’m a huge software user with a quite large paid software collection. Enough said then…

  26. Stick with the smaller developers. There are some amazing plugs out there that sell for a reasonable price. Some were mentioned above. This subscription thing is asinine.

    Oh. And I agree. Slate plugins are too expensive.

  27. Well I clicked on the slate link and saw twp options. Option one was expensive. Option two was expensive. So I went and bought some more apps for my iPad.

  28. aaaand i’m never ever going to go slate either. so no more adobe, slate, pro tools, what else? dont care. not a customer to subscription products.

  29. Yes this works for netflix because its only £8 not £30 a month and i get hundres of shows not just 10 or 12. This model may work for the pros but for the enthusiast just provide a longer grace/support period at a slightly higher cost and i’ll happily pay. Just dont cut me off from my work because i cant afford silly monthly payments.

  30. People are really hang-up on the idea that they have to “own” something for it to be worthy of their money – you need to change the way you think about this stuff. This is a great idea – and mostly because they’re particularly good plugins, and there’s a wide range. You’re not even subscribing to the plugins, really… you’re subscribing to the brand. As he says in the video, any subsequent releases (that’s all brand new Slate plugins, folks) become part of your subscription automatically. There’s not much not to love about this… except maybe the iLok 😛

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