One pirate sunk two of my ships.
I know the reasons people have for downloading pirated data. That’s why I have free products that are fully functional. It’s fun to give things away. People who download pirated data need to realize what the possible impact is for businesses though, and they usually don’t know the background of piracy either, so I’m going to provide some insight.
On thursday September 15 2016, someone using the name Ali Deom, a fake address in the first Arondissement in France, an IP linked to Rue Bronzac in Cachan, used a stolen creditcard number to buy the Sea Trumpets and the 80s EP “Classic” Pro. On saturday September 17 2016 “FANTASTiC” posted the 80s EP “Classic” Pro on Audioz.download. “Ali Deom” was the the first person who bought the Classic Pro in my webshop, so I sent him an email explaining Tangent Edge Instruments is still in a startup phase and that I need sales to fund the development of new products. I asked him to remove the Classic Pro. He did not reply and “FANTASTiC” chose to upload the Sea Trumpets as well, they appeared on tuesday September 20 2016. The Classic Pro had already spread to a multitude of other pirate sites and appeared on Torrent sites. I spent around six hours emailing DMCA infringement notices, trying to prevent the Sea Trumpets from reaching the Torrent network. I did not succeed, but I learned a lot.
What drives piracy that makes it go so fast? Pirates make money!
Hosts like Rapidgator pay uploaders. Pirates cut products in pieces and upload them to 2 to 4 sites to make sure you download data THEY uploaded. Pirate downloaders put the product back together, cut them in other pieces and upload them again. Pirate sites wait for 2 days after they receive a DMCA infringement notice before they remove upload links or have a broken “contact” page. Sites that host the files are a bit faster, but by the time they remove files, 5 other pirates upload their own versions. One pirate even uploaded the Classic Pro to Ebay, saying he had 5 copies for sale for 1 British Pound each. Ebay would do nothing about it. Usenet replied that I needed to provide message IDs of links that I could only get if I bought a subscription.
All this means that manual pirate hunting is a full time job. I’m looking into automated services right now. It also means that you provide income for pirates when you download their uploads, while not supporting people who made them for you.
What has it done for me? Free publicity, lots of people enjoying my work and lots of praises!
A Russian downloader on a Torrent site said the Classic Pro was the best DX7 EP he had ever used. Other Russians were confused because the product description was translated by Google Translate and they didn’t understand about the 4 tones I sampled (FM Pro and the Warm Pro are still to be released). Were they in there or not? They also wondered if I sampled a DX1, DX7, DX7II or TX802. I joined the discussion using Google Translate, good times. FANTASTiC received many thanks from downloaders on Audioz and when I joined that discussion, downloaders made up excuses for downloading a pirated version and told me how great my work is and that they wish me good luck with my business. They looked forward to new products. Wishes cannot fund future projects.
What has it done for my sales? They dropped with 80%.
The first sale of the Sea Trumpets was on September 10. I had 6 sales that week. The week they appeared on pirate sites and torrent sites, I had 3 sales. 2 of those were made by friends who read my post on FB about how Usenet responded to my DMCA notice. (One joked: I don’t have a subsciption to Usenet, so I decided to buy them instead). The week after, I had 1 sale. Two weeks after, I had 1 sale. Three weeks after, I had 3 sales. Four weeks after, no sales. I have an average of a hundred downloads of my free products per week right now so it’s not like people don’t know about my products. And don’t forget about the hundreds of people who preferred to break the law instead of spending $30.
There was someone who emailed me to tell me he had to wait for his next paycheck before he could buy the Sea Trumpets. He asked me if he could still get it for the introduction price then. What a difference.
What are the costs of a Virtual Instrument Startup and what are the sales of an instrument like the Sea Trumpets?
The costs I made for virtual instruments specifically:
Chicken Systems Translator $88
Sony Sound Forge 10 $65
Website host $60 per year
FB advertisements $45
Most of my free time from April to
now spent on samples, scripting, a
website and marketing $priceless
Costs: $620 + time invested
Profits: – $214 – time invested
50% of the profits for Reinier Sijpkens: $0
Loss: $214 + time invested
Costs still to be made for the Sea Trumpets:
Cheapest promotion on VI-Control $80 per month
FB & Google ads $150 per month
Sforzando license for a GUI $500 per year
Generating budget for future products
6 sales per week would generate $360 of profit per month from the Sea Trumpets for my business. Sales after piracy amount to $72 per month. Piracy aims at making everything available for anyone, which is great, but by succeeding, it obstructs the development of new products. The profit that would be made if you buy something is partly used for future products, partly for keeping the company running and partly for food on the table. I have a whole list of instruments that I want to sample in the near future that have not been deep sampled before. These libraries require paid technicians, performers, instrument modification and studio and instrument rental. It’s not only about me, it’s about you too.
This is why you should pay.
Do you want to support the development of new instruments without buying anything? Here’s a donate button!