Eventide just announced that they’re offering a subscription plan for Eventide Ensemble. You pay a monthly fee ($29.99) and get access to the full catalog of Eventide plugins. This eliminates the large upfront expense you’d normally incur to be able to use all of these audio effects. The subscription plan is offered in partnership with Gobbler, a plugin subscription service and collaboration platform that’s quite similar to Splice.
Subscription plans aren’t new in the music and video world. We’ve had SVOD services for years, and Adobe paved the way for software-by-subscription with its Creative Cloud product, launched back in 2012. More recently, Avid announced subscription plans for Pro Tools 12 last year but otherwise this is new territory for audio software makers.
The audio plugin marketplace is crowded and expensive, especially when compared to mobile music software, which is steadily maturing year over year and adding to the competition. Subscription plans lower the barrier to entry for users and could be an effective way for computer plugin developers to compete and monetize their technology. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more plugin developers follow suit.
Personally the subscription model appeals to me. I’m not sure I’m up for spending $499 on Soundtoys 5 (Korg’s Minilogue is at the same price point and is higher on my wish list) but I’d consider paying a subscription fee to use it on a project basis. And it’d be even more interesting if you could pay one monthly fee to a service like Gobbler or Splice and get access to any of the plugins they support. In the current model with Gobbler you need a separate subscription for each plugin vendor. So if you want to use Slate Digital, Exponential Audio, and Eventide Ensemble plugins you’d need 3 separate subscriptions through Gobbler. It would be even more compelling if you had a single subscription to Gobbler and could pick and choose from their catalog of plugins across all vendors.
For Gobbler’s part, it looks like it’s just getting going and they’re already supporting some big name plugin partners.
Like Gobbler, Splice also supports subscription billing and direct purchase for plugins and they additionally offer their own subscription plan that gets you access to a sample library for $9.99 per month. Learn more about Gobbler via their knowledge base. And for more on Splice have a look at their help site.
Finally, it’s interesting to note that Steinberg introduced the VST spec way back in 1996. To put this date in perspective, Amazon sold it’s first book online in 1995. At the 20 year anniversary of VST, the concept of “Virtual Studio Technology” is continuing to evolve, propelled forward by the maturation of Internet and mobile technologies. I’m really excited to see how Gobbler and Splice develop their business models and extend the vision of the virtual studio.