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Topic: The State of the Sample Library Market

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  1. #1
    andyt
    Guest

    The State of the Sample Library Market

    I think the sample market is becoming saturated, especially orchestral.

    - Recently, announcements by certain big name developers haven't been met with the rapture they would have 24 or even 12 months ago. (except EWQL Pro upgrades which has created a lot of excitement.)

    - I feel most existing musicians have built the foundations of the libraries, either with VSL, EWQL (or GPO for those on a budget).

    - There hasn't exactly been a plethora of new GS3 library announcements, and those that have been been, are for piano libararies. (a bit worrying).




    So where next ?
    I asked the same question about a year and half ago. Gary Garritan replied mysterioulsy that perhaps the best was yet to come ... and a few months later GPO was announceed, which surely did launch a new spurt in market growth.

    So where will the next growth come from ?

    - library enhancements ? VSL continue to produce a steady stream of Horizon products, which are generally low cost and provide useful new revenue.
    EWQL are producing the Pro updates ... but I can't see them doing anything like Horizon products ... because the recording venue and personnel involved have to be hired each time and would be expensive and logistally complex (unlike Vienna).
    - migration from 16 bit to 24 bit libraries ... don't think so.
    - cross platfrom migration, i.e people giving up on certain platforms and re-investing in the popular platforms.
    - special focused libraries ? ... sure, but won't grow the market much.
    - new instruments ? ... surely they have all been done to death by now.

    My bets would be on ..
    - new genres .... Big Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band ... perhaps.
    - Disintegration (?!) of libraries ... i.e. VSL and EWQL to start selling instruments from their main libraries individually.
    - market expansion ... ie attracting new musicians to the world of sampling. Gary has been exceptionally smart in this area, striking the deals he has done with Berkley etc. and done the whole market a big favour by introducing the concepts of midi orchestraion to a whole new generation of would-be customers.

    Any thoughts ?

  2. #2

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    Quote Originally Posted by andyt

    - There hasn't exactly been a plethora of new GS3 library announcements, and those that have been been, are for piano libararies. (a bit worrying).
    Another announcement I can think of and look forward to is the 'nylon guitar' by 'Lastufka Libraries'. IMO, this is not been done to death before (I'm not a big fan of the naily sound of Horizon and Pure Guitars is getting old). Like some people are still waiting for THEIR ultimate piano sound to come out, I too am still waiting for a cracker ace 'nylon'.

    I think there's a group of people out there who aren't entirely convinced with the existing major orchestral libraries. Those people will always buy each library that brings improvement.

    ------------
    Alex Cremers

  3. #3
    andyt
    Guest

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexcremers
    I think there's a group of people out there who aren't entirely convinced with the existing major orchestral libraries. Those people will always buy each library that brings improvement.

    ------------
    Alex Cremers
    Yes, but I think they are a small, small minority ... and possibly not big enough to make a new orchestral library viable.

    Yeah the nylon guitar hasn't been "done to death". That supports the view that people will still spend on small specialist focused libraries, that bring exceptional new standards. Pianos are like this too.

  4. #4

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    Garritan apparently has a Big Band module in development.

    I think maybe the problem is twofold. On the one hand, existing libraries are just so damn good now. That period when EWQLSO and VSL came out was a real watershed in orchestral sampling realism. Like with anything, the closer you get to perfection, the more work it takes to keep making progress, and the progress gets slower and less noticeable to the untrained observer. Think of learning a musical instrument!

    At the same time, GG put the cat among the pigeons by releasing GPO at such a low price. This has made it even harder for sample developers to contemplate putting the work into coming up with something even better than what we have, because they can't any more bank on charging huge prices for it.

    I believe the real progress that needs to be made now is not in sampling but in interfaces and workflow. More of the kind of stuff Gary's doing in making the samples playable and expressive to use in real time.

    This suggests a crossover with the emerging world of physical modelling, too, to get the kind of real time morphing that is foreign to the nature of samples. If somebody could use all this for a pop/big band module - think malleable trumpet lip trills and guitar slides - they'd be onto a killer.

  5. #5

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    Quote Originally Posted by andyt
    I think the sample market is becoming saturated, especially orchestral.

    - Recently, announcements by certain big name developers haven't been met with the rapture they would have 24 or even 12 months ago. (except EWQL Pro upgrades which has created a lot of excitement.)

    - I feel most existing musicians have built the foundations of the libraries, either with VSL, EWQL (or GPO for those on a budget).

    - There hasn't exactly been a plethora of new GS3 library announcements, and those that have been been, are for piano libararies. (a bit worrying).

    So where next ?

    Any thoughts ?
    Well first off, don't leave out Kirk Hunter and the new SBW we have in development. We have an exciting and viable library that fills a major hole in the GS platform and at an excellent price. Our opening orders are very good and we look forward to having long term growth with this product line.

    You raise some good questions, so I want to give a few insider comments to them.

    1. THERE ARE TWO BUYING GROUPS FOR SAMPLE LIBRARIES - there are the professionals who buy everything, and the amateur/semi-pro on a budget who does music as an avocation and therefore, must be financially conscious. The easy sales are always with the pros because they buy everything. But the real sales work begins at the amateur/semi-pro level to demonstrate why they should invest several hundred to a thousand dollars or more in a library. Amateurs/Semi-pros are parents (most often) where $249 - $500 is an awful lot of money to spend on a hobby or a passion. People don't think twice about dropping that amount on a new set of golf clubs or season tickets, etc.., But when it's spent on music, especially music software, there's still that stigma that maybe the money could be better spent elsewhere. I think that's one of the reasons that BOSS and KORG digital all-in-one studios are so popular. According to various music sources, there are roughly 25 million guitarists in the US alone. The average person, with some discipline, can save enough to buy a BR-1180. But to save and buy a computer system built to the specs that make the software run as advertised is a lot more! And to dedicate it to music alone is a serious investment that costs bucks.

    2. MOST MUSICIANS NEED TO BE PERSUADED TO MOVE TO THE COMPUTER.
    According to census stats, 30% of all adults 15+ are amateur musicians. Out of 250 million in the US alone in that age group, that's a market potential of 75 million, yet the install base world wide for sequencing programs is under 3 million, even less when you consider the number of current make & model sequencing programs (less than 250,000 worldwide).

    When you try to factor in the installed base of virtual sampler owners, you hit a wall, because the manufacturers won't report the numbers. So investing in a major library is a really heady thing because unlike other consumer products, you only have anecdotal sales information to go by. Everything else is a guess.

    3. WHY FEW LIBRARIES FOR GIGA 3
    Until a few years ago, the standard library for importation was Akai, followed by Roland. Now that hardware samplers are gathering dust, a new standard has emerged: GS 2.54. Right now, most of the major virtual samplers do an excellent job of importing GS libraries, depending on how advanced the GS programming was done on a specific library.

    In developing Kirk's SBW library, we made the decision to develop it first in 2.54 so that on release SBW would function on both Mac and PC platforms. The second reason for this, is that the majority of GS 2.54 owners operate on PIIIs with RAM levels varying from 512K up to 1MB RAM on the later ASUS boards. We don't know how many installs there are of 2.54, but we do know it's a lot. So we have to capture those segments.

    Now that we're sending the Concert Strings to duplication in the next couple of days, we've started looking at GS3. And frankly, I'm very excited about GS3 and we've already planned to do a special GS3 update in the new year. What tipped it for me was GigaPulse. Because of how Kirk handled the ambience of the hall in his programming, we can take full advantage of the GigaPulse technology and its ability to let the GS3 user create his own custom orchestral sound. The iMIDI rules are also very appealing because it can take advantage of the number of keyswitches Kirk built into the library, especially with all the downbow/upbow articulations there are for both staccato and legato.

    4. MANUFACTURERS NEED TO LEARN HOW TO SELL BEYOND THEIR PEERS
    With 75 million amateur musicians in the US alone and less than 250,000 worldwide using the current software, there's a lot of room for growth! The folks at Apple/Logic, Pinnacle/Steinberg and Roland/Cakewalk are all great guys, but they haven't really gotten the message to the street, and more importantly, education has yet to be cracked. Most music school graduates electronic experience is with e-mail and either Finale or Sibelius. I think that's why GPO is so successful. It's the entry point. And Gary has done a fabulous job breaking down the doors. If he ever went for an IPO, I'd be first in line to buy stock!

    To see the kind of growth that's possible, manufacturers have to learn how to create and work long term with strategic alliances. The other thing manufacturers have to do is to look seriously at the age demographics for MIDI - male 25-54 and getting older. Actually, the heavy buyer is male 35-64, and as more post-war Baby Boomers hit retirement age, they're going to be faced with an important decision (especially as the age for receiving SSI payments moves up): MIDI or medicine, and with many, MIDI or medical insurance.

    Guitar, Bass and Drums are 12-24. For MIDI, the audience has to be older because they're the only ones who have the disposable income one or more powerful computers, a small mixing board, MIDI interface, audio card, and the requisite software. And don't discount the instruction and learning curves required for either OSX or Win XP, then the cliff-like learning curve for learning to sequence, record, mix and burn CD master. And oh yes, did anyone mention the music?
    Peter L. Alexander
    www.professionalorchestration.com
    www.alexanderpublishing.com
    Learn it right the first time.

  6. #6

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    I think many developers should ask themself "why Advanced orchestra sells so much also today?".

    As Peter said there are two main buyers: the pros and the semi-pros/beginners.
    I guess too many libraries go in the direction of pros, increasing file sizes and creating libraries that goes on two DAWs just to listen a brass fanfare, with setups of 30 articulation tracks per instrument.
    Some of them are pratically unusable for non-engineers.

    I guess there's a marketing problem with samples those days.
    Its a problem that starts from developers themself and what they focused as the "marketing core".

    I often read questions as "well, there are more than 5 layers?", "is it chromatically sampled?" or "is 24bit?" as they were guarantee of good music. They're not!. I guess many dummies ask those kind of things just because they "read" about those things, but I'm sure that most beginners who bought a huge 24bit/200Gb .gig library cant use it. I couldnt.

    those days just listened to some great comps done with waaay old libraries, they just rock because of the orchestration and good musical ideas.

    To me the real new market is done by beginners, semi/pro and pros who have sketching needs. Thats why Gpo and Ewql Silver/Gold sell like cakes.

    So maybe we need for more "all in one" packages, easy to use, fast for composing. Many steps ahead can be done for those kind of products.
    After all, the music is yet what counts.

    Luca

  7. #7

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    That's an interesting thought Luca, a sample library based more at say sibelius users, or finale, but preconfigured for use with that sample library. Maybe even a package deal with a sequencer like that, allowing users to get ideas down quicker.
    Certainly there have been many valid points made, and I do think we will see more orchestral libraries yet but I can almost see these coming more self contained rather than needing external programs to happen.
    I understand that from a development point of view this would be expensive, but it would be an interesting marketing case to see the projected level of sales, particularly to schools and universities, versus the cost of development.

    I know I have a few friends who would love to get more into this sort of thing, but stick to their hardware samplers, because learning a PC or Mac, with all of its intricacies is not something they want to do. They do not want to learn cubase, or cakewalk, and then kontakt or giga, and how to use a vsti, or rewire, or rtas etc. Just load the computer and off you go. I suspect that many of these users are an untapped resource from that perspective, because regardless of how little we say we know about computers, generally most people on this forum have learnt more than they would have liked, and had to spend much more time than they would have liked learning their computer, and troubleshooting, than having the time to further musical ability, either by recording, or, just practising an instrument.
    Anyway, I'll end my rant now and follow my own advice.... *runs off to play guitar*

    Cheers,
    Steve

  8. #8

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    Quote Originally Posted by peter269
    2. MOST MUSICIANS NEED TO BE PERSUADED TO MOVE TO THE COMPUTER.
    According to census stats, 30% of all adults 15+ are amateur musicians. Out of 250 million in the US alone in that age group, that's a market potential of 75 million, yet the install base world wide for sequencing programs is under 3 million, even less when you consider the number of current make & model sequencing programs (less than 250,000 worldwide).
    Hello Peter

    There's a simple explanation for the above: computers are are just plain difficult to use. It took me a year to get up to usable speed on windows and another three to get to the "second nature" state I'm in now... and I still have daily problems, just like everyone else on this board! But now I don't worry about it so much.

    The sheer anxiety of using a computer in the early stages sickens the stomach. It's one thing to use a PC for emails and internet surfing, but struggling with GS or a beast like Cubase is another matter. I can understand why most musicians might say "phq this" and reach for their acoustic guitars and pianos.

    Yes, the technology is a revolutionary tool for musical expression, but its very complexity is barring many regular musicians who quite rightly believe that creating music should be spontaneuous and organic. So talk to Gates and Jobs about improving basic systems and interfaces. It's the only way you'll get more musicians to subscribe. It's gonna be a long, long haul.

    Luck
    Heath

  9. #9

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    Interesting topic (and nice to see us mentioned above ) however, I think the market is going to be great, next year looks very promising.

    I don't think we've run out of instruments, although, one aspect I'd like to look at and focus on in my libraries are the different ways in which the instruments can be played. Sure there are a lot of string libraries, most of them pretty good, but I hear over and over again from composers that not a single released to date has the bite (attack) they are occasionally looking for. I have compositions where my sequenced violinsare competing against distorted guitars, huge drums and a raspy singer - I agree - it would be great to have a little more bite on the strings sometimes...

    That's just one example of maybe we've touched upon every instrument, but definetly not all the playing techniques of different instruments. Were's my malleted or bow'ed piano, who will be the first to attempt a multi-sampled e'bowed guitar, electric violin -skratch- electric string quartet ...etc.

    I still hear many say they have to compose to the library, well - maybe that's because they have enough of the right instruments, but not enough of the right playing techniques.

    Some here already have had a glimpse at what I'm working on and know this will be changing soon -

    Some recent anouncments that have gotten me excited about sample libs as a user...

    VSL Horizon in Kontakt. I am a Kontakt user and the lack of support has kept me from them in the past...

    SAM's True Strike. After using their Solo Sessions as my first Project SAM lib, I am in love - I don't own any dedicated Orchestal Percussion libs... yet.

    ...and the last one, well, the last one gets announced Nov. 1st so, I guess you guys will read about it then.
    Alan Lastufka | www.BelaDMedia.com
    Producer/Artistic Design | Content Producer

    20 Things

  10. #10

    Re: The State of the Sample Library Market

    i'm one of the hobbyst musician for which spend even 250 $ on samples library is an enormous amount of money, since i don't make money from music

    i think developers should adress to this kind of target, which is constantly growing. just imagine how many young guitarists, pianist keyboardist and so on have a pc at home and, after buing a soundcard (now for 200-300 $ you have very good quality and low latence) and for a sequencer (an economic magix for 50 buck!), could produce music.
    aiming at these targets would mean to drastically lower the price and/or offer boundles, reduced version of instruments, etc... in a price range of 50-200$

    for 250$ i bought an entire orchestra (GPO). it was a great investement for me, but i don' think i will spend the same money for having just an instrument (ex. a drum, a bass, or 1.000.000 loops). i'd be more happy to spend 50$ every month and get something new, having a wider palette of sounds to choose from.

    i imagine, for example, to buy a "reduced" version of:
    somthing like athmosphere for the pads,
    somthing like stormdrum for the loops
    somthing like a part of one of the three articulation of trilogy for the bass
    etc...

    as an hobbyst i realised i don't need a single 20GB huge librarie full of snare hits, but 20 smaller libraries of 1GB each with different kind of instruments...

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