Home Forums Pianobook The coming mall of trial versions?

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    David Macklem

    This community has been really great. The new Ocarina “trial version” feels like an ill wind. I very much hope Pianobook doesn’t become a mall of trial versions. If I’ve misunderstood something, forgive me. But that seems off.

    Pianobook is a peer-to-peer community of composers, producers and sound smiths sharing their sounds for all to use for free.


    As long as there are no tricks or gimmicks, a free trial version likely won’t start a trend, since trial-versions are a longstanding way to let people know if a full presumably paid version will meet their expectations. If it did become common practice and caused problems, it’s easy enough to add a separate category. Most of my music software purchases are made after trying demos or light versions.

    David Macklem

    Thank you guildorf for that reasonable response.

    I still feel like Pianobook as a place for sharing works between creators changes, fundamentally, when it becomes a place for commercials. And I have no say in what happens, and I accept that, but let me be one voice vote for creating a different section/platform for commercials.

    Let the Pianobook main section be free of marketing. Just one person’s opinion.


    I think your voice carries more weight than you think, and there aren’t very many voices.
    It feels strange not to hear from those who brought this all about. The more we know what their purpose and plans are, the easier it will be for us to get excited about the future,
    or temper our expectations.

    Paul Davis, a respected developer, dropped by apparently to challenge the usage license agreement as being too restrictive for some un-named collective of open-source proponants. I suggested that there was some enjoyable exclusivity here, with benefits from the way new sound releases are presented, and that nice circumstance tends to support your position. There are indeed many venues from which sounds may be made available. A bit like the old Olympics, which had clear lines drawn separating amateurs from the professionals, without regard to the skills on display.

    Another factor for the decisionmakers to consider, is the commotion often caused when something great is being gifted. If someone started dropping nickles and dimes somewhere, people would think they were just a bit crazy. If they were dropping $50 dollar bills, the reaction would be much different.


    Absolutely. I had the exact same thought when I saw the description. I don’t want Pianobook to turn into some corporate advertisement for other libraries, a place for companies to post trial versions of their products. Pianobook has always been a place for composers and engineers to create their own experimental instruments, and share them with a like-minded community of creative musicians. I desperately hope this is an isolated event, or that Pianobook creates a separate website for that sort of thing. I don’t want to lose that sense of community and shared experimentation that professional companies – with the notable exception of Spitfire Audio – tend to lack.


    I also wasn’t particularly keen on seeing a trial version appear in the latest piano drop. It doesn’t seem in keeping with the spirit of Pianobook in my opinion.


    I agree. This is not the place for trial versions. We have KVR for that.

    Maximilian Kisbiro

    I am also on Davids side.

    I also do/did not like that and was strongly tempted to write the first review stating this, but I was afraid that my word
    could be taken for the whole community. So I was actually glad about Chesters first review on this product and his criticism.
    And I am glad that this topic exists. So I am not the only one thinking this way.
    My one voice of many does not like this at all.

    Stephen Tallamy

    This is an interesting debate and I would like to understand a little more from the community about the issue.

    Here are a few things to consider:

    Jon Meyer submitted the fantastic Kawai Felt Piano to Pianobook some time ago. He has recently released a commercial version of that library as the Meyer Felt. The original Kawai Felt Piano is basically a “lite” free version of the commercial Meyer Felt. Pianobook has provided Jon with a platform to build an additional income stream from sampling. This was an intentional goal of Pianobook.

    Christian Henson submitted the Air Piano to Pianobook. This was an MVP sampling of the piano that became the Spitfire Originals Cinematic Piano. Again, you can see that the Air Piano is a “lite” free version of the commercial Cinematic Piano.

    There are also a number of instruments on Pianobook that include only a handful of samples (a few have only one!).

    And so it would be interesting to understand what causes this instrument to be objectionable. Is it the word “trial”/”demo” that causes the issue? Is it only having five notes?

    Maximilian Kisbiro

    Interesting point.

    I would say both instances are fully functional und free of any kind of charge provided entries.
    And the have both not been promoted as trial or demo. At the time tehse two have been contributed
    I for my part did not know, that there will be paid versions of them. I do not want to speak in Jons
    name in any way, but it is possible that even Jon did not know there will be a paid versions of his
    piano the time he submitted it.
    for me the problem could be condensed to the aspect of “intention”.

    The Ocarina has been brought to us as a trial. The Kawai Felt and the MVP/AIR not. And within the instrument
    is no boundary of a trail-version experienceable. At least for me. But I really like the way Jon handles his
    “old” projects as prototypes. So I see his paid products as enhanced prototypes and not the prototypes as
    cut down versions to imply the need for a paid upgrade.

    Stephen Tallamy

    So coming back to this instrument – is it the word trial that is the issue? The instrument does work and doesn’t have any requirement for you to pay for it to keep working. Had the contributor said “lite” would that have been better?

    Maximilian Kisbiro

    For me the wording isnĀ“t the issue. It is the intention and the shape of what is behind this wording.

    Yes, on the paper the instrument works and there is no need to buy the full product. correct.

    But due to the very limited fetureset the usecase accordingly is extremly limted aswell.
    Hence imho it is telling me to buy the product to actually be able to use it.
    And this is against (what I personally think) what PB is about.
    This is my personal opinion and I am in no way speaking for anyone else or in the name of PB.

    With the Kawai Felt and the MVP/AIR there has not been and still is not any intention and
    suggestion behind the contribution to (make me) buy the consecutive product.

    Stephen Tallamy

    So if we are talking about limited as in the number of notes, you can easily go under the hood in Kontakt and stretch the bottom note lower and the top note higher and you’ll get a full keyboard worth of usable sounds, sampled with multiple layers, high quality recording and a nice UI.

    Also, please bear in mind that I believe the original contributor is not a native English speaker and so may well have had the best of intentions and used the wrong sort of language. We could go back to them and suggest some change to the wording of the page and maybe to adjust the Kontakt instrument so it already stretches across the keyboard range.

    Maximilian Kisbiro

    As I said before: my problem is the intention behind this.
    Yes, it is possible, to alter the zones in Kontakt and also the wording of the PB-page and
    I would in no way demand this from the contributor,
    but I think this would not change the intention in the end.
    I in no way want to bash on the contributor or on the instrument as it should/could be.
    The samples/instrument/GUI are (at least) decent. I do not see any reason to argue about this.

    The questino is, if the community wants to open this whole project to be a market. This instrument
    atm is and possibly will be the precende for the discussion how and/or if at all this community
    wants this and/or will tolerate this. I am only one voice of many and I, for myself,
    do not want this to happen.

    All of us are musicians, composers, samplists, sound designers and developers. And I think
    I am not the only one, who came to PB to access ressources (discussions, knowledge, samples, some feeling of cohesion…)
    without paying for them with money, but giving these exact same things back.

    As always: I am only speaking for my opinion and the way I pick things up.
    I really enjoy this journey together and I fear that PB becoming some kind
    of market could alter this project in a negative way.


    Oh, of course, I fully agree that the instrument itself is not a problem. My problem is not with having a “lite” version of an instrument, but rather with having an instrument as an ADVERTISEMENT. This is essentially a “check out my website!” plug, and that feels very… not PB. To me, this is a place where people create and share, not advertise commercial products.

    If later, someone wants to MAKE a commercial product from a PB library, that’s awesome! SA Labs Arctic Swells is a perfect example of this, as well as the Labs Pipe Organ, the Cinematic Soft Piano, etc. I have no problem with that. My problem is with stripping down a library, and posting it on PB as an advertisement for the full version.

    I could see it leading to lots of companies doing plugs and “lite” instruments, and turning PB into an advertisement for others websites.

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