Home Forums Pianobook The coming mall of trial versions?

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    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.


    Apparently some of these projects are ‘works in progress’, where the creators skills, available man-hours, and motivations are not carved in stone, and the results can change accordingly, probably for the better.

    And Pianobook is in the same boat, improving as it moves forward. There are three groups involved here, the founders, the contributors, and beneficiaries like me. I think it would be good for the founders to clearly state their own local boundaries on the types of submissions with perhaps a separate category where commercial versions can available, if in lite isolation.

    Personally, I’m interested in the stories detailing the creation and sampling of the instruments, and related links are not offensive. No popup ads have appeared during my browsing here, so I don’t see a tempest forming in my teacup anytime soon, and as noted, other websites abound. Perhaps there could also be a list of all contributor-related links, growing as part of the submission process. That would be handy, I think.

    As an aside, it would be cool to create some graphic pianobook decal templates that could be applied to mugs and shirts etc

    There are cool people here, and someday Namm and the many other trade shows will be live on the floor, so a Pianobook presence would also be cool, perhaps with a spot in a Spitfire booth. etc

    pebble bonk

    I agree with Maximillian; there’s a notable distinction between a free prototype that later becomes a full instrument and an intentionally feature-gutted demo version posted at the same time as, and with a link to, the full version of the library. Neither the Air nor the Kawai Felt pianos link to or even name the full instrument they represent in the written copy. Furthermore, Spitfire (obviously) and Jon Meyer both have a history of freely available instruments on the site, which reads very differently than an account whose first instrument is like a press release, yknow?

    Though I can see the other side of the argument too — that functionally, if you ignore the existence of the commercial counterpart, an ocarina with an intentionally limited sample pool is no different than one with limited samples because that’s all the creator happened to record. If Pianobook is meant to be just a resource for a lot of free, functional instruments (e.g. no developer-scripted timeouts or other limitations that impede playing), then maybe the more the merrier.

    The concern seems to be more in “opening the floodgates” for other commercial developers to use the site as a classifieds section. Sharing a demo instrument on Pianobook as part of a sales funnel is a bit at odds with the spirit of the site, which seems to be “people sampling interesting things they find, learning how to make instruments, and sharing them for fun.”

    Just my two cents! ✌

    David Macklem

    I am the OP on this thread – I just wanted to chime in again.

    Pebble Bonk said it best: The concern seems to be more in “opening the floodgates” for other commercial developers to use the site as a classifieds section.

    I have nothing against people making products to sell. That’s great. But there are platforms for that. It’s not like they don’t have somewhere to promote their products.

    Pianobook seemed like it was going to be an oasis from that.

    If it’s not, then what is Pianobook?

    I’m interested that Stephen wrote: “Pianobook has provided Jon with a platform to build an additional income stream from sampling. This was an intentional goal of Pianobook.”

    I don’t see that in the About page at all. The stated mission clearly is: “Pianobook is a peer-to-peer community of composers, producers and sound smiths sharing their sounds for all to use for free.”

    David Macklem

    To be clear, I’m an active consumer of commercial libraries.

    I just personally want Pianobook to not be that. Simply.

    Dallon Ghan

    Lads, pianobook is free and the instruments are free. I am ok with seeing trial versions, but I think they should be in one specific place on the site. Not intertwined with the free libraries. That would be a real bummer if they did that. They are in the business of making money via these wonderful tools, otherwise Spitfire labs would not exist. It is the new business model. Give people free stuff and they will likely buy from you because they view the company as “cool and charitable” It is just a business model. I am ok with that, however it should be separate, not intertwined!

    Stephen Tallamy

    Thanks for all the input. I have played devil’s advocate here to see if I can understand the issue a little clearer.

    I share the general concern about Pianobook becoming a site overwhelmed with submissions in such a way that it becomes impossible to find stuff that is inspiring. We are already reaching that point with over 550 instruments. We receive a lot of submissions every week to the point that we have quite a backlog to release despite the fact that we drop five instruments every week. This is a classic success problem and we are excited to have that problem!

    As Christian has mentioned in a few videos recently, we are working on rebuilding the website from the ground up to help manage the growing number of sample packs. As part of that we will look at guidelines for submissions – as it stands there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to process all the submissions and provide feedback to contributors when their instrument doesn’t work or they are missing information needed for the sample pack page on the website.

    We believe the community will be a natural filter over time, which will help ensure those who submit great sample packs bubble up to the top. There are a number of great regular contributors to the site but we also find some rising stars who knock it out of the gate first time.

    We do believe that Pianobook instruments should always be free. It is foundational to the community it has created. We do understand, however, that musicians need to find ways to diversify their income stream, particularly in the face of low income from streaming sources and continued restrictions on live music.

    Personally I am very supportive of independent sample developers trying to find an additional income stream to help them keep music as a source of income. Pianobook has the opportunity to help people make an income but I do agree that there is a balancing act between an overt advert on Pianobook vs using Pianobook as a starting point to explore whether making sounds could be a source of income.

    I will pass the feedback on to the team and appreciate the open dialogue.

    David Macklem

    Thank you Stephen for monitoring this thread and making sure we know we’re being heard.

    Whatever gets decided, it’s great to see your comments.

    Maximilian Kisbiro

    Hey Stephen,

    thanks for moderating the discussion condensing the information and/or the general voice that has been
    established in this thread and refering to “the spirit of PB”. And it is nice to read your opinion on this. I was often interested in some kind
    of “official” statement but was afraid to demand it. But I still hoped that this precendece makes big enough waves.
    (Does this proverb exist in the english language?)
    So I am also very glad, that it will be passed on.


    bo din

    It has been writ before (by marcus),
    long may it live.

    Thanks Stephen.


    The native Instruments ‘Reaktor User Library’ has thousands of submissions of ‘ensembles’ in NI-speak, instruments, 2 decades or so in action, instruments, effects, and utility tools galore, and over the many years, they implemented search, rating, and information protocols worth considering here. (Reaktor is a vst modular app-building extravaganza, and host for those apps) To see and test how the website functions,


    In addition to a general search wideget, a ‘latest’ search widget appears in the upper right, helping to narrow the search, and drops down these choices:

    most downloaded (all time)
    most downloaded (three months)
    best rated (all time)
    best rated (three months)

    Click an Ensemble’s icon, and you get this info:

    Author: goodguy
    Version: 1.4 (Updated 5 days ago)
    File Size: 5.7MB
    Created: April 18, 2021
    Made with: Reaktor 6
    Category: Instrument Synthesizer
    Wavetable Sound Generator Experimental

    Below that, the authors description panel is on the left, and a commentators panel on the right. So it’s easy to find a pool of highly rated downloads, and also the particulars that make up the (potential) quality of your ensemble download, and the opinions of those who tried it before you even had your morning coffee…

    It’s much in the spirit of the submissions here, and also has a very small subset of projects that have a commercial componant. As an aside, there is a free Reaktor player, that would be an excellent sidekick to DecentSampler, many of the ensembles are simply great, whether complex, or fundamental in nature. Steampipe 2 reMix would be my recommendation for a first-time Reaktor user) An account is required for downloads/submissions etc

    Thanks Stephen, for your input and oversight.

    bo din

    Hi guildorf,
    As it happens, I’ve just come from the Reaktor Library myself.

    Regarding the Reaktor Library, they got rid of that awful numbering system used on the zip files ! And bizarrely add ‘Version: 1.0 (Updated 3 days ago)’ when it would be better to show the precise date of that entry or update or the upload which has perhaps got lost in translation ?
    There was also some recent friction regarding a devs free ensembles suddenly turning to payware, I don’t know the details as all his pages were removed though he is back with a different free ensemble and he does mention his catalogue. But it is his work at the end of the day.

    KVR Audio Developer Contests have a very specific rule that has been in place for a while now;
    “Your entry must not be restricted in any way that could make it appear to be a demo / trial version for a subsequent “full” release. i.e. It must not be save-disabled or beep every few seconds or nag the user to donate / pay, etc. Your entry should be fully functioning and remain fully functioning forever.”
    Regardless of the final clause, some links do disappear now and again as they don’t appear to be kept in a KVR repository, thought that could have changed in the last few years.

    KVR DC21 is currently in progress.

    Anyway, the main reason for calling in was to alert you to the fact that you can opt out of having that modification message, I can’t remember how so I’ll have to do it and post an image.



    I had mixed feelings about this trial version business on pianobook, too. In fact, I emailed Christian personally to ask if he was OK with it – just in case he’d missed it (from his You Tube channel I know he’s been busy with scoring and his role as ‘Pianomaster General’ on the weekly You Tube pianodrops has also been delegated recently, as I’m sure everyone’s noticed).

    Without asking Christian for permission I feel it would be rude to post his reply in full or quote from it here. But the thrust of this brief conversation was that if Christian feels fine about trial versions and samples created by commercial sampling houses (as is the case with at least one instrument I queried the maker about in my review), I was fine with it, also. Everything else about pianobook – well pretty much everything, apart from the virtually oxygen-free environment that constitutes the present forum – is so damn good, I feel it’d be churlish of me to make a big deal about this one issue. I’m with bo din on this – I ignore anything I don’t like on the site and get on with enjoying the excellent stuff, of which there’s so much.

    To paraphrase Christian’s response (which I hope is acceptable), he believes strongly in samplists and musicians, whether professional or amateur, being able to make money from their music and instruments. So for me, that was a full stop to the matter.

    Marcus Manderson

    I have enjoyed reading this thread.

    As someone who has created thousands of demos (including demos for every Pianobook library…look for “Da Fingaz”), the “Ocarina” library was one that caused me the most…confusion.

    Mostly because I typically download all of the libraries released each week and get to work on demos. I usually don’t read the description. With the Ocarina library, it took me about 10 minutes to figure out I only had 5 keys to work with.

    I just assumed something was wrong with my system and made an interesting demo with those 5 notes. LOL. While I may have been a little disappointed at this particular library when I found out the provided library was not a full version, it was a very quick disappointment…and then I moved on to the next demo and honestly forgot about the library until I came across this thread.

    Stephen, if you and the Pianobook team are interested in putting together a user “collective” to gather feedback from our experiences (demo creators, instrument creators, etc.), feel free to add my name to that list.

    I will say this: I’m not sure how much I can share, but after having a recent communication with Pianobook support, they are continually trying to improve for all of us. The things that are in the works (such as the new website design, submission guidelines, etc), will provide us all with more (and fair) opportunities as music creators or library creators. Also, there is a possibility to generate more income from our music (productions or music libraries).

    I’m eagerly waiting and looking forward to what Pianobook has to offer in the hopefully not too distant future…

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