Licence cost ?



  • https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=472411&start=45
    As per that thread, is it correct that HISE is going to cost £500 per app on top of the cost of JUCE ?
    Just need to know this before i start fully learning how to use HISE, because that is just not going to happen on my side, i can create Kontakt instruments for free and they sell well enough.
    £500 unlimited i could understand, per app is just ridiculous and HISE will not get much interest at all.



  • I can see the problem people are having with the licensing system, if you make a small library and sell it for just a few dollars you'll probably never make back the license fee for that library and making a large library requires a much bigger investment of time and money and you will be less inclined to test a larger project on a new platform like HISE.

    So the issue is if you are making money from HISE then you should pay for a license - I think everyone would agree with that.

    Here is my suggestion, charge the users a small fee for the HISE player, user's will want this if it has advantages over the individual plugins (things like the shared sample pool we discussed in another thread).

    Charge the developers a yearly or monthly license that allows them to develop and release libraries for that month, this could easily be accomplished with a PayPal subscription, if they don't renew the license they may continue to sell their previous products but not any new ones until the license is renewed. Of course this system is open to abuse, as will any system unless you can enforce it, but I think most developers will do the right, honest, and legal thing and pay their subscription.

    Other things you could do which may help smaller developers: The license fee could be tiered based on the number of libraries the developer expects to release for that month/year or the license fee could be based on estimated turnover or number of sales, or the RRP of the libraries the developer intends to release.

    Basically I think a flat fee is going to put people off and isn't realistic for small projects, but a balanced licensing system is definitely needed that suits developers, users, and Christoph.


  • administrators

    Yes, I most definitely want to adapt this licence model draft for smaller developers. Although I am not sure about the subscription model, I don't like this kind of dependency towards a company (like Adobe with their Cloud system).

    Also people really seem to forget the HISE Player (which is pretty easy because it doesn't exist yet :). It will be a commercial plugin with a low retail price that allows you to sell HISE libraries without any licence fees (but the end user will have to buy the plugin for a pretty low price, something like 20$). This is ridiculously less than a full KONTAKT price, which is needed by the end user to play your "free" KONTAKT libraries.

    Most people complaining about the high licence costs are small developers who just want to sell their plugin with a tight margin and that's OK.

    But honestly, I really don't understand why people are reacting so aggressively. I chose the open source way because I think it is great to give people without commercial intentions the best tools available and let companies that create revenue carry the financial recompensation (a scheme that is widely adopted in other parts of software development).

    And let me be clear: I certainly didn't spend three years of developing this engine just to mess it up because of a licensing scheme that is too restrictive so I am positive we will find a way that everybody will be happy.



  • Yes as a normal user I don't like the subscription model either but I think as a business user it's more viable. I'm sure you'll come up with a good licensing scheme. When more developers are working with hise it's potential will be more apparent to the sceptics and the license fee won't be an issue, especially compared with NI's player library fee!



  • People are being aggressive because we have all seen projects like this come and go over the years, and be ruined in one way or another (Not suggesting that will happen here by the way)
    But keeping in mind that you could get somebody who wanted to make IOS instruments for example, they would be lucky to ever recover 500 euros on a single app, never mind 1200+ euros.
    While you may think that the issue is just people moaning about cost, it goes way deeper than that, if these extra small time developers get locked out because of cost, you lose a huge chunk of user base, the smaller the user base, the smaller the shared knowledge, the bigger chance of the developer losing interest, so on and so on and so on, like i say, we have all seen this before a ton of times.
    SO expect any small or mid level developers to ignore HISE entirely and just stick to what they know (Kontakt) which does not cost them extra on top of the scripting.
    And saying that an end user can just buy a player for $20 for use with developers libraries, and that is cheaper than Kontakt, that is again a false economy, most of the people who would be interested in those libraries would already own Kontakt, so creating for Kontakt is a $20 extra per sale for a developer.

    You can see this as me being aggressive or moaning or whatever, I just want to see the project be successful and useful to myself personally, which at 500 euros per app it never ever will be, while i have faith in the product i wish to create, i do not wish to have to charge a hell of a lot extra to cover prohibitive costs, especially when HISE does not and will not offer features that are common place in Kontakt and such.


  • administrators

    The HISE Player will not be $20 extra per sale for a developer. You buy it once and use it for all HISE Player libraries that are around (which will hopefully be a few).

    The iOS licence is already lower (100$ - 200$).



  • No worries, the pricing is way too high for me to be honest, the cost of this and JUCE is just crazy compared to just creating Kontakt libraries (Free)
    I wish you all the best though.



  • What about a one time fee, like Kontakt, and then a new fee for each major update?



  • Personally i see it as an add on to JUCE, so follow the licence scheme, flat fee £500 for indies £1000 for companies (Multi seat) if i remember correctly.
    Charge again for V2, just make sure it has valid wanted features, same for v3 and so on.

    I understand completely that Chris needs to get paid, and that is of course only fair, however, the margin between getting paid and this disappearing and being just a hobby project is very slim, maybe Chris has not been on the scene and seen all of these kinds of developments appear and then just fade away because the sales that were expected never happened and the developer lost interest.
    Having a huge fanatical user base that contributes tutorials/scripts/code/UIs and so on, will make HISE a valuable commodity, however, if you charge the ground roots user out of this (Which is what is proposed) you can forget those contributions, because
    1 it will be mainly companies and why would they share (They never do)
    2 Even if it was some indie developer, they have paid a lot for one app, why should they share their knowledge.
    And lets be clear here, there is zero community right now around HISE, pretty much just you and the developer, that really is not good, considering how much of an impact it could have had.

    At the prices suggested it is in to mid level territory, you are asking companies who are actually full time to rely on your backend, Kontakt is proven time and time again, so that is the platform these companies are going to go for, there is little to no doubt about that, I work with quite a few, and can tell, you, they have zero interest in moving away from Kontakt right now, their skillset is in Kontakt, their sales are in Kontakt. they trust Kontakt and for something else to even register on their radar, it needs to have been around for a long time and be offering something special.



  • OK so as a developer I'm not against a per-product license fee, though I like Dave's subscription model too, but any fee would need to be reasonable, and I'm sure if that's where he goes then Christoph will be reasonable.
    Developers need to remember that even a $500 ISNT comparable to the "free" approach in Kontakt, its more like the E1000 to join, E1000 to start encoding and variable amounts depending on license numbers that NI charge for Kontakt Player libraries. With HISE (developing Stand-alone, VST and AAS products) you get access to a MUCH bigger market than you would with full Kontakt, the same size market you would get with the Kontakt Player. (which is why that is the valid comparison)



  • It is far from a valid comparison, Kontakt offers huge market potential, why do you think there are so many library suppliers for Kontakt, 99% of which never licence anything from NI.



  • ...yes I AM one of those suppliers, and the reason we all DONT use Kontakt Player is because its more than 2K euro for every library to do so, I promise you it would be a VERY different thing if Kontkat Player was affordable.

    If you are making a lot of revenue from "Full Kontakt" libraries, then good on you, but I've been releasing "Full Kontakt" libraries with Loopmasters, Zero-G and others for over 10 years, and the "Full Kontakt" market is now very crowded, and the market penetration of Kontkat hasn't gone up comparably. This means "so many" is a BAD thing not a good thing. So all in all nearly everyone making sample libraries starts out in "Kontakt Full" mode, and many dont get past that - because frankly sales are so average. Number of developers does not = number of successful developers.

    So the comparison I was trying to make was between:

    A. a HISE-based library, that ships as a VST or AAS plug-in or stand-alone and doesnt require any other product beyond a DAW at worst

    and

    B: a Kontakt-based library that requires Full Kontakt (a Euro 500 outlay at least).

    So the market for A is in the millions, the market for B is (at best) in the tens of thousands.



  • I've been thinking I would like to release my own HISE based sample library for free (as in price) with the source code licensed as GPL. However I want the samples to be released under a different free license that permits personal use only or under a commercial license for people wishing to use the library to create music professionally - not for reusing the samples in other virtual instruments.

    If I understand correctly to release a HISE library as GPL, without a commercial HISE and JUCE license, means the source code and samples have to be released as GPL. This got me thinking, and I believe it was also suggested on the KVR thread.

    HISE has a sample map loading feature so one could release a HISE product as GPL without any samples and then sell the users the samples as an independent product. If this is correct then that is good for my scenario but presents a loop-hole in charging a commercial license for HISE. Since anyone who is willing to release their code as GPL could still sell their samples separately without needing to pay a HISE or JUCE license. Although I suppose the main attraction of a commercial license is that you can release your product as closed source.

    Also are the other libraries such as the VST SDK, ASIO SDK, and IPP GPL?



  • Lindon, so are you saying HISE should be extremely high priced so that the standalone VST market does not saturate like the Kontakt library market has ?
    There are a few problems i have with any of your reasoning.
    1 If the Kontakt library market is saturated, there is a reason, because they sell, people do not do things just for fun to saturate a market.
    2 Keeping HISE licence cost high while maybe satisfying your need to have an unsaturated standalone market, also stops the HISE developer getting a ton of licencees, which is a cruel circle that will come back to bit those who wanted a high cost entry, either the licence cost will get so high it competes with NI, or the developer cant afford to keep developing, this is false economy.
    3 Are you really suggesting that the Kontakt library market is more saturated than the VSTi market in general, because if you are, then you are severely mistaken.

    Chris has to strike a balance, and to be fair, other than his (Sorry but this is fact) silly idea of a survey, he seems to be willing to strike this centre balance and has my interest again, yes it needs to be fairly costly to keep him developing and eating, but he seems to want to get the independent developers moving too (I am not talking players here but standalones)

    Why are surveys utter and complete rubbish, here is an example of simple survey controlling questions to achieve the outcome you want

    Which would you prefer, a one off licence for a single version of HISE in the region of $12000 or a per app licence of $200 ?
    There is only one answer to that for individuals or companies, surveys are total rubbish (Try an NI survey for great examples)


  • administrators

    HISE has a sample map loading feature so one could release a HISE product as GPL without any samples and then sell the users the samples as an independent product. If this is correct then that is good for my scenario but presents a loop-hole in charging a commercial license for HISE

    Well, technically you can't release a non-working version of a GPL licensed software and withhold the samples until someone throws a stuffed bag with a dollar sign in your direction. It is the same as if you release a game that uses a GPL licensed engine, but don't distribute the textures (or whatever) with the binary and charge for this extra.

    The other SDKs are not GPL licenced, but there is a ongoing discussion about this and I think the common sense is that as long as you get the other tools for free (which is also the case for IPP), people are not that picky when it comes to GPL and audio plugins (but things are getting messy for more closed platforms like iOS or AAX which require registration and a yearly developer fee). If this would be 100% legally binding, there would be no GPL VST plugins, and we all know that there are some and people don't seem to care.

    But please, let's put an end to this GPL discussion. I'll think about a solution that is less restrictive for people who want to release their sample libraries for free.

    Why are surveys utter and complete rubbish,

    To be fair, I still don't think that surveys are rubbish. Just because the NI surveys might be useless (I don't know them, but I think we all know the typical marketing BS), it doesn't mean that its not a valuable source of information, especially in this case. The current discussion about the licensing is dominated by a few people who seem to have very clear ideas of how things should be, but I am sure that there is a silent majority which is not willing to participate in this heated atmosphere, but might be tempted to share their opinion with a few clicks.

    The only thing that I have to take into account is that the outcome will be biased - more small developers will take the time to fill out this stuff, I hardly can imagine the big guys will waste their time with this survey...

    But I agree that the questions should be chosen carefully - that's why I'll post them here and we can discuss them before I put up the survey. They are not ordered by any logic or yet complete, but let me know if you miss a question or find something stupid. Obviously I'll publish the results in the spirit of sharing 🙂

    1. Would you prefer your own plugin over an existing platform like KONTAKT (or the HISE Player) or is this of no relevance to you as long as the target audience is as big as possible?
    1. Should the HISE Player be
      a) free with a licence fee for developers (dependant on the sale price)
      b) free for developers with a retail price for the end user?
      c) free for everybody but with a (non-exclusive) content distribution system like the app store
    1. Are you interested in offering iOS music apps?
    1. Do you prefer a unlimited licence over a per plugin licence (even if the unlimited licence is 3-4 times more expensive)?
    1. Are you interested in a subscription model?
    1. Would you pay some extra bucks for a basic licence key copy protection to keep off casual piracy?
    1. Are you interested in "paid premium support" (contract work for specific parts of your project)?


  • Those questions seem nice and clear, in the actual survey it might be nice if there was a little explanation of the difference between the standalone plugin and the HISE player before the questions so that those filling it in are clear about it.

    I have a lot of small Kontakt developers and hobbyists developers on my mailing list so I can send out the survey to them too once it's up.

    Question 2a is related to questions 4 and 5 but could cause a conflict without more information. If the license is dependent on sale price how would that affect an unlimited license or a subscription model, does a low sale price mean a low unlimited license or is the unlimited license a fixed fee - if it's a fixed fee then question 2a is no longer relevant. Or does question 4 and 5 only refer to standalone plugins and not to the HISE player?


  • administrators

    I think that whatever licence model I choose in the end, it will come down to an upgrade path from per plugins to a unlimited licence (and the subscription would also mean unlimited licence), so I don't see them as conflicting (but correct me if I am missing something here):

    You can start with either paying the subscription fee and release as much products as you want, or pay the licence fees of individual plugins until you have spend the same amount as a unlimited licence, and from then on, you'll have a unlimited licence. You can also buy the unlimited licence from the start, but since there is no extra cost to go the per project way, this might be something for people who have rich uncles...


  • administrators

    But yeah, thanks for the offer of distributing the survey, I'll definitely come back to it!



  • That sounds good, I think your definitely closing in now on a workable solution.



  • Those questions are very clear, there is still no info on add on sample packs however.
    Will compiled plugins have the ability to use add on sample packs
    If it is per plugin fee, does that mean that each add on pack will also need a licence fee
    The entire add on pack situation is very unclear.
    Other than that i would suggest that some idea of pricing would be useful too, i know that you can't be too specific on the custom work part, but a ballpark of rates would be good, otherwise i can't answer yes or no to that question


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