The Thread About Less-Than-Free Content

I’ve just seen the poll, interesting that 45% of the members here want us to devote hours, time, tools, energy, effort, knowledge, skills, time spent learning, etc… and develop for free!

This is exactly it - this ‘looter’ mentality where everyone expects things to be done for them for nothing in return is exactly why I am never going to do anything for free again!

I honestly don’t care if anyone calls me a capitalist pig, evil, whatever - I have bills to pay and coding is how I earn my living. I resent the notion that anyone could ever expect me to sacrifice myself for their benefit.

Maybe not everyone who answered feels this way, but I have enough experience elsewhere to tell me that this is an increasingly common attitude and I won’t support it any more.


Now Kel I feel obliged to point out that my poll does not ask “do you expect content to be free?”. just “would you pay for it?”. not consuming is an option!


Fair enough, and understood - hence my disclaimer at the end of my last post.

well, please @Flux302 believe me, the question i asked you that started all this had nothing polemic or aggressive!!! and also i was never “offended” by your way of distributing your custom unit!

@ @odevices: i, like @anon83620728 am a bit surprised by the response that came out of one very simple question!!! i really don’t understand where i (or other forum members)supposedly strongarmed other forum members!! i was just asking.
this feels a bit odd. :frowning:

Yeah, odd. But anyway… we’re working it out like adults by discussing the issues honestly and openly and saying how we feel about things, so perhaps lets just focus on that?

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Hm, on one hand I can follow your maths here and surly don’t like to devalue your work or your specialist knowledge (I for myself charge 80,- for an hour of direct work w/ clients, which then does not include preparing, journey, tools or office time…) though I am afraid a M/S unit on the 301 would not be worth 25,- to me. I also would not buy a bottle of beer at 10,- just because the brewer needed a corresponding amount of time to brew it nor would I pay someone like me for transcribing interviews per hour. If you ask me, I am not sure if this is really a market that allows prices that are reasonable for the creator and the customer.

Oh deer, I see a very well-worded exchange of views in this thread, no one is attacking you in any sense and there is no need to psyche out. :koala:

Be sure that I don’t want anything for free from you, certainly not a sacrifice of your self, Jesus! Don’t know if that makes me a looter. I just don’t want to buy plug-ins for the ER-301. I wish it was possible to delete my “no”-vote from the poll again!

Anyway, If it comes to monetisation, I would prefer if it would not take place here on the forum. I would be afraid that it will divide the community and devalue or distort the work Brian and others are doing on the firmware updates and basic units. It might lead to interferences when he or anyone thinks about integrating a type of unit that someone else is trying to sell. Especially when it is about very basic functions like mid/side, that might be part of the standard firmware anyway some day.

I don’t see any issue with programming anything by request though. Though to be honest coming out of a sharing community and then switch to selling mode in that very same community has a sour taste to me, even if it does not directly affect me.


while i totally get what you are saying i think there is another side of it: you probably had fun coding the mid\side bespoke unit :slight_smile: you learnt something while you were doing it and you shared it with joy to the other forum members because you thought they (us) will enjoy it, because it will maybe help deepen the understanding of this beautiful environment and push others to investigate further and push things forward!
for this reason i think it’s fair to charge for a product but it’s also fair to share it for the fun of it, because you know there are some other ways of getting something back.

i very much like the “donation” economy type. eg.: for my music i use a mixed strategy, i find labels willing to release my stuff, i self release it for free, i self release it for a price (letting people pay more if they want) that can sometimes start at 0 euros.
i donate very often both to musicians for their “name your price” albums and to coders for their software. i think this might be improved to become an alternative micro-economy far from the marketing black magic and the late capitalist scheme that’s destroying our planet.

that said i obviously don’t judge other people’s choices in how they manage their business or their art or craft.


I think there’s certainly room, as with many other musical instrument platforms, for both paid and free content. Free content is great, but paid content enables larger efforts. Especially if/when the DSP layer for the ER-301 is opened up to third parties, I can imagine cases where very significant development, testing, maintenance and support efforts go into what is essentially a product. I’d certainly be happy to buy a Valhalla reverb or a Noise Engineering oscillator for the ER-301 for instance :slight_smile: while still being very appreciative of free / open-source offerings.

I think this settles the issue of dependent content that was raised a couple of weeks ago. If I bought one of @anon83620728’s middle-layer units and built a custom unit with it, obviously I couldn’t/wouldn’t distribute his work along with mine.

(On the other hand, if I wrote a DSP-layer thingy and distributed it under a CC-BY-SA or LGPL license, nobody could legitimately distribute a middle-layer or custom unit that depended on it except under the same license.)

I appreciate it, and I hope the music was enjoyable in its own right :wink:

I decided a few weeks before releasing that one, to switch from Bandcamp’s suggested minimum to pay-what-you-want – I don’t want to focus on any sort of popularity metric including dollars when I’m making music, even though I do put hundreds of hours of work into each album.

I don’t know what approach I would take if I were to put significant time into developing ER-301 content. I think if I did something along the lines of the wacky, unpolished, experimental VST plugins I used to write – probably my most likely route – they’d be free, open source and largely unsupported.


Please see the disclaimer on the same post that you quoted.

I don’t feel attacked, I am not psyche-ing out :thinking:

Re. looter mentality - I am feeling stupid for doing so much over the years for nothing and being taken advantage of - not saying anyone here has done that, everything I have done here I have done of my own free will, but it has happened elsewhere and I need to stop it for my own sense of self worth if nothing else. Hence my posts above where I said that my decisions are not based on this topic alone, although the break being made from open sharing community to third party private enterprise, in however small a way, has influenced it somehow, and that this is a general emerging philosophy. This is not a criticism in anyway, I will state again for fear my words will be taken in the wrong way - I have no problem with third party activity whatever form that takes - I am considering it myself - this is just a statement of what has happened to me.

I think it is also important to remember what Brian said about anything being acceptable here. We need to be careful not to criticise and make people feel uncomfortable with their choices. I know this can be difficult over text and it’s possible to take things the wrong way, so benefit of the doubt is also important. I think everyone here is a reasonable person, lets treat each other as such.


Call me blasé but I’m not very worried about this community being somehow changed by the advent of paid content. Consider:

  • The market for content is tiny
  • The pool of creators who would choose to charge for content is even tinier
  • With the exception of samples, middle layer content, and (eventual) lower layer content, all content can be recreated independently using the native interface
  • The option for releasing paid content has always existed and has never been exploited
  • There is no option for DRM
  • Breaking changes to firmware are still likely

These are significant indicators that the ER-301 is an unappealing choice for commercial content (for now). The likeliest “vendors” will be from within the community and their products will be labors of love rather than shovelware.

Every transaction has the possibility of creating bad blood, but the possibility of a “kickstarter gone bad” type scenario is essentially zero.


Indeed! That’s kind of how it has been, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it any more if the climate is changing to include paid options here, whatever form the payment takes. The economics of giving your email address away are exponential, you generally get one thing for free and then pay for it over and over again with the time companies take up with their marketing emails. Please, please take this as a general criticism of how companies operate not as a comment on anyone here.

What about the idea that if I charged for units that I should kind of expect a bit of both cash payment and the other ways of giving back?

It would be good to have some others in the conversation who also create and want to continue to give away the fruits of their labour for free. I am speaking form a very personal point of view - this is all just stuff I am processing, I haven’t made any decisions yet other than I don’t want to do anything substantial for free any more.

@desolationjones you’re making a great case for simply not doing anything :slight_smile:


I think anyone should be clear for themselves about their motives for developing content, and that’s sort of where the discussion ends for me. Brian leaves it open for anyone to act as they seem fit and it’s the most natural take on the whole issue. If at some point someone decides that their work is not just a hobby anymore, not just about the pleasure of working with the ER-301 and pushing the collective development forward, then go ahead and charge whatever you seem fit for your work. In their turn, “consumers” can decide if they feel it’s worth it. Personally I wouldn’t mind paying some dollars for a bespoke unit that I really would love to try, as a way to say thanks to the person who invested time developing, but it does create a different community. A discussion driven by profit, even if it’s small, tends to be a little less attractive does it? So yes, that’s a trade-off, but it doesn’t need to change the entire community.

I’m sad I wasn’t one of the “lucky ones” for that mid-side unit though, I even paid you a GitHub star @anon83620728 :smile:


well, sorry i have to disappoint you in a way @anon83620728. :slightly_smiling_face: but me curating your pan mix over to the wiki list in particular (and also the work i’ve invested in it so far)
was the least i could do to give something back to this community in general and to you in particular!
i’m good with anybody deciding to charge what they want but i could not dream in my wettest dreams
for doing the same. i’m excited about the ever arising challenges, about meeting incredibly nice people here. and i still have the impression that most of the time and most of us are still having good fun here (i.e. not at the expense of other people) and so much more. as for the looting mentality i’d also agree that the world in general is getting sick of it, though i found this place one of the few exceptions where i just never got that impression.
@anon83620728: as for the wiki entries of pan mix and the mid side unit. i think i got most of what you’ve said to them but i still have questions. personally i’d like to see your name attached to them/it in order to honour at least your initiative? (not to mention your work) i also don’t like to keep those broken link in the list. we could discuss both units over in their respective threads. we could discuss it in pm. or we drag those two as sort of case studies into this conversation? does that make sense? anyhow, i like to solve the broken links rather sooner than later.

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It seems that I missed something here - I had a short look over the forum but did not find an indication for that shift to private enterprises and paid options?

No problem, anything stays acceptable as far as Brian sets the general guide lines on his hard-/software platform. I just would not like it to happen, especially not here on the forum. I would rather like it to stay a place of free exchange of ideas.

Also I don’t see an issue with critique, as long as it is not worded in a derogative or invective way (looter, pig,…). I am sorry if people feel uncomfortable with their choices, but I would not overstate myself so much, thinking that this is because I am not concurring with them. I am sure indeed that everyone here can be held as so reasonable.

While I am writing I wonder what all this is really about? Could it be fear of change within our virtual homes in general? A feeling of fragility following the current sad circumstances?

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Heh, fair enough, I think @Bparticle has it spot on in his well presented post.

Okay, point taken, I am processing everything we are discussing in this thread and trying to make my own mind up… so I will talk to you about this another time, not today, it’s late here and I am tired.

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Someone posted a unit that required ‘purchasing’ through a shopping cart system that required personal information to be input even though the actual download was free. The notion of the unit not exactly being free if it was paid for with personal information was raised. That’s all, there is no drama, they didn’t do anything wrong per se, it just raises questions and made me in particular, because I was censored, re-evaluate my position here. That’s why we are having this discussion.

That @Flux302 side-chain-sampler thing, where he regretted having forgotten about that email registration, respectively not having thought about it because of his pragmatic attitude to those things and then posted the unit here on the forum? Come on - that indeed seems to be quite a tiny climate change / breach of the open sharing community. :thinking:

Anyway I resonate the most with @Bparticle and in reference to the possible trade-offs, he pointed out, I would prefer to have the shopping mall more on the outskirts…



That and the way it panned out has had that effect, yes, it’s irrelevant how small it was and it’s actually not a problem at all, it is pointless trying to belittle the observation and desire to discuss the wider implications or my personal re-evaluation.

I see it as a jumping off point for discussion, not a problem or any kind of faux pas. It is what it is, it started this discussion, the discussion is clearly worthwhile having, lets stick to it. I am not interested in discussing the rights or wrongs of what happened. Please?

I guess the modular synth internet is just broken at the moment - not just here. I go to bed and dream of electric sheep…
:robot: :sleeping: :unicorn:


I don’t think the synth internet is broken at all, I think this is good healthy discussion of very real issues that as has been pointed out were inevitably going to come up at some point, I don’t see the problem, not one little tiny bit.