Continuing the discussion via necromancy from Cubase no longer film composer mainstay:
I’m curious how people think about this now, since the first post was some time ago.
I think the thrust of this post was not so much about the people one person might know in the industry or perhaps in the style of music you may be focused on, which is cool - it’s such a massive market (or markets) with incredible diversity that it’s hard for anyone, including me, to have a clear perspective on it; but it was about film composers in particular.
I’m not discounting your experience at all. You saw what you saw. But many people at a certain level (which means people taking a project to be mixed somewhere) tend to export files rather than use their daw at a session, so you might not see Cubase or Logic or DP make an appearance in a studio; and also what constitutes a big studio and what they have available varies so broadly from city to city, country to country, and it’s changing with the times - many of the big ones here in the states are still viable but lots of work spills into mix engineers’ spare rooms . (I would love to see a thorough and accurate worldwide census of what studios are using these days.) In my experience which is in Los Angeles, Nashville, a bit in New York City and Austin (not definitive by any means, just those places), project studios have all kinds of things, and mix rooms have PT. I’m sure some also have other things, but I’ve not seen them used, because I always bring PT sessions or audio files that end up in PT. Just goes to show the diversity.
YouTube isn’t the census. Not everyone who works wants to be on it. In fact I wish the kind of success on you that doesn’t require that you make YouTube videos to supplement your income.
It is a crazy amount. Macs are my preferred platform, but they are not necessary - Cubase runs on both, as do most of the majors except Logic Pro. One reason Macs are great for me is that my time is expensive, and though I can and have built PC’s in the past, getting things stable for what I needed to do and the time spent learning everything about what components I needed and which ones work together best represents money to me. So when I buy a Mac I’m paying for a constrained ecosystem, for better or worse. If I were starting out it would be different because my time would not represent potential income so much, so it would be more viable to do it that way - and build a desktop PC that did exactly what I needed without paying for a gamer video card, that was made to stream samples. I’m not up on the laptop PC market, let alone the kind I would require, but I do know that one can build a desktop PC that’s pretty good and then upgrade components as needed. Not happening on a current Mac.
And in general one pays a premium for laptop power. Towers are more flexible and writing on the train is to me vastly overrated. I went around the world on tour with a laptop and it was just not possible to have everything I needed with me. Lots of workarounds. I made it work, but it is precisely one of the things that made me push for better situations so I would not have to do that. But it’s also true that a student does not need a machine that will play the most massive libraries and all that. It would be cool, but it’s not a need. And if you learn the workarounds and get used to freezing tracks etc., you will be a more capable user when it’s time to go beyond that.
By the way - I also like the high-end Macs because you can have more than 128 GB of RAM. You can do that with a PC also but at that point the prices are very similar. That’s just my situation. Not saying one can’t do without that - saying I do not want to.
And now from here on out, the piracy bit. TL;DR piracy is bad. Ask for better options from developers.
I see people saying this kind of thing often, but with no substantiation. I can see how people would say it, but I haven’t seen much in the way of evidence - I have seen a handful of developers say things that seem calculated not to alienate the folks who use illicit copies of their apps, but… I think maybe that’s PR and not data - it seems like some companies feel like they can’t be seen as “cool” and still actually want to protect their intellectual property. Imagine that. Maybe I have lived a charmed life but dongles have been fine for me, and the ability to replace them has been a life-saver. Or maybe I haven’t lived a charmed life and the internet is where people go to complain, so 100 people who complain make more noise than 100,000 who don’t.
So I’m going to disagree about the benefits of piracy. It spawns a lot of users in the parasitical area who don’t move beyond that until it would be too embarrassing professionally to continue, or just don’t move beyond that - and while they do that, a company struggles to fund making new features and making existing ones work. Are they somehow profiting from some vague promise that some user will get the benefit of a product and maybe buy it some day when they feel like it? (That’s a percentages game nobody signed up for.) And are they losing money because somebody uses an illicit copy of their software? I’d let a developer answer that, but to me it’s not about a loss, but a lack of gain that lets the company prosper and continue to grow, pay their people well and better serve their users, that is at issue.
Also, when I hear piracy justification come up, or saying it should just be accepted as a reality without question or complaint - for better or worse, intentionally or not, it doesn’t shout “professional”. And since we all represent online and that never goes away, one thing a potential client or employer may think when they consider hiring a user of these tools to work for them is whether or not the client will have to deal with delays/ expenses/ other issues from the person using pirated software - and maybe the client is wondering if everything is being held together with toothpicks and spit over there. It’s just one more variable. I gather your perspective is more from the student point of view - fair enough; but they teach ethics in school too, right?
That’s very true. Also: I totally hear the folks who are saying, “yeah, but I don’t have money for this. How am I supposed to learn how to do it and create, etc.” That’s a real question. Why not take it up with the developer? Advocate for a free tier under certain conditions one would qualify for? Or maybe a tier with a low month-to-month rate one could do intermittently (as opposed to long commitments for subscriptions), like $15, and if you do enough of them it’s yours anyway. If you qualified for it you could pay a little and be above board and get updates and support and free instruments and all that. If it’s literally just impossible to pay anything at all (after the expense of the computer and internet, presumably) that’s why a free tier would exist, if it were okay with a developer.
But there are versions of most of these apps that are comparatively low in price that many new users who are able could start out with. (Logic’s advantage is that it’s inexpensive compared to Cubase Pro or even Artist; at $200US, it’s a ridiculous value, even though Artist right now is $197, because that’s the full version of Logic. The “Artist” version of Logic is GarageBand, which is free because they sold you the hardware, and that’s also why Logic Pro is comparatively inexpensive.) Nothing wrong with more features costing more money, nothing unjust about someone - who doesn’t have the work income or personal funds to justify it - not having all of those features. I have been there. Even when working a lot I don’t get everything I want. It’s really hard and frustrating; and it sucks; but it’s not wrong. Circumstances around that can be, and often are, wrong. But no company is supposed to carry someone until they are raking in the cash. They could agree to, but don’t have to.
It’s messed up that our work has gotten so devalued - partly due to corporate greed and partly due to the greater availability of the technology - and it’s messed up that wages haven’t grown for anyone (at least in the US) since the 70’s - but we don’t then get to pass that along to some software developer because it would be cool if stuff were free - which is the other reason our work is devalued: because people think it would be cool if they got it for free. It rolls downhill to us, and we roll it to the devs. If you think this whole thing sucks, remember to vote.