As a song writer/ producer, I do my fair amount of traveling. This year alone I've been to the States twice, Holland twice, Ireland, Spain and Belgium, all for writing sessions.
Travelling can be inspiring, albeit an expensive inspiration! It also allows time for reflection, and with the current music model I am becoming more and more aware that songwriters are earning less and less every year. Only a few months ago, it was reported that Megan Trainor has thus far earned $5,679 from downloads for 'ALL ABOUT THAT BASS.' So it begs the question, how are we as songwriters going to earn a decent wage? I really believe that the model will change for the better, but it's not going to happen over night. This leads me on to the subject of this article; authenticity.
When I travel, I obviously work in a lot of studios. These can range from top professional studios to a small home setup. Conversation invariably turns to the state of the music industry, I'll ask the producer what software he or she is using. I'll ask them if the software is legit. Sometimes I'll find out that they are using cracked plugins. I'll do my usual speech saying that I am not judging them BUT how as songwriters and producers can we moan about illegal downloading of music when they as music professionals have illegal software themselves? Their argument is always the same, "Well I downloaded the crack software and as soon as I've made enough money I'm going to buy the legitimate version". Now I'm guessing that will never be the case, despite their good intentions.These guys have the cracked version and they are trying to justify through their own guilt that in the end they will do the right thing.
The other day, I saw on Facebook that a songwriter was having problems with their DAW crashing, and it was when they were using a specific plugin. I wanted to help, but first I asked if the plugin they were using was legitimate. They said "no, but I intend to buy the plugin when I can afford it" at this point I've lost sympathy. I asked if it was a paid job? The answer was yes. This producer was now in a position where they could not finish the work because the cracked plugins on their computers was stopping their workflow.
Plugin developers are just like us songwriters, they too are being affected by the music industry. Don't think that these guys are all driving around in their sports cars throwing money around, they are not. They get into creating plugins because, like songwriters, they are passionate about their craft.
All DAW's now have everything you need to produce and release a quality mix. If you can't afford to buy this or that plugin, then learn the plugins that come with your DAW of choice. Save the money and when you can afford the plugin/ software of your dreams, buy it.
I can almost guarantee that if you learn using the stock plugins on your DAW, you will get better results when you come to buy the plugin you want.
Please don't use crack plugins if not from the moral point, think about the amount of downtime and stress it can cause to your workflow. Give the music model a chance to reinvent itself, and don't add to the strain. Be authentic and just say no to cracked software!