Licensing options


#1

Thank you for all the comments on the new licensing options. We are lucky to have a great community of independent developers - the most vocal here, no doubt! - and we do care about your needs and requirements, as the core JUCE community. As pointed by many, the success of JUCE owes a lot to your engagement here on the JUCE forum, and beyond this, when you recommend it to your friends and colleagues. 

We were surprised to see how many of the regular forum posters were disgruntled by the changes, and we are going to work harder to continue to deserve your trust. We will discuss internally if we need to accommodate differently the needs of open source, indie and enterprise developers. In particular, we will consider the case of customers who don't need priority support and don't need the Projucer. 

In answer to the many comments on the forum, it appears useful to clarify a few points:

1. The price of a license for a single developer targeting Mac, Windows, Linux, and deploying VST, AU and AAX is USD $999 for a perpetual license, or USD $49 per month

2. The license includes the Projucer, the first real-time C++ compiler

3. The license includes priority support

4. Upgrades start at USD $599

5. The license price for a single developer for Mac, Windows, Linux, and any plug-ins, in perpetuity, costs less than the previous license (GBP £663 vs GBP £699)

6. We have rolled out 4 months of improvement to accelerate deployment on Android, and feel it's justified to charge extra for that

7. We are continuously improving support for iOS and also feel it's justified to charge extra for that

8. JUCE's offer for cross platform deployment is still considerably cheaper than other frameworks

9. We'll continuously add features and improve the framework faster than ever before

Please don't hesitate to let us know on this thread how you think we can improve the offer,  or contact us directly, either through the forum message service, or by e-mail (jb@juce.com) if you would like to discuss your particular case. 

 


#2

Yes, it was very disheartening to see some familiar names upset by our changes!

Our intention was to keep it cheap for the one-person indie outfits, and offer more expensive support packages that will suit bigger companies with bigger budgets. Seems like a few people slipped through the cracks and have been vocal about it!

We're going to brainstorm over the next few days about what kind of extra deals we can add that will keep everyone happy, so please let us know if you have any specific feedback.


#3

About points 6 & 7.. how come the work on these two platforms justifies being charged separately when the three desktop platforms are being charged combined? I'm sure bringing Juce to Linux has been a lot of work, but that was no reason to charge extra. Also compared to the work that went into Juce overall, the android and iOS adaptions don't seem to be of the same volume, so why do they cost the full price again? Think about someone new to Juce, what exactly does he pay for?

Don't get me wrong. I agree with others that Juce has been a tremendously good deal in the past. But I feel the new model will lead to Juce being used (even) less on iOS and Android, because IMHO these platforms are (now) too risky from a business perspective. At the same time I think the quality of the platform adaptions can only be great if they are widely used and bugs are located by the community - especially on Android where there are almost infinite variations of OS and hardware.


#4

Thanks for the clarification jb, I'm not sure it was clear for everybody that one license fee covers all the desktop platforms at once, and that you need to charge more only for iOS and Android.

Personally, I'm planning to get one license when my company is created next year, only for me, and I don't plan to do any mobile development, so I can't tell anything wrong about the price decrease of the full licence. I am not sure if I will need the Projucer until I have tried it, but whatever, the current license is fine for me.

In my humble opinion, it is perfectly understandable that you want to ask for extra licenses for the mobile development, since it's something where you have put a lot of effort lately, and because the current features of JUCE for mobile development seems to be very interesting, in comparison with other existing multi-platform mobile SDKs (I should confess I don't know any of them and their price).

However, it can be also understandable to see these comments about the license fees for mobile platforms, since doing a business from desktop applications is very different of doing a business from mobile applications. Obviously, the most important reason is because you can't ask $200 for a mobile application, it's more often around $2-$5. Indeed, the number of products you need to sell to cover the license charges is a lot higher with mobile apps than desktop software.

So, again it's just how I see it and I may be wrong since I don't know that much about mobile development, it seems it would be logical to charge less (I don't say again you shouldn't ask an extra license at all) for iOS / Android. I don't know how less would be the most convenient for both ROLI and developers, but for example you may include a special price for people who need bundles (full bundle desktop+iOS+Android, only desktop+iOS etc.) instead of mobile only. Or you may ask just less by default for all the mobile licenses to take what I said into account if it is relevant enough... I don't know if it would be really interesting to propose new licenses with optional features, having a large set of available licenses might be a pain to manage, and maybe a little too complex for your customers, with all the potential license updates for example...

Just my fifty cents, I hope you will find a solution everybody will be happy with !


#5
  • My feeling is that the "indie" option doesn't scale well: if I am a lone developer which releases a commercial mobile app, I get to pay 1x the fee. If I get another developer on board, I immediately get to pay 2x the fee, but hardly having a team of two makes the sales of our app double instantly (not your problem, you may think, but still..)

    I think it would be fairer to dub the current "indie" option something along the line of "personal", and introduce another subscription-based option named "startup", which covers small teams of developers (3 people? 5 people?).

    Of course, this "startup" option should be reasonably priced, i.e. (startup) < (personal * 3/5 people)

     
  • In addition, the license being valid only for one person on one CPU at a time... Does this mean that, if I occasionally launch a rebuild on Windows while I keep developing on a Mac, I need to purchase 2 licenses? This sounds ugly.

    I have only one brain, that can interact with only one single copy of JUCE at any given time, that's what I should pay for.

    If I get more heads in my team, it'd be fair to have to pay for each of them, too. Not if I get more servers in my closet.

    Making it impossible to launch builds in background just because that'd mean additional CPUs would be in use at the same time would be.. frustrating, to say the least.

#6


If at least you were doing just a difference between desktop/mobile, but right now 2 licenses are needed to develop for android and iOs ?
One license is ok for all the desktop platforms windows/osx/linux, but if we do mobile dev we got to pay separately for android and ios? This does not make sense to me.

could you give us the upgrade prices to the Professional license :
 - for someone that has a v3 ?
 - for someone that has a v3 that was including v4.x?
 - what will be the upgrade price from an indie license to a professional one?
 


#7

thanks jb and jules for your input, it's great to see you taking feedback on board and hopefully coming up with new options for us.

after lots of thinking over the last couple of days this has what has been running through my head..

1) Allow us to buy and keep on using V3 at current pricing and upgrade to 4 when we choose. If you want to stop supporting 3 that's fine and understandable and we have the option to upgrade. I think for people wanting to test the market tho this probably won't be a massive issue as once an income is (hopefully) drawn, it can be put towards the upgrade price.

2) Provide premium services for 4 separate from the cost, e.g. Projucer, Premium support etc, so us indies can keep cost down. Maybe even add a emergency option so that you can charge us $20 or something if we don't have the Premium support but on the odd occasion we really do need help quickly. Hats of to Jules for what has been done in the Projucer - very impressive and I'd see why there should be some cash reward for the time you've invested in this tech (which has loads of applications I must say!) - and I'd love to use it... but do I need it currently to start putting stuff out there?? Not really....

3) Have a main platform that you purchase and stagger the pricing for the rest, e.g. $999 for our first one, then $499 for second one, $399 for 3rd etc - it makes the pill better to swallow for us :) You capitalise on people only needing one platform and then reward existing customers for additionally added platforms. Maybe the same for additional developers, up to say a limit of 3 (which then becomes a software house of sorts) where 2nd person is $699, 3rd $499 or something...

4) Although I generally don't agree with renting software (sorry, the subscriber model), I do see it gives us a route in wihtout having to commit to a full license for a platform, but the pricing is quite prohibitive after spending a year on rental and then deciding to move over and pay for a full license. However, if I wanted to try iOS and see if things worked out, then instead of paying $588 for the year and then $999 to get a full license, offer a 1-time discount when the 12 months runs out, so maybe i get 30% off the upgrade at that point, so I've still paid a bit of a premium for coming in via a different route, but it's not overly prohibitive. Additional to this, I think a 6 month option would be nice also - then i could pay $244 to rent for 6 months, decide i want to get a full license and pay the $999. Hopefully I've earnt money off my 6 months that I can then put towards the full license.

5) (seem somewhere else in this thread) - provide different pricing structures for 1 or 2 man teams say, and the bigger organisations which are probably more able to absorb up front costs

I do appreciate that you've made the license slightly cheaper from £699 to £663 but I think most of us are looking at it as £699 to £1989 as we're looking a cross platform and not single platform work.

I do also appreciate the amount of work that goes into this and If I was an established software house putting out product that I knew would draw income I wouldn't bat an eyelid tbh. For us part timers tho I think the price of admission has just jumped a little too high....

Anyway, thanks for listening!

 


#8

Hi JB,

I am no framework-selling expert, but I see much consistency in what you have said.  You are very clear except for one thing; it appears that you are not aware of how your messages are being perceived.

Some of the JUCE users (and potential users) may see #s 5, 6, and 7 as a bit contradictory.  From many people's points of view, it was 699 for everything, now it is almost 3000.

The way that you explain it could make some interpret your responses as uncaring towards your clients.  Jules has spent a fair amount of time cultivating his relationship with people to the point where he has been able to deny people's requests and they respect his judgment.  You have not done that, so you should probably consider how you can gain some trust from the people who want to give you money.

Please take this in the spirit that it is intended; I have come to really like JUCE and Jules.

Have a good day.

 


#9

It's not a simple extra charge, but the full price each time.

For a little Indie developper who works for an audio tool or instrument that could work almost the same on desktops (plugin and stand-alone), phones or tablets, 1800$/year or 3000$ is really a lot. And this changes the deal: for an almost unique developpement for all platform (which is the force of Juce), you can't exploit the possibility to make it exist on all supports anymore: you'll have to pay each time! Hard to hear when your intention is not to make big money with this work...

And what about getting a "triple" priority on the forum, or a 3 seats Projucer for a single person? In each case personnaly I'm not interested, and I'm going to work without priority support nor Projucer because i'm not going to pay the licence as long as I won't have almost finished and then I won't have any access to these addons before.

I understand you're working hard and that it has a cost, but I would be glad if you find an option with a price reasonably sized for people in my situation... and I'm really happy to read that you've heard our messages and that you're thinking about it!

 

PS: And as GrokSynth said, when I read that it costs less now, when the price has tripled for a full cross-platform licence, I leave you figure out my perception...


#10

+1 for the idea of splitting Projucer and the licence. You certainly don't want something amazing as the Projucer be received like the weird guy who is invited to the party because his older brother, the licence is the most famous guy of the school :)

But your reaction to the partially harsh critic seems very reasonable and is the best way to take the wind out of the whole FUD about your hidden secret agenda of turning JUCE into a profit-ridden framework after getting as much people use it for a low "entry price".

I think most of the emotional reactions came from the realization of dependency from your framework and how a simple licence change from you can vaporize entire business models.


#11

Thanks for the reponse guys.  I'm one of the guys with an existing 4.x license.  It's a confusing position to be in and watching the community crumble has been disheartening indeed.  It has left me questioning my future with JUCE.  Here are some notable points from my perspective.

Lack of Communication (huge)

  • For such a large licensing change it really would have helped to give people a heads up that things were changing and let people know what the changes would be.  If people then wanted to make an informed decision about it they could.
  • Roadmaps.  Fully laid out roadmaps of features to come with planned dates.  Ask the community for feedback!  Of course dates are hard to meet, but let the community know what the plans are.  This isn't Apple releasing the next iPhone and there isn't any need for secrecy.  A development community needs to be a part of the process.  Don't be elitist.  Be transparent, be inclusive!

"Indie" Tier

  • The Indie tier appears to just be a subscription tier.  There doesn't actually seem to be anything Indie about it.
  • Without a well defined upgrade path and well defined release plans I don't see how a developer could ever want this option.  Begrudgingly accept at best?  What if it takes you guys 2 years or more to reach JUCE 5?  Subscribing for 2 years means you've now paid more than proper full license would have cost and at the end of it you have nothing to show for it.  As it stands it's a lousy option that relies on hopes and dreams to make financial sense.  Indie's have enough to worry about, offer them something they can feel good about.

Premium Support

  • So what exactly is premium support?  Special placing on the ol' TODO list which is who knows how long?  Does that come before ROLI's own internal priorities?  If you guys want to sell premium support then you need to lay out what the terms are.  It would make more sense to sell premium support as it's own package with well defined terms.  Like service level agreements and all that..
  • That said, I have zero need for this and so therefore don't wish to have to pay for it.

Normal Support

  • Please get a public bug tracker going.

Projucer

  • Point one is just to say that I've eagerly waited to try it out (since years ago) and I'm certain Jules has done some very good work to bring it to life. However...
  • For the love of god offer it with a stand alone license.  I have an existing 4.x license and cannot justify $600USD to upgrade just for the Projucer which is just flat out dissappointing.
  • Open source license holders have zero option to use the Projucer's hot code loading??
  • Is it alpha?  Beta?  Release candidate?  1.0?  What's on the roadmap?  Again, communication guys!
  • Make it a proper IDE.  Even if basic IDE support to start.  Give it a plugin api so JUCE devs can build tools for it!
  • Claiming that it's the world's first realtime C++ compiler sounds bananas.  LLVM already provides much of the support required for C++ JIT'ing and tools already exist that make use of it.  It is my understanding that the Projucer is built on top of this.  Again, I'm sure Jules has done some great work to make it into the product that it is..

#12

Reading what Graeme said triggered some more thoughts here:

  • If I recall well, preferential support was also a promise given when paying for commercial JUCE licenses before v4 (and I am talking since v1.4x, which is when I started). To my knowledge, bug reporting and discussion has always been done here on the forum or via private messaging, and neither of them carried information on whether the reporter was a paying custormer or not. Long story short: I the feeling is that that preferential support for paying customer has never been actually practised.
    I am all for separating the cost of the license from the Projucer and the support. In the case of the latter, making it clear what bugs are being processed with a good ticketing system I think is mandatory, otherwise how can paying clients know they aren't being cheated?
  • Regarding the paid-once licenses, what if the JUCE team releases a JUCE version in January dubbing it JUCE 5? All the pay-once licensees will have in fact to purchase more upgrades to 5.x to stay up to date in a matter of just months.
     know this is an extreme case, but adding the clause that a paid-once license covers at least 12 months (for example) of JUCE regardless of the version, seems to be fair given how randomly the pace of JUCE versions changed throughout the years.
  • Side note: the current license PDF for v4 still mentions Raw Material Software Limited, while in the headers of the source files (at least in JUCE 3), that name was changed to ROLI upon aquisition. Just bringing it up here in case it was unintentional

#13

Here's the problem I see with this new model. Let's look at JUCE as a product. JUCE 4 if still the same product. It's a new version and of course there are some new features, but it is still the same product. If any other company tried to sell a new version of a product for possibly 3x more (possibly more if you're a company with many developers?) then customers would be furious and no one would buy that product. 

Yes, you may have worked hard on this product and even put more resources into making it. I think we can all feel for that, but the customers of the product should not be affected by that.

If there were a very large number of features added to the product, it may or may not be reasonable to raise the price slightly. Having to possibly pay 3x the previous price, or more, for what is pretty much the same product send like a very bad deal. 

If you really want to make money off of the ProJucer, then sell it separately. Do you really want it to just be available to some a fraction of the people that are willing and able to pay for a license? And what about open source developers? Is it restrained from them? I personally think that it should be part of the framework and no one should have to pay for it, but that's not up to me  I think the ProJucer is a great thing and I think it could possibly attract a lot of users, but making people pay for it will attract a much smaller number than if it was part of the framework. Just look at Qt Creator and Qt Designer. That attracts a lot of developers because they make developing apps using that framework so much easier. I'd hate to see the ProJucer just be tossed to the side by most developers. 

Anyways, I hope JUCE can make the right choices and make your users happy. I also hope that JUCE can attract new users instead of pushing them away. I also hope that JUCE can be the framework that probably many of us can refer a friend (or complete stranger) to. JUCE is awesome and should flourish, and I hope (possibly bad) decisions don't keep that from happening. Good luck!


#14

I'd certainly agree with those who would like to see the ProJucer decoupled from the top tier license.  I've got a good set of tools with fast build times, and I've learned to use them well.  I'm not likely to find much benefit in ProJucer--Juce 4 is likely to be disruptive enough.  I'm happy to come back and pay for ProJucer later on if the raves are compelling enough.


#15

I don't think it's unreasonable for the price of the license to go up.  There was a thread from a few years back where the topic got into license costs and numerous people, myself included, noted their willingness to pay more if necessary.  There was little doubt that the previous license was a good deal.  The $3000 number feels high and the packages/platforms/justifications feel kind of weak, but I don't think there's any disputing that they have put together a team of talented developers to work on JUCE and that's going to cost ROLI a good chunk of change I'm sure.  I think it should be ok to pay for that.

After reading some more posts and giving it some thought this is what I think a good plan would look like (feel free to tweak):

  • Big profitable company?  Max license fee with support options.  Charge per platform/seat/cpu..etc whatever.  (ROLI makes good money here)
  • Small/Indie and not yet profitable/minimal revenue?  Affordable license with support options.  Charge per product.  All platforms included, or reduced fee to add mobile platforms.  Keep it simple.  1 year license or next version, whichever is later.  (similar to previous license, a bit more restricted, a bit higher cost).  (ROLI makes some money here, more successul Indies means more Max licenses down the road, long term strategy)
  • Projucer Tool.  Included in framework regardless of license.  A free limited version that allows some realtime compiling.  (Again long term strategy, give people a chance to not be able to live without it).
  • Projucer IDE.  The bees knees.  Full IDE.  A license fee that commands respect.  (ROLI makes good money here)  Various options that devs can purchase additional, such as:  (ROLI makes even more good money here)
    • Tools for deploying to different platforms. IOS integration, Android integration.  Charge per platform!  Simulators!  etc..  
    • Audio Dev features built in, like hosting and testing plugins in the IDE while you tweak your dsp realtime..That would be a good feature worth paying for no?  (I'm not a plugin dev but it sounds kind of great)
    • Specific debugging tools to help find audio glitches and all that hard audio dev stuff.
    • Multithreading hints and tips.  Custom clang analysis to point out allocations on the audio thread.  Lots of stuff like that.
    • Unicorns.  Anything that makes an audio dev's life better!
    • Create a market place for dev tools / audio dev tools.  JUCE users could help create dev tools with Projucer plugins.  Now you too can make audio plugins and dev plugins and money.  ROLI takes a percentage of dev plugin sales (More money for ROLI!  Even money for devs too!)
    • The list goes on.  Great revenue for ROLI!  Great features for audio devs!  Everyone wins!

That all sounds pretty good doesn't it?


#16

As someone who's usually just a lurker, I want to chime in while ROLI/Jules have this open for dicussion.

Some others have mentioned a "startup" license (2-3 user in a single organization) with seperate licensing for the Projucer and priority support. Me and the other person I'm starting a small company with would love to see this. The 3.x licensing was perfect for us as college students as we could afford it to get our company off the ground and don't really need nicities like realtime compilation or priority support.

Before, we could get 3.x for 699 GBP and have everything we needed, but with 4.x the price for developing desktop applications has doubled for us and made mobile development with JUCE totally financially infeasable. If we managed to actually make some money and hire more developers, we'd be more than happy to upgrade to a more "heavyweight" per-seat license with support similar to how the current 4.x licensing operates, but as two young software developers starting a company and releasing our first commerical products the cost of just two licenses under the per-seat model adds a *lot* of unexpected overhead, especially when we're paying for this with rent money to chase software development dreams.

We really regret waiting for the 4.x release, unaware of the impending licensing changes. The excitement over the new release quickly turned to disappointment once we realized we couldn't afford mobile development and the cost for desktop apps had doubled.


#17

Thanks for the updates and responses from Jules and JB. Good to see that you're listening. 

My main concern and disappointment is in the new pricing per platform. I understand you've been putting a lot of time into Android, but given the low income opportunities from the Play Store for specialist audio apps, it does not really seem fair to charge another $999 for that privelige to a sole developer who is already on a tight budget. Similar for the App Store. Especially when we have already budgeted for just one license for all platforms as it was previously. As others have mentioned a warning of the new license changes would have been courteous at least.

I think a better overall model (and what I was expecting) would be that improving JUCE will attract more people to use it, not just for audio but also for graphics and other types of applications, which would then bring in more license fees for ROLI, without drastically increasing the license fees. It may be a longer term solution but I think one that would keep current users happy and more likely to attract new users.  

 


#18

Firstly, as an outsider, I would just like to say thank you to Jules and Jean for engaging in such dialogue, nice to see.

So, my 2 cents... Caveats: Independent developer, noob to C++/Juce, just thinking out loud etc

I downloaded and started seriously playing around with Juce on Monday with a view to start using C++ and Juce as my development platform of choice.

I knew full well about the acquistion by Roli, and the soon to be released v4. So I decided on the approach to wait for v4 before purchasing Juce, to ensure that I start from a "fresh base" as it were, and avoid any issues with having to upgrade from v3, learn any intricities of the library / introjucer etc that would be superceded as soon as the new release dropped. (PS: Not saying there would be any issues, but to me it made sense to wait for the new release before diving into a new project.)

Pricing / Developments /Improvements et al:

I had my credit card out and ready to purchase after v4 dropped, but you can imagine my surprise when I got to the purchase page and realised that my forecasted expense had changed from $1k to $3k, and knowing if I had purchased blindly on Monday I would have been in a better position?

On Monday you had a guarenteed sale when v4 dropped. As of now, I am taking a lot longer and harder look at the value proposition presented.

I also need to be pragmatic regarding my time and financial investment in the Juce library. Whilst historically I can go back and see everything Jules has done, as of now I can only base decisions on what Roli has done. Which at this point is a significant change to the pricing strucuture, and what some see as a 200% price increase overnight.

Whilst I appreciate the additional development efforts, additional staff overheads etc, and the argument that with the new pricing model, desktop is now slightly cheaper, but the old model included iOS/Android... (I am not in a position to judge on the improvements and additional developments to iOS/Android, so I can't comment too much on that.)

To echo others sentiements regarding the "Indie" tier... I'm not interested in a $600 subscription for a year. And it doesn't actually provide a realistic value offering in comparison to an outright purchase. Sorry.

A heads up regarding the new pricing scheme / a grace period would have been greatly appreciated, I'm sure not just by me, but also by anyone else who was sitting on the fence.


Projucer:

All I've seen of the Projucer is from Jules cpp talk, and it looks pretty cool, but reserving judgement there.


Support:

Frankly I probably won't gain the benefit of this priority support, as the questions/issues I have are so far down to me / my knowledge of the language and library. I think maybe for other people that maybe it would be good to communicate more about what that covers / entails?

PS: On a side note, it appears that a lot of your tutorial download links are broken, corrupt zips etc. As a new user to Juce, this doesn't help too much. I also don't find the forum search too helpful when I pull up threads from five years ago. Maybe the addition of a Wiki would be a good idea?


Stuff, Things:

I do absolutely feel that you need to leverage off your existing commercial client base on a per developer / seat licence as much / best as you can.

However, I also think there is a very reasonable and obvious middle ground here. An "Indie / Sole Developer / Startup" licence. Basically akin to the old v3 model, $999 for full multi-platform (Win/OSX/iOS/Android/Projucer) for individuals / sole employee / startup companies (2? 3? devs?)

Get these people into your ecosystem and get them invested in Juce. When they move up a tier from indie to multi-dev company, they won't blink at the overhead.


As for now? I'm going to wander off and go back to evaluating Juce given all of the above.


#19

Although I agree for raw startups this may not be the case,  the prices are not extreme for professional developers. In addition many specialist frameworks require a redistributable license as well - I work with computer vision frameworks like Common Vision Blox and Halcon and you pay for every user deployment so in comparison the JUCE scales better.

I am probably quite unique in that I don't use the audio facilities so actually I'm not really benefiting from these developments. I've still purchased a professional license as I think despite this it's still good value.

It would make me an even bigger advocate if in the next updates you could include more stuff for the non-audio developer. The projucer looks to have amazing potential and I am very excited about this - I hope full windows support will come soon.

Thank you,

Ivan


#20

We're keen to add more non-audio stuff too. Any particular areas you're interested in?