One by one, most software has succumbed to the cloud; Designers have Adobe, gamers have Steam, programmers have GitHub and now musicians have Splice.
Splice is launching a rent-to-own pricing model for software synths. Starting today, musicians will be able to use Serum from X for Records, to their hearts content without any upfront fees.
The company likes to call their service a rental, but it’s more like a mortgage. For $9.99 a month, users can use a desktop app to access the synth. Splice will let users try the synthesizer free for three days. After this time, they will be charged a “rental” fee that slowly eats away at the ownership cost. Over time, users can either opt to stop paying and move on to a new program, or fully payoff the software to own it outright. Splice isn’t charging any premium, and buyers won’t ever pay more than the $189 market price for the product.
Above all else, Splice is a community for people who love to make music. Launched in 2013 by Steve Martocci and Matt Aimonetti, the company first set out to produce software to help musicians collaborate in the cloud. Notably, Martosi was previously a co-founder at GroupMe that sold to Skype for $80 million back in 2011.
Martocci believes that music creation is experiencing a paradigm shift. The production process is becoming increasingly collaborative. Splice’s first product was a version control system. The platform supported the workflow process of a dedicated community that has rapidly shifted to new offerings from the company. The version control system remains free for most users and integrates directly with digital audio workstations like Ableton and FL Studio.
Last year, Splice launched Splice Sound, a subscription service for large sample libraries. Splice Sound lets users subscribe to a catalog of over a million sounds for $7.99 a month.
Once a subscriber, users have 100 credits that they can use to download samples. Although Splice Sound was technically the company’s first major revenue stream, it is also serving a social good by reducing the incentives to pirate.
Subscribers have what essentially amounts to a royalty free license over all downloaded sounds and can re-distribute them as long as they are not in their original form. Using a legal platform to download samples also means your sounds stay organized and not in a giant heaping pile of unorganized files topped with sketch names and a side of guilt.
Since launch, the company has been growing 20 percent month over month with 500,000 unpaid users and 50,000 paid subscribers. Splice has raised $7.25 million over seed and Series A rounds led by Union Square Ventures and True Ventures respectively.