Ideas for making a bit of profit on a module?

Hello everyone!

I’m essentially ready to release the new Autobreak Studio module. My initial intention was to release it free, but I wouldn’t mind making a bit of profit that I could put into hiring more help with graphic design. In the recent thread, “Are devs leaving?”, I heard mention of a module builder who released modules paid at first, then transitioned to free after some published amount of time. Was that strategy successful and well received?

Also, is there any support from VCV Rack to automate this strategy?

Another question: Is there any way to “gift” a module to a user?

I don’t want to release modules that cost money forever. I’m much more interested in making people happy than making money. :slight_smile:


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Sending you a DM :slight_smile:


Interesting idea, a bit like Emilie’s model with mutable, which if I understood it correctly, is open source once various dev costs have been recouped.

One model I’ve not seen here before but might be cool is unofficial crowd funding on Kickstarter say for an open source module? I there are official Kickstarter like things hosted by vcv but that isn’t open to everyone I assume…

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Yes. As the developer of a commercial module, you can assign licenses to users without charging them.

I think it’s a great model actually and I really like the idea! Release it for pay first, and let the people who wants to support you, or get into the action early, have it for money right away. And then after perhaps 3-6 months bump the version number and make it free. I don’t think any special support from VCV/the library is needed for that, I think it’s probably just a manifest and library update, but maybe @cschol or @Vortico could weigh in.

I suspect the strategy would be successful, as sales of most new things like that happens in a burst quite early and then tapers fairly quickly, I think. But maybe ask some of the other commercial developers, like @modlfo what their sales curve of new modules look like when introduced.

As to the well received part - I could read in that other thread that there had been grumplings from some people in another instance. I think it’s just a matter of upfront education and communication. As long as you state the facts upfront, that it’s pay first and then free after x months, and this is why you do it, I don’t think there’ll be problems.

I think @slimechildaudio was asked by Andrew to NEVER do this again.

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Thanks. Ok, I find that a bit strange but hey, it’s not my business…

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I would advise either making it free or paid, nothing in between. It makes things much simpler for the users.

If you have the time, you could make an entry-level of your module free and the full version paid. But you need to make them different enough so you don’t get emails every week from people asking what’s the difference between the paid and free.


Thank you all for the responses! @slimechildaudio told me that the “temporarily paid” strategy didn’t go so well. Maybe I’ll sell stickers and t-shirts. Ha ha ha.

I really like this idea. I might try this. :slight_smile:

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" I don’t want to release modules that cost money forever . I’m much more interested in making people happy than making money. :slight_smile:" well goddamnit we don’t deserve Brett


My thoughts are just like vult’s. Make “pro” versions of free modules. As long as the difference is obvious, and the free version shows the quality it could make sense.

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The big problem with limited “for sale” period before “free” is that because the library is so standardized you don’t have very much of any way to make sure you’re only getting the “early adopters” who are “volunteering” to pitch in. Many people use Rack without ever looking much “behind the curtain”. You have to consider that even for some people interested in buying vcv modules, they might not touch the “dev” side of this forum (or the forum at all).

By making something for sale you loose all control over those expectations. Even for how much Kickstarter beats you over the head with “nothing is guaranteed” people get sensitive about what they’ve put their money into. It’s kind of like the uncanny valley effect. People might get a bit down if a project is a complete bust but they get more worked up if it’s going on, but not as well as they want it to.

If you want paid and free (at feature parity), I think you’d have to have both simultaneously and a big sign on the paid version to say “You want this for free, click here? If you buy this you’re acknowledging you passed up the FREE VERSION RIGHT HERE.” Or really, just make it a pay what you want checkout process.

Pay what you want (with or without a minimum) is used in places like Itch, Bandcamp. While that does put it on the buyer to decide how generous they’ll be, at least the library could track it as a purchase. This separates pay what you want from out-of-library donations (no indication as to whether or not you’ve donated to a particular author, the links look he same whether you have or haven’t).

So that would require larger changes to the library and how modules are sold generally. With the current set-up you are probably better with the free=standard, paid=pro separation.

If you’re going to the trouble of making a paid module, just leave it paid.

Makes it so those of us who pay for shit have an edge over people who will only use it if it’s free.

I don’t know how much money anyone makes on plugin sales. I bet VCV rack knows - since all payments go through them, their “app store” if you will - but won’t be saying how well Rack plugins are selling.

All I know is if the hit to me is $20 or $30 every other month, I can afford to buy whatever comes along that looks interesting.

Why should this be (much) more trouble than making a free one?

Imho it would be really worth to make some paid modules Bret, you deserve to get some money for all your efforts.
I know that is not your main goal,
but you could try to make a line of free modules and some extended versions of these as paid ones, (similar to Vult)

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“Go to the trouble of” is idiomatic english for “undertake the effort to including all the little annoying bits”, not an indication that the effort is particularly troublesome.

Kind of like “if you are going to go to the trouble of making a free module you might as well submit it to the library so rack users can download it easily”. In that context the “go to” is an important signifier of meaning.


“Go the the trouble”=“take the step(s)”

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There are some set up tasks to going commercial, but I think others have identified that it’s idiomatic English you may not have seen before. “Going to the trouble to…” in this case means “making the effort to…”

Make it free, but slap your Only Fans URL on the front


(I had a much longer reply but it was even more ranty than the rant below LOL)

Being an engineer, it’s just stimulating for me to build this stuff and see it working. And based on previous experiences, I know I’d be hard pressed at recouping anything based on the number of engineering hours I’ve spent. If I was doing this for profit I’d be better off spending those hours flipping burgers at McDonalds. I’m just stoked to play with both software & hardware, and getting to the point where things are actually working. To quote someone much wiser than me, “this is an industry where the way you walk away with a million dollars is to start with two million.”

@clone45 if you want to talk about making people happy: I stared and stared at your expander posts & code for a long while figuring those things out. Grateful to see that, very helpful. If this was all closed-source it’d be a much steeper slope. Thanks!

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