This came up when I was talking about redoing my setup a bit and getting rid of some old and unused gear / software. I try to be a decent fellow and price both either 50 – 80% of the new price depending on condition, demand and other factors. Consistently though, I never get a bite on software I’m selling unless it’s a mere 10 – 20%.

Not taking people’s individual persuasions about hardware vs. software into account, the thing I don’t understand is that given the average Joe, who we will assume for all intents and purposes here in this article would equally purchase both hardware and software, would view a hardware synth, at a good price, a good deal. Something in his mind would say a synth has tangible qualities: height, width, mass, density, some guy had to design the thing, another guy had to build it etc.Now the same guy might view software in one of two ways: Either as something he’d want and pay full price for or something he’d just rather steal out of convenience.

Over my years of selling gear, I’ve noticed this trend when it comes to software. Do I really know that guy is gonna go steal it? No I don’t, but that’s my assumption when people want to talk me down from selling it at half price to only 20-30$. And I just can’t understand why when most companies today have made great strides to supporting the rights of owners. Gone are the days of horror stories like Spectrasonics’ old draconian policy and in are the days of simply sending an email to manufacturer with the buyers email to let them know you transferred the license.

And again, (you can call me Andy Rooney now) what I just don’t understand is that most people’s complaints about selling software is the “hassle” in transferring the license. Given that it’s as simple as emailing the support team (I’ve had quite positive experiences with Camel Audio and Native Instruments)and then you’ll legally own a great piece of software at a greater price, wouldn’t that be enough to deter theft? Surely it has to be easier than finding a box, bubble wrap and having to lug a entire keyboard down to the post office?

All elephant in the room issues aside, why does software have such a stigma as far as resale goes? Is it true that most users, as much as they probably won’t admit it, would rather just steal it? Is it that we lack a level of awareness about how easy it is to transfer licenses? I mean really what is it? With as much of it out there and as many people that use it, why hasn’t an industry standard for resale emerged yet? Maybe we lack a forum for the resale of it and people are reluctant to trust ebay?

I don’t know what the answer is and frankly, I’m shocked it’s even an issue simply considering how many advantages there are now in the software world to take advantage of. Quite obviously I believe this is going to become an unavoidable issue in the future. Without one, I think we may see a shift towards closed platforms like the iPad for new and future software releases. It certainly seems as though Korg has no interest in returning to the PC/Mac platform again, which is a shame in my opinion as I would have loved to have seen a VST ER-1.