Plugins: Rent-to-own vs. Subscription Models

  |  Ankit Chugh  |  

As a producer, having the right sounds is vital and finding them can be hard. Many producers can't access the plugins they want, or resort to using illegal copies. 

Untitled design-5 (1).png

While DAWs come with their own plugins, many musicians also purchase plugins separately. These can cost hundreds of dollars each, with some costing as much as a used car! These plugins range from synths to effects. Costs can rack up quickly, even if someone only buys a few plugins. As a result, people often download cracked versions that can be bad for their computer.

Some companies that sell a variety of plugins have tried to address these problems by creating subscription software models, based on Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription model. Waves, for example, has three subscription tiers for plugins. The lowest, at $9.99 a month, includes 16 plugins.

While this solves a need, even these packages can feel a little spendy. Most musicians don’t need access to that many high-end plugins, because learning each plugin intimately enough to use it intuitively takes time. Plus, you’ll never own the plugins! With many companies jumping the gun with these services including Slate Digital, McDSP, Avid, and now Roland (announced at NAMM’18), we wonder if Splice's rent-to-own could be a better answer to our problems. 

There are some bonuses with Splice’s rent-to-own. It’s cheap enough that a musician could shell out $10-20 to use a plugin for a month and toy around with it. Or, maybe a collaborator temporarily needs a specific plugin to work on a project someone else has started. In this way, Splice’s rent-to-own acts much like a subscription platform. But, unlike with a subscription, you’ll eventually own the plugin if you pay into it for long enough. 

If Splice can reach agreements with enough companies to provide a robust rent-to-own market, it would close the loop for it being a one-stop shop for their users, while providing access to these expensive tools.

With that said, I believe that it makes more sense for us to subscribe to plugins only if it's required for a short duration or a particular project. In many cases, rent-to-own or saving the money and purchasing these plugins remains the best option. 

About the Author: Ankit Chugh


A dental surgeon by profession, Ankit changed his stream and is studying Music Production and Audio Engineering at Pyramind.  With a knack for music business and tastemaking, he intends to share knowledge and music with everyone!

Follow Ankit on SoundCloud

More From the Blog