When I launched the Sinewave Lab Sound Library in the beginning of 2019, I was exploring new territory with my chosen strategy: to create a Pro and a Free version of the library: high-quality vs low-quality; attribution-free vs required attribution.
This way I could appeal to both those who (a) are working on amateur projects and won’t or can’t worry about audio fidelity; and (b) those businesses that do worry about sound quality and don’t mind paying a bit to get it.
Other reasons to try this strategy were (1) there are some business models that already work like this, both within and outside the realm of the digital sound products, and (2) I was told to do counter-intuitive things to achieve success in Business and Life.
So I set myself to a 30-day challenge: suspend all my preconceived notions about how I should conduct business and just try the damn strategy.
The 30-days have passed and the data is in. My conclusion? It’s not worth it. It’s time for the Free version to go.
The reasons are simple:
1. Lots of Traffic and Downloads but no Engagement
After 30 days, there are a couple of positive things going on:
✓ A constant flow of YouTube traffic: getting targeted free traffic is an asset (that I’ll still get, even after deleting the Free version.)
✓ Constant flux of free downloads: proof that people like my sound effects.
The bad things are:
✕ No Social Media Engagement: one of the goals of the Free version was to facilitate the creation of a community around the library. After the 30 days, there’s no proof that shows that the Free version is capable of doing such thing. Also, this leaves hanging in the air an uneasy feeling: the feeling of being taken advantage of.
I have made 0€ in sales at the end of my 30-day challenge, which is pretty sad. Luckily, I had already created these sound effects a long time ago, so this didn’t take much time to get up and running.
But my point is this: when I decided to launch this library, I had two choices. I could either be intuitive (no Free version available) or counter-intuitive (Free version available).
My initial fear was: if I choose the intuitive route, I’ll probably end up reaching the 30 days without any sale, because this is just another new paid product so why should anyone care?
So I decided to go with counter-intuitive. Maybe making a Free version would get people talking about it and maybe that would attract some extra attention. Maybe it could trigger some other hidden mechanism that I’m unaware of that would, somehow, help me find paying customers. Needless to say, going the counter-intuitive way has shown no signs of working towards my goals. At all.
The big takeaway is this: making a Free version of the library available to everyone has no advantage whatsoever. Therefore it needs to be deleted.
Q: But the Free version makes your sound effects available to everyone. Wouldn’t you like to know that your work is being used in projects all over the world?
A: No. The only reason I’d like that to happen would be if (1) that would help me build a community around this library and/or (2) it would help bring paying customers.
If that doesn’t happen – and it won’t – having a Free version has no upsides and only downsides: the downsides being, of course, turning possible paying customers into non-paying customers – because, hey! if there’s a free version, they’ll take that one instead. Who cares about quality, anyway, if it’s free? Maybe they’ll skip the attribution too 😉 which wouldn’t even give me the exposure.
Do you think I did the right thing? Let me know in the comments.