“I want to apologise for how poorly thought out this was”: Minimal Audio U-turns on controversial subscription-only pricing model for new soft synth, Current
Users will now have two options to gain access to Current: a one-time purchase for a perpetual licence and an RTO (rent-to-own) plan.
Credit: Minimal Audio
Minimal Audio has backtracked on the controversial subscription-only pricing structure of its new soft synth, Current, issuing an apology to its customer base.
Launched this week, Current’s “unified sound design ecosystem”, five “powerful sound engines”, numerous modulation options, expressive MIDI effects and more weren’t enough to convince users of its subscription-only model, which would have them paying $15 per month, or $10 a month if paid annually.
Many users bemoaned the pricing structure on social media, with one writing on X: “If I had rented Serum for $15/mo for as long as I’ve owned Serum I would have spent $1,410 on Serum.”
Another stated: “I would much rather purchase a perpetual licence with few to no presets than pay for something I will not use. I’m sure a lot of people would agree.”
Now, Minimal Audio’s Jake Penn has issued an apology, and clarified a restructuring of Current’s pricing model.
“There were a lot of things that went wrong with the release of Current – definitely poor communication from us to our creator community, definitely poor communication to our customers, and honestly just a poor decision on pricing, with regards to what our intention with Current is,” he says.
“Our goal with Current is really to build this constantly evolving, vastly improving synthesis ecosystem over time. And we wanted to make sure everybody experienced what our vision for that product is.
“But obviously after everybody’s feedback we realised that it doesn’t make sense when if you want to leave the system you lose access to all that stuff after being on it for such a long period of time.”
Turpin goes on to outline a new pricing structure for Current which will take effect after the product’s free trial period ends, with both a one-time purchase perpetual licence and an RTO plan available.
“Obviously everyone’s in free trial right now – no one has spent a dollar on Current,” he continues. “By the time the free trial has finished, we will have a perpetual option of Current up on the website that’s $200, one-time purchase without the cloud integration.
“Now, the subscription: we’re killing the subscription, no more subscription. We’ll assign a value to every single thing in the stream – all of the standalone effects plugins, everything.
“When you sign up for Current, you’ll be signing up for an all-access RTO (rent-to-own) programme. And while you’re on the RTO system, you get unlimited access to everything inside of Current, and all of the effects inside of current as standalone plugins as well. Just everything that we have to offer.
Turpin explains that for every year a user is on the RTO plan, they’ll get “every dollar” they spend back in the form of store credit to unlock any perpetual licences that Minimal Audio has to offer once they cancel the RTO plan.
“We think this is great because it still allows everybody to experience the expansive vision we have for Current, but as soon as that vision stops being valuable to you, you can take just what you want and leave with it.”
“It’s great for us, too, because it means that we need to continue to add so much value above and beyond that you want to stay on the RTO plan so that you can continue to use everything.
“So that’s pretty much it: subscription dead, RTO unlimited access is the future for this product, and that will allow us to keep the low barrier of entry we want, as well as allow everybody to experience the ecosystem, and for people that are truly uninterested in it, and just want to spend $200 and get the synth, we’ll have you covered as well.”
“I want to apologise again for how poorly thought out this was,” he adds. “We have no problem with perpetual licences, we like them too. We were just so focused on the product and building this huge thing that we just lost, kind of, really a business vision that made sense in terms of pricing, and the products on the website and the value to the user. It was kind of a moonshot moment where we just thought we’d add so much value that everybody would love it.
“So we will fix it, and I hope that you guys will give us another chance.”
You can check out Current over at Minimal Audio.
Get the latest news, reviews and tutorials to your inbox.Subscribe