Since its founding in 2008 by Steven Slate and Fabrice Gabriel, Slate Digital has been known for accurate digital modeling of boutique and high end analog audio hardware, making it one of the most respected names in professional audio. For many budding audio engineers and music producers, purchasing such analog hardware is simply out of the question due to budgetary constraints, but Slate Digital has democratized music creation for a whole new generation with their ever-growing collection of equalizers, compressors and high-end gear. The Slate Digital Virtual Microphone System takes hardware modeling a step further by including a hardware microphone and interface with digitally accurate models of rare and highly prized microphones that would otherwise cost upward of tens of thousands of dollars to attain.
With their extensive analog hardware research and revered product catalog as a foundation, Slate Digital continues to evolve their offerings to meet the changing needs of creatives as the way they work changes.
In 2018, this earned them the Sound on Sound Best New Microphone Award for their innovation, a trait that shows not only in the development of groundbreaking technology like the VMS, but in their visionary adoption of subscription plans. These plans lowered the barrier to entry for millions of music creators, but Slate Digital needed a secure and easy to use licensing platform in order to make subscriptions successful.
In the early 2000's, many digital products were being cracked, significantly affecting the sales of software companies, especially in the Pro Audio software market. Without effective measures to protect intellectual property and control licensing, piracy and unauthorized distribution were causing significant financial harm and jeopardizing the sustainability of many businesses. The Slate Digital team had a vision, but unless they could secure their revenue against these cracks, the return on investment for product development and support cost coverage was uncertain and the risk of not making enough money to fund future product development was real.
To address this risk, Slate Digital naturally came to PACE Anti-Piracy, because they had seen how software piracy could affect Slate Digital’s ability to run a successful business worthy of the sacrifice needed to make great software. Slate Digital's forte has always been the combination of great products and strategic marketing, so they began by offering PACE-secured trial versions and selling perpetual licenses—the ‘try-and-buy’ path to purchase. The Slate Digital team worked with PACE to push the envelope and make the user experience better for try-and-buy, and eventually for subscriptions and the dongle-free iLok Cloud.
"We had a clear vision for where we wanted to take our plugin product portfolio”, commented Slate Digital co-founder, Steven Slate. “It was very important for us to have a solid, flexible, and incredibly secure solution for anti-piracy. Working with PACE allowed us to realize that vision in innovative ways and deliver the most value and buying options to our customers."
Slate Digital's initial products sold well and had a loyal following, but the Slate Digital team wanted to offer more value and to continue to grow the business in a healthy manner by supporting updates and delivering on-going value to subscribers. Around the same time, in 2014, PACE started to consider how to extend the 10-year-old iLok licensing platform to support not only trials, timed rentals, NFRs, and beta licenses, but also subscription licenses for monthly, annual, and other types of subscriptions. By 2015, companies like EastWest Sounds (soundsonline.com) and AVID Technology, maker of Pro Tools, were also adding subscription plans, and PACE was working to offer a great solution to all of these industry leaders. Using the PACE licensing platform, Slate Digital released subscriptions in mid-2015, making a huge new commitment to their customers to provide continuous and regular product development and updates.
Slate Digital and PACE worked together to create a simple, easy to use system for data-driven marketing that would support hundreds of thousands of users. By combining e-commerce with APIs for depositing licenses, PACE enabled not only Slate Digital, but many other clients, to better understand the purchasing habits of their customers and create targeted marketing campaigns and product offerings, including bundles tailored specifically to their customers’ current needs.
PACE worked closely with Slate Digital to add even more subscription features, allowing users to subscribe to a group of licenses in a collection that automatically expands for ongoing customers to include new products at a regular interval. Slate Digital even added a few third-party products to their collections, to provide loyal users with extra value—just one example of Slate Digital's unparalleled commitment to ongoing subscriber value. They continue to add revolutionary products like Storch Filter and ANA 2 Ultra Bundle and offer additional value in user sound packs and deep dive tutorial content to educate and inspire the growing base of creators.
Andrew Kirk, Vice President of PACE Anti-Piracy, said, "Slate Digital has been a model partner, challenging us to make our tools easier to use for their users and their developers. We remain committed to delivering on our promises to protect their revenue by making our tools more secure and easier to use".
John Bastianelli, CEO of Slate Digital comments, “While protection against hacking is important, customer satisfaction and ease of use are our priority. The team at PACE continues to help us improve the experience for our customers, while providing unparalleled security from hackers.”
With PACE's support, Slate Digital was able to implement a robust licensing platform that enabled them to offer trial versions, perpetual licenses, and eventually subscriptions. Through innovative solutions like iLok and iLok Cloud, Slate Digital was able to simplify the licensing process for their customers and reduce the risk of piracy and unauthorized use.
By 2015, Slate Digital was fully committed to subscriptions and used PACE's licensing platform to offer monthly, annual, and other types of subscription plans. Today, it is easy to see the value in subscriptions for publishers and their customers, but almost 10 years ago, Slate Digital’s pivot to subscriptions was a bold move that took a lot of vision, effort, and risk. However, Slate Digital's commitment to ongoing value and customer satisfaction paid off, and they have continued to grow their subscriber base and add new products and features.
Slate Digital is recognized as a leader in the pro audio industry and a model for how software companies can successfully implement subscriptions. PACE's licensing platform has played a critical role in their success, enabling them to provide a secure and user-friendly experience for their customers while protecting their valuable intellectual property.
Today (mid-2023) the iLok Licensing system serves over 9.2 million users with over 160 million licenses being serviced. Looking to the future, PACE is set to release its 6th generation toolset in 2023, offering even greater ease of use and security for software developers. And with Slate Digital's ongoing commitment to customer value and innovation, there's no telling what groundbreaking products they will come up with next.
In October 2022, Audiotonix, a global market leader in the design, engineering and manufacturer of professional audio mixing consoles and ancillary products acquired 100% of Slate Digital. Audiotonix, also the owner of PACE client Solid State Logic, is committed to increasing the value of the Slate Digital subscription and continues to work with PACE to make the best possible user experience.
About Slate Digital
Slate Digital, part of the Audiotonix family of brands, is a music production software company based in Los Angeles, California, USA, and Grenoble, France. Slate Digital has built its reputation on highly accurate digital reproductions of some of the finest pieces of analog hardware ever introduced to the audio world. Today, we’re a team of passionate developers, producers and artists who take pride in delivering innovative music-making tools for creators of all styles, genres and experience levels.
Audiotonix is a global market leader in the design, engineering and manufacture of professional audio mixing consoles and ancillary products. Audiotonix brands use JUCE and Audiotonix is a continuing sponsor of the Audio Developer Conference.