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.

Solid State Logic (SSL) is a world leading manufacturer of advanced audio production systems for studio, live sound and broadcast. With more than 3000 SSL-equipped facilities operational today,  SSL consoles and recording studio hardware and software are universally recognised for their reliability and outstanding sound quality.

From Hardware to Software

Founded in 1969, SSL has seen an interesting evolution in its product offering . The name “Solid State Logic” was originally derived from their first product - a switching system for pipe organs. 7 years later, the product line expanded to include the first A-series console in 1976, and a big breakthrough with the SL 4000 E Series in 1979. Variants of this console followed, transforming the way music was recorded, and creating an international gold standard in music engineering hardware.

1985 marked the beginning of an era of digital research and development, leading to the development of the 01 - an eight channel recorder/editor. Three decades of continuous innovation landed Solid State Logic not only as a leader in recording hardware, but also professional studio software - both analogue and digital.

SSL and PACE Anti-Piracy

Although SSL is most famous for its rich legacy in analogue studio hardware, the company also has extensive experience in digital audio and DSP development. As the industry grew beyond dedicated hardware-hosted DSP, the release of the ‘SSL Native’ plug-ins signaled SSL’s first steps into the Digital Audio Workstation software marketplace - including the legendary Bus Compressor and Channel Strip plug-ins, inspired by sought-after sound of the SL 4000 E-series analogue console.

The entrance into the software marketplace marked the beginning of a relationship between Solid State Logic and PACE Anti-Piracy. In early 2011 SSL needed a licensing solution for their software and evaluated PACE’s early product InterLok. SSL needed a Machine Based Licensing solution, a solution which PACE was still developing, and ultimately SSL chose an alternative licensing platform. 

It is important to note that license management platforms hold a variety of responsibility on many different levels. Not only does a platform have to securely distribute licenses to end users, the platform must also stay up to date with the latest operating system releases. "Customers are expecting things to work in their environment. In the audio industry, customers often need to avoid upgrading their computers for backcompatibility reasons between sessions. Supporting all of these environments ends up being maintenance and testing for the developer and you need a platform that can target all these things and is going to work. There are a lot of changes to keep up with. I don't think this would be possible were we doing all of this in house!” remarked Jon Sandman, Product Manager at SSL. 

In 2013 an OS release caused a variety of issues with the SSL licensing system. The licensing vendor SSL had chosen was unable to maintain the software updates needed to continue uninterrupted service and a good user experience when a major release occurred. The issues caused the team at Solid State Logic to reach back out to PACE Anti-Piracy. “We needed a solution that was widely supported and from a supplier that made the integration process fast and straightforward. We had already used proprietary and less well known securitization solutions, and familiarity and market acceptance had been seen as barriers to success.”

By this time, PACE had developed and released Eden - a robust license management system with Machine-Based Licensing and security - exactly what SSL needed. James Motley, Head of Workstation Products at SSL at the time, was concerned about the cost to migrate license management platforms to PACE, and the effect it would have on business. PACE was able to work with the SSL and Audiotonix team to create flexible pricing and tiers. 

When asked why SSL chose to go to PACE for their licensing needs, Jon Sandman said “We were aware of a number of successful companies using PACE security solutions in our industry. Many of our customers were already familiar with PACE, and so in looking for a securitization solution, PACE was an obvious choice.” When asked why SSL did not choose an alternative licensing solution, Jon continued “Market acceptance is important to us. Securitization and piracy prevention measures are a sensitive subject for our customers, and since PACE had already achieved acceptance with users and established themselves as a leader in our industry, a significant hurdle was overcome from the offset.”

“It is especially important to SSL that we also protect our IP. Emulations of SSL hardware, for example - if someone were to pick the software apart, then it would be a real shame for the dedicated plug-in development and DSP team that we have here at SSL.”

More Than Just Licensing

In addition to offering security and licensing services, the PACE Anti-Piracy brand also houses JUCE - an open-source cross-platform C++ application framework, used for the development of desktop and mobile applications. JUCE has been an integral part of the SSL software development framework. SSL has expanded software plug-in development - going from 10 plug-ins, to regularly releasing on average 2 plug-ins every quarter bringing the current total to 22.

“Not only our plug-ins, but our desktop application is in JUCE - the virtual mixer. We are reaping some of the benefits of the JUCE framework - including graphics improvements - in our SSL 360° desktop application and our new 4K B plug-in which used the latest JUCE release. The 4K B channel strip plug-in is an analogue model of the SL 4000 B-series console channel - an entirely new SSL channel strip for your productions - complete with 360° Plug-in Mixer (your virtual SSL console) and first-class integration with the SSL UC1 and UF8 for hands-on control.”

The Audio Developer Conference

With PACE’s acquisition of JUCE also came the stewardship of the Audio Developer Conference (www.audio.dev). ADC will host its 7th annual conference in London and Online this year November 14 -16, 2022.

Solid State Logic supported the mission of the Audio Developer Conference with silver sponsorships in 2021. 

The SSL team participated both online and in-person during the conference, presenting a talk How to Stand the Test of Time (Despite The Time it Takes to Test) by Jon Sandman. When asked why the Audio Developer Conference is important, Jon remarked “It is great to connect with the people that make the products you love.”

“I’ve always had an interest in accessibility and UX. It is a pretty broad subject, and going to ADC and actually connecting with experts in that field inspired me, and gave me a mental roadmap of what we can do and what our focus can be, which is important for me as a Product Manager.”

Conclusion

PACE Anti-Piracy brings a standard in professional audio software licensing that many companies rely on. We take great pride in working with organizations like Solid State Logic to ensure their software licensing needs are met. In addition, we are honored to expand our connection to SSL through our brands JUCE and the Audio Developer Conference. We look forward to a continued partnership on all levels!

For more information on the new SSL 4K B plug-in, please visit: https://www.solidstatelogic.com/products/ssl-4k-b

For more information on the Audio Developer Conference visit https://audio.dev

PACE Joins the MathWorks Connections Program, Allowing MATLAB Users to Monetize Their Projects

Silicon Valley, CA – PACE Anti-Piracy, creator of the iLok and PACE Licensing Platform, announced today that it has become a member of the MathWorks Connections Program. MathWorks is the world's leading developer of technical computing software for engineers and scientists.

MathWorks Connections Membership Gives MATLAB Compiler Users Full-Scale Support to Commercially Distribute their Application with a Licensing and Security Solution. 

The MathWorks Connections Program is available to third-party organizations that develop complementary products that integrate and add to the existing feature set of  MATLAB®, a programming and numeric computing platform used by millions of engineers and scientists to analyze data, develop algorithms, and create models. These partner offerings address technical needs across a wide range of applications and industries worldwide with software and hardware products that extend the usage of MATLAB and Simulink®. These solutions seamlessly integrate with MathWorks products and ensure ongoing compatibility with new platform releases.

PACE Anti-Piracy brings nearly four decades of application security and licensing experience to the MATLAB market. With over 140 million licenses secured, PACE is extending its platform support to include MATLAB Compiler projects. PACE Anti-Piracy’s licensing solution delivers support for:                      

PACE allows MATLAB users to have the peace of mind that their IP and software are protected and offers a platform to commercialize and monetize their compiled MATLAB Applications. 

“Our MATLAB integrated solution extends PACE’s respected security and licensing platform that currently services industries such as Fintech, Medical, Industrial Software, and Media Entertainment,” said Patrick DiFerdinando, VP of Sales. “We were approached by MATLAB users seeking a bespoke licensing solution. As a result, PACE created a standardized solution to meet the needs of MATLAB users. We are pleased to join the MathWorks Connections Program and offer our security expertise to the scientists and engineers that wish to sell their software.”

About PACE Anti-Piracy

PACE Anti-Piracy is a global leader in robust Application Protection and flexible Software Licensing Management Solutions. Since 1985, PACE has provided software developers and distributors with high value products, automated solutions for anti-piracy protection and secure software distribution. In response to market demands for stronger security products, PACE has expanded its product line to offer White-Box Cryptography (WBC) and Runtime Application Security Protection (RASP) solutions. PACE's products and services are trusted by thousands of software developers supporting millions of end users around the world.www.paceap.com

For further information on how to monetize your MATLAB, please contact: [email protected]

About MathWorks 

MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software. MATLAB, the language of engineers and scientists, is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numeric computation. Simulink is a block diagram environment for simulation and Model-Based Design of multidomain and embedded engineering systems. Engineers and scientists worldwide rely on these products to accelerate the pace of discovery, innovation, and development in automotive, aerospace, communications, electronics, industrial automation, and other industries. MATLAB and Simulink are also fundamental teaching and research tools in the world’s universities and learning institutions. Founded in 1984, MathWorks employs more than 5000 people in 16 countries, with headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, USA. For additional information, visit mathworks.com

MATLAB and Simulink are registered trademarks of The MathWorks, Inc. See www.mathworks.com/trademarks for a list of additional trademarks.

I made a plug-in and want people to try it! How do I do that?

Maybe you’ve been making audio software for decades, or perhaps you’ve just finished your first plug-in with JUCE, and now you want people to try it for a certain period of time.  Let’s talk about some quick and easy ways to offer trial licenses for your PACE-protected software.  By the end of this, you will know several of the ways in which you can provide trial licenses, and some of the methods for delivering those trial licenses.

As a software publisher using the PACE licensing system, you have a lot of control over who can gain access to your software, and how.  Whether you want to offer a perpetual license with several activations, or a subscription license only allowed on an iLok USB, or just a timed trial so everyone can try your product before they buy it, you control the ways in which your customers interact with your software.

Let’s explore several ways of distributing trial licenses to customers (and how to implement them) so everyone can enjoy trying your products, including:

Automatic (Auto-demo)

Auto-demo is one of the most widely used methods for depositing a trial license into your customer’s iLok account. Why? Because the PACE tools do the work for you.

It starts with the Activation Experience, which is a tool included with PACE Level 1 protection. The Activation Experience is triggered when PACE-protected desktop software is launched, or when a PACE-protected plug-in is scanned by a DAW. If you install a PACE-protected pro audio plug-in and do not yet have a license for it, the Activation Experience will pop up and ask the customer to log into their iLok account.  After a user logs in, it will search for any valid license for that product within that iLok account.  

If a license is found, Activation Experience will ask the user where it should be activated (iLok USB/iLok Cloud/machine, for example) and continue through the activation process.

License not found

If a license is not found, Activation Experience will pop up a ‘Try’ button.  When that Try button is clicked, it will automatically deposit a trial license (pre-selected by the publisher) into that iLok account, and then continue with the activation process.

Once you (the Publisher) have set up your trial license and chosen the Auto-demo in your Activation Experience setup, all you need to deliver to the customer is that PACE-protected binary for the customers to gain access to a trial license.

Benefits of Auto-demo:

Activation Codes

Built into the PACE SDK is access to an online portal called PACE Central.  Among many other tools within PACE Central, (including license creation, trial license time limit setup, iLok account search, etc.) there is the Code Factory. The Code Factory allows you to create and manage activation codes for various licenses, including trials and perpetual licenses. You can create activation codes yourself and distribute them right to your customers.  

Once your customer has that code, it can be redeemed one of two ways:

Which one is better?  Whichever one your customer prefers.  There is a benefit when your customer uses iLok License Manager because it will allow them to see more exactly which location they have activated the license to.  

Redeeming a code and activating with iLok License Manager

Redeeming a code and activating with Activation Experience

Once you’ve created a batch of codes, there is the question of how you will deliver those codes to your potential customers. See the Methods of Distribution below for some commonly used ways to get trial licenses to your customers.

Benefits of Activation Codes:

Manual License Deposits

The online portal, PACE Central, allows software publishers to manually deposit licenses directly into any iLok account. Having the ability to quickly deposit a trial license for customer support reasons, or for beta testing and influencer management, can be quite helpful.  However, manually depositing trial licenses one by one for your general customer base is not recommended, for the hopefully obvious reason that it will quickly become tedious and time-consuming.

Methods of Distribution

Whether you decide to use Auto-demo or Activation Codes for your trial licenses, there are a few methods of distribution to consider. Once you have a PACE-protected binary, you could easily give out Activation Codes to anyone or, just provide a download link for your installer if you chose the Auto-demo. Why wouldn’t you do that? Because you will want to know who actually tries your software.

Customer Data Acquisition and Why You Need It

People who try your software are your target audience, which means you’ll want to get them to opt in to marketing and promotional emails from you. This will provide you with the ability to: 

While the PACE tools provide valuable data on licenses deposited for support purposes, owning your own customer database and knowing each product they have tried and/or purchased will enable you to grow your business and stay connected from the very beginning.  Knowing the lifetime value of your customers is crucial for successful planning of marketing and promotional plans.   

Distribution Method #1: Registration Before Trial

This option would require someone to either provide an email address, or a full user registration (name, email, etc.) on your website, before you allow them access to the installer for your product. Once that registration is verified, a redirect URL can give  access to the installer with the Auto-demo. If you choose Activation Codes, one can be emailed to the customer.

Distribution Method #2: Sell A Free Trial

This involves setting up a $0 product in your webstore that requires customers to fill out information and allows you to place a checkbox to try for the opt-in of marketing emails.  Once they have ‘purchased’ a trial for that product, the installer can be provided with either the Activation Code to be redeemed, or a link to the installer for your software with the Auto-demo included.

To sum it up, once you’ve decided to protect your desktop application or plug-in with PACE, there are several ways to create and deliver trial licenses to your customers. 

As your business grows, there are more advanced options available to centralize the direct sales, dealer sales, and customer registration and installation processes. This would involve having your own code system for users and dealers in a central place with more automated and secure deposits to PACE. This could also include single sign-on and activation in your application. Having all of this data within your own CRM or database will allow for a more seamless customer experience and more upsell opportunities, and remove any potential data privacy issues. PACE clients that make this investment in their infrastructure tend to have great success in growing their business and increasing the lifetime value for each customer.

Our experience has shown that publishers increase sales when they offer prospective customers a trial of their plug-in. To that end, we at PACE have created a licensing platform that offers our publishers the ability to customize the trial and demo experience. By offering multiple ways of creating and delivering licenses, we give our publishers the autonomy to customize the experience that is best for their customers.

For more information on offering trial licenses or how PACE can benefit you and your customers, contact us now.

PACE Anti-Piracy, Inc. is proud to announce that Vienna Symphonic Library is now offering iLok USB and iLok Cloud compatible licenses for their entire product line. In an announcement earlier today, VSL's press release stated "We’re excited to enter a new era of easy installation procedures, license management, and using our products with or without a physical USB key!"

Along with new iLok compatible licenses, VSL has created an application called Vienna Assistant, to aid in the download and installation process. As VSL states "we’ve streamlined the entire process from purchasing to playing so you can focus on what really matters, your music!" To celebrate the switch, VSL is offering store-wide discounts on all of their products!

Derek Heimlich, Director of Sales, Pro Audio, at PACE Anti-Piracy stated "We are proud to be working with Vienna Symphonic Library. They are known throughout the industry for their excellent products, and we are happy to help protect their products while enabling their customers to fulfill their artistic endeavors."

For videos, instructions, and more details on VSL's switch to iLok, read their full article here.

About Vienna Symphonic Library GmbH

VSL is one of the leading developers of sample libraries and music production software for classical orchestral music. The Vienna Symphonic Library provides digital samples of solo voices and instruments as well as orchestral ensembles. The VSL software acts as an interface for the music composer to play the real instruments on a MIDI keyboard. Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Lenny Kravitz, Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake are all VSL users.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram