Digital Rights Management

  • i have really enjoyed this thread and respect all the opinions in it. I have been trying to think through stormhenge ’s argument that it is a foregone conclusion that a closed ecosystem DRM world will kill Kemper etc. No matter how I play it out I just can’t find a scenario where her doomsday scenario happens. Only time will tell but I certainly hope the DRM model isn’t the future.

    I think you are right about DRM and don't worry about this scenario myself. Not much effort has ever been made to protect music from piracy, so I doubt a huge change is likely to be made here. Most decent Kemper users observe the rules and support profile makers anyway.


    Personally I spent hundreds of pounds on the hope of finding the perfect profile before realising I could make it myself. They never sound as you expect after hearing another guitarist demonstrate.


    Also, if we are talking about amp manufacturers, I think the cabinet is most of the sound anyway. On one album we couldn't remember which was the 6505 and which was the Powerball after recording.


    Artists that made a stand against piracy simply got a bad name in the process, even if they were trying to protect less well off musicians. So Kemper will likely continue as it is and not get involved in an argument against the majority of its customers.

  • ... is to buy their amp.

    not interested in big, loud, heavy, single purpose device which requires even bigger cabinet box, or some other devices, like load boxes. Wouldn't have space and oppotunity to use them to their full potential. Should I buy it and make usable for me (that is: profile...) and keep in storage? Makes no sense. Real amps played its role in history but new technology is taking the game to another level. You can't stop it - digital is just much more convenient, compact, flexible, bla, bla.

    Don't get me wrong: they will still be around as boutique items, for people who just like real amps. There will still be people who will buy them. My point is that the world is going digital and if amp manufacturers want a piece of this cake maybe they should augment their products with digital goods (profiles, maybe license deals, like some do with AmpliTube).

  • I would have to agree with you on that one.


    Valve amps are undoubtedly set to become an extremely niche boutique market (and probably much sooner than we realise). However, I can’t see DRM making any difference to that future.


    Rather than trying to make additional income from licensing recreations of physical valve amps to sustain the development of valve designs, i think the future will be digital amps designed from the ground up which don’t try and emulate any physical amp.


    There is a whole generation of players (some of whom talk about valve amps and digital comparisons in forms) that have never actually played a real valve amp. Many of them have absolutely no desire to use a valve amp either.


    There are whole genres of music where the amp tones are actually so extreme that valves aren’t necessarily the best technology to create those sounds in the first place (even though the players are currently still emotionally attached to valves - metal is an example).


    The sooner digital amps move beyond just trying to emulate and start innovating the better.

  • Valve amps are undoubtedly set to become an extremely niche boutique market (and probably much sooner than we realise).

    Didn't some of us think the same when the first red bean, aka Line6' POD came on the market (and some other first approaches in the digital realm). Well it is so hard to estimate how much time is left from an innovation to bigger changes in the market. I studied Technolog & Innovation Management some years ago (luckily owning an MSc in it) and the associated literature is full of examples showing successful companies, vendors, market leaders who wait too long to embrace the change coming from some of the innovations. Remember Kodak and AGFA in the area of photography? Nokia initially made boots - then phones. Well.


    I'd think that clever amp makers need to look into a way to use their great knowledge and how to transfer it into the digital world. I was thinking of those who could just build prototypes which are further developments, enable new sounds etc., then profile them, sell the profiles and actually never put the physical amps into mass production. I agree with stormhenge 's earlier statement that it will be hard to make a living out of that. So, just 2cents but definitely not the solution for all.

  • I'd think that clever amp makers need to look into a way to use their great knowledge and how to transfer it into the digital world. I was thinking of those who could just build prototypes which are further developments, enable new sounds etc., then profile them, sell the profiles and actually never put the physical amps into mass production.

    That's the future I'm hoping for, but explain to me how that works without iron clad DRM?

    Creator of the Stormhenge Superthump and the DSL MAX mod. Amateur tinkerer, and lifelong tone chaser. Magically broken.

    Gabrielle Graves bassist and producer

  • but explain to me how that works without iron clad DRM?

    Maybe, maybe it doesn't work. More thinking needed... and: How does it work for Mr. Britt or others these days? There are risks associated to this approach as much as there are risks in other businesses. Your proposal for a solution is DRM. Okay understood. For me and observing digital markets for more than 20 years: It doesn't work. My 2 cents.

  • Didn't some of us think the same when the first red bean, aka Line6' POD came on the market (and some other first approaches in the digital realm).

    the difference this time is momentum. Sales of digital solutions are now a significant portion of the market (if not already the majority).


    I'd think that clever amp makers need to look into a way to use their great knowledge and how to transfer it into the digital world. I was thinking of those who could just build prototypes which are further developments, enable new sounds etc., then profile them, sell the profiles and actually never put the physical amps into mass production.

    I don’t see the need to design valve amps whether prototype or full production in order to have them digitally captured or modelled. Why not just go straight to digital and bypass the analog pre-production version?

  • I don’t see the need to design valve amps whether prototype or full production in order to have them digitally captured or modelled. Why not just go straight to digital and bypass the analog pre-production version?

    Yeah could be as well, Alan. My idea was just an example of how amp makers could / should re-invent themselves. Yours is another one. Nevertheless two questions will come up: What will we profile in the future if no new amps are designed and built - Vox AC30 no. 5162? Or if it goes directly into digital how will innovation in sound take place?

  • i reckon there are enough amps in existence to provide profiles for many years to come 😆


    as for pure digital innovation, that should be easy. Instead of programers starting out with “how do I replicate XYZ amp?” they start out with “how do I create the sound I have in my head?” There shouldn’t be any need to try and create that sound by first trying to create an analog type signal path in the digital world. Instead, just go straight to sound manipulation in the digital realm.

  • the dark future I see is ... amp makers'

    Just in 2020 I bought 4 new tube amps worth roughly 12000 - 13000 Euros. New as in brand new from either a retail store or directly from the amp manufacturer. My personal guess: They all were happy selling me their actual product instead of a hypothetical "official profile pack". And I'm sure you'd be surprised how many actually buy amps that they likely never even considered buying. Kemper Profiler helps to discover personal "dream amps".


    This side of the story is often overlooked. Just think of a small amp builder in Germany who doesn't have his amps sitting in retail stores around the world for everyone to try. But if you could try e.g. a well-made profile pack of a Larry British Purist or a Larry Rock Wizard, you might consider buying the real thing at some point ... or someone else.


    Or in other words, I'm sure Morgan has had no losses just because rmpacheco's Morgan AC20 profile is so popular. They might have sold even more amps just because more people got aware of them through the Profiler.

  • My point is that the world is going digital and if amp manufacturers want a piece of this cake maybe they should augment their products with digital goods (profiles, maybe license deals, like some do with AmpliTube).

    My point was that for supporting amp manufacturers you need to buy their amps. To support a hat manufacturer you need to buy his hats.

    If the amp manufacturer makes and sells digital goods, he's not an amp manufacturer but something else ... a "digital goods creator" (who might be worth supporting as well, but not in his capacity of amp manufacturing).

  • Or in other words, I'm sure Morgan has had no losses just because rmpacheco's Morgan AC20 profile is so popular. They might have sold even more amps just because more people got aware of them through the Profiler.

    A friend of mine bought a Morgan AC20 after hearing the profile on my system ...

    Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. - Wayne Dyer

  • This is yet another case of punishing everyone for the 10-20% of people that are willing to break the rules.

    Like when I get my bags checked when walking out of a hardware store.

    I'd never contemplate using a stolen profile or playing music I don't own, but you're expecting me to change the whole way I create music just because some people are jerks?

  • This is yet another case of punishing everyone for the 10-20% of people that are willing to break the rules.

    Like when I get my bags checked when walking out of a hardware store.

    I'd never contemplate using a stolen profile or playing music I don't own, but you're expecting me to change the whole way I create music just because some people are jerks?

    If my iLok key goes down, then my studio stands still until it can be sorted out. However, a guy working on stolen software will just continue without a hitch.


    Punishing the loyal customer base will just alienate them.

  • It's not about being defensive in favor of the current model.

    It's more to be against a system (DRM) that does nothing against those who illegally use a product (profile, audio file, ebook, Photoshop, Protools, etc.), but creates inconvenience to the legal owner who have paid for the product.

    Well said. DRM only hurts the customer and not the pirate.