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I was wondering how viable it is to sell a custom fx library as a potential income stream. I'm trying to set expectations on how many units one is likely to sell as an independent distributor. I would be doing this on my own website not through any 3rd party site. Assuming promotion is not completely incompetent, is somewhere between 500 to 1000 downloads a realistic expectation or way off? Does anyone have good experience selling off of their own site? I've read one post saying they typically lose money on these, so would love to hear anyone's feedback. Thanks!

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500 to 1000 downloads of a single sound library? No, you're probably not going to get that. 50 to 100 downloads maybe, and it would probably take you a year to get close to that number. 10 to 20 downloads of a library is realistic. I'm not trying to be negative, just being honest. The market is just not that big.

Now, if you're offering thousands of individual downloads or a huge collection of libraries (like 50+) you can probably start to hit those numbers with combined sales. It will be a slow climb though and you have to be in it for the long haul.

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@Chuck I agree, I license an FX library too (although through another company) and I've always treated it as a tertiary "rainy day" income/fund which patiently builds itself over time. The market is indeed rather small. I believe the days of the Sound Ideas/HE model are long over. –  Stavrosound Oct 3 '12 at 8:04
    
Thanks for the blunt assessment Chuck. Really good to know so I can set realistic expectations. As for individual downloads, I haven't seen this model other than on 3rd party sites or iTunes. I wonder if this could be a worth while delivery on my own site. Thanks again. –  Pavel Oct 3 '12 at 15:20
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I agree with Chuck.

A single library bundle, or perhaps 10, won't have much impact. You'll need to bulk up your library, and add to it over time. When your library grows, you'll see it take off.

A story from my own experience: I began selling individual downloads about 6 years ago. I had 2,500 sounds. I placed them on a handful of websites. They did fine, but not spectacular. It was only years later when the amount grew over 10k that things took off.

That's not to say you need that number of sounds. Packs work a bit differently, and in fact may be a wiser choice. However there is a tipping point. Keep at it. It is, as Chuck noted, a long haul game.

Also, quality is important. One pack with 500 standard sounds will be less successful than an exceptional pack with 40 sounds.

I think the market is big enough to make a go of it, but it is fairly saturated right now. Focus on rare, diligent recordings and you'll do well.

Paul

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Thanks Paul, makes a lot of sense. Maybe combining sound packs with individual downloads would yield a better result? –  Pavel Oct 3 '12 at 15:23
    
@pavel It doesn't hurt. The issue with individual downloads is that it takes a lot of work to set up. It requires a database, a good search engine, multiple pages for each effect, and protecting the individual sounds. If you can do it, go for it. Packs or bundles may be simpler. People seem to appreciate the "value per dollar" in packs more than downloads, in my experience. All the best. –  Paul Virostek Oct 3 '12 at 18:31
    
My site has the capability for individual sound downloads, but I haven't re-implemented it since I re-designed the site earlier this year. There just wasn't enough going on with individual sounds vs. the packs to justify the time it would take. –  Joe Griffin Oct 4 '12 at 5:30
    
@Joe exactly the trend I've noticed. Some sites I partner with are an exception, but I'd say packs are definitely more popular. –  Paul Virostek Oct 4 '12 at 13:39
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