Audeonic has announced that his StreamByter app will now be free. Good news for you, but bad news for Nic.
Released last year as a spin-off AUv3 from MidiFire, the niche app allows users to create custom MIDI effects. Nearly a full year later Bram Bos released Mozaic, a very similar app that sat at a price point of exactly $1 less than StreamByter.
Sales of StreamByter slowed to a trickle in the following months. Nic shared his sales data with me for this article. In the last 30 days Audeonic sold 6 copies of StreamByter, and one of those was refunded. Faced with competition in this tiny niche of a tiny niche, Audeonic had some tough choices to make. He could have started a price war as they raced to the bottom, by pricing StreamByter below Mozaic. At that point his profits would have been next to nothing anyhow, so he's just giving it away.
In the last 24 hours he's had more downloads of StreamByter than it achieved in the last 12 months.
Bram Bos was kind enough to share his sales data with me for the sake of comparison. In the 3 months since its release, Mozaic is averaging less than 100 sales in a month. After Apple's cut, and taxes, Bram takes in €2 per unit. Less than €600 is a tiny payoff for the amount of work that goes into making an app.
He notes that Mozaic also requires a lot of customer support, so factor that into the total time committed to the app for a €2 pay day.
Everyone knows, and I've said it many times before, that our current app economy is unsustainable. Today marks only the latest victim of that unsustainability. Nic has revealed that he doesn't intend to release any new apps. After over 8 years of independent music app development, it just isn't economically feasible for him to continue. We as consumers need to take note. We need to pay developers a fair wage if we want them to continue to bring us great apps. Developers need to feel that they can charge whatever it takes to recoup their time invested. Otherwise making apps for us in this tiny niche is a waste of their time, energy, and talent.