I wanted to get people's opinions about online software distribution via download. As opposed to the more traditional methods where you get a cd or dvd in a box. Synthetik has used the later option in the past for software distribution. But we're currently exploring other potential options for the upcoming 4.0 release.

As you know, we currently ship a box containing multiple cds via fed-ex. With the escalating cost of oil fed-ex shipping charges have also skyrocketed, the shipping charges we add to existing orders do not reflect our actual costs at this point. Packaging software in boxes or plastic and then shipping that is also not the most ecological approach, there is a lot of waste and carbon footprint associated with it. My take on most boxed software packages these days is that you open the large cardboard box with printed sleeve and it's empty except for a disk and a very small amount of printing (maybe), so while it's designed to make people feel like they are getting something large and physical when they purchase in actuality it essentially an empty box with a cd or dvd.

One advantage of downloadable distribution is that it's much more immediate, you don't have to wait for a physical package to arrive to get started using the program.

So i was curious how people would feel about a downloadable option for studio artist distribution in the future. Possibly with an additional option for a backup dvd that would be mailed for those that want some kind of a physical disc. Does this appeal to you? Do you have issues with it?

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I have a broadband connection so I'm all for downloading. Maybe a small fee if you want a CD later.Richard
As I also am in an area that is serviced only by dialup, downloading only what we want sounds preferable. Tutorial(s), main program - in manageable sized files.

I personally would like the option of having a physical CD as well. Get an Amazon or Ebay store and ship just the CD in a jewel case. Just a thought...
So, further comments I have to this thread.

I just received a DVD set of 3 from Paul John Caponigro. It was mailed via USPS on June 6 from Los Angeles, California to Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. Came in a bubble pack and cost 1.90 postage first class.

The 3 DVD,s are encased in a cardboard DVD envelope and arrived no problems.

I guess the only item worth noting is that I would have preferred them packing the DVD's in a plastic DVD case, much like the one that SA ships in but that might have pushed the size or weight over the First class letter constraints.

I have also received software from Adobe and FileMaker via USPS, both in slightly larger packages than the JPC pack, all with no issues, so I think that to Canada USPS is an option worth considering.
I am a big fan of the download option. Given my transitory nature, getting discs through the mail is one more headache that I'd prefer not having to deal with. I agree the added protection of a hard backup is a nice thing to have, I'd like for there to be an option at the time or purchase as to which one I'd like to use. More than willing to pay a bit extra to purchase the "hard copy".


As far as the training videos go, is it possible to stream them on a password protected site a la Lynda.com? There are times when I'd love to watch one of the training videos but don't have access to it because the discs were left back at the apartment.
I think that downloading is fine with a DVD/CD option for a small additional fee. Please no dongles....ever
I am a big fan of the download option too. Quick, no waste of anything, lower expenses, and if I really like to have a physical something I can burn a CD or DVD myself after downloading.
There is simply no need for more empty cardboard boxes or something. The only apology for that is anyway when the software comes with a set of printed user manuals like FCP e.g.
Yes, please offer a choice! Different people have different priorities. I must admit I was pretty angry that I had to pay $45 for shipping, especially when I opened the box and found there was no manual in it. A paper manual is the only thing, IMO, that would justify paying extra to get a box. Without it, to me it's just a waste of money, time and packaging material. But I'm sure others feel differently.
I agree that $45 seems excessive for shipping but you need to realize that it cost Synthetik even more to fed ex ship your studio artist package to you in France, so we actually lost money on the shipping for your order. We currently lose money on every shipment to Europe and Australia because of the hard reality of what shipping costs these days. Depending on how far the truck had to drive it can be a rather large increase in cost. It was bad before but with the current oil price increases it has grown much worse.

Again, we currently ship fed-ex because we found in the past that if we didn't we could not reliably track overseas packages and there were often excessive delays for individual customers while packages sat in customs in foreign countries. It's a hard call to make, because it's easy to say use a cheaper method to ship but then if 2 or 3 weeks go by and your package hasn't arrived because customs hasn't gotten around to dealing with it and we can't reliably track where the package actually is you might be even angrier. We made the decision many years ago that overall customer satisfaction was higher when we switched to fed-ex shipping even though it was more expensive than other shipping options, because again you need to look at the whole picture to really evaluate it.

My hope is that moving to a downloadable distribution option will help solve some of these real world issues both for customers and for Synthetik. The general consensus i'm getting from the posts here is that most people would be happy with a downloadable option as long as some provision is provided for getting backup discs. And if the shipping takes a little longer for the backup discs that's less of an issue since you can get started with the download package.

A dial-up internet connection is really not going to be a good way to go for a downloadable version of Studio Artist, even without video tutorials the download will be large and slow due to all of the presets, framework files, etc. So i think those people are going to want something physical shipped to them.
I want both. Make the hard copies optional for a reasonable fee in addition to the download price. Then we can make our own decisions. That way everyone, I think, would be happy. I've seen this done with other software.
Hi John

I used to avoid downloads of software back in the days of dial up/ but now with broadband I get almost all my software this way.

An option for the printed manual at a slight additional cost is usually a good Idea. Also make sure that the download can be attempted more than one time. Nothing more annoying than a failed download that then requires you to contact someone for permission to try again. Some download services even offer a "smart" download that will remember where is was when the connection failed.

SO when is 4.0 expected.

I am really just now getting the hang of 3.5 so it MUST be time to upgrade... (smile)

cheers

Michael
Downloadable software rocks! You can have it now and you can have it cheaper.
I cannot wait for Studio Artist 4.

Best regards

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