New Synthesia Store Model after the App Store Models

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timwat
Posts: 4

Post by timwat »

As you'll know, Apple's App and Itunes Stores and Google Play have an extensive range of apps and content made by thousands of developers, and are models of sustainable content creation for iOS and Android devices. It works for developers, because they can make money selling globally from a store available on every device, and it works for Apple/Google because they get a cut/commission from each sale. Users themselves benefit massively from this "symbiotic" relationship.

So, why not introduce this sort of model in Synthesia? That is, a store that is available from within Synthesia, where "developers" can contribute pieces for sale (or for free), complete with hand allocation and finger numbering? This would be a solution to what I have found frustrating with Synthesia, namely the limitation on the number of pieces specifically made for it with hand and finger allocations. Importing your own MIDI pieces is a great feature, but useless for people who want to learn the pieces with hand and finger allocations.

This way, the Synthesia developer can make more money and increase development, while customers can find a greater variety of pieces to learn. A win-win situation that could potentially elevate Synthesia up to being the no. 1 keyboard-learning-game app in the market.

So, the new store model would incorporate these features:
  • Built into Synthesia
  • Offer Free and paid pieces
  • Users can contribute and sell pieces
  • "Updates" for pieces upon revision
  • Cloud-based account with retrievable purchases
  • Ratings and reviews system
  • Filter by genre, composer, difficulty, length, ratings, etc. (and any combination of them)
Further suggestions:
  • App-store like aesthetic (cover images, previews)
  • Bundles (eg. by theme, composer, etc.)
  • Top charts
  • Free piece-of-the-week to attract users
  • "Family sharing" of pieces
  • Piece highlights
What do you say?
Nicholas
Posts: 12644

Post by Nicholas »

This is one of those things where it would be an absolute win-win and is an excellent idea on paper. That said, the idea of trying to implement even the bare minimum in-app storefront scares me away from the whole endeavor immediately.

Every month or two, as an app developer for both Apple and Google's stores, I have to agree to some new policy change that happened because of shifting legal requirements in one of the hundreds of countries where those app stores operate. Combine that with what I've learned from the 1700 page tome about music licensing that's just to the left of my desk, which just covers the US-only spiderweb of music copyright pitfalls. And the final nail in the coffin is that I'm a development team of one person, without a building full of the lawyers and business managers that would be required to even get that sort of project started.

Trying to be more productive: the closest I could see something like this being a possibility would be to incorporate someone else's library. It would take partnering with someplace like SheetMusicPlus that has already tackled the legal challenges, that has a rich library complete with the metadata and cover images you'd need for a nice storefront, and that has something like an affiliate program already in place.

Even then, as long as the content is under someone else's control, the integration is never as smooth as if everything is controlled by the first party. Your nice cloud save idea suddenly means a third-party account login prompt which causes all sorts of confusion for existing users, etc.

This is one of those things that with infinite resources is a great idea. But working inside the confines of very limited resources, it's borderline impossible. (Sorry for an answer you probably weren't looking forward to, especially given all of the effort you put into your clearly thought-out, detailed suggestion!)
timwat
Posts: 4

Post by timwat »

Thanks for the detailed response.

OK, so it would seem in-app solution may be not realistic. I can think of a couple of alternatives:

1. Have user contributions of copyright-free pieces. Much of the classical repertoire would fit under this category. I'd love to be able to learn Chopin on it, for example, but I don't have the time to be putting hand and finger marks on the MIDI files, and I imagine I would not be the only one. This could work with the original idea posted above, but with an off-app store model.
2. Partnership idea that you mentioned, especially for copyrighted pieces. Perhaps it could just be a matter of approaching these existing services to see if they could offer Synthesia files alongside their existing file types (PDF, etc.). Users can be directed to these places for more contemporary pieces.

If these can work, and you could take a cut, you can potentially increase your revenue and employ others to further the development, while increasing user numbers and satisfaction.
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jimhenry
Posts: 1842

Post by jimhenry »

timwat wrote: 06-04-21 4:56 am 1. Have user contributions of copyright-free pieces. Much of the classical repertoire would fit under this category. I'd love to be able to learn Chopin on it, for example, but I don't have the time to be putting hand and finger marks on the MIDI files, and I imagine I would not be the only one. This could work with the original idea posted above, but with an off-app store model.
To continue to rain on your nicely organized parade, even with "out of copyright" classical pieces you have to be careful. You have to know the provenance of the source used to create the MIDI file. Recent editions of classical works do acquire some copyright protection based on the editorial enhancements to the score. I am a retired intellectual property attorney. I never did copyright clearance work but the thought of what is involved gives me nightmares. Copyright law is a good idea that has been so infested by meddling from vested interests that is has become a hideous monster that is a trap for all who come near it.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
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