Native Instruments are today announcing a brand new website and subscription service called Sounds.com. The platform will host samples and loops for users to download for an initial subscription fee of $9.99, though there’s also a ‘free for life’ option too. Initially rolled out in the US, NI say the service will eventually be engrained in their Maschine and Traktor software, as well as integrating with Kontakt and the rest of their Komplete products via a dedicated plugin.
There’s a lot to take in so we thought we’d break it down into a handy FAQ to explain what Sounds.com does, how it works and what it might mean for you. Once you've read through, watch the video below for more.
What is Sounds.com?
Sounds.com is a new samples and loop subscription service from Native Instruments.
How much does it cost?
There’s a free version that includes previewing sounds, some free sound bundles and access to the sound-recognition algorithms, but if you want access to all the sounds on the platform, it’ll cost you $9.99 per month.
Can I download as much as I want?
Although the subscription gives you access to ‘unlimited’ downloads per month, once you hit up to 3,000 downloads, you will be asked by Native Instruments if you really need all those sounds. If you say yes via email, they will grant you more access. So yes, but it’s discouraged. Less is more, after all.
If I cancel my subscription can I keep my sounds?
Yes. The sounds you download are not DRM’d in any way, so once you download them they are yours to use and keep.
Are existing Maschine Expansion packs on there?
Yes they are, though content like MIDI files are not yet on the platform.
Does it integrate and sync with my DAW?
Not yet, but it will. The plan is to integrate Sounds.com library and functionality with your DAW via a dedicated plugin as well as Maschine, Traktor and all NI’s product line where possible.
Does Sounds.com only feature Native Instruments samples?
No, companies like Loop Loft and MVP Loops are all on there – at launch there are 200 sample suppliers with more on the way.
What else should I know?
NI intend to roll Sounds.com’s API out to other companies and services, meaning we could eventually see Sounds.com’s library inside Roland, Elektron and Korg gear, as well as other plugins and DAWs.
It’s a very interesting move from Native who’ve basically undercut existing services like Splice, Noiiz and Loopmaster’s Loopcloud in order to make a big splash in the sample world. If third parties do adopt Sounds.com’s open API, we could very quickly see a move towards a cloud-based sample library that’s always with you, even without a laptop or an internet connection.
How all this operates in the real world, we’ll have to wait and see, but for now, NI have made a big statement with Sounds.com.