MATRIXSYNTH: Jona Bechtolt of Yacht

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jona Bechtolt of Yacht

Read this post on Jona Bechtolt.

Synth content? Simple. If people don't pay for their software, the software companies don't get paid. If the software companies don't get paid they cease to exist. If they cease to exist they can't make us our synths.

The biggest issue I have with this is not him "trying out" pirated software before buying, but him glorifying it. He's promoting it whether he realizes or not. If he has an audience, he has a fan base. Fans typically respect the musicians they like. Fans may be inclined to take similar actions. BTW demos are for trying before buying not pirated software.

On his teamyacht public website he states the following:
"I use pirated software. I'll be the first to admit that. The certain audio software of my choice has been historically hard to crack and has been sort of an unreliable program to use due to its "I could stop working for you at any time" nature. They are smart over there in Germany. No one knows why it stops working. No one knows how. It's not calling home to the internet and shutting itself off. It's not creating an invisible file that tells it to stop working. It's not even embedding some sort of copyright violation code into the song files... I don't know what it's doing, but it stinks."

see for yourself

Is this any of our business? If you want companies that make tools that you use to continue making those tools, then I would probably say yes. Now you know why anti-piracy USB dongles exist. The software we use is probably more expensive because of this as well...


  1. I've gone over this with people so many times that I've pretty much given up trying to get people to see what seems obvious to me. I will give Jonas one bit of credit though. Not many people are honest enough to admit that they steal software and are willing to endure the reaction. Whether he was too naive or stupid to realize that there might be a negative reaction, I don't know.

  2. You omitted the "I promised myself that one day, when I can afford it, I'll give those smart Germans $500 for their fancy software." part. Still, a bit daft to admit using pirated software. Looking forward to hearing their new stuff.

  3. I pirated a couples VSTs a number of years ago but I felt guilty as all hell so I removed them and/or bought them.

  4. F this guy. It's so (comparatively) inexpensive to be an electronic musician today. $300 for a soft synth that produces infinite channels and voices, cry me a river. $1000 for a 16-voice Proteus was a steal when I was starting out. Not to mention all of the great software under $100.

    It's especially deplorable for a professional. I understand that 16-year old kids are going to steal software. But once you're making money on your music, you'd better be right with your software.

  5. kingsteven:
    Yes, but if "one day" hasn't come by now, do you suppose it's ever going to show up? Good intentions and 99p buy a McFlurry...

    Indeed. It's even cheaper than that, if you're OK with a bit of work. You can pick up fast P3 systems for £50 over here, frequently including a basic Windows install - via freecycle, you may even find one for the cost of picking it up - and there are enough interesting tools out there for free (which I could spend all day enumerating - but Psycle is as good a place to start as any) that it's not inconceivable to be making music, perfectly legally, for no cash outlay at all.

    As for the whole piracy debate, I find myself unable to take a moral position: on the one hand, I believe the copyright laws we have at present to be immoral, and any business model relying on them for its continued existence (shrinkwrapped software, big music) to be inherently flawed; on the other, having coded for money, I recognise how much work goes into good software, and the need for developers to be recompensed for their work if they're going to carry on doing it - in an ideal world, they'd be employed by some rich benefactor to write a softsynth or DAW and then release the source, but...

  6. Just to clarify:

    1. Personally, I try to avoid pirated software. That's my lookout. Likewise, I don't fiddle my taxes, even though I believe taxation to theft.

    2. I have considerable technical admiration for whatever these clever Germans are doing that so frustrates Mr Bechtolt. ;) It doesn't stink. It's very clever and it serves him right. (Unless the software in question is that unreliable even when it's legal; that's just wrong.)

  7. Jona is a friend of mine, and I have known him to pay for some of the software that he uses. Also, he makes a lot of kids enthusiastic about creating electronic music. If half those kids buy the software, that's a lot of sales right there that might not have happened otherwise.

    Of course, this is sort of an eternal debate that has existed on the Internet since forever.

    p.s. - Mac or PC?

  8. Does Dalas V's logic also apply to other things? Like boats?

    What if I stole a boat and some kids saw me in a boat and boat sales then went up, is it still okay for me to have stolen the boat in the first place?

    I'd say what's more likely is if I was famous and stole a boat, then other kids would also steal boats and think they were as cool as me.


  9. Every touring full time musician that knows how to crack software does it. That doesn't make it 'objectively morally ok' but it does mean that that's how the market works until companies can figure out better ways of protecting their software from piracy.

    Also, people need to stop using analogies that refer to physical things that cost money to reproduce. You've been watching too many 'don't steal this movie' shorts. Maybe YOU think that it's morally similar, but it is not economically similar!

  10. Matrix,

    Thank you for taking the time to participate.

    However, there are a few problems with your assumptions.

    Number one, speaking the truth is not glorification. If more people spoke truthfully we'd be able to move forward at much greater speeds. YACHT attempts levels of honesty that may make people uncomfortable. These feelings of discomfort are generally the reasons we write blog posts like this one. It helps to sort out our feelings, make declarative statements, and get feedback from our peers.

    Number two, it's not that simple. Software is pirated. The most pirated software belongs to the most successful software company: Microsoft. This is not justification, it's just the nature of digital media. For those of us that are comfortable enough with computers to have the knowledge to find and use pirated material it all seems so easy, but the majority of people do not, and the path of least resistance for them is to purchase it. The system is not perfect, but it works.

    Number three, we don't have all the answers, but we're willing to be the catalyst for a dialogue about this amazing digital world we live in. If that means we have to be seen as the villain on occasion, so be it. But we would ask that you look at your own harddrive and not judge us too harshly. We have never met a computer-savvy person who does not have some pirated content. Never.

    Number four, if you, or any of your readers, would like to discuss this further we'd be happy to talk. You can contact us at

    Remain in Light,
    The YACHT Trust



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