Last week production at Such-N-Such Media (the place in which everything I do, outside of travel, happens) came to a halt right after The Less Desirables session. I did the big (two versions) upgrade to the studio’s ProTools software. In doing so, the protocols that my old iLok authentication device, and the licenses on it, basically useless. That was an iLok1 and the newer version is the iLok2.
I’m only going to touch basics on what the iLok2 does; at least the “official” reason. Software (especially software that costs hundreds of dollars) companies want to cut their losses from pirated copies of their products by making licenses be authenticated before the software can be opened and used. To do this, they team with iLok (or, I suppose, similar companies) to store the users licenses on a USB dongle that will do this storage. It’s basically a USB drive (not entirely unlike a flash/thumb drive) that allows multiple licenses from various software providers and platforms to be stored and used. The idea is that you only need one iLok for all your licensing needs. That’s the “official” story. I think it’s just another way for them to make money; require you to purchase something else.
This is where I got lucky and where my years as a loyal and dedicated customer of the greatest music/studio/awesomeness retailer in the world, Sweetwater Sound, pays off. Granted, the iLok is only selling for just shy of $50, but in my world, that’s a lot of money. Matt Emick, my rep at Sweetwater (yes, you have your own personalized representative that keeps a profile on you to better assist you with your current and past equipment/software/etc) had helped me get the software update purchased. When I ran into the problem, at 10:30pm this past Wednesday, I emailed him and told him that yet one more thing had gone wrong and now I can’t use the new upgrade until I get a new iLok2. He called me the next day and told me “Merry Christmas” and he was sending me a new iLok2. He said because I was loyal (and have purchased about $15-20k worth of stuff over the last 10-15 years) he was just sending me that as a gift. I know it probably doesn’t cost him or the company anything in the long run, as they have major purchase power. And, for me to get excited over a $50 dongle is probably a little silly. But when I went to use ProTools yesterday (thinking I could still use the old version until the iLok2 showed up) and it didn’t work, my world stopped. Matt said he couldn’t fathom that I didn’t already have one because of my equipment, but when he went back to look, there wasn’t one, just the old one.
I had to cancel Fan Interference and The Beer Dads. That’s two, possibly three shows (if we recorded more than one) that were canceled because of this problem. Fan Interference is important right now because of all the NFL playoff items and coach firings going on (think “Black Monday”) we need to get the info and conversation out. We’re running out of our reserve on The Beer Dads and need to record multiples to keep us in the clear in case things go wrong (like this) or someone is going out of town. If I didn’t get this today and it didn’t come until late tomorrow or even Thursday then it would have thrown The Less Desirables out for the week and that would have been nearly catastrophic, at least to me. We’ve only missed one Wednesday in almost six years of doing the show. One little, tiny piece of nonsense thew so much – and could have thrown more – off. But, luckily it hasn’t, yet. I say “yet” only because I won’t get to try it out until tomorrow. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed.
But, all this goes to show why Sweetwater is so awesome. There is not a single aspect, other than the humans, content and the computers that house the sound effects (even though that software is) and Skype, of the podcasts you hear that weren’t created by products purchased from Sweetwater. 95% of that with Matt as my rep. I purchase anything of any significance from him. They are priced the same as the big box music stores, Amazon, etc. They’ll price match, if needed. He can look at my profile, see what is in it and tell me what will work with my system, what I should get or what I should avoid. Of course, this comes from my needs/wants/requirements, as well. We work together to make sure I have what I need. If I ask about something and he thinks it’s a clunker, then he tells me. He sometimes even gets me what I need cheaper than what I was originally thinking I needed. It’s just good to have an agent that works for your needs while representing the company as well. Most shipping is free. You can purchase from their website if you want, but I prefer to let Matt handle all my dealings just to keep that profile up to date. And, hey, they send you candy or “sweet” (get it) stuff in every package you purchase. And, this time excluded for some reason, they always just send me a shload of Smarties because they’re my favorite candy. This time was just various candies. Oh well, I’ll live. If you’re a musician, studio owner/operator, DJ (I bought my DJ equipment from them, too), sound engineer, whatever, they have the gear for you. Give Matt a call: (800)222-4700 ext 1249 if you need anything. You won’t be disappointed.
So, I talked long enough. Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“How much do you as a consumer value a positive experience with a brand or its customer service department? How willing are you to share that with your friends? How inclined are you to let that person know that you’re interaction with them was positive?” – Simon Mainwaring