I am in complete agreement with you, and have probably committed “suicide by forum posts” by frequently offering critical anti-Elements arguments on the forums in the last few months.
Let’s take Envato’s relationship with authors/producers and set it aside. You could spend hours discussing and debating the relationship/responsibility that exists between Envato and authors who sell on the AudioJungle marketplace.
Let’s focus only on Envato’s relationship with its customers and potential new customers. It is easy to see why Envato would make it a priority to get access to music and SFX at extremely below-market rates and provide a service that gets their customers access to it for their projects.
If the supply of music & SFX is available on their established terms (low prices, favorable split of subscription revenue, little or no download documentation provided to contributors), Envato can profit from Elements, and their customers find the product offering irresistible, hassle-free and useful. It’s a win-win.
Customers get access to audio at ridiculously low prices, allowing them more flexibility and profitability on their projects. Elements provides Envato with recurring monthly revenue, and if Elements is a better offer than competitors’ subscription programs, Envato secures more market share, also.
So, from the standpoint of “the customer comes first,” they are serving their customers. They are also serving their employees and shareholders.
In order to make all of this work, they need a supply of audio from authors willing to provide their work at tremendously low rates.
And that’s where you come in, authors/producers. The responsibility for the well-being of the music and sound effects production industry starts and ends with music professionals.
If it is your intention to make a business of your music or SFX work, you can’t give it away for free or close to it.
Marketplace companies will love that you’re willing to sell your work so cheaply, and so will their clients.
But that’s not going to help pay for your family’s health insurance or rent.
In my opinion, Elements (as it is currently offered) will not benefit the community of music producers. To expand on that, if the low-priced subscription model becomes the norm and the sync license disappears, it will be very harmful to music producers.
In the not-too-distant future, marketplace companies may be sourcing their supply of cheap music and SFX for their subscription programs from music hobbyists, not music professionals.
But ultimately, it is the responsibility of music producers to educate themselves and make informed decisions about whether or not to take part in these programs.
Please value your work. It is important for the health of the music and SFX production community.
PS. This post is written by a part-time AJ author and full-time video professional who has purchased a considerable number of sync licenses from talented AudioJungle authors over the last decade, and will continue to do so as long as they’re offered here.