Song Protection

Hello all,

I was reading some old threads about the old Renoise Songs section and how people would like to have it back.
And that some tried to start an initiative which didn’t last long.

Although it was already mentioned in the Renoise 3.0 feature list, I would like to highlight this one.

User Kurtz mentioned there the following features:

  • When releasing a xrns song, musicians can “lock/protect” their songs and samples, with a strong encryption mechanism
  • protected songs can just be “played” through renoise but samples can’t be rendered, nor edited, comments can’t be edited, patterns can’t be changed… no LUA script can’t break the protection scheme.

The idea, that you get a “save” feeling of your protected songs out there, sounds great.
But my first skeptical thoughts are that it’s gonna be hacked (in the first week of release) anyway.

So how far should the devs go to actually make this a good working solid protection?
Or should it just be clear that everybody is responsible for their own stuff?

Since I’m no programmer I have no idea if this is even possible, but maybe there could be a Signed song system.
As your registered name is linked into Renoise, all songs you save could be automatically uniquely Signed (with a user defined key) like that too.
So when they are loaded into another/different registered version of Renoise:

  • they just won’t load, since the username and key don’t match.
  • Renoise goes into play-only mode.
  • Renoise asks for the key/password for opening it for editing.
  • or…

Since protection is a big thing nowadays I’m just curious who is also really interested in this kind of feature and what possibilities there are to make it happen.
Also to look for ways to bring back the songs section.

Thanks for reading :)

(Not necessarily speaking for the whole team here. These are my personal thoughts…)

DRM is a waste of time.

Implementing some kind of XRNS copy protection scheme into Renoise would be a waste of development time and resources, and would also add a lot of unnecessary bloat and overhead to the software. Do you want Renoise to be constantly checking the protection scheme at every single point where its possible to edit the song contents somehow, or do you want the application to run as efficiently as possible? I know which one I choose.

Not only that, but all such DRM and copy protection schemes get cracked eventually. Maybe it takes a few weeks, a few months, or even a year, but if there’s enough interest then someone will crack it, so it would ultimately be worthless anyway. Once it does get cracked, we have to rethink the whole protection scheme and come up with new methods, and then play a ridiculous cat and mouse game with the crackers to see who can stay ahead. I’m obviously talking about a worst case scenario here, but in my opinion this simply isn’t worth our time in the long run.

You already have the best form of copy protection available to you: If you’re not comfortable with the general public being able to edit the XRNS, then simply do not share the XRNS in public.

Yes, my thoughts exactly !!
Thank you for putting it better into words for me :)

And for musicians/artists who are afraid that others might “steal” their ideas, the best “copy protection” is to not release the song in any form anywhere in the first place B)
Music is an art and about communication. The artist’s goal should be to convey their ideas and inspiration in the best way they can!

Everybody should also realize the “Renoise 3.0 feature list” is just some brainstorming from a Renoise user, not an official feature list. Renoise team never announces upcoming features.

I am quite sure that I won’t be lying when I say that Renoise DRM will never happen.

There are reasonable arguments on both sides. I’d really like to have some content protection, too. But in practice it’s like dblue said. It’d take too much time to put something really effective up. Let’s not forget, an effective protection is also always a challenge to crackers. That’d actually be more like an additional invitation to finally crack the whole thing.

Why protection? Producers of mainstream music atm rarely use Renoise for their stuff. But styles like Electro, House, Trance and all the common selling EDM stuff are the styles, that attract users/producers to a DAW. You’d just have to show them, Renoise is capable of it and not just a pimped Amiga-Tracker, that makes a “serious” producer only grin. I’d so love to setup some commercial packs for Renoise, like Instruments, DSP chains or whole setups. But all protected only, because of all the work and time behind this. That’s the only reason for me to wish for a protection. Publishing a file doesn’t always mean “publishing to the whole world”. In this point I disagree with dblue. And a lot of software developers protecting their work, like Renoise does too, would disagree as well. ;)

Content protection imho would be an intelligent feature. I’d see it as a chance for Renoise, to step out of its own shadow. Where developers feel safe and protected with their work, they start development… and in consequence help to make a software popular and to attract users. My personal thought. But I also understand the counter-arguments. And I guess, the truth is somewhere in between.

imho, it gets harder to produce something original (see a lot of plagiarism cases reported the past few years) because the internet evolved so rapidly the last decade that it is pretty hard to have a ‘local’ market-share and not needing to worry that some jack-ass from timbuktu suddenly comes to claim copyright for something that you sweat a few nights for to get right. So to put music in that light, i would first worry if that what you create is really original before you decide to claim any specific rights to it (if you tend to release commercial).

Are you talking to the guy that put up the hook of “Avicii - Levels” as a Renoise demo? :D :D :D

Art in it self is about remixing. The very core of it is to be influenced by others ideas. Something like being “100% original” does not exist.

And copy protection or xrns protection will not stop anyone from ripping samples from music, remixing it or copying it. Copy protection just does one thing great: stop your audience from hassle free enjoyment of your work.

Hey glad you’ve noticed my contribution. :rolleyes: We still don’t know if the DRM thing is a good or a bad idea… it could attract some serious people, but as dblue said, if you make it hard to crack it’ll be considered like a challenge. When a group of experienced crackers wants to hack/crack a hardware or a challenging software protection, it’s a question of time…

There are lots of questionnable ideas, in my Renoise 3 wish list (integrated renoise music charts featuring registered users only, winamp-like visualisations, uncompressed avi video import and native granual video sync/edition features)… Some of those ideas will probably never be added into renoise. I think that the devteam probably sorts ideas in the “renoise todo list” ; the popular ideas that everybody need, are developped at first. And the DRM thing should be placed at the end of this list.

Lots of less questionnable ideas seems to regularly occur in this section of the forum : - a more “vertical” solution, (including a kind of vertical sample editor or vertical audiotrack), a better sync between the vertical pattern workflow and the sample editor workflow… multiband compression, mb distorsion device, some new spectral-analysis oriented meta devices - a doofer ™ meta device - some new DSPs, for example, a pitch shifter DSP able to tweak the track’s default sample-based instrument with 2400 cents… maybe renoise 3 could also introduce some “surround”, or “binaural 3d sound”, or “3D positionning” DSPs ? what about an impulse response loader ? - lots of people are expecting some important sample editor improvements (like the “warp mode”, easy pitch shift / time stretch between slices)…

To make it short, let’s work primarily on things that raise no objections.

A nice topic closer.

DRM is not a solution to any real problem.

Renoise, as much as we all want to believe the opposite, doesn’t have the same amount of users as other platforms. We can use Twitter as an example. As I type:

Renoise followers: 1217
Ableton Live followers: 11045
Propellerhead (Reason) followers: 15909

Now you’re probably thinking: That’s stupid. I don’t even have a Twitter account! To which I reply: Exactly! Renoise has more than 1217 users, but so does Propellerheads and Ableton. If we use these numbers as a benchmark then Renoise doesn’t even have ~10% of the users as these other guys. Ableton costs 349, Renoise cost 58. Renoise users don’t upgrade for years, the other guys you pay every release.

It has very little to do with “if people only knew what Renoise was capable of” and a lot more to do with the dynamic of our community, Taktik’s business model, and trackers in general.

To have a go at publishing for money on the Renoise platform you have to:

  • Be respected in the community
  • Ask people to pay for your bi-weekly newsletter where you publish XRNS to these subscribers only
  • Have a positive relationship with these subscribers in that they don’t break the ethics code and hack your shit


  • Publish videos and webpages with ads


  • Teach a Renoise class in person
  • Do speaking engagements at something like Linux Audio Conference 2012 or artist residencies

I restate, Renoise has less than 10% of the other platforms with an insanely different profit motive and userbase. So, even if you do go for it, you will probably be disappointed. Recent examples? Puremagnetik silently dropping support for Renoise less than a year after starting. (In case you’re wondering, the Logic samples in the monthly sample packs are not protected either.)

You can delude yourself and say “but not me!” and to this I say, awesome, go for it! But common, look at the numbers and do simple market research first.

Here’s a simple idea:


90% of businesses fail. It’s not because you think you’re awesome that things will go your way. You have to hustle. Find creative ways to make it work. The hardest part is always step 3. :)

Better yet, find a balance between fun, “commercial,” and enjoy the ride. The tracker scene is rooted in open formats. Renoise exports to WAV. DRM the WAV however you see fit?

Finally, I’m not saying that people want copy protection for money. Maybe they just want their name out there. Still not a real problem IMHO. People will know your name if you figure out “Step 3) ???” - It’s the same principle. Song protection will only protect you inside the community and the community will already know you because of the way we are (i.e. “the scene”). Once it’s cracked, what’s your YouTube plagiarism plan? It’s not on the onus of Renoise to figure this out for you.

^ I had to give a +1 for your interesting post Conner_Bw.

It makes one wonder though: How on earth is it possible for the Renoise developers to develop Renoise at all?

Seriously, that’s something I never really understood. With such a small userbase, combined with such small price for the product, combined with lots of user attitude that they shouldn’t pay for software, etc… How is it possible?

And, given the fact that for each Renoise version the learning curve seems to get steeper for complete beginners, wouldn’t that also imply that the selling curves at some point start to reflect that fact as well? I don’t mean to sound pessimistic here, and I certainly don’t mean to criticize taktik’s presumably well-thought out business model, but this all seems a bit like magic to me, like pulling rabbits out of the wizard’s hat.

Not that I’m complaining, as long as Renoise seems to be doing fine and the software gets updated. :)

Maybe taktik & co could arrange a Renoise safari? You pay a load of money to visit them in Berlin and drink some beer and sneak into the developer version of the software (which is Renoise 5.0 – they’ve always been multiple dev cycles ahead, and some rumours even suggest that dBlue was installed just to design bugs for Renoise so that it would appear that they solved these bugs during beta testing)… kidding.

I double that. Very interesting post Conner_Bw!

Yea, I wonder too! It’s really weird, now that I know Renoise and use it often, I would probably spend much more for an Upgrade. On the other hand many Users help a lot by spending time with good bug reports. The activity on the forum when 2.8 was beta was amazing.

Some musicians are also followed by a very “tiny” fanbase, and they’re still making music.

With such a relatively small “registered userbase”, renoise devs could use their skills in part-time jobs.

Like most of nowadays musicians.

you meant united states, didn’t you? ;)


quick reference links for those who feel concerned :
sopa::: pipa::: acta

Not necessarily, every big record company in the world that smells money will try if they think they can leech plenty from you.
But US corporations can be quite a bunch of dickheads, though UK is a good second in that.

Nevertheless if you take very old fashioned and utterly exploited chord-schemes, there are all kinds of fishermen trying to confiscate your catch.

When you say protected, you mean restricted. And what you are restricting is your own users who have given you money/downloaded directly from you from being creative with the stuff you have given them. Instead only those users can use the stuff for full potential who have pirated/cracked your stuff and removed the annoying DRM.

Just for fun I kept going with this idea. As I type:

Ableton Live Facebook : 182,986
Propellerhead Facebook: 42,212
Renoise Facebook: 2,031

Do the math. Welcome to real life.