How to LEGALLY get plugins you love for “FREE”?

We all love buying plugins, but it would be even better if we got those same plugins we love for “free”, right? Therefore, today you’ll learn some methods to get your plugins almost for free. Just to be clear, there’s no free dinner, but these are ways that you can get these plugins without spending your money…


1. Do beta testing for companies and help them further develop the plugin. Most plugin companies have active beta programs, and you can ask them to include you in the beta program. From the companies I know, iZotope, Native Instruments, Eventide, Baby Audio, Audialab, Output, Xynth Audio, Polyverse Music, Fabfilter, Sonic Academy, Kazrog, D16, and many more have beta programs that you can ask to join. Doing a beta test is a really good way to (1) learn more about the plugin and how it can benefit your workflow; (2) develop the plugin by giving feedback and asking for features that would make it even better for you, and, additionally, get a license of the plugin you love. With Beta testing, even though you’re not ‘paying’ for these plugins, you’re trading it for knowledge and time, and you have to participate in them or they can kick you out of it, which is something I’d avoid. Therefore, first, make sure that you have the time and willingness to become a beta tester as it’s ‘just getting a free plugin’. Then, go to their support form and submit a ticket asking to participate in their beta program. Make sure to list (1) your experience with plugins or that particular plugin, (2) your experience with beta testing and (3) why would you like to become a beta tester, and then wait for their response.

2. Become an affiliate seller and ask for NFR plugins (gifted purchases) in exchange for promoting a plugin or company. As an affiliate, you’ll be frequently exposed to NFR (‘Not For Resale’) licenses, which are gifted licenses from the company to a person, and your affiliate manager will often share with you opportunities from companies doing sales and wanting people to promote it. For example, let’s say that Abstrakt is doing a campaign on ADSR Sounds on our latest sample pack, which you can check over here, affiliates can ask for NFR licenses of the sample pack to test and check if that’s a good fit for their audience. However, again, it’s not easy money. Some of these NFR licenses have requirements, but the ultimate goal is to bring traffic and sales to that plugin. Therefore, you can (1) recommend it to your audience directly via chat, which is what I mostly do, (2) make a review on your website, (3) post it in a server or newsletter, or (4) even record a video on Youtube… basically, anything that could bring traffic to that plugin and show that you’re putting effort in promoting that NFR. In any case, before asking for anything, make sure that you can meet these requirements, or you can become blacklisted for future NFRs from that company.

3. Ask for NFRs or sponsorships directly to the company that makes your desired plugin in exchange for a review, feedback, or content. At the same time, not all plugins are available in these marketplaces, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get these NFRs as well. Recently, for example, I’ve asked a company that isn’t in these marketplaces if I could get an NFR in exchange for a thorough review of their plugin, including tons of feature requests, and one mention on my server (only if I like the plugin), and they accepted it. Different from beta tester, in this scenario you’re suggesting ways to make their plugin better by sharing your knowledge and workflow, which can be valuable to companies. Again, you can also make a ‘plugin review’ series for your Youtube Channel or Newsletter like White Sea Studios, and, as you grow, companies will start sending them to you without you even asking. But, I always recommend trying the ‘private review’ first as this doesn’t commit you to any public content that could sound ‘forced’ or ‘fake’ to your audience.

4. Exchange your affiliate commissions with the one that you’re looking to buy. As an affiliate, you’ll be able to earn around 15-20% commission on plugins you recommend, and this can be done simply by recommending a plugin to a friend and asking them to use your link to buy plugins. Just imagine this, if someone buys a $200 dollar plugin from you, $30-$40 USD goes right back to you per sale. For example, as an affiliate at Plugin Boutique/Loopmasters and ADSR Sounds, I’ve made a really good amount by recommending plugins to friends and students, which I later used to buy the plugins I wanted. You’re still spending money, but at least that’s money you got from recommendations, and not from your 9-5 job, so it’s your experience feeding your plugin expenses. If that’s something you’d be interested in doing, (1) first apply to an affiliate program like Plugin Boutique/Loopmasters’, ADSR Sounds’, Sweetwater, Thomann, Guitar Center, etc. For that, you’ll likely need a website and a way to show these programs how you’ll bring traffic to them. Then, (2) share your links and make good recommendations as the better your recommendations, the more people you trust you and, then, the more commissions you’ll make.


What if you can’t get the plugins you want for ‘free’, how else can you pay less for plugins?
1. Student Discounts and Loyalty Programs: Most plugin companies have student discounts and loyalty programs (discounts for having purchased previously), and you can ask them by sending them a message. This discount can go from 0 to 50%, and it applies to DAW and plugins as well. To get this, ask them for it in their support forms.
2. Sales Seasons: As we all know, Black Friday is the moment to drain our pockets for plugins, and some companies go more than half off, like Soundtoys. In this situation, you can send us a message and we’ll help you find the best time to purchase your plugins
3. Crossgrades and Bundles: Many companies, like iZotope and Fabfilter, have a series of bundles and crossgrade options that make plugins significantly cheaper. For example,if you want iZotope’s Ozone 11 Advanced, it can cost you $399 by itself, or you can pay $421 (or a lot less in sales seasons) for a package that includes Ozone 11, Neutron 4, Nectar 4 (with Melodyne essential), Stutter edit 2, Tonal Balance Control and Neoverb. Therefore, if you want to know more about this, send us a message and we’ll help you find the best ways to purchase your plugins.

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Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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