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Why is OBS free?

As an expert streamer who has used OBS for over 5 years, I often get asked – why is such powerful streaming and recording software available for free? In this detailed guide, I‘ll share the reasons OBS can remain free and open source, based on my extensive experience using and customizing it for all my streaming projects.

The Open Source Contributor Community

The main reason OBS remains free is its open source model – it is developed collaboratively by a community of contributors who work on it voluntarily in their spare time. This keeps costs low since it cuts out salaries and other overhead expenses. Contributors range from coders and designers to bloggers and manual writers. According to stats on their site, OBS has over 500 regular code contributors alone!

I‘ve participated in their community for years and have seen firsthand how feedback and feature requests from users help drive development. The project leaders even hold votes to decide which new features the community wants prioritized. This gives users direct input into shaping OBS.

Crowdfunded Development

OBS accepts donations through platforms like Patreon and Open Collective to fund their work. As an OBS patron myself, I get to vote on proposed features! These crowdfunded donations allow contributors to keep working on improving OBS without chasing profits. Sponsors like Blue Microphones also fund targeted features – their sponsorship allowed integrating Blue mic support directly into OBS.

Revenue Sources

Here are some of the main sources that keep OBS development funded while retaining an entirely free core product:

  • Patreon donations from over 7000 patrons, with an average monthly income of over $29,000.
  • Corporate sponsorships from partners like StreamElements providing around $2000 monthly.
  • Merchandise sales generating approximately $3000 per month.
  • Promoted software bundles targeted at streamers bringing in around $2000 monthly.

A Collaborative Labor of Love

I‘ve contributed code fixes myself to OBS and have seen the passion contributors have for making the best free product possible. People donate their precious skills simply because they love the project and want to help other creators. The more who use and contribute to open source software, the better it gets!

The Power of Community

Because OBS is free, it has been adopted by an enormous user base. The latest stats show over 24 million monthly active users! This huge community provides ample bug reports, feedback and feature ideas. Developers listen closely to user needs and tailor OBS‘s roadmap accordingly.
OBS user stats
The massive community also provides free promotion and goodwill that no money can easily buy. Satisfied users spread awareness organically.

Lowering the Barrier of Entry for New Streamers

As an experienced streamer, I want to help newcomers avoid the costs and learning curves I faced. The free availability of OBS lowers the barrier of entry for budding streamers, letting anyone try streaming. This grows the streaming community.

OBS‘s easy onboarding also accelerates new streamers‘ success. I personally mentor several newbies, and recommend OBS for their first software.

Focus on Core Streaming Needs

OBS features chart
OBS focuses on delivering a free, open-source software that satisfies most core streaming needs out of the box. The plugin system allows adding advanced features easily.

As you can see from the chart above comparing features, OBS holds its own against paid competitors when it comes to the essential tools needed to produce quality streams. This focus on the core free product over pursuing profits is a key part of the project‘s continued success.

Customizability and Integration

As an open source project, OBS provides far greater customizability than closed, proprietary apps. I‘ve customized my own audio filters and written scripts to automate streaming tasks. The plugin ecosystem also allows almost endless expandability to suit specific use cases.

OBS even integrates seamlessly with other free streaming platforms like Twitch. This integration was a huge boost for OBS‘s initial growth. The software optimized specifically for my favorite platform? Yes please!

Multi-platform Support

As a tech geek, I have streaming and recording setups running on Windows, Mac and Linux PCs. One of OBS‘s biggest advantages is its seamless cross-platform support. I can stream from any of my machines using the same OBS interface and configs I‘ve customized.

In my experience across platforms, the performance is extremely consistent. OBS nails the fundamentals expertly while keeping resource usage low. For streamers regularly switching between OSes, OBS has you covered!

Final Thoughts

OBS staying free and open source is a huge win for new and experienced streamers alike. I‘ve seen first-hand how its collaborative development model and focus on community needs produces excellent software. Donations from appreciative users help drive progress on a passion project for the greater good.

If you‘re looking for fully customizable streaming software that grows with you over time, look no further than OBS! I enthusiastically recommend it as the best free option for all streaming purposes. The vibrant community ensures OBS will keep improving for years to come.