The business platform for digital media

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Piano?

Piano is a flexible, powerful enterprise-level media management software platform. (We don’t love the term “paywall”, because it implies a binary either-you-pay-or-you’re-locked-out paradigm, and Piano enables much more sophisticated business models — but it is a common industry term, so call us a paywall if you wish.) We enable publishers and creators to engage in all sorts of value exchanges with their users, on their own sites, with business rules that they control.

What is Piano GO?

Piano Go is a simple Javascript-based paywall we make available to everyone without any upfront costs.

Wait, Piano doesn’t seem free to me — you guys charge something right?

We charge Piano Go users a percentage of each transaction. That’s mostly covering what we have to pass onto the payments processors. For more details on the Go pricing, contact us on [email protected]

Then how do you make money?

We make money off of our enterprise products, VX, ID, and AI.

How do I use it?

You can deploy Piano in one of three ways: you can use our plug-in for WordPress and WordPress VIP, you can use our Embed Code on popular CMS’s (like WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace, and more), or you can use our API to integrate Piano into another content management system. Currently we offer libraries for Java, Ruby, .NET, and PHP.

What features does Piano offer?

Every site has different content and a unique audience. That’s why Piano supports every content type and business model you can think of. Here are a few examples:

  • A La Carte Access and Bundles: Charge for an article, a video, an issue, an area of your site, a subscription, or a downloadable file
  • Time-based Access: Create hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly premium, access passes
  • Metered Browsing: Specify a certain amount of access that is allowed before visitors are prompted to pay
  • Auto-Expire: Move from pay to free (to charge for your newest content) or free to pay (to charge for archives) automatically
  • Upgrades: Charge for an enhanced version of your content, or for an ad-free version
  • Actions: Charge to enable user actions, such as posting questions, comments, tasks, resumes, or job listings

How do I get started?

The first thing to do is create a publisher account. Your publisher dashboard will provide you with embed code to drop into your pages, or an ID you can enter into our WordPress plug-in to tie your site back to Piano.
Once you’ve created your account, you’ll be in trial mode, and you can start experimenting. The only limit is that we only allow you to charge money three times, and for a maximum of $5. (If you try to charge someone $1,000 in trial mode, you’ll see it automatically change in the check-out process to $5.)
In order to really launch your business, you’ll want to submit your application for review. We try to approve or reject all applications within one business day (so you’ll have to be patient if you submit it on a Saturday morning). We look primarily to see that you’re running a real web site with content people might actually want to buy, and for better or worse, we have to make sure you’re not selling anything obscene (that would be a violation of our terms of service with payment processors).
Once we’ve approved your app, you’re in business!

How do I get paid?

Thirty days after a transaction has taken place, the money from it will appear on your dashboard in your available balance. Just hit the “Request Payout” button, and specify whether you’d like to be paid via PayPal, a wire, or a check in the mail. Once you’ve been with us a bit, we can even set you up on direct deposit!

Piano appears in a pop-up, and is branded Piano. How do I complete the purchase in-line, and get rid of your name?

First off, one of the advantages of Piano Go is that you can leverage our base of hundreds of thousands of users who have already paid for content using Piano. You don’t need your own login system. But we can’t have strange sites putting up fake Piano login boxes, so we need the users to be able to see that they’re at when they login. Hence the pop-up. (You can use your own login system with Piano VX.)
Another benefit of Piano Go is that you don’t have to have your own merchant account (if you want to use your own merchant account, again, you can do so using Piano VX). That makes us the Merchant of Record. We can’t represent to users that they’re paying one party and have the money go into another party’s account; people need to know whom they’re paying.

Does Piano sync with (Mailchimp, etc.)? Can I take custom registration data? Can I use it to sell physical goods?

We’re working on a new version of Piano Go to add the functionality like customer registration data and other great featured currently only available in our enterprise versions of Piano VX. If you have a publisher account, we’ll let you know as soon as it launches.