What About Software Subscription? |#AudioSoftware

Avid ProTools 12 brought us a new way of dealing with our studio software: now, we “rent” it, instead of a buying each new version. Ok, Avid wasn’t the first one of doing this, but I think it was the one that most impacted the industry, because ProTools is the industry most used DAW.

Pro-Tools-12When I get to choose, I like using Logic instead of PT, but many times I can’t. The project comes to me in a PT session, and transferring everything is more a trouble than an advantage.

But, because of this new business model, I haven’t upgraded to PT12, yet. And I don’t think I’ll. Why?

Well, I find this subscription model pretty unfair. Ok, I get that now I don’t have to worry about compatibility issues, or if there’s a new version coming soon… but, for me, the biggest problem is that: I have now to pay for their mistakes!

Yes! Think this thru with me: before I would buy PT, and the updates that gave me bug fixes would be “free”. Of course! They are fixing their engineering mistakes, the problem they put inside the software. It’s more than fair that they don’t charge me for bug fixing. But now, if I stop paying my monthly fee, I stop getting fixes. Do you find this fair? Well, I don’t.

Ok, maybe Avid can tell me: you have the option of buying the perpetual license. I know, but it includes one year of upgrades. Only one year. If you need more, you gotta pay. Remember when you would buy PT9, for example, and it would include all upgrades until the next version was launched? Forget this now! Pay, or learn to live with all of the bugs (and who uses PT knows that are a lot!).

Also, if you put everything on paper, it gets MUCH more expensive: beforeCC_SF_image_PR.jpg you would upgrade a PT version for around $199, and get upgrades until next version. Now, you have to spend $299 EVERY YEAR (around $25 per month, if you buy the anual subscription).

Ok, this subscription model is not all bad things. There are cases where it can be good for the user. I would give two examples: the Composer Cloud and the Slate Digital All Plugins Bundle.

Both of them give you a lot of products for a small percentage (per year) that they would cost if purchased. Also, they include new plugins and effects that are release along the year. This seems fair to me. High quality pay per use plugins, it’s one way to go.

Summing up, I don’t think it’s a good deal to subscribe to PT12. Actually, I hate the idea. But maybe, because of it’s large adoption on the music and film industry, that won’t be an option on the near future (as soon as my PT10 stop to work with this most recent projects). Let’s see where this business model leads us…

Mauricio Ruiz – www.mauricioruiz.me

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