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Subscription licenses scare me

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
In any event, where this pontification might actually be relevant to us as consumers of sample libraries, is that, accepting the above analysis, the one place we see a threat of a creative cloud like model is from NI. Maybe they'll keep innovating and all will be good. But if Kontakt starts to update every year, and they move to a subscription model require, that's a concert.

That said, NI have generally been good citizens so I don't think there's any need to panic.
Well, there was that snafu with the Symphony Series that "won't ever be included in Komplete..."

But I do agree. NI seem to be driving forwards still and don't appear to be stalling on development. When they haven't added anything to the Komplete lineup for years, that's when we ought to worry.

Edit: Just remembered. CH talked about Spitfire Subscriptions not so long ago on Twitter. He mentioned that it "had been discussed" (paraphrase) but didn't seem totally enthralled with the idea.
 
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CGR

Pianist/Composer/Arranger
It feels like that to me too, I must say. I'm paying significantly more for three years Creative Cloud subscription than I paid for all the Adobe software combined, which I purchased and worked with in the 22 years (as a graphic designer) prior to Creative Cloud.

What I find strange is that Adobe has picked a very bad time to start annoying its customers even more (with this "you can't use older versions of our software") than they already were doing, because once Affinity Publisher is released — any day now — and the Affinity triptych will be complete (and the printing houses begin to accept Affinity-generated material), masses of Adobe-reliant designers will make the switch, I'm sure of it. You'd think that, with this threat looming larger by the day, Adobe would do all it can to please its user base. But no, they're doing the exact opposite. Quark payed a very high price for its complacency and arrogance. If Adobe — at least, its graphic department — doesn't watch out, they might be in for a similar fate.

_
This is the first I've heard about Affinity Publisher - thanks for the heads up. My background is also as a Graphic Designer of 25+ years, and as an Adobe CC subscriber, I am of a similar opinion. I received the Adobe notification last week about using older versions of CC apps (namely Photoshop & Adobe Audition), and some nonsense about being in breach of copyright if I continue to use them. Nice way to get a long term loyal customer off-side Adobe!
 

NYC Composer

Senior Member
The Adobe situation looks dire. Thankfully, I don't need anything from them.

Being a longtime EW user, I have to say some of the deals I've seen are really very reasonable for a composer starting out, though most of the best software they sell is pretty old by now, and all done in the EW special "Heaven/Hell" mode-great sounding stuff with loose QT and time consuming to set up. Still.

I recently started my only subscription, the Output "Arcade" service. I don't know how long I'll keep it, but here were some of the interesting aspects:

1. They give you a free month to try it.
2. They say they are always developing new samples (and in my thirty day trial period, some indeed showed up.)
3. Though they are basically all time synced loops, they have an interesting amount of mutability (easy key changes, etc)
4. I was looking for some edgier, more modern sounds and these seemed to fit the bill.
5. Cancel anytime.
6. Inexpensive:$10 a month
7. Now, Output says this, but I wonder if they'll stay true to it: if you cancel your subscription, you can still use their engine to run the stuff you downloaded rather than having to print it all to audio. Interesting model, no?
 

wst3

my office these days
There are dozens of variations on the subscription model, many for products I do not use<G>!

I did sign up for the Cakewalk subscription because I felt it was pretty fair. You subscribed for a year, at the end of the year you "kept" everything they had delivered during that year. If Sonar was working exactly as you liked you just jumped off the bus.

No hard feelings, and if you later wish to re-subscribe you could do that too. I don't recall a penalty fee but it has been a while.

This is an excellent model, and I don't know how they did it, but they delivered on their promise of monthly updates. A few were fluff, but most were quite worthwhile - either important bug fixes or cool new features. No complaints.

What makes this case even more interesting is that Gibson shut the doors on Cakewalk. That did not prevent me from continuing to use Sonar - in fact I'm still using the version that was current when they were shut down. More out of laziness than anything else, Bandcamp has taken over the reins, and from what I can tell they are doing a great job. Just none of the fixes or new features are enough to encourage me to upset the apple cart.

Subscription models can work - but it requires mutual trust and respect from both sides.
 

ism

Senior Member
Well, there was that snafu with the Symphony Series that "won't ever be included in Komplete..."

But I do agree. NI seem to be driving forwards still and don't appear to be stalling on development. When they haven't added anything to the Komplete lineup for years, that's when we ought to worry.

Edit: Just remembered. CH talked about Spitfire Subscriptions not so long ago on Twitter. He mentioned that it "had been discussed" (paraphrase) but didn't seem totally enthralled with the idea.
And now that I think of it the Kore debacle did not endear me to NI either. I was looking at my shiny Kore hardware yesterday, for which there no longer exists drivers and wondering if I should just bin it, or if there's a door somewhere needing to be held open where Kore might still be able to do something useful.
 

kitekrazy

Senior Member
The main reason is that I've been through some tough times when I couldn't have afforded to pay the subscription fee. Not being able to use software tools I rely on would be *bad toilet* (to quote the late Koko the gorilla).

If you're a commercial facility then it's totally different - you want all the updates "deployed." Or if you need to use something once it makes sense.

But this is not good at all:

https://gizmodo.com/adobe-warns-using-old-creative-cloud-apps-might-get-you-1834730149?fbclid=IwAR1YhrCfzQFZmg1yZeYoD-OQ-a6yBjqDwEAG97mMT7NBqVXKPXuSqc3vrEc
What it is really about is Dolby going after lost royalties and they are suing Apple. I'm not sure why Adobe put out this warning. It seems stupid after being butthurt from all of the potential from vulnerabilities in their software.
Their PhotoShop/Lightroom subscription is popular and very affordable. For some this is more logical than paying upfront.
 

kitekrazy

Senior Member
There are dozens of variations on the subscription model, many for products I do not use<G>!

I did sign up for the Cakewalk subscription because I felt it was pretty fair. You subscribed for a year, at the end of the year you "kept" everything they had delivered during that year. If Sonar was working exactly as you liked you just jumped off the bus.

No hard feelings, and if you later wish to re-subscribe you could do that too. I don't recall a penalty fee but it has been a while.

This is an excellent model, and I don't know how they did it, but they delivered on their promise of monthly updates. A few were fluff, but most were quite worthwhile - either important bug fixes or cool new features. No complaints.

What makes this case even more interesting is that Gibson shut the doors on Cakewalk. That did not prevent me from continuing to use Sonar - in fact I'm still using the version that was current when they were shut down. More out of laziness than anything else, Bandcamp has taken over the reins, and from what I can tell they are doing a great job. Just none of the fixes or new features are enough to encourage me to upset the apple cart.

Subscription models can work - but it requires mutual trust and respect from both sides.
That really wasn't a subscription as much as rent to own. I forked over $199 for lifetime updates only to have gotten a year out of it. Gibson lived up to its reputation as a software killer. Gibson was in financial trouble and thought software would be their savior.
 

kitekrazy

Senior Member
The main reason is that I've been through some tough times when I couldn't have afforded to pay the subscription fee. Not being able to use software tools I rely on would be *bad toilet* (to quote the late Koko the gorilla).

If you're a commercial facility then it's totally different - you want all the updates "deployed." Or if you need to use something once it makes sense.

But this is not good at all:

https://gizmodo.com/adobe-warns-using-old-creative-cloud-apps-might-get-you-1834730149?fbclid=IwAR1YhrCfzQFZmg1yZeYoD-OQ-a6yBjqDwEAG97mMT7NBqVXKPXuSqc3vrEc
I've stopped doing subscriptions because if you get too many you don't always keep track and 3-4 of them might drain more money than you think. This is even with magazines. I think at one time I was 4 magazines a month.

I took up 2 deals rarely offered from Groove3 and MacProVideo that don't expire. I can deal with that.
 

AllanH

Senior Member
If done right, a subscription model lets the developer focus on developing without needing to focus on scheduled/annual releases. The most fair subscription model I've experienced was Cakewalk, but of course they went under. I have no music-related subscriptions, unless I count the "annual" Cubase upgrade cycle.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
lol hyperbolic fear mongering...wouldnt be VI-Control without a little bit of it...

in my experience, I've enjoyed subscription services from all of the services that did not get too big. Every one I have regretted were ones that considered themselves the industry standard, so they provide lesser support, and basically charge you the right to enter. Avid with pro-tools, Adobe, and just the overall pricing and methods of Native Instruments make me feel like they know that if they piss off a few customers, it won't matter, so they can squeeze dry everyone without too much concern for competitive proactive service toward their customers.

Smaller companies that provide subscriptions have generally been generous, consistent with their updates and new products, and really proved that the value was in supporting their growth, and value in using their products. For those companies, there's a sense that we're a team. They're working to make useful products for me, and I'm buying in to help them make more products that I might find useful down the line.

with the big guys, I feel like I'm paying for the generous honor of a airport security rectal exam, and when its all over, they expect me to thank them for it.
 

Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
Well, I'm still on Adobe CS6 Master Collection, and it still does everything I need or want. Adobe completely shafted me - I'd given them nearly £ 1.5k in the 18 months before CC became compulsory, and they offered me £10 a month off for the first year.

I look forward to Affinity taking their market from them just as Adobe took out Quark - though I think that will take a long time. But Adobe always were a bunch of shysters. There was a video of their CEO in Australia trying to justify why their products were nearly double the price than in the USA. Slimy.

I do like things like EW composer cloud where you get the choice of rental or purchase, but as soon as I am told a product is 'subscription only' any interest in it instantly evaporates.

I have every Output product, but zero interest in Arcade. I do have Sibelius (I hate the non-sensical interface), but I am waiting for the sale on Dorico that has been promised and will be moving to that (However, that is as much to do with the Dorico interface as it is with Avid Subscriptions).

But I am a Yorkshireman, so maybe that explains my pathological dislike of software rental.....
 
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Pudge

Active Member
The ONLY subscription plans I agree with, are the ones that let you own the product after you've payed X-amount of money over X-amount of time. The idea of having a perpetual subscription that ties you into an Anual fee (that if you cancel short of the agreement have to pay the full remainded for) is a shady and not very fair.

Subscriptions should be simple... If a product is £120, subscription is £10 a month for 12 months then you keep the product. Simple. Free patch updates and if they upgrade the product to a new version, you pay a cheap fee to upgrade.

If the upgrade is super significant ( almost like a new product entirelly) offer an upgrade path where you pay the fee directly (lets say it's £100) OR pay the fee through monthly plan that you choose with NO interest applied.
 

Morning Coffee

Active Member
When software companies start screwing their customers or treating them like fools, it makes me want to go into, full on, software pirate mode.

By the way, Pixelmator Pro (Mac only) is another option for photo editing, but at a more affordable price.
 
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MA-Simon

Senior Member
I am still on CS6 too! (I never needed much of the features after CS3)

Adobe recently acquired allegorithmic 3D.
(Substance Designer, Substance Painter)

That... shocked, disgusted and annoyed a lot of people.

I paid about 130€ to own both.
Then they changed to a yearly feature upgrade fee of ~80€ per program.
Which was fine-ish, they have to earn money, I get that.
I was still pissed because they heavily suggested it as a lifetime thing.

Now Adobe bough them.
I fear for one of my favorite software bundles.
Will it still exist in a year?
It became practically industry standard for gamedesign.

I can already smell the substance suite as a 35€ Monthly subscription looming in my future. And it will not be pay-to-own. Unfortunately other then Photoshop and Audition, 3D Software has to be pretty much up to date to do anything. 420€ is more then the 160€ I would be paying without a subscription model.

I love my ZBrush lifetime update license so much!
 

mouse

Active Member
LOL everyone bashing Adobe. Did anyone actually read any indepth articles about why they're saying "people might be sued if they use older versions of Photoshop"?

Its not Adobe threatening that - its them saying that it uses parts of software from other companies and they no longer have the licenses for that anymore. Thus people using the older software may be liable to be sued by the other companies. Its just Adobe telling people their liabilities, not threatening to sue them.

But no, everone reads it as "horrible Adobe threatening to sue people for using older versions of their software".
 

storyteller

Senior Member
I echo the sentiment of most everyone in here. I ditched Adobe when Adobe ditched their customers and chose to serve money instead. Affinity Designer & Photo are incredible programs with a great company behind them.
 

Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
LOL everyone bashing Adobe. Did anyone actually read any indepth articles about why they're saying "people might be sued if they use older versions of Photoshop"?

Its not Adobe threatening that - its them saying that it uses parts of software from other companies and they no longer have the licenses for that anymore. Thus people using the older software may be liable to be sued by the other companies. Its just Adobe telling people their liabilities, not threatening to sue them.

But no, everone reads it as "horrible Adobe threatening to sue people for using older versions of their software".
If Adobe did not have the licensing of their technology partners fully sorted out, then they had no business in selling anyone a perpetual licence.

Imagine you bought an amplifier with Dolby digital decoding in it from Sony. And then they send you a letter 4 years later that states that their Dolby licence agreement has run out and that you have to stop using the amp....
 
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