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  • Cakewalk's Sonar also goes to subscription model - will Magic Craig comment?

    So far on the website they are saying once you pay either an annual upfront fee or 12 months of installments, the software will run for as long as you want it to run. In other words, you don't have to keep re-upping to keep the software from shutting down or otherwise becoming unusable.

    And the continual updating during the subscription period can be at the discretion of the user, too. Update or not, and when or if you want to.

    So that all sounds good.

    Sonar has had some ups and downs, but I still think it's a heck of a product, so I'm staying on board for now.

    The only little question-mark filled thought balloon tethered to my head says this, "well, how will this effect what the software costs me over time???"

    In years past, I've always worked my Cakewalk purchases in full-tilt cheapskate mode - I skip upgrades, I wait and wait and wait until Cakewalk sweetens the deal with a special upgrade offer for the loyal-but-laggards like me (which so far they have done without fail.)

    If the new subscription model results in a significant increase in my cost, I'll have to at least consider the very capable and inexpensive or even free alternatives out there (Reaper, etc.).

    Craig - you got any insight, comments, revelations, rants, suggestions, prophecies, secrets from the board room?

    nat whilk ii



  • #2
    I don't drive the ship, I only go on the cruises However, if I had to guess, I'd say there will likely be occasional specials offered to members to renew their membership - "renew now, and save 20%" or whatever. I also suspect that as usual, the cost of upgrades will scale so the longer you've dropped out, the higher the cost...although it isn't the case now, given that there's a generous upgrade path for owners of per-acquisition versions.

    But I also think that Cakewalk feels people will like the new updates and want to renew. They can do it with monthly payments so they don't have to stretch too far.

    I will say Cakewalk has put a huge amount of thought and planning into this. The company believes this program will create happy customers overall, which will lead to a more successful company, which can hire more developers, who can do more updates, which will make happier customers, the company becomes more successful...rinse, lather, repeat.

    Personally, I'm very excited and going to do everything possible at my end in terms of content to insure its success.

    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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    • #3
      Thx for the response - that's all encouraging. I hope the user base rallies to the new subscription model - some grousing is inevitable, but it's not like Cakewalk behaves anything like Adobe or some other user-base-abusing outfit.

      I hope they let you spend time on your specialty digital amp modelings - that's fascinating stuff and makes total sense, optimizing the unique strengths of digital modeling and instead of just turning out endless emulations of old tube amps and so on.

      nat whilk ii

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      • #4
        Well here's an update...after initial confusion and some trolling, people have figured out it's a really good deal and a ton of users have signed on. The initial reaction is very positive, it's a smoother rollout than X3 and so far, no showstopper bugs.

        The amps have been extremely well-received, so Cakewalk and the user base wants me to do more amps and effects...no problem!

        So overall, it's going very well. What a relief.
        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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        • #5
          I can't complain about the Cakewalk people. (is 12tonesytems even theirs anymore?) . They have been very fair with their upgrade pricing. I only had Sonar 2.2 and an LE version of Sonar from 5 years ago and they gave me X3 Studio for $50. I can't complain about that !!

          Dan
          http://musicinit.com/fastfingers.php An Experiment in 80's Technology

          http://youtube.com/techristian My YOUTUBE channel
          Music videos at http://musicinit.com/video.php

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          • #6
            I'm not sure I understand this.

            So if I pay the full price upfront I get a twelve month membership.
            A membership to what? What happens after twelve months? Do your updates and tech support stop?

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            • #7
              Probably best to check out the FAQ on the Membership page.
              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

              Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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              • #8
                Will I still get patch fixes even if I'm not an active SONAR Member?
                No. You will need an active SONAR Membership to receive fixes and updates
                ,
                Will I still get tech support if I'm not an active SONAR Member?
                Technical support is available for active memberships only.
                So updates and tech support do stop after one year.
                I've used tech support years after I've purchased previous versions of Sonar.
                And if I'm not mistaken some versions of Sonar's updates came out over a year after their initial release.
                Why should you have to renew your membership in order to get fixes and tech support if you paid for the product outright?

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                • #9
                  I think you're right - once the subscription runs out, not just the feature updates, but the technical updates - bug fixes and such - will stop. If anyone knows better, please speak up.

                  That's a potential problem if you want to just keep running an older version on and on. But I can see a software provider's point of view - just how many old versions do you have to keep supporting? They all cut off at some point - this forces the issue to cut off annually. If Cakewalk is good about getting all the important bugs ironed out within the year, then you'd be good to go with the old version for a long time.

                  I'm inclined to be ok with the new subscription model even if it forces me out of some of my old frugal ways a bit. It's still cheap in the big scheme of things. And this is a sea change for the software industry in general, going to the subscription model. Maybe it will help regularize the income stream for the company and make planning and budgeting less iffy and chaotic. That would probably result in a better product all round.

                  nat whilk ii

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                  • #10
                    Phone support stops after a year. I,m not sure if email support may still be available, and of course, the forums provide excellent peer-to-peer support. There are also companies like Obedia that offer support on a per-incident basis for a lot less than, say, Apple.


                    As to bug fixes/updates it's really no different than it was before. A new version came out pretty much yearly. Once the new version came out, no more bug fixes were released for previous versions. It's just too much time and effort to do regression testing on previous versions as well as the current version. Factoring the additional testing into the price of the software would make it non-competitive. I don't expect an update for, say, SONAR X2 to appear any more than I would expect one for Cubase 6.

                    However, Cakewalk has stated that if a show-stopper bug appears, they will likely make it available regardless. So if you get some great new feature in June, you decided not to renew in July, and there was a major bug in the June feature that got fixed in August, if Cakewalk deems it serious enough you'll be able to download it. That's one of the advantages of the new modular installer they've implemented.

                    To me there are two big upsides to the membership plan. First, you get to keep what you buy - authorizations don't expire if you don't renew. Second, you get new features as they become available instead of having to wait for a big update. I also think people will like the content they get each month. Then there's also the issue of increased stability. Issuing and QCing one feature at a time is much easier than issuing and QCing multiple changes that might all affect each other.
                    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                    Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                    • #11
                      Couple of things come to mind - one is that it's not that uncommon for people to want to regress to an older version of software. Maybe they don't like the newest version - changes to the interface, forced upgrade of the underlying OS, lack of time to mess with a never-ending stream of incremental learning curves, heavily used or beloved features that are dropped in a new version, etc. Will this be possible for people running just one copy on one machine?

                      And if people are like me - I always run two copies of all my DAW and other music software on two computers - one out in my little studio where I track, one in the house where things are more comfortable for extended editing or programming sessions, etc. I want stability above all in the tracking setup so I can get things done without always messing with updates, versions, bugs, learning curves, etc etc. So the tracking computer is often an older version on an older OS than the one in the house. In the house, the "editing" computer is where I'll get used to the new DAW and OS versions relatively painlessly. By the time I port the tracking computer over to new software versions, I'm already pretty used to the new software. Nothing disturbs my placid personality more than going out to track only to find that today, for some mysterious computer reason, something is not working and my limited time for tracking is blown while I hunt and peck and cuss over Options and Settings and downloading updates and looking at the manual and the support section of the website and online boards for help.

                      Cakewalk would do well to accommodate people running a version at least one step behind (or "year" behind I guess would be more accurate now.) Lots of studios, serious home recordists, and schools stay on an older version for at least a while. Even seems like a market of sorts, no?

                      nat whilk ii


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                      • #12

                        Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                        I will say Cakewalk has put a huge amount of thought and planning into this. The company believes this program will create happy customers overall, which will lead to a more successful company, which can hire more developers, who can do more updates, which will make happier customers, the company becomes more successful...rinse, lather, repeat.

                        Personally, I'm very excited and going to do everything possible at my end in terms of content to insure its success.
                        As someone who works in a global software company, this sounds like a typical Sales Rep or VP response. They tried to find a way to make more money, period. Business is business. And I am about to upgrade to Platinum so I am a Cakewalk supporter.
                        Hamilton Steele CD's / Hamilton Steele MP3 Downloads / Hamilton Steele iTunes

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                        • #13
                          I read that if people buy a years subscription and don't want to renew it after a year, they can keep the version they have at that point and simply not receive any new upgrades or support.

                          I was worried that the program would shut down and the person would be stuck with unfinished projects held for ransom until the program was reactivated. From this perspective the deal doesn't look as bad as it did. You'd pay at least $200 for some version of sonar and other then the initial bug fixes its basically unsupported.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
                            I read that if people buy a years subscription and don't want to renew it after a year, they can keep the version they have at that point and simply not receive any new upgrades or support.

                            I was worried that the program would shut down and the person would be stuck with unfinished projects held for ransom until the program was reactivated. From this perspective the deal doesn't look as bad as it did. You'd pay at least $200 for some version of sonar and other then the initial bug fixes its basically unsupported.

                            Yes, that's how it reads to me, too. I would think some auto-shutdown format would result in corporate suicide at least as far as that product line goes.

                            nat whilk ii

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                              Phone support stops after a year. I,m not sure if email support may still be available, and of course, the forums provide excellent peer-to-peer support. There are also companies like Obedia that offer support on a per-incident basis for a lot less than, say, Apple.
                              I'm still on Sonar 7 and there are things I still don't understand about it. I've used email support years after it first came out.
                              A lot of people are recording hobbyists and may not have the time or know how to learn everything there is to know about a particular program.

                              Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                              However, Cakewalk has stated that if a show-stopper bug appears, they will likely make it available regardless.
                              What about non show stoppers and who determines which bugs are show stoppers and which aren't ?
                              If you've paid in full, shouldn't ALL bugs be fixed?

                              Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                              To me there are two big upsides to the membership plan. First, you get to keep what you buy - authorizations don't expire if you don't renew. Second, you get new features as they become available instead of having to wait for a big update. I also think people will like the content they get each month. Then there's also the issue of increased stability. Issuing and QCing one feature at a time is much easier than issuing and QCing multiple changes that might all affect each other.
                              I've always got to keep any program I bought so I don't see how this could be considered an upside.
                              New features as they become available instead of having to wait for a big update could be done with an upfront purchase.

                              I can understand having a monthly payment plan but why would anyone subscribe to a software program that they don't plan on eventually owning?

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