July 15, 2024

MakeMusic announced today that they are going to be charging for Finale Notepad 2009, which for almost 8 years has been a free product.
“In the next few weeks we plan to release Finale NotePad 2009 with even more features, including an all new Expression Tool and the ability to import/export MusicXML files. It will continue to include free online support. At the same time we will begin charging $9.95 for the NotePad 2009 download.”

Ooo, Online support? XML importing? Wow. Sign me up. NOT.

Meanwhile, get Finale Notepad 2008 while you can. Finale 2009 is a downgrade. Staff Lists limited to 4 (used to be unlimited). Most of TGTools handy utilities do not work (Align/Move, which I use a lot) because of “new” Expression tool. *sigh*. Just avoid it. Unless they are going to be including Garritan sounds with it (hahahaha, yeah, right), $9.95 for their new expression tool and XML importing?

MakeMusic needs to cut down on the number of products it has. It has Finale, Finale Allegro, PrintMusic, Songwriter, Notepad and SmartMusic. Just keep Notepad free, drop Songwriter, drop the price of PrintMusic to $60, and drop Allegro to like $150. Simple.

6 thoughts on “MakeMusic To Charge For Finale Notepad 2009 Downgrade

  1. By the time that MakeMusic will release the Finale Notepad 2009, there will
    be a decent alternative ready for people who wish to use a free
    music notation program: MuseScore available for download at http://musescore.org

    MuseScore is available for Windows & Linux, a Mac release is due to come.
    MuseScore is an open source product and build by several
    developers around world for the past 7 years. It is almost ready for
    prime time: the stable 1.0 is almost ready to kick off.

    Thomas – http://musescore.org

  2. Dear Mr.Paulson and Mr. Raup,

    As a music educator I am saddened and frustrated with your decision to charge a fee for Notepad.

    A school can easily afford to pay for all but the most expensive and specialized software. All students can not. The great advantage to Notepad was that all students could use it at home, regardless of their income level.

    Many students come from homes where having a computer is just within their reach but paying for software – especially something as specialized as a music notation program – is not. Many parents already consider music a frivolous subject and won’t consider paying for music lessons, instruments or software. As musicians, you MUST consider the impact you have made on the ability of music educators to teach students to make music.

    Your Notepad program gave ALL students the opportunity to work on compositions at school AND at home. Students who had never been able to “play with music” could do so via their home computers using the free Notepad software. They may not have had an instrument, been allowed to have music lessons, but they could still create music.

    Not only have you forced millions of music educators to restructure their curriculum for teaching music, you have drastically reduced the number of potential new customers who visit your web site.

    Students who are asked, in their music classes, to go to your web-site and download Notepad to use at home to work on assignments outside of class will no longer go there. These are the same students who like Notepad, but see the need for something more tailored to their needs and then go on to purchase one of the more complex programs.

    Note pad was one of the very best advertising tools your company had. It was the hook that got the attention of someone who would NEVER have consider looking at a music writing software program, thinking it was too expensive and too difficult.

    Please reconsider your decision on behalf of all the music teachers and students. Perhaps consider a school user code that we could give our students so they could download the program for use at home after the school purchased it.

    Music has always been the purview of only those who have money or families who believe it’s important. So many, many children never get any chance to discover music as a language. Please don’t continue to tradition of “music is only for the gifted and the few”. Please continue to help us, as teachers, make music making accessible to all students.

    (Do we think they will reconsider???)

  3. Ha, they won’t reconsider. The company has a long history of not listening to anyone. And they have a long history of not finishing anything. The great linked parts thing introduced in Finale 2007 (mainly cause Sibelius introduced it a year earlier) prompted them to do include the same functionality in Finale 2007. Except they never finished it. In fact, they have not changed it at all since it came out, and there are a lot of problems still with linked parts.

    Now, they have come out with this new expression tool. In theory it works better, but in practice it too is incomplete. So, it works fine for MFs, PPs, etc. But say you put in a hairpin crescendo. That is a different tool, and it does not share the same alignment properties like the new expression tool. Except it really is an expression. But it’s not (its a smart shape). Doing it correctly, they should have had some smart shapes have the same behavior as the new expression tool.

    Back to Finale Notepad. They really should not charge for it. The addition of the “new” expression tool is not anything that is lightyears ahead of the old way. Basically, I think the marketing people looked at the declining sales of the full blown Finale, and then the free download Notepad and decided they wanted some of that. I know of several people who are sticking to earlier versions of Finale because the last two versions really are not anything to crow about. Especially 2009, where it breaks TGTools, and supposedly the PDK (Plugin Development Kit) is not out yet either.

    *Sigh*. Sounds like when they released Finale 2007 (or was it 2006) and it took them 8 some months to get SmartMusic to read files generated with Finale 2007. It will probably be 6+ months before we see TGTools come out for 2009.

  4. K Andrews – posting here will not be seen by anyone at MakeMusic. You should write directly to the company to express your concerns and ask about available options.

    Eric – while I also tend to agree that NotePad should be kept free (and support for it dropped, since that’s where the large costs come from), dropping other products from the chain doesn’t make any sense. Those products are each making more money than they cost to develop, and at the same time they are offering users more choice.

  5. But there are hardly any differences between SongWriter and PrintMusic. Why? Why not simply “simplify” the product line? Is there really a need for 4 versions of a notation program? Well, 5 if you count NotePad.

    As for costs, if you want support, then you can PAY for it. So, free download, you can use a Wiki or something for general trouble shooting, but if you want to TALK to someone, then charge them $10 or something to register it.

    The whole thing is just another sad example of how out of touch MakeMusic is.

  6. SongWriter and PrintMusic are pretty different if you consider the types of music they allow you to do. With PrintMusic you can do medium to large ensemble stuff. SongWriter can’t (it doesn’t even have part extraction). As for “why do it,” evidently because they are making money. It doesn’t take terribly long to come out with these child products. PrintMusic is by far the most popular – you even see it in major computer store chains from time to time. Apparently it’s making more money priced at $100 than it did back when it was priced between $50 and $70. But there’s still demand for notation software in the sub-$50 range.

    I agree that charging for NotePad seems risky and that dropping free support might have been a better first step to try.

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