July 24, 2024

So, this was making the rounds a couple of weeks ago.

Avid has agreed to sell its consumer audio and video product lines. The company’s consumer audio products are being sold to inMusic, the parent company of Akai Professional, Alesis and Numark, among others.

Basically, Avid is in trouble. It hasn’t made any headway in the consumer or prosumer markets. Why? Look at the ridiculous prices it charges for upgrades or for a first time ProTools. $699 for a first time purchase, $299 for users of ProTools 9, and previous versions of ProTools it’s $399. Logic 9 is $199. Does what ProTools does. M-Audio hardware also, for years, suffered stupid limitations. For years they had a Pro-Tools M-Powered that would only run on M-Audio hardware, but the LE version would run on Digidesign hardware, but if you had both hardware, you had to have two versions of ProTools to use them, and you couldn’t use them together. Companies like MOTU didn’t have this problem, you could use many of their interfaces together in Digital Performer. No problem. MOTU still makes interfaces that consistently win awards. M-Audio or Avid? No so much.

Avid should have dropped the price for ProTools to $299 for new purchases of ProTools 10. Sure, make the HD version a little more expensive, but not much more. But $699? Digital Performer is $499. Maybe that would be a better comparison for entry price. Avid made some steps forward by NOT requiring ProTools to have to use certain hardware, but the price seems to be the barrier right now. I know more guys using Logic 9 now than ProTools simply because you can get it for $199 in the App Store and it just works. Simple, cheap, and produces stuff that sounds great.

Avid is also supposedly gutting the whole Sibelius team as well. I hear rumors that the London offices are being closed. Sibelius is a property that Avid is keeping, not selling. Not sure what this means for the future of Sibelius. They used to be a company that was just up the street in Walnut Creek California. Now…..who knows.

AND……now MakeMusic (makers of Finale and SmartMusic) is having issues. Someone wants to buy them out. There is a good article about possible reasons and stuff here.

For me, I think MakeMusic needs to do two things right now. It needs an iPad version of SmartMusic. And it needs to allow printing of music from SmartMusic. The first point is self explanatory. Let me elaborate on the second.

Printing music from SmartMusic. It is something that they haven’t allowed at all. They used to allow printing of public domain or the stuff people generated from SmartMusic. But the last few versions I believe they removed that. SmartMusic is not only a great practice tool, but also a publishing tool. What other thing on the net would allow you to hear, and SEE every part of a piece you wanted to buy for your band? There isn’t. SmartMusic could be enabled to allow the purchase of music and the subsequent printing of the music. So, if the band director wanted his band to play “Childrens March” and have them work on it with SmartMusic, the process would be simple. Band teacher loads up SmartMusic, finds the version of the song he likes, buys it, prints it, done. The printing I think should be UNLIMITED but they should have some sort of tag or code on the page to know who’s printed version this is. Something like a school code or director id or something on every page. Most online printing services, like MusicNotes.com, allow TWO prints per purchase. That is stupid. For a band teacher, you’d need unlimited prints. Kids lose stuff, damage stuff, etc. Plus, SmartMusic could now be a digital LOCKER for the music. Teachers wouldn’t have to store scores anymore.

Heck, you could go even so far as say the director has 20 songs that are in SmartMusic. But they don’t want to repurchase all of them. What should they do? MakeMusic would have a program for say $10 per piece you could send the score and parts BACK to MakeMusic, they would verify you own the piece, then they would give you access to the piece on SmartMusic. And then they would either recycle the paper or send it back. Or maybe they could verify it via purchase orders. I dunno. Something.

The additional angle on this is that somewhere in the future, classrooms are going to be paperless. Or mostly paperless. MakeMusic could tout that they are future proofing music programs. I think this would make a lot of sense, and is do-able in the next year…..depending on the publishers.

Interesting times. I don’t know what the future holds, but MakeMusic and Avid have a lot of work to do to remain viable products.

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