We have had a number of queries about what to do regarding taking up an Avid Upgrade/Support Plan and so we are going to try and outline the options as we see them. Please be aware that this is our interpretation of what Avid has said in their announcements and on their site, but as an independent site we cannot be definitive, only Avid themselves can do that.
Unfortunately Avid haven’t made any further announcements to clarify the questions we raised back in early November when we outlined the case that there are too many questions for us to recommend the new Pro Tools licensing.
Very recently Julian outlined a very well reasoned case covering piracy through to Avid’s new licensing plans. Do read it if you haven’t done so already.
There are some deadlines looming with regard to the new Avid Upgrade/Support plans and so here are our thoughts…
Pro Tools Express, Pro Tools LE, and Pro Tools M-Powered/MP Owners
Avid have specified on their Pro Tools 11 licensing page that all Pro Tools Express, Pro Tools LE, and Pro Tools M-Powered/MP Owners have until December 31st 2014 to take advantage of the Update/Crossgrade plan for a fee of $199 for 12 months and it also includes a 12 month support plan. These new licensing plans are not perpetual, although the Pro Tools software will continue to work after the 12 months is up, you will be unable to take advantage of newer versions of Pro Tools released after your plan has expired. If you want to continue to receive upgrades then you will need to be prepared to pay $199 per year.
Pro Tools LE Owners
You can upgrade most versions of Pro Tools LE providing you can supply a hardware serial number for one of the following Avid audio interfaces that you still own at the time you purchase your upgrade. Note a Pro Tools LE authorization code is not enough, you have to prove you own hardware as well. These are the interfaces that are covered…
- Mbox family (3rd generation)—Mbox Pro, Mbox, Mbox Mini
- Eleven Rack
- 003 family—003 Rack, 003 Rack+, 003 (control surface)
- Mbox 2 family (2nd generation)—Mbox 2 Pro, Mbox 2, Mbox 2 Mini, Mbox 2 Micro
- Digi 002 family—Digi 002 Rack, Digi 002 (control surface)
- VENUE family—VENUE | SC48, VENUE FWx Option Card
Not only must you buy the upgrade plan but you must also activate your Pro Tools 11 software by December 31, 2014 too. Don’t leave it until after the holiday.
Avid do specify that because the original Mbox (1st generation) and Digi 001 are not compatible with Pro Tools 9 and higher, they are not eligible for the Pro Tools LE to Pro Tools 11 Software cross grade.
Pro Tools Express and Pro Tools M-Powered/MP Owners
Pro Tools Express and M-Powered owners have an easier route to Pro Tools 11 because there is no hardware involved and both the Avid supplied and InMusic supplied versions of Pro Tools Express are eligible for the upgrade.
Should I Do it Now?
Owners of Pro Tools Express, Pro Tools LE, and Pro Tools M-Powered/MP, need to consider if their current version of Pro Tools does everything you want it to do. If it does, then consider staying where you are, the adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ comes to mind here. However although Pro Tools LE 8.0.5 works OK with Mac OS 10.8.5 and Windows 7, there will come a point where you won’t be able to get a computer that will run an old enough OS to support Pro Tools Express, Pro Tools LE, and Pro Tools M-Powered/MP software.
The nature of the offer and Avid’s track record would support the theory that this is a last ditch offer to legacy owners to get you onto the current version and so if you miss this $199 offer, the only way to buy into the current version of Pro Tools will be to buy a new copy of Pro Tools which will also include a 12 month support plan for $899.
Remember that these are the issues, but only you can decide which is the best way forward in your situation.
Pro Tools 9, 10 & 11 Owners - Should I do It Now?
The only incentive for you to buy the upgrade/support plan now is that you will get an extra 3 months of support and upgrades and so if you purchase a plan before December 31st 2014 for $199 you will covered until March 31st 2016. If you choose not to upgrade for now, then you will no longer be eligible for upgrades or supports until you buy a new licensing plan. So you could leave it for another 12 months or until Avid announce an upgrade to Pro Tools. However Avid have stated that all users that want to stay current must subscribe to a new licensing plan by end of 2015.
Pro Tools 11 owners, consider whether the current version does everything you need it to do, if it does stay where you are, at least until the next upgrade is announced or the end of 2015. Unless you need a support plan there is little incentive for you to upgrade to the new licensing schemes. However you will need to revisit this decision at the end of 2015.
Pro Tools 9 & 10 owners should consider the benefits that come with Pro Tools 11 and evaluate if they are features that would be valuable to you. If they are then now the only way to get them officially now is to buy into the new licensing scheme before the end of 2015.
The possibility of flexible licensing arrangement where we might be able to enable certain additional features currently only available in Pro Tools HD should also be taken into consideration in deciding, if and when, to subscribe to the new licensing schemes, but Avid have made no announcements about flexible licensing will mean in reality.
Pro Tools 9HD, 10HD 11HD & Complete Production Toolkits Owners
Your options are very similar the 9,10 & 11 Vanilla owners above. Does the current version do what you want it to do? Are the features in Pro Tools 11HD valuable to you? The upgrade/support plan for HD users is $599 per year and you too will get an extra 3 months if you sign up before December 31st 2014. The level of support is also much greater for HD users so the support element maybe more valuable to you.
Note that Pro Tools 8HD and earlier are not eligible for this upgrade plan, but as you will need HDX or HD Native hardware you would need to consider a hardware upgrade solution that your dealer can help you with and you would of course get Pro Tools 11HD that way.
I recently Upgraded To Pro Tools 11 Am I Covered By A Support Plan?
The simple answer is maybe. Avid’s licensing FAQ is a little unclear on this point. On the one hand it says….
Q. When are the upgrades and new version of Pro Tools with the upgrade/support plan available?
A. All Pro Tools upgrades and crossgrades activated starting October 10, 2014 receive an Avid upgrade/support plan. Software upgrades and crossgrades that include this plan are now available from the Avid Store
But the same document further down says…
Q. I just purchased an upgrade to Pro Tools 11 or Pro Tools HD 11. Do I have to purchase an additional upgrade already?
A. No, you are already on the most current version (11) of Pro Tools so there is no need to purchase an additional upgrade now. However, in order to keep your perpetual Pro Tools software license current you will need to purchase an upgrade/support plan by the end of 2015, or sooner if you want access to the next feature release.
Our advice is if you have recently bought an upgrade, certainly since 10th October 2014, ask the supplier you bought it from.
It’s Going To Happen, But Avid We Need These Questions Answering
Whether we like it or not Avid are changing the way they license software and this annual subscription model is here to stay but we really do need the questions we posed back in early November answering to help us decide the best way forward.
- Please explain if will there be additional costs to use the collaboration features? If so, what will they be?
- Please explain what these undefined flexible licensing arrangements will be with pricing structures?
- Please explain what will happen if a user allows their upgrade support plan to expire? Will there be a penalty? Will that be capped like Waves have with their WUP scheme?
- Please consider providing a reward for loyal users that have already bought PT11. How about offering existing PT users the upgrade/support plan for $99 for Pro Tools 11 and $299 for Pro Tools 11HD?
- The Upgrade/support plans do not suit all users. Please consider making the upgrade/support plans optional rather than compulsory so users can choose which track to use?