Software subscriptions have been at the forefront of many music and post users minds recently, with more brands moving to a Software As Services (SAS) model, and some people get hot under the collar at the mention of them. Some have an aversion to them in an almost religious or philosophical way, even when pointing out that no one really owns the software they use when they make a case for ‘owning the stuff they use’ it seems that’s not really the point. If you are one of those people then this article is for not for you, stop reading now - we are not here to convince you to abandon your long held views, perhaps cultivated over several generations of your family, we get that it’s an important principle that you just won’t budge on.
For the rest of you who want to know how the sums add up then we’ve been looking at the recent offerings announced by Avid to see how they fare as a cost over time and also to dig into the argument that Avid’s model is now aimed at discouraging anyone but the professional to be a Pro Tools user.
Following the changes to the Pro Tools pricing and the release of Pro Tools 2019.6, which opened up HEAT to Pro Tools Standard users and then Avid announcing that all Pro Tools subscribers will soon have access to the Complete Plug-in bundle and HEAT at no extra cost, we wondered what the cost comparisons would be to take up the crossgrade offers Avid are offering, both Pro Tools Standard and Pro Tools Ultimate users, to encourage us to move to a subscription plan. You may be surprised by the results.
The Choice For New Pro Tools Customers
In our article Avid HEAT And Complete Plug-in Bundle Free - You Will Soon Get Them At No Extra Cost With Any Pro Tools Subscriptions we established that for a new Pro Tools Standard customer looking at buying into Pro Tools, it would take 12 years on a rental subscription plan before it would have been cheaper to have gone for a perpetual license and upgrade plan, whereas before the recent changes, the break even point for Pro Tools Standard, as we showed in our article Buying Pro Tools? Which Is Better, Perpetual License Or Rental Subscription was around 5 years.
For Pro Tools Ultimate users we showed that before the recent changes the break even point was around 4 years whereas after these changes the break even point has increased to 6 years.
But I Already Own Pro Tools - What About Me?
That is for the choice for a new Pro Tools customer starting from scratch. What about all of us who already ‘own’ Pro Tools, Standard or Ultimate? What would the cost benefits be of taking advantage of the crossgrade offers from Avid, surrender your perpetual license and move to a rental subscription plan?
Avid Perpetual To Subscription Crossgrade Deals
Avid are currently offering a discount on both Pro Tools Standard and Pro Tools Ultimate subscription plans for the first two years.
For Pro Tools Standard users, the rental subscription plan would be $99 per year for 2 years and then rising to the standard price of $299 per annum.
For Pro Tools Ultimate users, the rental subscription plan would be $599 per year for 2 years and then rising to the new price of $799 per annum.
As we did with the cost comparison for new customers, to compare like with like, for Pro Tools Standard users, we have included the cost of buying HEAT at the new lower price of $199 as well as the cost of renting the Pro Tools Complete Plug-in bundle. As an example here is how the numbers work out for a 3 year period…
|Pro Tools Standard Upgrade Plan||Avid HEAT||Complete Plugin Bundle||Total Cost Per Year||Pro Tools Standard Software Rental||Difference|
Avid HEAT is only available as a Perpetual license and with the promotion is a one off cost of $199. This means when we come to work out the monthly equivalent cost we have split up the one-off cost of $199 across 36 months as this table covers the comparison over 3 years.
The Avid Complete Plug-in Bundle is only available as a rental subscription. You cannot buy it as a perpetual license, so Pro Tools Standard perpetual license holders will need to continue paying the $49.99 annual subscription to maintain access to the Avid Complete Plug-in Bundle.
The rental subscription option is the 1 year paid-up-front option.
It Now Takes 12 Years For A Subscription Plan Before To Become More Expensive Than A Pro Tools Standard Perpetual License With Upgrade Plans
As you can see after 3 years, two at the reduced rate, and a third at the normal subscription rate it is significantly cheaper to crossgrade onto the rental subscription plan, just under $500 over 3 years or $12.47 per month!
But what about a longer period? So again we have done the number crunching for you and found out that it takes 12 years before it becomes cheaper to have stayed on the Pro Tools Standard upgrade plan, buying HEAT and renting the Complete Plugin Bundle.
What About Pro Tools Ultimate?
Moving onto Pro Tools Ultimate, again to compare like with like, we included the cost of buying HEAT, but as Pro Tools Ultimate users with an active upgrade plan get the Complete Plugin bundle, we didn’t include it as both options have access to this plugin bundle. Again, as an example here is how the numbers work out for a 3 year period…
|Ultimate Upgrade Plan||Avid HEAT||Total Cost Per Year||Pro Tools Ultimate Software Rental||Difference|
Avid HEAT is only available as a Perpetual license and with the promotion is a one off cost of $199. This means when we have come to work out the monthly equivalent cost we have split up the one-off cost of $199 across 36 months as this table covers the comparison over 3 years.
The Avid Complete Plug-in Bundle comes with Pro Tools Ultimate, as long as you keep your upgrade plan up to date so this isn’t included, as both options already have it.
The rental subscription option is the 1 year paid-up-front option.
It Is More Expensive For Pro Tools Ultimate Users To Crossgrade To A Subscription Plan
For Pro Tools Ultimate the tables are completely reversed. Even with the reduction for the first two years on the subscription plan, after 3 years it would be $601.00 more expensive, or $16.69 per month to move to the rental subscription plans. In fact the gap increases with each year so after 4 years the difference increases to $1,001 or $20.85 per month.
If you then take into consideration that we have calculated this using the reduced Ultimate subscription price of $799 per annum, it is even worse if the annual subscription goes back up to the original price of $999 per annum.
There you have it, with all the changes, like the increase of the perpetual upgrade plans for Pro Tools Standard and the inclusion of HEAT and the Complete Plugin Bundle for all Pro Tools subscribers, not only will it be cheaper for new Pro Tools customers to opt for a rental subscription plan, it will be very cost effective for existing Pro Tools Standard users to crossgrade to a rental subscription plan.
For Pro Tools Ultimate customers, it is a different picture. For new customers it will take 6 years before the perpetual and upgrade plan path is cheaper than the rental subscription plan, but for existing Ultimate ‘owners’, as far as we can see it makes no sense to surrender your Pro Tools Ultimate license and crossgrade to an Ultimate rental subscription plan.