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There are two ways you can make people buy stuff. You lower the price, or you improve your product.

I greatly appreciate that Finale finally recognizes the competition and that they are still sitting on a user interface that is 30 years old by adjusting the price accordingly. What I am still waiting for though is that the program gets a dramatic overhaul. I truly hope that they continue working on improving the program. It has so many great features for us pro users! But it does need to be modernized to stay competitive. 

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THOMAS GUNTHER

 

It is too late for them.  Development takes too much time and what Finale needed was to develop smarter over the years to sure itself up for the future.  Resting on laurels is great when you have a large legacy user base, but eventually some of those people jump ship and then you have to depent more heavily on pulling new users into the ecosystem.

 

Right now, they are depending largely on the Educational Market to carry them through.  The price decrease is nice, but MuseScore is likely to "out-develop" Finale and eventually outpace it.  Dorico and Sibelius are both developing nicely (particularly the former).  The main reason I bought Finale was:

 

  1. There are Crossgrade Options to other Notation Software, so it's a riskless "soft-commitment"
  2. Crossgrading from Finale to Dorico Pro is cheaper than buying Dorico Pro
  3. The cheaper price tag, since I know I need a bit more than MuseScore [currently] offers.

 

I'm likely going to get the Dorico Crossgrade within the next week.  It was a nice try, but although I dislike areas of Dorico's workflow, it's a safer bet moving into the future.  I guess I could go Sibelius for a similar price, but I don't generally like Avid's business model.  It can go subscription-only at any time, which can screw you if you choose to let Support lapse and they decide to kill reinstatements.

 

Dorico has an engaged development team, that seems like they are in tune with what's going on in the current century, and the benefit of momentum.  I don't think Finale is ever going to catch up to where Dorico is superior, but I am almost certain Dorico will catch up to the areas where Finale is superior within the next 1-3 years.

 

As far as the overhaul is concerned, I don't think that is going to come any time soon.  The codebase is really old and there are severe issues with GUI performance.  It feels like they are inefficiently using an inefficient UI framework.  Even before they address the Look of the application, they will need to address the Feel of it.  Otherwise... it will be a prettier - still badly performing - UI/application.  And that will still put people off, because these performance disparities are felt immediately, particularly for people with HiDPI displays.

 

Finale feels like the option that's going to drop off in the Notation market.  Similar to how DAWs like SONAR dropped off and were replaced with late entrants that developed quickly (e.g. Studio One).  Finale is taking a similar trajectory.  If not for the Educational Market, I think this would already have happened.

 

Those hurt most will be those who take the longest amount of time to come to terms with that.

 

But if you're on Windows, there is no rush.  The current (or any recent'ish) version is likely to run for at least another decade :-P

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... if you're on Windows, there is no rush.  The current (or any recent'ish) version is likely to run for at least another decade

 

Or the rest of my life!

 

What I am still waiting for though is that the program gets a dramatic overhaul.

 

I hope you are patient, a very patient, man! You'll need to be.

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I'd love to respond, but I encountered an error and will shut down.

 

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You guys are so right.

You gonna laugh when I tell you about an email exchange I had with MakeMusic around the time when Sibelius took off. I told them they need to start staying ahead of the wave and overhaul there decades old base code and look. I also told them that they should look into the future instead of trying to keep very old Finale documents compatible, and make Finale run on very old operating systems and computers.

Their answer - honest to God - was that they need to keep their upgrades compatible with old computers and operation systems, because there are those very poor Finale users that can't afford a new computer. Can you believe it?!

The old guys were just unbelievably .... (you fill in the blanks).

I do think they are trying to stay in the market, but they go about it all wrong. Just look at the MakeMusic website. You don't even see Finale there any more. There are so many signs that don't make me very optimistic about Finale's future.

For the record. I have used it for 25 years and payed 3600 Dollars in upgrades since then. I have taught Finale to a thousand students. It is time to start shopping again.

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You need to read the MakeMusic web site just a bit closer! Look Finale is never going to be another Sib/Dor look a like or clone.
Not to mention Sibelius is stupidly over priced.

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THOMAS GUNTHER

Their answer - honest to God - was that they need to keep their upgrades compatible with old computers and operation systems, because there are those very poor Finale users that can't afford a new computer. Can you believe it?!

Meanwhile, selling the software for $600.

 

This was always a fallacy, anyway.  Keeping the software "compatible" with older machines does not mean that it will maintain usability on older machines.  What people perceive to be "good performance" changes as they get access to better hardware - this includes being able to go to the public library and use a better computer.  I'm sure we've all had that experience where we used someone else's computer, and it feels so fast that we can never shake that disparity when we use our own.  Once you experience something better, it changes your baseline for "good."

 

The bad screen redraw performance in Finale probably seemed fine 15 years ago, when most applications had pretty bad screen redraw performance.  As we upgraded our machines and other applications updated their code bases, these issues got exposed in applications that did not.  So, what was "fine" for Finale back then is no longer fine today.  Just using an updated version of a competing application on the same machine is enough to trigger this shift in baseline.

 

I do think they are trying to stay in the market, but they go about it all wrong.

At the end of the day, their refusal to develop smarter to keep the software compatible with underpowered systems did nothing but ensure it would run WORSE for EVERYONE years later, become more difficult to maintain, cost more to develop (+ support and maintain, unless you simply avoid providing decent support to users) and impede their ability to deliver value to both new users and upgraders.

 

They can put forth their minimum effort to stay in the market, but they don't control this.  The users do, and if people are only going with Finale because they need it for school, it will fade away.  Better organic market growth at the grass roots is needed, otherwise the product becomes too niche and people are pressured to transition to competitors when they enter into the broader market (where people increasingly choose to use alternatives).

 

Just look at the MakeMusic website.

Forget the MakeMusic website.  You can go to https://www.finalemusic.com and you will barely be able to learn anything about the software.  They are hardly trying to get people to buy their flagship product (unless the sharing portal is the new flagship).

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All good points. One thing, they are loosing the schools already faster than a stock drops after I bought it.

Everyone uses musescore now. Free and good enough for beginners and songwriters. And soon good enough for most of us.

C'est la vie!

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ERNEST BIGGS

You need to read the MakeMusic web site just a bit closer! Look Finale is never going to be another Sib/Dor look a like or clone.


Not to mention Sibelius is stupidly over priced.

Lol.  When did this become a thing...  Weren't they literally the same price up until some months ago?

 

I mean, given the disparity in development between the two (not in Finale's favor), it seems a bit odd to try to attack Sibelius for its pricing.  It's far more actively developed, and it has done a lot more over the years to at least maintain some semblance of workflow efficiency.

 

Finale recently decreases the price, and suddenly you're calling Sibelius overpriced...  Like, what?  Price isn't just about dollar amount.  It's also about value proposition.  You get 80% of your feature requests answered simply by moving to Sibelius, and then you get 5 Finale upgrades' worth of improvements over the course of the first year's Support Contract.

 

Sibelius is cheap, compared to Finale - even at $299.

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When did this become a thing...  Weren't they literally the same price up until some months ago?

 

Perhaps they were but this is now and that was then. "Sibelius is stupidly over priced." Don't you think double what Finale is and when Musescore is free makes it overpriced? OK fine, your opinion.

I am not a Sibelius fan or convert but I believe unless you rent it you lose the upgrades and support unless you pay extra for them. My only interaction with Sibelius is from one of my friends who is a full time composer. He on his Sibelius and me on my Finale 27. He is an owner not a renter. We have sit together for hours and I have not seen any advantage to Sibelius. This is my only exposure to Sibelius and all I want. 

The question now becomes if you are so sold on Sibelius why are you still using Finale and posting about it on the MM forum? If I felt as you seem to, I would have switched already. Possibly you have?  "Sibelius is cheap,... "

 

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No. Sibelius has perpetual licenses and the support costs are not much different than upgrading dorico year over year. They release updates every couple of months, so you actually get good value out of it.

 

You can go to the website and see the change log for every update back to 2018 or so.

 

None of this has anything to do with what anyone chooses to use. It isn’t stupid expensive. Costs are largely in line with Dorico or any DAW in a similar product tier.

 

Finale lowered its price because MM is not able to develop quickly enough to keep pace with Avid and Steinberg. They cannot compete with features or workflow, so they are seeing if they can rope people in with lower prices, instead.

 

Preferring one product over another does not mean you have to be a fanboy of one and a hater of the other.  This is what has helped MM justify their development pace. A products biggest critiques need to come from its own users. 

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Yes, MuseScore is free and worth every penny, IMO. Actually, that’s not quite true—to unlock all of its functionality is not free and, as one who pays the annual subscription, I know this. Finale upgrades are less expensive, BTW. Some of my clients’ needs require that I use MuseScore now and then—same with Dorico, Notion, Overture and Encore.

 

Thanks to MusicXML, I’ve been able to get away with never having a license for Sibelius as Notion or Finale handles what I do for those users but, if I need one, I’ll obtain what’s needed.

 

Even without adjusting for inflation, it costs so much less to own the licenses I need than it did just a few years ago. Up through Finale 2012, annual upgrades were $99–$129 depending on how early you purchased. Multiply that x3 to include my wife and daughter—every year.

 

Notation apps are tools. I was fine for 25 years doing it in pen and ink (or pencil for ditto machines) before Finale was launched in 1989. Now is better, of course, but I get the tools I need when I require them.

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MIKE HALLORAN

Time is money.  The amount of time that I would spend adjusting formatting after importing MusicXML into Finale would pay for anything else, when Dorico and Sibelius (and even MuseScore) does half of it for free on import.

 

Other solutions have developed, so the feature disparity has largely been equalized between them.  What separates them is workflow efficiency and how much of the manual labor they offload from you to the computer itself.  Software is developed, and evolves increasingly, to allow you to do the same work with decreasing amounts of effort needed on your part - increasing productivity.

 

The issue is that Finale has been in stasis for decades while competitors have moved forwards in those areas.  Asking for the application to move forward is good for its future, even if users who have been using it for decades are okay with the status quo.

 

The choices people are facing today are fundamentally different than that which you faced 3.5 decades ago.

 

Anyone who has been using Finale for 35 years is probably beyond considering any cross grade as a viable option, but that stance is inherently individual - despite any attempt to project it beyond that.  These mentioned disparities won't cease to exist simply because you are not willing to bear the initial [migratory] costs needed to reap those benefits.  When newer entrants onto the market make a choice, they will make a choice based on where these application stand today, now where they were 35 years ago, and they aren't going to be making it from the perspective of a 35 year veteran who is unwilling to learn another application.

 

MakeMusic can equalize this with development.  It can be done, but they need to decide it is a priority.

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>>Anyone who has been using Finale for 35 years is probably beyond considering any cross grade as a viable option, 

An unwarranted assumption.

 

>>The amount of time that I would spend adjusting formatting after importing MusicXML into Finale would pay for anything else, when Dorico and Sibelius (and even MuseScore) does half of it for free on import.

Nothing stops you. Are you here only to rant? After all, you say your time is important. Bashing Finale for what it hasn't done (and those who still use it) doesn't seem helpful.

 

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>> Anyone who has been using finale for 35 years is probably beyond considering any cross grade as an option

 

Seems self explanatory.

 

>> Nothing stops you. Are you here only to rant? After all, you say your time is important. Bashing Finale for what it hasn't done (and those who still use it) doesn't seem helpful.

 

What you find to be bashing or not is your personal take on things.  You can have that.

 

Beyond that, how else are the developers supposed to know what users are experiencing?  Shutting up simply because some veterans on the forum don't want to have to deal with criticism that is deemed "negative" is not the way forward.

 

However, I guess that depends on what direction one perceives as forward.

 

As for the part about "those who use it..."

 

Pot, meet kettle.

 

It's not "those who use it," it is only a subset of users who speak pretentiously to others while they attempt to Lord over these forums.  I will not give respect to that.

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Reading comprehension does not seem to be Nathan’s strong suit. He missed the part about my five active licenses for as many notation apps—I even named them. Likewise, Finale has not been out for 35 years nor did I claim it has..

 

Dorico’s MusicXML handling is one reason why, though I have a license for the full version of 4, it doesn’t get much use. Life is too short. I’ve been posting for years about this on their user boards. 

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That was an obvious typo, then I copied and pasted, reproducing it later.

 

When I import MusicXML into Dorico, I get articulations and lines but am missing the dynamics markings.  I can easily go through and put those in, fairly quickly.  However, there are no collisions or anything.

 

When I import MusicXML into Finale, I get the articulations, lines and the dynamic markers, but everything collides, so I have to fix the positioning of everything manually (or via a plug-in, if you use one).  While trying to fix them, the screen redraws anytime something moves a pixel and causes a 0.4-0.6 sec stall in the application (while it redraws and refreshes).  It makes the entire process really slow, unless you use a plug-in to try to do most of it in one go (assuming you buy it).

 

It's far more work to fix the collisions and item placement/size in Finale than it is to add the dynamic markings in Dorico, especially since it will automatically adjust lines to fit between them.  It's pretty good about doing a lot of the work for you in write mode, so you don't have a monumental task to get things polished in Engrave.  Finale is more "manual labour."

 

I've been transcribing some Baroque manuscripts of heavily ornamented music and it handles this very well, though Finale definitely plays it back better.

 

EDIT:  Forum spacing strikes again.

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Finale is more "manual labour."

 

I see this as a feature and a plus. It is a by product for Finale's ability to do anything one can conceive in music using Finale. Not so much for the others. If your main most thing is grade 2 and 3 band music for example any music notation software is completely capable.

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Anyone who has been using finale for "35" years is probably beyond considering any cross grade as an option

 

I suspect I am that person. Truth is I used to d/l Sibelius about once a year or at minimum when they came out with a new model. I tried it and found nothing that made me want to switch. I no longer do that. One reason is my good friend that is a Sibelius power user. It still just doesn't show me any advantage.

Look Finale is never going to be a Sibelius or Dorico or a Musescore look alike. Is there places where MM could make improvements of course. Most of us here make such demands on MM all the time. There are strong critics here on the MM forum for sure.

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ERNEST BIGGS

I see this as a feature and a plus. It is a by product for Finale's ability to do anything one can conceive in music using Finale. Not so much for the others. If your main most thing is grade 2 and 3 band music for example any music notation software is completely capable.

Sibelius' Magnetic Layout (for example) doesn't inhibit you from doing "anything you can conceive in music notation."  Conversely, it allows you to avoid doing a lot of grunt work that and focus on other elements of scoring.  It's a productivity enhancer.

 

I don't deny Finale's functionality.  It's a workflow item, not a capability issue.  You can still do the same thing, it will just take longer and you will do more work to get there.

 

This level of collision avoidance is another feature request on this forum that I hope MM strongly considers.

 

I am interested in hearing how the lack of it is a benefit, though.

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Just responding to the latest discussion on Sibelius versus Finale.

I think MakeMusic made a very good decision incorporating some of the best third party plugins into the next update or upgrade (I forgot). Something they could have done 20 years ago! Most Finale users don't even know about those, and they are so essential to serious engravers like myself. With those installed I don't think Sibelius gives you any advantage over Finale.

I just don't understand why they move so slowly. They were once the gold standard in notation software. I'm getting nostalgic, I know.

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And one thing MakeMusic could have implemented years ago is a subscription based payment plan. Like 5-10 Dollars/per month for faculty and students, with a cancel-any-time option, in addition to a yearly subscription option for power users. Gen-z is used to this, or even say expects it. Of course their preferred option is to get it for free. That's why they love Musescore.

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What?

 

$5/mo is way more expensive than the current $99 every few years version upgrade plan. I don’t know what the entry price for students is anymore but over 4–5 years, the total cost is still way less expensive than that. GenZ can have their stupid subscriptions. 

 

AVID did not offer permanent licenses when Sibelius relaunched in 2019. Anyone notice how quickly they backtracked on that mistake? As Mike pointed out, only the base version of MuseScore is free and everything else is a tiered monthly or annual subscription.

 

The less said about Nathaniel’s ability to misread, misquote and jump to stupid conclusions to push his agenda, whatever it is, the better. This is not an AOL chat room from the 1990s.

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And one thing MakeMusic could have implemented years ago is a subscription based payment plan.

 

Tom, Way back when I was a beta tester for MM, they did a survey and asked what we thought of a subscription plan and a rent to own plan and the normal perpetual licence. The perpetual licence was soundly affirmed as the prefered way. Who knows what is in the minds of the new MM bunch, they are nothing like the old MM.

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