Notion 4

I had been aware that Notion Music was introducing their 4th version of their music notation software, but I wasn't ready for the sticker shock. Thanks to the very good blog at Kelly's Music and Computers, I learned that Notion 4 is selling for $100! MusicEdMagic also posted about Notion 4.

I'm a Finale user (and will continue to be), but I'm intrigued by this price so much that I'm going to purchase Notion 4, too. Notion 4 comes with two features that are unique: the ability to control a live performance with the program (this is used in a number of Broadway musicals in place of particular instruments) and sounds sampled from the London Symphony Orchestra.

I have a number of reactions to Notion 4's pricing:

  1. It puts a fully-functioning music notation software package from a company within reach of nearly every musician. Yes, MuseScore is free, but it could potentially be abandoned (it won't) at any time since MuseScore isn't making a profit from the program. At the same time, the full versions of a Finale and Sibelius are $600 (of course, you can usually find a significant academic discount as a teacher).
  2. It really acknowledges the impact of MuseScore on the market.
  3. At the same time, the $100 program says, “We still offer things that MuseScore cannot offer, making us worth $100. Buy us.”
  4. At the same time, $99 or $114 is what I've spent to upgrade Finale in recent years (no update in 2013, however). This pricing is radical, however, as the entry point to the full program.
  5. I wouldn't doubt that the iOS market has also impacted pricing. It is funny how iOS users complain about apps that cost for than $1.00.
  6. Notion for iPad is the best iPad music notation app, by far. Users of that app will appreciate a less expensive way to interact with their files on PC or iPad, without changing programs.
  7. If you want to use custom SmartMusic files, you will still need the full version of Finale.

I'm not expecting other notation software products to follow Notion in terms of price, and, in fact, I'm not even sure how much Notion is viewed as a competitor to Finale/Sibelius. So, if you are an iPad owner who uses Notion, or are just looking for notation software (that isn't free), you might want to check out Notion 4.


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