As of today, MakeMusic has officially announced a new pricing structure that will take place this summer in regards to SmartMusic. You can read the entire document here (http://smartmusic.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5416).
Let me summarize the FAQ:
- SmartMusic is moving from a per-computer subscription to a per-person subscription, meaning that if you buy SmartMusic (as a teacher or a student) you can use it on any computer that has SmartMusic installed. In the past, each computer had to be authorized, meaning that many music educators needed a second subscription to work from home. No longer. This also means that a student will be able use any computer in their home, not just one particular computer. Therefore, you could have SmartMusic on multiple computers and your iPad.
- There is a change for practice room subscriptions, however. In the past, one computer could be used for unlimited students in a school. My program does this…roughly 144 students use four SmartMusic authorized computers (That works out to $1 per student). For schools where students were encouraged to buy SmartMusic for themselves, the new pricing structure will have no impact. But for situations like mine, it will now cost us $8 a year for a practice room subscription. Those subscriptions will be linked to the computers at the school, and cannot be used at home. This means that my program will need to figure out a way to raise $1152 (if none of my students buy their own subscription). This probably means that we will have to run a fundraiser for this.
I am in support of SmartMusic’s pricing change: it was simply unsustainable to offer unlimited use of a service for $36 per computer per year in practice rooms.
Some schools will have to make a tough decision: whether to encourage students to buy personal subscriptions (really, this is best for students) or raise $8 per student for a practice room subscription. Sadly, some schools may not have the funds to continue with SmartMusic–but I would certainly encourage those schools to reach out and contact their MakeMusic sales representative before abandoning the product completely. There will be some anger, I imagine, about the change, but at the same time, remember that SmartMusic has licensing agreements based upon the literature they provide (i.e. they have to pay companies to provide that content)–and the company is a publicly traded company that needs to make money (it is a company, not a charity).
Although there are other products starting to creep into the area of music assessment, SmartMusic remains the only system I know of that has such a large repertoire of materials (particularly for band/orchestra), as well as the open ability to create and import your own resources via Finale (what most choir teachers need to do). This announcement gives us all time to examine our financial plans in regards to SmartMusic, so we can plan for the next academic school year.