MakeMusic’s Michael Johnson (VP of professional notation) wrote a blog post the other day regarding Apple’s upcoming Mac update called High Sierra. In the past few Mac updates, MakeMusic had to play catch up to make their software compatible. With Finale 25, Finale looked and acted the same as the previous version of Finale, but was all new under the hood. That rewrite of Finale has allowed Finale to announce that Finale 25 will be compatible with High Sierra—and if any bugs pop up, they will address them as quickly as possible. SmartMusic will also be compatible with High Sierra.
At the same time, two other Finale products were not previously updated–and thus are being discontinued. These are PrintMusic and Finale NotePad. You can still get these on Windows (no longer available for Mac), but even the Windows version will not be developed further. PrintMusic was a less complex version of Finale, and NotePad was even more basic (and free). If you owned PrintMusic, you can currently upgrade to full Finale for $99. That’s a great deal.
With many options for notation users, on nearly every platform, it makes sense for MakeMusic to focus on one notation product. There was a time where schools needed the free option of NotePad, but many years ago, MakeMusic chose to charge for NotePad. This forced many users (including schools) to find other options. This is about the same time that MuseScore came around. I personally talked to people at MakeMusic at the time to ask them not to do that–especially for schools. After all, most people will later buy what they have previously learned on. NotePad was an investment in future users. A few years later, MakeMusic later changed that decision, but the damage had been done. As of today, if you need free notation, you choose MuseScore. So it is a fitting time for MakeMusic to say “Goodbye” to NotePad.
The news about PrintMusic and NotePad is significant, but in no way is it bad. This is a sign that MakeMusic is making wise decisions that reflect the current notation marketplace and these moves will allow Finale to remain as a class leading product for music notation.