Can we ask tough questions to the “industry”?

A few minutes ago, StaffPad posted this tweet:


The tweet, and video, can be seen by linking below:

I just wonder how long StaffPad can be viable as a product as it really is intended to be run on (optimized for) one exclusive category of Windows computers: the Surface tablets and the Surface Studio.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t run StaffPad on another Windows-based computer, but if you do, you can’t take advantage of the Surface tools (including the new Surface Dial).   It is hard to get an actual number of units sold, but one source stated that up to 8 million Surface systems would be sold this year.  How many of those 8 million buyers need a stylus-based notation program?

Compare that to 40 million iPads sold this year.

We just don’t know sales results for products on the market.  For example, how many copies of Finale 25 are sold each year?  Notion?  Notion for iOS?  Dorico? Sibelius?

And then how about the multi-platform competition, such as Noteflight and Flat?

And then the FREE elephant in the room, MuseScore 2 (with a new version coming sometime in the future)?

Notion for iOS has a very large potential install base: over 150 million iPads (those sold in the last three years)–not counting iPhones that can also run the app.  In addition, these devices are in schools and in the hands of music educators.

Notion, Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, and MuseScore can run on Mac OS or Windows OS, with  over 240 million units per year that can run those programs.

When you come back to the Surface series (Surface, Surface Pro, Surface Studio) which had an all-time high sales year totaling 8 million systems, and fewer sales in previous years (before the Surface 3, the “non-pro” Surface could not run Windows 8/10), how is there possibly a customer base to support the program?  Generally, schools are not buying these devices, either–much lower cost solutions are usually pursued (e.g. Chromebooks).

And let’s be honest: the majority of technology users don’t need a notation program, and if they do, they will look at solutions like Noteflight,, MuseScore, Finale Notepad, and Notion for iOS rather than more expensive solutions.

Don’t get me wrong–I have no problems with the Surface series, and if I had enough extra income, I would buy one to use, too (I need to save up for my iPad Pro, new MacBook, and several more ukuleles).  I have no issue with StaffPad, and if it was on Mac OS or iPad, I would buy it.  If I had a Surface, I would buy it. But I am a music educator who teaches with technology, and a music educator who teaches others how to use technology.  I do arranging in my spare time.  I use a wide range of products, as no single solution does everything the best.

It just doesn’t seem like there are enough notation users to support all of these programs–which is even MORE true when you consider a relatively small installation base.

I love having the options that are on the market–but realize that companies have to pay their bills, too.