Is Musescore still free?

• Feb 19, 2019 - 21:39

I've been using musescore to help my choir learn their music but new members tell me they can't download for free at all any more. Has something changed, or are they just doing something wrong?


Comments

The music notation editor for Windows, Mac and Linux is still as free as it always has been. If you are instead speaking about downloading the sheet music from musescore.com, it should still be free. On musescore.com, you can subscribe for a pro membership, but a pro subscription is in no way necessary for downloading or listening to sheet music. I hope this clears things up. If you still have questions, feel free to reply here with them.

In reply to by choralmanianz

They need to have a MuseScore account to download from MuseScore.com, but it doesn't have to be a Pro account - it can be a free account. Perhaps when they try to create the free account it mentions Pro and they get confused, but they don't need to pay for Pro to download sheet music from MuseScore.com.

In reply to by Louis Cloete

Sorry, I didn't make it clear that the problem is just with downloading the program so they can listen to my scores at home. Some people have been finding that they are being asked to pay just for the program, and they don't seem to be able to locate the free version, but as I read the replies here I think it must be that they've gone to .com instead of .org. Does that seem right to others?

In reply to by 18lamont1

That is not true - exactly. Due to copyright issues, musescore.com is reconsidering how it's upload and download procedures work so they do not infringe on legitimate copyright claims. From what I've heard, within days procedures will be set forth to allow non-pro members to once again start downloading some score. To protect copyrights, some scores will never be available for download and some will be removed/hidden from the public. Keep an eye on https://musescore.com/groups/improving-musescore-com?page=2#main-content for future developments.

In reply to by mike320

Copyright issues is pure bullshit, nothing else. I made in Musescore on desktop my very own scores and downloaded them on my Android smartphone in the "collection" of the Musescore-app, which is called Songbook, so I carried them always with me. (Not the previous Songbook-app for which I paid(!), because Musescore decided unilaterally not to support that very much appreciated app anymore, about a year ago, which still feels to me like breach of contract.) When I want to open my very own scores on my Android smartphone since October 5th 2019, a hideous pop-up tells me that I MUST unlock Pro by free trial for one stupid week, after which it will cost a fortune (to get access to my own scores, that is). However I cannot infringe any legitimate copyright claims from nobody in the entire universe, except my very own. Quite irrational, no? I never uploaded my own scores to Musescore, especially to avoid any copyright issues that could emerge. As workaround I don't want to start some kind of private group in Musescore either to view my own scores on my smartphone, for I don't want them to be uploaded in any system that is not entirely controllable by myself - speaking of risky copyright! I am not a member of ASCAP nor any other copyright agency for that matter. Meanwhile I cannot get free access anymore on my Android smartphone to my very own scores due to somewhat thoughtless decisions by Musescore and that, dear friends, simply is rather disgusting. A second severe and important disappointment that makes Musescore to serious extent useless for me.
PS. Musescore.org, musescore.com, songbook-app, songbook in musescore,... such issues are not interchangeable as it turns out, but are very confusing, to not have to say distrustful.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

According to you there must be, no, there actually IS already a way to get rid of that awful pop-up and unlock scores in the "collection" of the Musescore-app on my Android smartphone. Please do describe this bypass to me, for I haven't found it yet and it is making me mad for the last couple of days.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

@Jojo-Schmitz: Thank you very much! Of course this works for -stupid- me. I was not aware at all that I had logged out on my Android smartphone. I think I got a bit frustrated and owe you an apology, so please accept it. Above all: keep up the good work and help impertinent rascals like me.

In reply to by connornishiji1

This is an anti copyright violation measure the site had to take to prevent getting sued or having to take donw the content all together.
And it does not affect all scores, those marked PD or Original Works are downloadable (if the uploader didn't disable it).
However, this affects musescore.com only, not musescore.org nor the MuseScore program for Windows, Mac and Linux.

In reply to by connornishiji1

To be clear: the money is to pay the people who composed the music. That's why it only applies to music that is copyrighted and not owned by the person who uploaded it. The alternative was shutting down the site in response to all the complaints from copyright owners. I suspect you'd have found that more disappointing.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sorry I'm just catching up on this issue...the musescore.com web site currently says "do not make any work publicly available if you don't hold all required permissions", so I'm guessing there's no "compulsory license" type situation that allows users to upload copyrighted material they don't own, and thus the funds are used to settle cases where the rules were not followed, correct? I'm not against the site charging to stay afloat, I just want to understand what is and isn't allowed.

It could be that they are talking about downloading the MuseScore app (for Android or iPhone) rather than downloading sheet music or the desktop software. The apps are free to download for basic use but have in-app purchases to enabled extra features. The in-app purchase is simply another way of paying for a Pro subscription, so if you already bought Pro on the website then you don't need to pay again in the app; just sign-in to your account in the app and the Pro features will be enabled. Again, a Pro subscription is not needed just to view and listen to sheet music in the app. It is possible that your choir members saw Pro mentioned somewhere in the app and assumed it was required to view sheet music, but it is not.

In reply to by shoogle

Hmm, that's an interesting point. I've just tried downloading the app onto my iPhone - I usually just use the full program on my desktop. And when I open it, it takes me through a little quiz about my preferences and level, and then there is a screen offering a pro account with two payment options, and no evident way to escape the screen....oh, except that there's a tiny little "close" option, dimly lit and in the top right hand corner lol. So now it gives me an option to create an account, and presumably that will then be free...?!

Basically, you need an account to download the sheet music. I had the same question and I tried this.
It's pretty stupid, to be honest, because when downloading without an account, it doesn't give the option to make an account. It just says that it's a Pro feature.
Don't know what MuseScore's trying to pull.

In reply to by Liman Wen

MuseScore is trying to keep the musescore.com site up and running. They have temporarily implemented their current policies due to issues discussed in https://musescore.com/groups/improving-musescore-com/discuss/5044610

What I have seen since this initial announcement is work to return things to as close as normal as possible. It will never return to the way it was, but it will continue to improve. BTW, I don't work for MuseScore, I'm a user of the program and .com site like you.

In reply to by mike320

Still bullshit that they're locking features I've been using for years behind a subscription paywall. I was literally able to use the download feature this year, but the greedy fucks at Ultimate Guitar / Musescore want to just make money. There are other ways to make money besides mistreating and removing features and locking pretty much everything except for viewing scores. Anyway, these files are created by users, and the users aren't getting paid for any of it; in fact, users pay to upload their scores. it's an inept system and makes me want to use another service (that don't exist). It's a shitty practice. Musescore is owned by Ultimate Guitar, they have enough money. they dont need to lock nearly every feature behind a paywall. The only reason the musescore program isnt behind a paywall yet is because its under an open source license that doesnt allow anyone to make any money over open-sourced work.

In reply to by FrancIscoBrian

That's a pretty interesting conspiracy theory, but it turns out that the people who own the rights to the music that many people post (music under copyright), and have made deals with UG, don't want the music whose rights they hold given away for free. You should argue with the composers and publishers who expect reimbursement for their art, and read some of the postings on musescore.com about why this change was made (it's what I said). I am not an employee, I'm just a user.

In reply to by BSG

I know, but I shouldn't have to pay for non-professional arrangements of folk songs and 200 year old songs that no one own the rights to anymore (Bach and Mozart aren't alive and have no estate) or user composed songs. Plus, these don't supplement the original, hell, for many artists, they offer no official transcription of their music. It's not about copyright. Nintendo, the bane of copyright usage and fair use hasn't flagged down any midi fan sites. That's all musescore.com is. Clean MIDI Arrangements. It's fair use as it isn't plagiarization or piracy of professional music. The copyright holders own the music, not the arrangements created by composers and arrangers.

Plus I'm pretty sure Beethoven, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, My Chemical Romance, and John Lennon haven't made deals with Ultimate Guitar.

I'm not mad at you. I'm just disappointed in Musescore. This isn't a way to reimburse the original composers of copyrighted materials. It's a way to scalp users for money (a $5-$25 subscription doesnt pay for a license to buy every copyrighted song in the world). These features have been free since musescore.com was created. Paying for individual pieces is buying said usage rights. but even then, these aren't professionally arranged and composed. they're made mostly by 13-25 year olds without a formal degree in musical composition and don't get paid.

An amateur transcription isn't owned by the Original songs' rightsholders. This is just Musescore taking money from its users and locking features behind a subscription paywall.

In reply to by FrancIscoBrian

They are trying to work out better means of labelling public domain scores and original scores such that free access to them will continue, but their contributors have to label them properly. It is getting better (work in progress). Hold on and follow the "Improving MuseScore.com announcements". This is not an attempt to be greedy, but a work-in-progress of narrowing down the paywall to appropriate items.

In reply to by FrancIscoBrian

I suggest you read up on how copyright law works. It's patently false to claim "The copyright holders own the music, not the arrangements created by composers and arrangers". Arrangements are considered derivative works and one absolutely needs permission (and generally, to pay a license fee) to post arrangements of copyrighted material. Even if the composers themselves are dead, copyright lives on for years afterwards, and the heirs and/or publishers of that music still have a completely legitimate legal claims recognzied by any court in the world.

It's true no such permission or license is required for arrangements of public domain composition, and that's why those are exempt from the download limits.

Hi there. Did you ever get to the bottom of this problem? I also use musescore with my choir so that they can listen to the music to rehearse. However, members of my new choir have mentioned that they have been asked for money and can't seem to bypass it! Did you figure it out please?
Thanks!

In reply to by caz.bradley

It's better to ask for help with the moble apps and/or score sharing website musescore.com over on that site. People over here are mostly familair with the notation software itself and have little insight into the mobile apps or musescore.com.

My understanding is that scores marked "original" or "public domain" can still be downloaded for free, but copyrighted works by others do require a Pro subscription to access so the copyright owners can be paid.

In reply to by caz.bradley

What program, what payment screen?
They can open the scores you send them, on their PC using the MuseScore program (from the musescore.org website), that is free, no payment nor any payment screen.
The mobile apps cannot open local files though without a Pro subscription, this was never different, so no change there at all. Those apps can in their free version only open scores directly from musescore.com.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

They are selecting the download now button but then it is coming up with a payment screen and no obvious way to bypass it. It doesn't happen if you are just updating to the latest, purely when starting from scratch. Several people have said the same, it's not just one person! Just to clarify, I am talking about musescore. org . Thanks!

In reply to by caz.bradley

The button on musescore.org is "Free Download" and not "Download Now".
Or from the menu at the top of this very page, choose "Download -> Software" and then click the link/button for the corresponding operating system. None of these links open up a popup for me

In reply to by caz.bradley

Where do you see a "Download Now" button? there is none on the musescore.org home page nor on the download page. There are download buttons, but pressing them doesn't ask for any payment.
And BTW, the app stores don't have such a payment request either, only after installing and starting those

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

They are clicking free download and selecting their operating system. The only thing I can see that it might be is once you have downloaded, it thanks you for downloading and there is a big button which says, " join musescore now" If that is what they are clicking, that takes you to musescore pro and payment options. I'll see if it's that.
It's really hard when you can't see what they can see or what they are clicking!
Thanks for the help, I'll let you know !

In reply to by caz.bradley

It might help to try to explain to them a major problem with this website (musescore.org): it has a large and deliberately confusing bar at the top of every page, labelled "Musescore", and it is important never to click on it, because this is "Mx$x$c$re", the .com site, which will seek to charge them money. Once you are on the musescore.COM site it is almost impossible to find a way back, short of amending the address bar.

In reply to by Imaginatorium

Nonsense, clicking onto 'musescore' in the top bar does not bring you to musescore.com, the "Upload" and the "Search for shett music" does though. From there though indeed the top bar is not getting you back, but the bottom bar is, the links to "Download", "Handbook" and "Forum"

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Indeed. And this is enough to cause an infinite amount of confusion. I would propose to remove the "Search for sheet music" field, and the "Upload" button from the .org-site.

Perhaps it would be possible to add a "take me to the MuseScore Music Sharing site" button somewhere if we could find a clear enough name/description. Perhaps just "MuseScore Music Sharing" is good enough?

In reply to by AndreasKågedal

Some variant of this idea, perhaps featuring a wholly different color, is unquestionably a good idea. Given that these two websites, at this point in time, have very little in common, in who runs/populates them, in what purpose they are there for, and in what they offer, and what is free and what is not, the deliberate illusion that they are "part of the same thing", no matter whose name is on the "ownership" legal documents, seems wholly counterproductive. In fact, if there is a new header bar, I suggest it have a button "musescore.com or musescore.org? Explain." As it is now, it promotes confusion and anger about "it's not free any more".

In reply to by BSG

Jeez. I've read this entire thread and I can't decide if these college kids are trying to download the score sharing service or the notation software. Shouldn't be that hard to figure out. Personally I don't have any use for score sharing. There are plenty of other ways to share scores or sound files.
As to copyright. If you are working with a Beethoven piano piece, chances are it is a version that is owned by some publishing company somewhere. Even if you are doing arrangements for your own use, you might have to get permission. It's a slippery slope for sure. I know lots of copyright horror stories. Example: A touring college concert band left the 2nd trombone folder behind after a concert. Somebody found it and seeing that it was full of ptotcopied music, turned it into the pulisher. The result was almost a million dollars in fines. This school had a ton of copied music.

In reply to by BSG

Well, they do have a lot in common:

  • they are owned, run and administered by (different people from) the same company
  • .com is running the musescore program as its backend for rendering the scores
  • the .com site is earning the money to keep the .org one up and running

In reply to by BSG

"But none of those are relevant to people who run aground on the wrong shore."

It's a siren shore, to be sure. (sorry for the half-rhyme) I wandered inadvertently over to the .com site yesterday. For the life of me, I could not find a link BACK to .org. I'm sure it's there, but I just could not find it.There are brick-and-mortar stores like that; once you enter, there is no easy or straight line to the exit. I eventually closed the tab and opened a new one for .org. I find it curious that the version of the site that appears to trap you is the one that wants your wallet. Welcome to the Hotel California! It is certainly bad web design, but the question is whether it is intentionally bad or just bad on its own merits.

In reply to by toffle

There is a scene in a fairly old movie parodying Latin American revolution (by a filmmaker who is anathema now), where some rebels reply to a query,, "No, no, we're the People's Liberation Front, not the Liberation People's Front !" or whatever. Kind of like thinking that "enormity" means "vastness", or other errors that are so common and expectable that they're redefining their own terms. "Bad on its own merits", is my guess.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Those are profoundly easy to miss, and even easier not to understand. For those who do not yet know the distinction between the sites, they are no solution. It says "About MuseScore". It should be

About MuseScore.com (score sharing site).
...
...

About MuseScore.org (application software discussion and development)
...
...

This difference is not a subtlety, but fundamental to the use of each site.

In reply to by BSG

FWIW, I wouldn't recommend two separate "about" pages. Normally an "About" link refers to the company, not the site. It's the one company operating two sites, not actually an unusual thing, but maybe not managed as well as it could be here.

To me all that's needed is an additional item on the top menu bar of musescore.com, called something like "Software" (I think maybe that was there at one point). Although I also advocate for a single shared "Help Center" easily accessible from everywhere - musescore.com, musescore.org, MuseScore, the mobile apps, and this would lay out what's what and have the appropriate links for getting help. There is some support for this idea but so far it hasn't risen to the top of the priority list.

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