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?


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, it should still be free. On, 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, 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

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, 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 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.,, 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 only, not 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 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.

In reply to by bryanxbhms

To be clear: the MuseScore notation software that you install on your computer and is supported on this website is free. Always has been, always will. There is, separate from that, a website for sharing scores - it's called It provides some features for free to all, other features require an account, and those accounts come in both free and non-free versions. This is also not new, the only thing sort of new is that downloading copyrighted scores used to be free but the copyright owners insist on getting their royalties, so now it requires a paid account.

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 site up and running. They have temporarily implemented their current policies due to issues discussed in

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 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 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 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 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?

In reply to by caz.bradley

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

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 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

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 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 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 ( 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, 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 " or 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 (score sharing site).

About (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, 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, 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.

Idk if this is late, but I see people talking about downloading from the website, but every time I search any song up, it sends me to a search on

In reply to by Imaginatorium

To me that's a nice convenience, I see no reason to get rid of it. But I do think it should be less prominent than the regular site search box, and I also think there should be equally prominent links to from No doubt the physical layout of the sites could stand to be improved,

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have never used it once, nor wanted to. The basic search facility of the .com site is woefully unequal to the (very ill-defined) utility to which it aspires, whose proper solution is a difficult design task. If you can't find what you're looking for by bookmarks, finding the user who owns it, or maintaining your own offline-cache of links with its own search mechanism, it's ... very rough. The problem of searching a crowd-sourced corpus whose contributors are not beholden to any rules or conventions is virtually hopeless, unless you have the considerable resources of Google. We've been through this. But the point is, its inutility on the .org is that squared, and the confusion it causes must be considerable. Why not have boxes for searching Amazon or YouTube? People confused about "'is this the same outfit, or site, or not" are reasonably so.

In reply to by BSG

I agree the search on both sites could stand to be improved. But as for why not have search boxes for Amazon or YoutTube, the answer should be obvious enough: neither of those sites are run by the same company as, and there is absolutely no correlation between the two. Whereas a large number of users are users, and vice versa, so to me it would be a disservice to separate the sites too much. That would be confusing, making them look like somehow unrelated / competing products rather than what they are: two different products produced by one company. And not two unrelated products, either - two products that complement each other and are integrated with each other. Separating the sites too much would only exacerbate the problem of people posting questions about one product on the other's site.

Obviously, as I said, there is room for improvement in the site design. I think there should be one centralized "help" page that then takes you to the appropriate location. I know there has been some development in that area, no idea what the status is. Probably the whole copyright hubbub this summer derailed most other development.

In reply to by toffle

This site pretends to be part of the same site when convenient. It's useful if you truly understand the issues, but newcomers never do, and the answers to every related question are complex. The basic idea is clear, but the details are more indistinct.

In reply to by Shoichi

I don't believe one second that the "search score", designed and presented as the big site search on the MuseScore org site is there "for convenience".
Either you know the score sharing site is separate and you go there.
Or you don't, and then that search reinforce that confusion and you start to pay for what you think being the MuseScore pc program.
The honest way to proceed would be to have a big link to on top of home page saying clearly and explicitely that it will bring you to a payable score sharing site,
AND the corresponding big clear title on top of home page with a link to saying that it will bring you to the completely free PC score editor site.

Musescore always can be installed for free, but it isn`t link to download on the Link to download software without free trails and questions about credit card is only on the

In reply to by E Ye

Try paying more attention to your url bars.
Everything related to the notation software itself (which is always fully free) is available here on .org
Everything related to the online score sharing platform (including their subscription service) is available on that platform itself, being on .com

I've been a user for Musescore since wayy long ago. Never did this come up until now? My current work around is, if I really want a piece of music, I just view the preview and copy it. It's tedious and unneccessary tho...

I was able to download free scores since a week or two ago (end of May 2020), but not anymore. I read that normally I shouldn't, but somehow I could.

I understand about licensing and copyright, but now, even if I upload something not copyrighted, no one without a paid subscription will be able to download, but only watch online, right? So in essence, there is no more free sharing?

In reply to by skoy21

even if I upload something not copyrighted, no one without a paid subscription will be able to download, but only watch online, right?

No; if you upload something public domain or for which you have distribution rights, mark those scores as such. Then they still can be freely downloaded by everyone with an account.

My dear fellow musicians,

that's it. I used to use ultimate guitar, I don't these days.
Guess why.

I'm so disappointed about's new fucking money making policy,
its poor crappy mobile apps, its subscription bullshit and the overall bad evolution
regarding the community members' contributions for music and cultural heritage.

I used to love this platform, but now I'm off.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

No need to make the commentator look stupid.
Probably such comments happen when your login account to a valuable (free) software gets intentionally mix up with the advancing commercial abuse of the program's community members.

Don't take users for fools, I'm sure the devs at & know why this is happening.

In reply to by TimBenzkos

Complaining here is stupid.
I'm sick and tired of users complaining (using foul language at that) here on about something that is on, and even has a detailed and reasonable explanation.

There is no commercial abuse, not here on at all, but none on .com either. You can subscribe for a Pro account there or not, your decision. And what you get there, is the owners decision, just like in a shop on main street, buy it or don't, but don't accuse the dealer for selling stuff.
Same thing about what you get for free, on as well as from the dealer on main street, this is entirely at the discretion of the dealer.

On you used to be able to get download for free, but had to pay for (more than 5) uploads.
Now you get (unlimited) uploads for free, can still download Public Domain and Original Work for free, but have to pay for downloads of copyrighted material. That the deal, take it of leave it. The alternative would have been to take down entirely.
And as also pays (the costs for the site as well as several full-time developers), sooner or later would have destroyed that too.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

The problem is much bigger. The entire world is now "TL;DR"; nobody reads anything except eggheads, intellectuals, professors, and successful computer programmers. People who walk into a shop marked "Butcher" expect to buy meat, not meet Tom and Jane Butcher. No one will read what you have written here except people who already know. The setup is confusing. Every such mistake by a newcomer is proof (and I'm not saying that as a criticism). The difference between DNA and RNA, or Bosnia and Serbia, or North Dakota and South Dakota, is confusing unless you actually know something, which is a lot to ask.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Please forgive me but i don't quite agree with your argumentation here.

You don't need to constantly point out the separation of the two internet sites here, if they are in truth but very closely and intentionally interwoven. The existence of one account valid for both sites and the build in "Online Community" (aka within the musescore software should be proof enough.

First the people are offered a very good and free software for notating music. For this purpose a community platform is operated, where for years no responsible person seems to care about the prevention of legal violations. Then reality strikes and the platform has to be commercialized.

Nevertheless countless enthusiasts continue to transcribe their favourite songs from the radio for hours and upload them to (altogether using the software from without seeing one cent but having to pay for the whole "service" to and the music industry and its publishers.

If the system works that way, you tell us there's no abuse happening?
When a piano dealer sells a piano, he surely has previously paid the piano maker, right?

Best regards

In reply to by TimBenzkos

Those transcribers and uploaders have to pay nothing to put their work on
Moreover, is paying the copyright holders of the works they transcribe in their stead!

If the piano dealer (the uploader) does however first pay the piano maker (the copyright holder) and receives a dealing license, then they can mark their work as original and no-one has to pay to download their scores..

In reply to by jeetee

To be fair: certainly does not spent all the money it collects (from donations, ads and pro accounts) on royalties, site costs and employee wages, there certainly is money left for the owner (and that is legitimate too). But nothing of the new and change Pro deal has changed that part.

In reply to by Shoichi

I doubt the decent intentions of owners. For years they have failed to take action on the copyright issue. Now we are probably experiencing a transition phase. After the last naive teenager has realized that cash is generated from his uploaded but copyrighted transcriptions, from which he gets nothing, the people will stop taking over the work of commercial music publishers for free. Don't get me wrong, a composer should be remunerated for his work. But if someone provides a service that others make money from, the first should also be participating.

Thanks for the links Shoichi, you should pay attention yourself to this comment:

"Musescore is pulling a classic "Bait and Switch", simply because:
1. Musescore can only get more users to share their work for "free" when they do not make money with what people intended to SHARE.
2. Then as long as there are lot of users using it and lots of works already shared, Musescore put a paywall with whatever excuse they come up with, so they can make money off the people who wanna stick around with the sharing community even though they got baited and swithced
3. legal actions could be taken, if MUSESCORE baited you into sharing your work for free, then switched the deal and starts making money off your work without your approval or profit sharing. "Bait and switch" simply is not a decent thing any company should get away with."

In reply to by TimBenzkos

Still entirely unrelated to and the free MuseScore program for Windows, Mac and Linux, at so large part done by volunteers3, the free online support, done by volunteers, and the handbook, written and translated by volunteers. These complaints here about that other side and site is just offensive.
Go there with your complaints! Delete you scores and account there if you don't like their business model, but leave us here in peace.

[DELETED] 29742044 and you, TimBenzkos, are users here since only a couple hours, and never shared any score on as far as I can tell, yet you complain about things that changed months and years ago, why?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

read this:
You don't need to constantly point out the separation of the two internet sites here, if they are in truth but very closely and intentionally interwoven. The existence of one account valid for both sites and the build in "Online Community" (aka within the musescore software should be proof enough.

In reply to by TimBenzkos

1. MuseScore allows you to upload your scores (now unlimited) and also to use the secret link or prevent downloading. And so far no payment is required.
2. The previous limit (5 scores) could be exceeded with the Pro version, useful, I think, for professionals who wanted an online archive with options to listen, convert etc..
3. I don't see the cheating intent, some changes come from the greater popularity, and visibility, arrived with the years.
Anyway: here on .org we take care of the software, there was almost no need for a moderator because most users know how to self-regulate and follow . We freely express our opinions and try to help users even when, as in this conversation, you go OT (com vs org).

Sorry if I don't explain myself well but I don't speak English.

Translated with (free version)

In reply to by Shoichi


"After the last naive teenager has realized that cash is generated from his uploaded but copyrighted transcriptions, from which he gets nothing, the people will stop taking over the work of commercial music publishers for free. Don't get me wrong, a composer should be remunerated for his work. But if someone provides a service that others make money from, the first should also be participating."

About that: That naive teenager is violating copyright to begin with. Should he/she be allowed to profit by using something without permission? People think that just because they buy or download something, they can then do what they want with it. Seldom true.

In reply to by bobjp

Those naive teenagers also believed facebook and google and all the rest on the internet to be completely free, until they detected that they pay with their data rather than with money.
Quite many haven't detected that still...

But indeed, way to many people upload scores to that are violating copyrights, mostly out of naivity, some out of malice. But protected them from getting sued, and still does, and that for free!

In reply to by TimBenzkos

FWIW, it is not true to say "for years they have failed to take action on the copyright issue". The truth is, for years the various people who have been in charge of the site has attempted various things in an effort to keep the site afloat. In most cases, the end result was that scores that received complaints from copyright owners simply were taken down. But over time the complaints grew bigger and more common, and the legal threats more insurmountable. The transition phase really happened over the past three years, that was when the serious legal negotiations started to attempt to find a solution that didn't involve having to take scores down all the time. And that is how we got where we are - the gradual switch over the last years from pay-for-upload to pay-for-download, which is completely necessary in order to satisfy the legal requirements.

Not sure how you can possibly see a "bait and switch" in this very plain and simple effort to keep the site from being shut down. Money needs to be collected to pay the copyright owners, and it needs to be per download, they insist on that. There is no bait and switch whatsoever. It is exactly as has been described over and over and over and over and over on these threads: MuseScore needs to do these things in order to avoid having the site be shut down completely. Nowhere does anyone ever suggest anything that is not exactly that, so there is no switch - it is exactly as advertised.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks to all participants of the debate for their contributions. I also would like to apologize to all of you who may feel offended by my energetic appearance in this discussion. I do not want to cause trouble here.

I understand and also agree with you all why a change must take place regarding the musescore funding and legal aspects within the community. Please could someone still answer two remaining questions for me to remove some of my concerns about the whole situation:

1.) Are transcriptions of copyright protected songs of third parties created by musescore users tolerated, desired or even officially supported within the new more legalized musescore system (after having agreed with the appropriate publishers)?

2.) If yes, what would be the benefit for users continuing to transcribe and upload the works of others on (e.g. to get official access to other copyright protected transcriptions on the community site legally in exchange)?


In reply to by TimBenzkos

Still the wrong place for this question. I'll try an answer anyhow:
1) Yes, at least tolerated as long as the copyright owner doesn’t demand them to be taken down (yes, this does still happen).
2) Similar as before: others can see and play them online. No download though anymore for non Pro members.
If you want others to be able to download, tell them the secret link.
Or create your own music, or transcribe or arrange public domain stuff

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thank you for your answers and patience with me.
Are Pro members officially allowed and supported to download copyright protected pieces on then? If not, there would be no need to pay third party publishers.

So, the copyright holders get money for tolerating their songs on, otherwise they would complain of losing revenues. The Pro members pay money to get legal access to copyright protected song's sheet music. Seems clear and understandable for me, twice each benefit in return for money.

So what is the payment for transcribing copy protected songs of others within that concept, somebody has to provide the content? If you would say "nothing, it's the users fault to put effort in that direction".
Users would not be willing to do that anymore, so would become more and more free of copyright problematic material. When we finally had a more or less public domain and freelancer copyright filled area, wouldn't have to pay the big players anymore?

In reply to by TimBenzkos

1) Yes, the whole point is to continue to support people uploading their own arrangements of popular/copyrighted material.

2) Some say sharing is its own reward. Those who don't say that don't need to share. I could certainly imagine someday there being some sort of reward system to encourage this further, but once again, this is absolutely a useless place to have the discussion. If you want people who actually think about these issues for a living and who actually have the power to make decisions to see the discussion, you simply have to post over there on that site, not here, no one in any position to make a difference will see anything posted here

I have the same problem. Every time I go on (because that’s an important distinction to make apparently) to download music it tells me to subscribe if I want download/see the PDF, even if the piece I want is in the public domain. Is this a glitch or will I have to find a new site to download music from?

In reply to by Starrywitch

You do have to be logged in to download anything, but if the music is public domain, a free account is good enough. So yes you need an account and be logged into it, but it doesn't have to be a paid account. That's needed only for copyrighted music and to unlock some extra features.

For further assistance, you should go over to the site you are talking about, and ask any additional questions there.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

The MuseScore software is open source and completely free. What is giving you the impression otherwise? Maybe you are trying to install on a recent macOS system and are running into a warning produced because apple updated their security requirements? If so, see the FAQ at for the workaround. Next version of MuseScore will have the necessary security support built in.

To be clear: MuseScore is, always has been, and always will be free and open source. The only thing that is not is downloading copyrighted scores from the score sharing website, because the copyright owners need to be paid and that’s where the money comes from.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

People keep saying that but it's not possible to get past the payment page. It's a Windows system and there was no security warning and no way to get past the payment page. There's nothing in that FAQ that addresses this issue.
No one was trying to download a score. I was trying to help a student install it on their system.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

@Russell Ferrara, ask your students to try changing browser and download from the official page:
I've always used FireFox on Windows before and on Linux Mint since some years and I've never seen impositions. But I have recently discovered from the forums that there are sites that offer the purchase of packages including the software MuseScore.
Ask if they can attach some banner screens that they see.

In reply to by Shoichi

My student is NINE YEARS OLD!! I sent her that VERY link. I sent her the install file that I used on my W10 studio box using Chrome. I've installed Musescore in Windows using both Chrome and Firefox. I've installed it on EVERY Linux computer that I own: Ubuntu,
Ubuntu Studio, Zorin using both Chromium and Firefox and I've installed it on a MAC using Safari - not recently - I understand there's some security issue currently. The thing is Windows is installed on close to 90% of computers in the US. 63% of computers use Chrome. If the the thing doesn't work with Chrome running in windows, its USELESS! Something is wrong.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

There is no payment page if you are just trying to install the software. My guess is your student simply visited the wrong link. Can you have them do a screen share? Here to be clear is the direct link to the download page:

It absolutely positively works on Windows using Chrome or any other browser, I've done it literally hundreds of times and never once been asked to pay anyone a penny.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

There are 2 programs called MuseScore:
The full one for Window/Mac/Linux which is full and free, site
The "reader" for Android and iOS (=mobile and tablet) which is not free, site
Unfortunately they have the same name so if you don't know you can be confused.
In the instructions you give to the student you must insist (bold/red?): browser MUST show, NOT
Now I have just tried different combinations of search terms (MuseScore, MuseScore application, MuseScore program, software MuseScore, ... even App MuseScore) and from google all the searchs put before in the result list which is good.
Only big flaw in the search result is that most of these combinations return as first result a link to the crescendo program (on when searching through

In reply to by frfancha

Thanks everyone for all the help. I will try the link. I don't know if you saw this but my student is 9 years old, her parents are not very computer literate and they're 40 miles away but I think I at least have a plan of action. I can send the link with explicit instructions and then get on the phone and help them through. Thanks again. I'm hoping that I will soon be able to post about how I'm using Musescore in conjunction with Zoom to teach remotely.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

If you plan to use MuseScore via Zoom, see this, which can help with audio setup:…

Personally in video meetings I find it easier to just let MuseScore play through the speakers and have the microphone pick up that sound normally, but the details depend on how everything is configured - the OS, internal vs extern mic, where Zoom's own audio output is routed, the audio settings within Zoom, etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks Marc. I'm letting the students play the prepared backgrounds on Musescore muting out their part and yes doing the playback in the air. I've already optimized Zoom settings for music but I'll take tips anywhere I can get them! There's a huge advantage here as I see it. While I'm not requiring my students to edit in Musescore yet I know that they will toy around with it and thereby learn some things without my lifting a finger!! If they bring questions to me all the better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the help so far. I've solved a part of this mystery. I thought I was dealing with a Windows computer but it is in fact a Chromebook version 81. I did see that the Linux version would work on Chromebook but it behaved the same way as the Windows download, that is, it bounced my student to a survey asking what instrument she played etc. and then to the score search page [which is attached]. I'm going to try investigating this on my own but if you have any knowledge about installing on a Chromebook I would appreciate it. I've attached a screen shot of where the link sent

Attachment Size
MusescoreIssue.jpg 250.43 KB

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

That is not the MuseScore editor program, that is more likely the Android app. It appears your student may have ignored the Linux install instructions and tried to install from the Play Store. That doesn't work. It has to be the Linux version, downloaded from this site (Download link above). The installation involves downloading an AppImage file, changing ita permission in the terminal window, and running it from command line with the "install" option (listed as optional, but don't skip it - it makes it so you never need to mess with the command line again but can start MuseScore normally).

Hmm, I guess maybe the student did follow the Linux steps but left out that last step, and is now being fooled by the Android app that must have also been installed. If the AppImage is installed properly, both it and the Android app will appear in the launcher.

Hi Everyone,

Based on this discussion, do I understand correctly:
You can now upload your own arrangements of copyrighted sheet music to MuseScore.

Musescore is now paying the right holders for that.

So teachers are able to upload copyrighted material to Musescore without any risks?

Thanks so much in advance!

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thanks so much for your quick reply!

Is there a risk for a teacher uploading to Musescore, that they can get a copyright infringement claim directed at the teacher?

Is there always a chance to take it down (for a teacher or musescore) in case of copyright infringement, or can you already get sued only by uploading an arrangement of a copyrighted piece?

Thanks so much again!

In reply to by terme004

You personally won't get an infringement/sued; this protection is part of the service offers to you.

In case an infringement claim is provided to, it'll make the score automatically private, effectively making it unavailable to anyone but you and those you provide with a secret link.

I read through this whole crazy discussion. I value all the efforts for financing the Musescore notation app. Like I said before, I'm not a Musescore user, since the program is not in a professional level yet. This is perhaps an unpopular suggestion, but I would rather have a Musescore Pro paid app with a private Pro forum and private tech support. It can still be open source (for a professional user, it makes no difference at all, all you need is get work done!), but the priorities of the development would be set for use by professional users. The Pro version could have its own direction different from the Free for all version (which is certainly more attractive for hobbyists than for professional musicians). That someone makes a free fork of the Pro version is irrelevant for professional users, especially because nothing garantees that that fork can continue having the desired development and tech support. This Pro paid version could also speed up the needed development for making Musescore usable right away for a professional environment. I'm sorry if I offend professional musicians that are already using Musescore only! I applaud the effort and extra time you put to make a Musescore score look professional, but not everyone has the time and the patience to do that, and not every one wants to depend on voluntary work to get things done "now". Free open source software has generally a slower development (true for Musescore). It's beyond my understanding why Paid open source can't exist. Donating is not an option for me not knowing if the features that are gonna be implemented are for hobbyists or not.

I hope this doesn't sound snob. Ubuntu user here. Certainly hobbyists have the right to have a good notation program, but I wouldn't trust a serious project to Musescore (and I'm not willing to mouse around correcting everything that Musescore doesn‘t do right!). The quality of the tech support would certainly be a different one (instead of just answering that it can be done, albeit inefficiently with no plans to improve that, etc., all fine for someone who has the time and doesn't demand so much from Musescore). Anyways, I'm all up for having a second professional option for linux (the first and only one being Lilypond), and would be happy to pay for a pro version of Musescore. I hope this could be considered as an additional income source other than (which also attracts mainly hobbyists, I guess). Sorry again if some of this hurts some feelings from professionals and hobbyists alike, it's not my intention!

Martín Rincón Botero.

In reply to by m.r-botero

You make some interesting points, allow me to address some of them.

  1. Priorities of development should be set for use by professional users
    This already is mainly the case in today's development. With the slight addition that prioritization also looks at impact of a feature for all other user groups. Part of the redesign work for MS4 is to improve the discoverability and usability of some of the already existing tools/settings; which are now sometimes overlooked by professionals and very often missed (or hard to use) for less experienced/involved users.

  2. A pro paid version might speed up development
    Maybe, if enough people buy it so developers could get paid from it.
    Then again, there is already a (small) team of full-time paid developers working on MuseScore.

  3. Pro users don't care whether there is a free open source variant from it
    Due to MuseScores licensing, all direct improvements to it must always remain open source. That means that someone can always build it from source for free (there isn't even a need to fork it).
    Now, if you can buy the exact same product for a price of 200 or a price of 0, without any differences between those products other than that the 0-priced product might update just one week later than the 200-priced one; which one would the majority of people buy?
    This makes the chance of point 2 above raising enough money to support more developers quite low. (As the donations meter over the years has proven).

  4. But I did propose "additional value" for the Pro version; namely the private forum and tech support.
    I honestly do wonder though what you'd think you'll get as a benefit from a private forum (where thus less collected knowledge will be available) that you don't currently already have for free?
    Similarly, what tech support are you hoping for to be provided in addition to what is already available for free?
    If you are somehow hoping that you could prioritize features by paying, then I'm afraid the fee will end up lots higher than what you're hoping for (after all, you'd then have to be able to at least pay for the development time involved, see point 2 and 3 again). And then again, if you want a feature that badly, you can already try to pay someone to develop it for you. If it is a good feature, they can then contribute it to the main program.

Paid open source (aside from servicing contracts on top of it) doesn't really exist because for most end users this means that there is a "better" alternative; namely getting the same thing for free.
One can spend money only once.

In reply to by jeetee

Thank you for your detailed answer!
1. Yes, I've seen that direction in the development for Musescore 4. It seems that indeed Musescore is gonna enter the "big leagues". I however wonder if a paid pro version would have made that possible quicker.

  1. People buy the stuff they need, provided it can do what you need efficiently. There is little competition in the notation software world, as far as I can tell, so that means there are potentially more people willing to try other softwares of the same quality.

  2. I think I might have not been clear of what I imagine. If you are a professional user dealing with deadlines and needing something reliable, one week can be a long time, depending on the project. Again, the person buiding the software for free is probably not the one who can "deliver" new features, giving support, and maintain the code. It's too much for one person! That's why you pay a company to do that. It's the same reason why Red Hat, SUSE and Canonical can sell. Voluntary work is excellent but depending on the good will of others from which you don't know what their priorities are, is not reliable for professional use (but it's great for amateurs!). In this sense, donating and charging for something is not the same. I would donate for something I don't directly need (like shelter for the poors), but if I need it, I buy it. If it's free, it's not automatically better for me (unless only the price is important, but again, that's what's more important for amateurs).

  3. Well, I imagine that a private forum for professionals doesn't have to "compete" with an all purpose forum where level of the questions range from "how do I open a document", "why does my song sound bad" to questions made by professional users. I've been exploring the forums every day for the last weeks. It's not really comparable to exploring the Dorico or Sibelius forum, where more professional users gather. It would be a cleaner space, where prompt support can be given (although the free forum is impressively active!), and more relevant solutions can be found due to the nature of the questions themselves.

The cost of prioritizing features for pro users has to be distributed between all pro users. If I have to pay someone to implement something, I'm carrying 100% of the cost. It's not realistic.

Paid open-source should in my opinion exist (I though Red Hat et al. are already living examples of that), if it's to be used by professional users. That eventually the software is so good that all professional users can simply use the free version, because the pro version has aided the free version, then so be it, but the thing is that as a professional you need solutions basically now. Musescore has still a long way to go, so a pro version should be something that is feasible for at least a couple of years before not being needed anymore. To pretend though that a pro user will always prefer free stuff even if it's not reliable is naive. The amount of pro users depending on paid software should demonstrate my point. They're not paying for proprietary stuff (a philosophical question irrelevant for production), they're paying to be able to get things done. Pro stuff gets also done with free open source tools after they have reached a certain maturity, something that usually happens quite accidentally.

In reply to by m.r-botero

I am curious to know what "pro" software you use that the developers fix something you want within a week or so. Sure, MuseScore has a way to go, but it has come a long way in just the last year. Open source is not commercial ware. Your insistence that pro user's needs are different from and somehow more important than "amateur" needs is a bit odd to me. Seems to me that a better way to go is software that treats everyone the same. I know that Sibelius has three versions. The free version is useless for most users. The middle version is limited also and not as good as MS for the most part.
Any software is only as good as the person using it. You can't just download any program and use it right out of the box. You have to put in the time to figure it out. I'm more than old enough to remember when the latest composing gadgets were things like printable staff paper so I could hand write my music without having to go out and buy paper.

In reply to by bobjp

Thank you for your observation. I'm not saying all this to diminish the value of Musescore, on the contrary. I liked having taken part somehow in fixing the one note tremolos a couple of weeks ago. I don't imagine that's something amateurs really use, but, you see, for things like this and others (beaming, etc.), I haven't been able to use Musescore for any serious project ever (and I've kept it around for many years already). I used Finale 2003 till 2011, then when trying Finale 2014 I decided to switch to Sibelius 7.5. As far as I remember Finale was always bad at one note tremolos for whole notes. But even if the 2003 version did it wrong, I was less demanding back then, since I knew very little of music and wasn't even a student of composition yet, so that version suited me. Today I would never make a serious project using Finale 2003 either, but I don't have to, and Finale has surely also come a long way since that version. Musescore is pretty much comparable to that version of Finale (maybe it's better). I just wonder if a paid version could speed up the development of what Musescore still lacks to make it usable today. But that's obviously only my speculation.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Your example of one-note tremolos is pretty poor support for your argument. I (an amateur who often uses one-note tremolos) also contributed to that discussion.

  • July 7 2020: 11:12 your comment on the behaviour in 3.5 Beta.
  • July 7 2020 13:56 my contribution isolating the problem as affecting only tremolos on 1/4 notes.
  • July 7 2020 15:43 Howard C Reports problem fixed
  • July 7 2020 15:56 You: "Great job".

4 hours 34 minutes turnaround is pretty impressive I think.

In reply to by SteveBlower

@SteveBlower how is that poor support? I said I liked having been able to contribute with that somehow. It was a happy coincidence that I had free time, that you could also jump in the discussion and that Howard was trying to fix that. It was certainly impressive that it took 4 hours to fix that specific feature. The problem was however there sitting for many years. Having that kind of problems for years is certainly cheaper in an open source project though. The result of all this is that starting from version 3.5 it could be that Musescore becomes usable at least for me. It's not a critique but a fact. That I wonder if paying would boost the development even more it's because I do care about it. It's rare to find a professional musician that can also code. That they happen to have the free time to contribute is a miracle.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

@Jojo That's possible. I certainly don't know how many contributors we have vs. how much can a paid person produce. My impression though is that the small paid staff that could be formed thanks to Ultimate Guitar has been a real boost to the program. I‘m not under the impression, that that development would've happened anyways without the financial contribution from Ultimate Guitar. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

In reply to by m.r-botero

Where paid developers make the difference (aside from contribution time) is that they are able to tackle some of the bigger tasks that require code restructuring for example.
Thanks to UG the full time available developer number has indeed increased and thus boosts development as there are now simply more people spending more time on it.

Would having had more paid developers sooner resulted in a more polished product? Yes, as you'll witness in the coming months/years, that is indeed the case.

Would a paid version have resulted in a more polished product? This one is harder to determine, but my initial gut given the current codebase/contributor effort included would be "likely not". Because (at least for me as a contributor) there is a big difference between spending my time for a company/product that gives it away for free for everyone or donating time directly feeding into the company profits.
I don't like giving away my (at least average) coding skills for free if its not for "a good cause". If I wanted to be not/underpayed for my work, I'd have stayed at a former employer ;-)
So while a Pro version might boost development slightly more, I don't think it could outweigh the current 100-ish active contributors that will likely drop their efforts.

In reply to by m.r-botero

Thanks for your comments! What I would say is, the articles in the Engraving forum hopefully demonstrate that the things you are talking are being taken seriously already. Each major release of MuseScore has made giant strides in reducing the number of things that need to be fixed manually. The improvement from MuseScore 1.0 to MuseScore 3.5 in less than 10 years is simply staggering. And MuseScore 4 is shaping up to really take this to the next level. So to me, the process isn't really broken.

Also, FWIW, thinking purely from a business perspective, my guess is the number of professional engravers who would be willing to pay for MuseScore, multiplied by what they might be willing to pay, would not actually generate all that much income compared to the things the company already does to generate income - including the things that are the actual subject of this thread :-). Which is to say - there are already paid developers working on MuseScore, and it's a fantastic thing. Even more wonderful that a business model is in place that allows the staff to be paid without needing to charge for the software. And as mentioned, one of the things that makes this possible is the number of volunteers who also continue to contribute, which is the most wonderful of all.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you all for your answers. Nothing excludes the possibility that what I imagine has been already thoroughly studied by volunteers and UG alike, so if anything, I'm probably not saying anything new. Indeed the fact that Musescore 4 is gonna be such a major release while remaining free, can only increase competition, in the end improving the overall quality of engraving software. It's gonna get harder and harder to charge 600€ for Finale and Sibelius every time that Musescore makes a big leap in its development without a substantial improvement of both softwares (+Dorico!). I'm sure that with professional composers starting using Musescore or not in the middle term, it's certainly gonna have an ever more prominent place in the notational landscape.

In reply to by [DELETED] 35741210

MuseScore BVBA most certainly has been for real and still is. It was the Belgian company offering the initial support for and the founders. This company has now been acquired by the mother company that also own UG (not by UG itself).

None of that however is relevant to the topic at hand here about whether a Paid version of the software/support would boost development and bring it faster to a more professional level.

In reply to by jeetee

I've been bitten by UG and their shady treatment of 'customers' before. Just returning to musescore after a hiatus to find them taken over, and showing the same sorts of practices makes me sad. Still, money talks I guess.

So having just come back (I realise the UG takeover was in 2018), I find it's time to leave. Hope it was worth it for you guys.

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