New pricing for MuseScore.com

• Sep 28, 2011 - 19:28

Like many others Im sure, I went ahead and paid the fee for the 1 year subscription but, I really believe MuseScore.com missed the boat on this decision. My thinking is that I’m not using MuseScore.com for myself, but to provide music to others. Seems to me that your idea of “taxing” the providers instead of the consumers is 180degrees off. I’m afraid that the result of this decision will be a sharp decline in the number of talented individuals (read: poor musicians, parishioners & artists) willing to provide quality content and instead feed the droves of content hungry downloaders; until that content runs dry.

Please reconsider your fee by shifting the burden to the consumers and not the providers to your great site.

Thanks,
Mike Magatagan


Comments

Hi Mike,

Thanks a lot for your feedback.

I agree it sounds like a strange move to charge those who are producing sheet music. Our intention however, isn't to make a service for downloaders. There are already many websites that offer services for downloaders: those websites simply sell sheet music and there is seriously nothing exciting about it.

Instead, we want to make something cool for those who create sheet music and like to share that. A website with a vibrant community and with great social features that make sheet music exciting.

So we don't care so much about downloaders. We care about you and we'll keep on doing this while developing MuseScore, our two websites, musescore.com and musescore.org and future mobile applications. We want to make stuff for sheet music creators that they have never seen before.

I hope this shines a little light on why we are taking this direction.
I'd love to further discuss this, so don't hesitate to reply.

Edit: for those who wonder what Mike and I are talking about, check out this mailing from MuseScore.com.

In reply to by Thomas

I had no idea this costed any money. I signed up thinking I would be able to learn new music over the summer when I don't have access to much music. I just want to know if MuseScore Basic actually costs money because if so then I'm going to delete my account. I had no idea about this and I feel like MuseScore should just be like a hub for musicians to create and learn music. Does posting on MuseScore actually cost money? Does downloading cool music cost money? I really need to know.

In reply to by Ellie226

I assume you are taking about musescore.com so posting there would make more sense. This site here is for discussing the MuseScore software itself, which is 100% free. So creating scores will never cost you a penny.

But I can tell you a few things about musescore.com:

  • they have free accounts and pro (paid) accounts
  • free accounts let you download all you like, and you can also upload within certain limits
  • pro accounts remove the upload limits

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This accidentally resurrected thread contains major, clear statements of the business model of 8 years ago. Things have changed a lot with the acquisition of the site by a company whose business had been precisely the making-available of (guitar) scores of in-copyright music (with arrangements made with rights orgs). The old model (composers pay) is completely correct for vanity publishing by unknown composers. In the new world, where composers like me are a legacy, I suppose we should still have to pay because no one comes here looking for our work, including interpretations/renditions of classical works. But the point made by Mike M years ago, that "content providers" should be paid, now applies a forteriori to people who upload pop songs. They should be compensated, or at least given discounted membership, by the click count or ad click count on their scores. While I am fairly being charged for vanity publishing, the pop song "suppliers" are being exploited; it is their uncompensated labor that earns the site's profits.

The way I see it, people just wanting to download sheet music have any number of resources available, some of them where you pay (mostly pop music music that is virtually all still under copyright), others that provide free sheet music (mostly classical music that is public domain by now). Realistically, I can't see that someone interested only in donwloading music to print out and play is going to be particularly interested in paying money for a service that is primarily offering music by unknown composers (or new editions/arrangements of classics by unknown editors/arrangers), given that they can get the classics for free or pop songs for a decent price as well from other sites.

So any model that depends entirely on the consumer of the music paying for the right to download the music of you or me seems doomed to failure, as there are too many other alternatives. But we, the producers of the music, don't really have a lot of options if we want to get our music out there in a place where anyone is likely to want to check it out. So it's really us, the producers of the music, that are benefitting the most from something like musescore.com - it provides a place we can put our music where it has a chance of actually being heard. Assuming that's something we value, of course, but we wouldn't be here having this discussion if we weren't interested in getting our music out there.

And as Thomas says, it's not like this is unique to MuseScore. It's exactly the same model used - quite successfully - by Flickr, SoundCloud, and many other services. Let people browse all they want for free because realistically, they aren't going to pay for that privilege. Let people upload a little for free, but charge the uploaders for more storage and/or features.

For that matter, this is the model used for the web in general - browsing sites costs nothing, but creating and hosting a site generally does, unless you want to live within the limitations of the various free services out there. If you created a web site that people had to pay to visit, you'd have zero visitors unless people were already absolutely convinced that what you had to offer would be worth it. And if you're in that position, you can offer your music for sale on your own site and not worry about musescore.com. Although even so, if I wish to sell arrangements - like, actual printed scores and all parts - I can see musescore.com serving as a place to host demo scores, complete with playback facility and integration with social media for promotion (although I suspect Thomas is not terribly keen on the commercial potential).

Actually, though, even for those not just interested in "getting their music out there", musescore.com has something to offer of value to music producers. As a composer who leads a number of different ensembles, I need ways of getting my music to the people who will be performing it. While it certainly works to print charts and deliver them in person or by mail, and it also works to email PDF's, there's still a management problem. Eg, trombone players informs me the day before the gig that he lost the music. Or there are a core of substitute players who might need to familiarize themselves with the music on short notice - or just be ready in case they get a last minute call. Or I'm doing a guest performance with another ensemble and want them to be able to check out what arrangements I have available so they can select things that will work for them. Or I wish to make scores available to students in an ongoing class, and I don,t wish to haveto dig up the scores to send out each time a new student signs up.

Anyhow, these and other real world cases are ones in which having my music available on musescore.com provides value to me. So in my mind, there is no question that is we, the producers of the music, that have more to gain from the existence of musescore.com than the downloaders, and that we onky receive that benefit to the extent that downloaders are not disincentived from accessing our music. So the basic concept seems quite sound and not 180 degrees off at all. One could quibble the specific numbers, or whether selling advertising or getting grants or whatever could be an additional revenue stream, but who knows what the future holds.

I am certainly willing to say that we should simply let Mister Market decide. Try this business-model for now, give it a good six months, and see what happens. One way or the other, the world will not end during the duration.

The site owners have obviously given this matter considerable thought. Who knows, they might be right! (The notion actually sounds pretty well-reasoned to me.) If they are right, then everyone can take credit for being geniuses. And if not, then, well, you try something different, that's all. Business is like that, and it's usually quite forgiving of mistakes (if that's what it turns out to be ). Wrap the plan in shrink-wrap, put a really nice bow on it, stick it on the shelf, sit in the corner, grab a bag of popcorn and watch to see what happens next. Don't react too soon. Time will tell.

I decided to pay for the MuseScore.com fee as I like and endorse this project.

It's not easy to define a suitable freemium model, I appreciate that the founders tried to make it sustainable by asking a modest contribution. I'm curious as how this will evolve, but so far I am only a happy user/customer.

I've been using MS to clean up (and reformat) some old-time scores. Sometimes I want to transpose something that I can only find in a different key, sometimes I want playback ability but the available MIDIs aren't good enough. MS puts these scores into an infinitely editable format.

However, I'd love to find some scores already existing in MS format. The thing is, they are probably out there but the arrangers have no incentive to pay so that they can share them. Likewise, I have no incentive to pay to share what I've done on the speculation that someone might find it useful. Why would I? I'm not looking for payment for them; I just want to save someone else the headache of recreating something that already exists.

So while the existing pay-to-publish model might work for some goals, it doesn't help at all for me. There are no old-time songs on Musescore.com.

In reply to by AntonLargiader

"There are no old-time songs on Musescore.com"... *yet*. The world is a big place, and musescore.com still new. Even if not many people would pay just to publish other people's songs, free accounts still allow for five songs per person at a time, and five songs per person times thousands upon thousands of users would still add up to a lot. And remember, it isn't just five songs then you are kicked off; it's just that only your most recent five are visible. So there's nothing to stop people from continuing to post "new" songs. Each has its day in the sun, gets viewed by millions, then eventually gets replaced. That just doesn't seem so bad to me. I think you'll be surprised at how much music ends up being available.

But FWIW, depending on how "old-time" the songs you are interested in are, it may not be legal to post them anyhow. Copyright law varies by country, but for the most part, if it's not close to 100 years old or more, chances are it's still copyrighted.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I don't really have a complaint; I'm just commenting. I do a lot of free sharing of work that I do in day to day life.

Thomas, I find MS to be a really cool tool. With it, using the formatting options and a bit of trickery (to put multiple scores on a page) I can basically create new pages for the Fiddler's Fakebook and keep all of our tunes in one format.

Marc, some old-time tunes originated hundreds of years ago and came to the Appalachians from Scottish and Irish immigrants. I suspect many don't even have an identifiable composer. There are many versions of each and the Fakebook is a well respected 'best consensus' of how these tunes go. I'm not sure that a verbatim copy of any of them could be considered infringement, as someone else's version might be the same. But my version might be different yet.

And so many of them are variants of others. They are all short. Like they say, "If you've heard one Bluegrass tune, you've heard them both."

The one I'm working on now, "Dem Golden Slippers" is relatively unique, having actually been published by the composer in 1879. I'm making a version that's just the fiddle score, a bass score, and chord names for our banjo player.

Way to go - Matagan . why didn't i think of this . The option to help Muescore contributors ater downoading a score is nice but I don't know if there is money to be made either way really . I do it because I love writing music . This wekend lost over 20 hours of work on my finale for my 2nd Trumpet concerto . i decided not to write anything but instead practice and write some music I posted on youtube . I have a lot of followers but I know people like myself are more interested in what they do . Some kid made 11 million reviewing toys . i aint made a penny and spend 7 bucks a month . i better hustle a lot harder this year - I ain't getting any younger or any prettier . Weary ?

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