Requirement of a PRO account to download music

• Jul 19, 2019 - 04:15

It seems that the team at MuseScore has made it a requirement to own a $60 dollar a year subscription to be able to download music made by others for free publication.

Personally, I think this is unacceptable, requiring people to pay money to MuseScore to use other creators' work, with the original composers and/or arrangers not seeing a penny of it. It is understandable to require a pro account for additional file storage, playback modifications etc, however, to drastically limit your options for wanting to compose music and adapt/modify what people have already made is too far.

What are others' opinions on this move? Please let me know.


In reply to by Shoichi

Whilst I understand the legal issues involved with music licensing, specifically with the score behind them, it seems like a more profit-focused opportunity disguised as trying to reduce numbers.

There was no seeming need before to have to pay to download a score, and I'd like to know if Pro subscription fees are being used to pay for licensing costs which does NOT seem to be the case.

Thanks for the links though for providing more of an insight.

As is made clear from the article at the link, the whole point is that the composers will get the money. At least, the composers whose work was being arranged and posted.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

However, why is there all of a sudden a requirement to have an expensive subscription to be able to download scores at all?

Seeing as a considerable amount of users on this platform are students and minors, it is often unaffordable, and with MuseScore being used in the majority of schools in the UK (and likely USA), it does limit both schoolwork & the opportunity for students, pupils & young people to be able to pull apart & analyse scores along with making modifications.

In reply to by tony9zx7r

I assume you mean, you have downloaded a score, but now you want to open it, and you dn't have MuseScore installed on your computer. So you need to install it. There's a big download button on that site ( as well as on this. You need to install MuseScore.

If you need further assistance with installing MuseScore, please start a new thread, rather than responding here. That is, click the Support button above, then Forum, then Support and bug reports.

In reply to by PhilTheSkid

If you read the article shoichi pointed to on the .com site, you will see that part of the motivation for selling MuseScore to Ultimate Guitar was to keep the .com side a) existing and b) free as it was when it was sold. UG has experience negotiating with publishers to allow for this type of operation. The problem is that is in danger of being shutdown completely, which none of us want. As a stopgap, UG has limited downloads until a system can be set up to assure copyright holders are paid what they are owed.

MuseScore sites have been a self moderated for over a decade now. Unfortunately they have done a very poor job protecting the rights of the music industry. The industry is now fighting back and UG is protecting MuseScore the way it must at the moment. UG's goal is to return basically to it previous ways as much as possible. It's biggest challenge is that there have been nearly 6 million scores posted on and it will not be an easy task to determine which ones can remain and which ones cannot.

For the schools using MuseScore, there are plenty of free options for sharing scores among the students, like dropbox, Google drive and so forth. People, especially the kids, are quite innovative when it comes to overcoming obstacles such as this.

I'm in no way a UG employee, so I'm not talking on behalf of them. I do appreciate what they do to allow us to continue to have the great program and I look forward to them overcoming this latest challenge. 🤞

In reply to by mike320

The problem is that their explanation doesn't make any sense. Making people pay doesn't actually fix the issue of the content being acquired illegally, and actually puts the site more at risk. The DMCA provision exists explicitly for this situation. All you have to do is disable downloading of any music that receives a DMCA request, and you are legally in the clear. But if you start selling the content, then you are outside the safe harbor protection.

The explanation when you click on why this became a pro feature says absolutely nothing about any attempts to fix the situation. And there definitely has been no attempt to set up any sort of payment system, or those who have uploaded content would know about it. I find that suspicious.

It's not even marked as a Pro feature in any way, unless you actually click on it. Uploaders were not notified that their content, which they released for free, requires payment to someone who isn't them. (Hence why I'm only finding out about this now, as this is the first time I've tried to download a score since July.) I can't see anyone who really wants to have their music for pay putting up the entire sheet music visible for free, with the ability to automatically play it.

And, well, there's also the issue of MuseScore 3 changing to using a proprietary, $50 book as a standard, rather than either an open standard or crowdsourcing to the users. Developers need to pony up to contribute, lest they be told that what they want violates said book. That hampers contributions.

All in all, I am becoming wary of MuseScore and its commitment to FOSS. Being free is the important part, not having a huge library and counting on people to pay you for content you don't own.

In reply to by turkeypedal

making people pay for such download doesn't neccessary make it illegal, but collects the money needed to pay the royalties to the original copyright holder. And it makes sure not everyone, including webcrawlers and other bots, can get at them, download and distribute somewhere else.
Anyway, nothing of this has to do with

The MuseScore software and the site is free and will stay so. There is nothing proprietary about it, not sure what you mean by the issue of MuseScore 3 changing to using a proprietary, $50 book as a standard,? Do you mean Marc Sabatella's book "Mastering MuseScore"? That is not (yet) for MuseScore 3 but 2, and doesn't cost 50$ but 40$, as far as I can tell? Or are you talking about our strive to make MuseScore's notation to match Elain Gould's "Behind Bars"? That costs more than 60$, but is by no means mandatory for developers to buy. The only things that developers and other contributors need to pony up is time and dedication.

In reply to by turkeypedal

As noted, anything having to do with MuseScore's attempts to placate the copyright holders who were threatening them with lawsuits and shutdowns belongs on, if you would like to contribute your legal advice over their, I'm sure they'd appreciate it!

As for the "$50 book", I am as puzzled as Jojo. I can only guess you mean "Behind Bars", but this isn't any sort of change. We relied heavily on that amazing resource during the development of MuseScore 2 as well. If you know of an "open standard" that is as comprehensive and authoritative, I'd love to hear about it. But for the record, it's hardly the only resource we look to. We often consult older references as well, but more importantly, we look at real world scores from across the centuries to get a sense of the evolving standards and to find consensus where necessary..

Anyhow, rest assured, MuseScore remains completely free and open source, nothing will ever change that.

In my opinion, I find this unacceptable. I sometimes make arrangements of classical music (like by Chopin or Beethoven) and I am so used to downloading a score off of MuseScore. This was never an issue before.

My sister logged in with a new account I made for her and she can't download pdfs but on my account I can. Both accounts are free, can someone explain why?

In reply to by SomeRamdomGuy

Yes, you can always download from your own account, but from foreign accounts only if you're a Pro member or the score is PD or Original Work (and the person sharing it didn't disable download).
Furthermode you're apparently not sharing any score.

However, this question is at the wrong place here on, as it affects and is about, so should rather get asked there.

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