Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thoughts on Reason 6 - Upgrades and Pricing

Just two days ago, Propellerhead Software released a new version of my *favorite* music creation software: Reason. The new version, 6, combines all of the features from two, different programs of theirs. Basically, all I'd like you to know is that this new version kicks serious butt, adds some new features, and is still my program of choice when it comes to generating ideas for new songs in a computer recording "environment" (as they say).  I've been running Reason v.4 since around Christmas time of 2009, and my last upgrade before that was version 2.5 - way back in 2004. The software has certainly come a long way, and, dare I say it, if the company can "fix" some of their lack of keyboard shortcuts, Reason just might replace Logic Pro as my multi-tracking (IE: recording) program of choice.

So, a few thoughts on Propellerhead's Reason 6 pay what you want deal (oh wait. you didn't hear about that?!?!):

1. It saves Propheads money. They won't have to manufacture as many DVD's/Boxes for Reason 6.
2. You do have to own either Reason 4 or 5 in order to do it, so they are expecting users to upgrade - to something - and make it all the way up to Reason version 6, making up for some of the money from consumers "underpaying".
3. It's only for one month. This builds buzz and hopefully generates a ton of sales in the first month, helping the companies balance sheet (a business term basically meaning that they'll have cash on hand to carry on business).
4. Most people aren't going to pay what they want - they'll most likely pay what they can afford. I wish I could afford the "regular" upgrade price, but I just can't right now. Consider: starving artist.

This last factor was really the big motivator for me. A regular Reason upgrade - in a box - is $129. Of that, you've got to figure that $20-30 of it goes in to production and shipping to local music stores. The company then has $100 left with which to develop the product, pay their people, etc. When you think about it, that's not much for a world-class leader in recording software. Apple's Logic Studio is $500. Logic upgrades are usually $300.

A secondary motivator for me was considering how much money the music I have created using Reason has generated for me. I'm a professional performing songwriter, after all, and I looked at this picture considering Propellerhead a partner in the music I create and sell. If I made a lot, I think I'd be willing - and able - to pay a lot. Considering where I'm at right now, I hope to be able to pay Propellerhead back for taking a bit of a hit this time around, and when I'm generating a little more cash from my music, I can make up the difference - between what I paid and what I think the software is really worth - when the next version comes out.

This does beg the question: what about hobbyists or people using Reason for fun? First, there probably aren't many of you out there. And for those of you who are, I think you should consider a different model for determining how much Reason 6 is worth: consider what upgrades have been in the past, consider what upgrades of similar products (IE: other DAW's) cost, and consider how many songs you write using the software. Maybe something like, "For an upgrade, I'd be willing to pay $5 for every song I expect to write/compose using Reason 6", using your past usage as an indicator.

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