Doesn’t it feel like we were just talking about Black Friday 2020? Here we are in 2021, and we’re here again. What is time, really?
It is time to partake of that annual tradition of eating food that you wouldn’t ordinarily eat, taking long naps, gathering with friends, family, and foes, and letting the football games on television fade into the din …
Nah … that’s not why you’re here. There are plenty of sites for you to help you baste the perfect turkey or crisp up that apple pie crust. We’ll stick to what we know best: Scoring notes — and deals — on music notation software and related technology!
What is Black Friday, you ask? A state of mind, really. Let’s go shopping!
Support Scoring Notes while you shop
Yes, we will get right to it. But first, a bit about Scoring Notes. We can’t do it without you, the reader. Thank you for coming here to get your fix on the field of music notation software and technology. Stay informed with all the latest news, tips, reviews and more — if you haven’t done so already, please subscribe, and like us on Facebook and Twitter.
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A note to our readers and listeners
Have you enjoyed our recent coverage? Or have you learned some tips from our other posts that make your work easier? Can you not get out of bed on Saturday morning until you hear the podcast theme song?
If Scoring Notes is worthwhile to you, please consider donating to support it! You can even set up a monthly donation — a name-your-own-price subscription to Scoring Notes, if you like.
Thank you! Most importantly, please be safe and healthy during this holiday season, and we hope you are finding new and exciting ways to make music.
Please note: Scoring Notes / NYC Music Services is not a charitable organization and donations cannot be considered charitable contributions. However, your donation may be tax-deductible as a business gift or business expense. Consult your tax advisor for more information.
Also, if you do your holiday shopping on Amazon, here’s an easy way to support Scoring Notes without it costing you anything extra. Simply start your shopping by clicking this special link for Amazon’s Black Friday deals, or click the image below. Then, add your items to your Amazon cart and make your purchase. For any purchase you make after clicking the link or image (even if it’s not a Black Friday special), Scoring Notes will receive a commission fee, at no cost to you. It’s as easy as that!
We also have a curated list of products we use and recommend — everything from computer accessories to music printing and binding supplies.
Listen to the podcast episode
On the Scoring Notes podcast, David MacDonald and Philip Rothman discuss their take on the hottest deals and discounts, and help make the most of your holiday spending budget in the world of music notation and related tech. Listen now:
All prices listed are in US dollars unless otherwise noted. Prices may vary by country or region, and may not all be available in your area. Be sure to verify pricing with the seller.
Sibelius and other Avid products
Avid is making it simple this year. They have deals on Sibelius Ultimate, Pro Tools, and Pro Tools Ultimate that are running from November 22, 2021 all the way through the end of this year — December 31. No promo code is needed.
- 25% off new annual subscriptions ($149, down from the regular price of $199)
- 33% off new annual subscriptions ($199, down from the regular price of $299)
Pro Tools Ultimate:
- 50% off new annual subscriptions ($399, down from the regular price of $799)
The crossgrade offer from a perpetual license to a Sibelius Ultimate subscription remains at $79 for each of the first two years of the subscription, so if you have any previous version of Sibelius and your perpetual support plan has expired, you’re still better off with the crossgrade at $79 than with the holiday deal for a new subscription at $149.
As always, your best source for Sibelius reviews, tips and news is right here on Scoring Notes. Here are all of the updates released in 2021:
- Sibelius for Mobile update adds MIDI support and more
- Sibelius comes to the iPhone
- Sibelius 2021.9 updates search, ManuScript, Keypad gestures
- Sibelius arrives on iPad
- Your search is a command in the Sibelius 2021.2 update
Avid has summaries of all the recent improvements in Sibelius and Pro Tools:
MakeMusic is also keeping it simple with a deal on Finale that runs from Monday, November 22, 2021 through
Monday, November 29, 2021. Update: MakeMusic has extended the offer to run through the end of the day on December 3, 2021.
Finale will be 33% off the usual price during this period, as follows:
- New retail license: $399 (reg. $600)
- New academic license: $235 (reg. $350)
- Upgrade from a previous version of Finale: $99 (reg. $149)
- Trade up from Allegro, PrintMusic, or Songwriter: $129 (reg. $200)
Use the promo code MUSICYOURWAY at checkout.
And, as has been the case in recent years, college and university students with a valid US student email address can purchase Finale for just $99.
This year we saw the release of Finale version 27 with SMuFL and MusicXML 4.0 support, and last week’s Finale version 27.1 release with even more SMuFL integration.
Dorico and other Steinberg products
Steinberg has a great “Cyber Weeks” promotion for between 30% and 50% off many of their products.
The deals are valid from Wednesday, November 24, 2021 to Monday, December 13, 2021, and all require the use of of the coupon code CYBERWEEKS21.
Chief among them, as it pertains to Scoring Notes readers: A discount of 30% is offered on Dorico Pro and Dorico Elements 3.5. This applies to new licenses and upgrades (i.e., from Dorico Elements to Dorico Pro), but not to updates (i.e., Dorico Pro 3 to Dorico 3.5).
However, there is still a good deal for “updaters”, and it also applies to new licenses: if you activate Dorico 3.5 now, or if you have already, as long as you activated it on or after August 25, 2021, you will be eligible for a free update to Dorico 4 in the tier that you purchase (Pro or Elements), thanks to a very generous grace period. Dorico 4 is promised for early 2022, along with a new licensing system.
Other Steinberg products possibly of interest to Scoring Notes readers:
- Cubase Pro/Artist/Elements 11 new licenses, updates (from earlier generations of the same product) and upgrades (from a lower tier to a higher tier, e.g. Artist to Pro) are all offered at 30% off, and include a free grace period update to Cubase 12
- HALion 6 new licenses, updates and upgrades are offered at 50% off
- Many different VST instruments and sound libraries are offered at 50% off, too, including Iconica Opus, The Grand 3, Hyrbrid Bundle, etc.
In addition, Cubasis and its in-app purchases are 50% off on the App Store and Google Play Store for the duration of the promotion, but you won’t need a promo code for that.
The big Dorico news this year was the release of Dorico for on iPad, and many of the features introduced there are expected to come to a substantial Dorico 4 upgrade in 2022. However, there was one small desktop update this year: Dorico 3.5.12.
Daniel Ray, head of strategy for Muse Group, told Scoring Notes that this year, they’ll “be reducing the price of MuseScore from free to really, really free.” Funny guy!
MuseScore.com, of course, is used by musicians to share their work with the community, for music teachers to share tasks with their students, and for performers to find digital sheet music.
At this MuseScore.com Black Friday page, there is a discount of 65% to get a Musescore Pro+ subscription. There is no discount code is needed. Sign up for an entire year of full access for just $39.99, compared to the usual price of $119.99.
Early this year we saw a MuseScore 3.6 update focused on engraving upgrades and new fonts. MuseScore 4 is planned for some time in 2022. In the meantime, be sure to check out our podcast episode where we interview Daniel Ray about the formation of Muse Group, which encompasses MuseScore, Audacity, StaffPad, and several other products.
Speaking of StaffPad, the music composition app that uses handwriting recognition as the means of music entry: With the long-awaited iPad release and the complete overhaul of the app on the Windows side in early 2020, it has since been updated several times this year.
They are running a sale where you can obtain StaffPad for just $45, which is 50% off its usual price of $89.99, from Monday, November 22 through Friday, December 3, 2021.
Furthermore, the beautiful StaffPad Edition sound libraries are all on sale at 30% off their usual price during the same time period. These libraries may be downloaded directly through the StaffPad app on iPad and Windows. This includes instrument libraries from Cinesamples, Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio, and more. We recently talked about StaffPad’s impressive playback capabilities on the podcast, along with a musical example of what it can do.
Notion and other PreSonus products
PreSonus is ringing in the holiday shopping season once again with sales on their subscription, software and hardware products.
From Monday, November 22 all the way through the end of 2021, customers can get 30% off a 1-year PreSonus Sphere Membership. PreSonus Sphere membership includes: the Studio One 5 DAW and Notion 6 scoring program, all Studio One and Notion add-ons, 30GB cloud storage, collaboration tools, and exclusive member content and training. That brings the already reasonable price of $164.95 down to just $115.47.
The Studio One and Notion products continue to be available separately as non-subscription offerings as well, and from Monday, November 22 through December 31 you can pick those up at 30% off their usual prices (educational and add-ons excluded).
PreSonus will also be rolling out hardware sales at various other times:
- ioStation 24c audio interface and controller $50 / €50 off (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31; Participating dealers worldwide)
- Revelator USB microphone $30 / €30 off (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31; Participating dealers worldwide)
- PD-70 broadcast dynamic microphone $30 / €30 off (Oct. 1 – Nov. 30; Participating dealers worldwide)
- PX-1 condenser microphone or pair of PM-2 microphones for $99.95 (Instant Rebate. US only. Nov. 22-29)
- Audiobox 96 (Blue) Studio bundle for $149.95 USD (Instant Rebate. US and Canada only. Nov. 22 – Dec. 31)
The online notation editor Noteflight is running a special for Noteflight Premium, affords users the full range of features in Noteflight’s web-based notation software. It’s on sale for nearly 50% off of the Annual plan, which is $25 instead of the usual $49, beginning Monday, November 22, 2021.
Noteflight runs in any web browser. You can create, view, and print unlimited scores and parts, then hear your music with over 85 instruments, and use the audio mixer to customize playback, enjoy MIDI note entry, and share your scores with individual Noteflight users.
At the 2020 NAMM Show we covered Noteflight and spoke with its managing director John Mlynczak, and we had John as a guest on the podcast at the end of 2020.
At NYC Music Services we’re joining the Black Friday party this year with some deals of our own, on our marketplace for music notation technology. Notation Central is the place to make the most of the music notation software you use.
This is one of our biggest sales yet, with 20% off nearly everything in the store, from Monday, November 22, 2021, through Wednesday, December 1, 2021.
Use the code SCORE20 at checkout for items like:
- 20% off all Scoring Express templates for Sibelius, including the bundle
- 20% off all Notation Express profiles for Sibelius and Dorico, including the 15-key/XL bundles
- 20% off all music and text fonts
- 20% off ebooks and video tutorials like Using Sibelius Effectively and Dorico Basics
- 20% off the Sibelius plug-ins Graphical MIDI Tools and UltraMix…
- …and more!
There are some extra savings to had, too: Use the code SMUFLME to get 25% off when you purchase two or more SMuFL fonts from NorFonts together. Includes Da Capo, Soli, Tutti, Scordatura, BopMusic, RealScore, Rhapsody, The Copyist, and Groove, for use in Dorico and Finale 27. Stack the code SMUFLME with SCORE20 for super savings of 40% off.
There’s also 50% off John Hinchey’s SWA Masterclass Sibelius Ultimate: More than 7 hours of expert tutorial videos. Reg. $49.95, on sale for $24.98. No code is needed for this.
We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the release of Scoring Express, the collection of high-quality, professional templates for Sibelius — based on the same templates we use at NYC Music Services. This is a great opportunity to pick up the bundle of all the collections and stack your savings by using the SCORE20 code for an incredible value.
Elgato Stream Deck and Stream Deck XL
Elgato’s Stream Deck consoles, originally intended for gamers, have become indispensable to many Sibelius and Dorico users, thanks in part to Notation Express, the custom-designed profiles created especially for these devices from our own Notation Central marketplace that make powerful Sibelius and Dorico features easy and fun to use.
The Notation Express profiles are 20% off their usual prices of $29.99 for the 15-key profile for Sibelius or Dorico, and $39.99 for the 32-key XL profile, for Sibelius or Dorico, with the SCORE20 code.
And of course there is the handy Express VC Stream Deck Profile for Zoom for just $4.99, for the Mac and Windows desktop versions of Zoom. You can use it to mute, unmute, start and stop video, screen share, recording, chat and more. Toggle full screen and Speaker View or Gallery view, invite participants, and raise or lower your hand in a meeting.
It’s designed with the same style of beautiful icons you may already enjoy in Notation Express, so you’ll feel right at home if you’re already using Notation Express to control Sibelius or Dorico.
If you’re looking to pick up the Stream Deck console itself, the Stream Deck and Stream Deck XL consoles can be found at Amazon and we expect to see Black Friday sales on those:
- 15-key Stream Deck console: $99.99 (33% off regular price $149.99)
- 32-key Stream Deck XL console: regular price $249.99
Many other retailers carry the Stream Decks as well, so see if you can find a good deal.
Acon Digital, purveyors of cutting edge audio editing software and processing tools, have some great Black Friday / Cyber Monday specials on the entire wide range of products they offer, from audio editing, restoration, mastering and effects processing — all conceived with ultimate audio quality and usability in mind.
We rely on their Restoration Suite — specifically DeNoise 2, DeClick 2, and DeVerberate 3 — to help produce our Scoring Notes podcast. Whether you are an audio production neophyte or a top-flight professional producer, you’ll want to have their tools at the ready. Fun fact: Acon founder Stian Aagedal also worked on the playback engine for StaffPad!
Onto the deals: The main attraction is a whopping 70% off DeFilter, the automatic equalization plug-in. For just $29.97 (reg $99.90) you can pick up an efficient tool to even out tonal imbalances in a recording or reduce resonant peaks or dips in the frequency spectrum.
All other Acon products are on sale during the special period for 30% off their usual price. This includes new purchases as well as any updates to any products, such as the aforementioned Restoration Suite, the audio cleaner AudioLava, the Acoustica Premium Edition bundle, and various other plug-ins.
Acon’s sale period runs from Monday, November 22, 2021, through Wednesday, December 1, 2021.
Rogue Amoeba may have the funniest-sounding name of all the companies here, but they’re serious about making high-quality, award-winning audio tools for Mac. Their small but powerful suite consists of their flagship recorder Audio Hijack, which David MacDonald and I both use to record our “sides” from our respective studios every week.
There’s also Audio Hijack’s little brother Piezo, if you don’t need all of the fancy options that come with Audio Hijack; the virtual mixer Loopback; the home streamer Airfoil; the soundboard app Farrago; the editor Fission; and the control utility SoundSource.
Their apps are distinguished by their ease of use, beautiful interfaces, and already low prices. (Sadly for Windows users, though, they’re a Mac-only shop.) They have a special sale from now through Sunday, December 5, for even further discounts. Use the code DONTCALLITBFCM for 21% off any purchase from their store.
This discount is intended specifically for their existing customers, but we reached out to Rogue Amoeba directly and they were happy to allow us to share it with you, even if you’re a new customer. Just don’t call it “Black Friday”!
Elbsound.studio, the impressive enterprise run by Finale and font expert Jan Angermüller, is having a Black Friday sale.
From November 25 to November 30, 2021:
- Use the code BLACKFRIDAY50 and save 50% off Perfect Layout for Finale upgrades (e.g., from Silver400 to Silver, from Silver to Gold, etc.).
- Use the code BLACKFRIDAY10 for 10% off all other Perfect Layout products (Silver, Silver400, Gold, academic versions and the v1.x to 2.x update).
- Use the code BLACKFRIDAYFONTS for 20% off the Elbsound Music Fonts Package (200 music fonts) and the Elbsound Text Fonts Package (400 text fonts).
These discounts can also be combined for new users. If you want to buy Perfect Layout Gold, you can purchase Perfect Layout Silver400 with a 10% discount and then get the Silver400 to Gold upgrade for 50% off.
Elbsound.studio has just released Perfect Layout for Finale, v2.6 and an interactive Perfect Layout demo for automatic dynamics and hairpin optimization in Finale. Also, all videos from the tutorial and example library have been completely reworked in 2021.
During the Cinesamples Cyber Month Sitewide Sale, everything that Cinesamples sells is 50% off through November 30, 2021.
Plus, during the limited period of Black Friday, November 26, through Cyber Monday, November 29, the discount is even steeper: 60% off.
This includes CineSymphony, their complete orchestral series of libraries; the solo Artist Series; the composer-friendly CineSeries; their World Series of instruments; and their bundles.
As mentioned earlier, the beautiful Cinesamples StaffPad Edition sound libraries are all on sale directly through the StaffPad app at 30% off their usual price.
EastWest / Sounds Online
EastWest / Sounds Online is making their products available for 60% off the usual price in their EastWest Opus Holiday Super Sale.
In addition, subscribers to ComposerCloud can obtain 40% off the yearly plan, for a sale price of $19.99/mo (reg. $29.99/mo) for access to the entire EastWest ComposerCloud Gold collection of 40,000+ virtual instruments, or $29.99 (reg. $49.99/mo) for access to the entire EastWest ComposerCloud Diamond/Platinum collection of 42,000+ virtual instruments.
Dozens of Black Friday deals can be found at Best Service on more than 1,000 products such as sound libraries, plug-ins, and other music production software.
However, the parade of gobsmacked expressions from years past seems to have been replaced with generic graphics, and that is unforgivable. Thank you, Wayback Machine, for preserving this annual holiday treasure for posterity’s sake.
Vienna Symphonic Library
The entire list of deals is at the VSL 2021 Black Friday Deals web site. The sale runs from Monday, November 22 through Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
Vienna Ensemble Pro 7 is available at €135, which, at 31% off, is the lowest price ever. Upgrades from earlier versions are available for just €59, a 38% savings.
Synchron Stage Vienna pianos are 20-30% off, and Andromeda Essentials, Ganymede Choirs and the Zodiac Supermassive Ensembles of the Big Bang Orchestra are almost 50% off. The road-ready Vienna Smart Series products, like the Vienna Smart Orchestra, are at least 40% off, and the enormous Vienna Super Package — with that runs on the Vienna Instruments player — is 50 off%, although it will still set you back at least €2595.
An enormous catalog of sample libraries, sounds, and effects is on sale at 50% off their usual prices during the Native Instruments Cyber Season Sale.
Kontakt, Symphony Series, and the Definitive Piano Collection are just a few of the many products on sale. There are a few exclusions, but you’ll no doubt get lost exploring all of the eligible items, like all of the KOMPLETE 13 bundles.
This sale is active now and runs through Monday, December 6, 2021.
A Sound Effect
Independent sound community marketplace A Sound Effect has a Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sale from Monday, November 23 through Saturday, December 5, 2021, with discounts of up to 77% on hundreds of sound libraries, plug-ins, and virtual instruments.
Highlights from the sale:
- All orders come with a brand new bonus pack, featuring 6+ GB worth of ambiences, the free 60+ page Sound Success Guide & the 1-Page Guide to Easy Multi-User Licensing e-books.
- All orders now also include an exclusive sound library from MatiasMacSD, with nearly 50 minutes of soundscapes full of mystery and tension.
- From time to time during the sale, customers can instantly download free sounds from the sale page.
- Depending on the order size, customers can also get additional perks such as the complete, premium IMPACTS, HITS & WHOOSHES 01 library, 45 days of Soundly PRO access, 1000+ premium sound effects from creators such as Soundholder, SoundBody, Sound Pack Tree, PM.SFX, Collected Transients, Articulated and many more.
The Ravenscroft 275 digital piano is one of the very small handful of AUv3 virtual instruments for iPad at the moment, and it will work with Dorico for iPad. It’s currently just $17.99, which is currently 50% off the usual price of $35.99. The sale lasts through November 30, 2021.