How to update an expired Sibelius Ultimate perpetual license through a reseller [updated]


Updated on April 28: It appears that Sweetwater has run through their remaining stock of expired plan updates (possibly due to the interest generated by the publication of this post).

Updated on April 29: Studiocare has also run through its remaining stock.

Even more than usual, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions recently from readers and colleagues asking about the compatibility of older Sibelius versions with computer operating systems and other software, and my recommendation for updating.

Whether it’s due to people spending more time at home with the software, or just the steady progress of technology causing users to address this, it’s a reality that computers and computer software is never frozen in time.

If you are Sibelius user in a similar position and are finding yourself still using Sibelius 6, 7, or 7.5, or a perpetual license with an expired support plan for Sibelius 8.x or any of the Sibelius Ultimate versions prior to 2020.3, I understand the conundrum. It’s easy to keep on using a familiar version that doesn’t cost anything more to use. Maybe the latest features don’t seem interesting, or you’re in the middle of a project and don’t want to tempt fate by updating.

Eventually, though Sibelius will either stop working or you’ll find you need to update for one reason or another.

One question I field a lot is the compatibility of the increasingly-popular Norfolk and Pori fonts for Sibelius, available from Notation Central, our marketplace for music notation technology.

While many aspects of the fonts work in earlier Sibelius versions, the brilliant angled slash chord (ASC) feature invented by Bernie Cossentino — and exclusively available in these fonts — will only work in Sibelius 2018.11 and later, and for best results it is highly recommended to use Sibelius 2019.5 or later.

The Norfolk and Pori ASC font for chord symbols will only work in the most recent Sibelius versions

Another is Notation Express, the powerful profiles for Stream Deck, Stream Deck XL, and Stream Deck Mobile for iOS and Android, which contain hundreds of Sibelius commands at the touch of a button, making Sibelius fast and fun to use. Notation Express is built for the latest Sibelius updates, and you’ll run into a increasing list of incompatibilities the farther back you go with outdated Sibelius versions.

Notation Express is built for the latest Sibelius versions

Whatever the reason, it was reasonable to think that you could update your perpetual license to the latest version of Sibelius Ultimate at a future time. Indeed, it was possible to do so until fairly recently at a reduced cost compared to purchasing a new license at the full $599 price.

But beginning in January of this year, Avid withdrew the “reinstatement” option to reactivate expired software updates and support plans for perpetual licenses. This change was made across all of Avid’s products including Pro Tools and Media Composer, not just Sibelius.

Avid is now encouraging those customers to “crossgrade” to a subscription plan for $79/year for two years, after which the annual price rises to the ordinary $199/year subscription price.

That is certainly one option. But what if you have an outdated Sibelius version but don’t want to move to a subscription plan — and don’t want to shell out $599?

Find a reseller

Your best bet is to find a reseller that still has stock of an update for a perpetual license at a reduced cost. Don’t just take my word for it; even though Avid is no longer selling these updates directly, their official advice is also to find a reseller.

Make sure the reseller is legitimate, of course, and ensure that what you are purchasing is:

  • Clearly labeled as “perpetual license” for “Sibelius Ultimate” (and not the lower-tier “Sibelius”);
  • The product is intended for users with an expired perpetual license of 8.x or higher, or a valid license for Sibelius 1-7.5 (sometimes called a “reinstatement”);
  • The product is not a subscription.

One such reseller is Sweetwater. [Updated on April 28: It appears that Sweetwater has run through their remaining stock of expired plan updates (possibly due to the interest generated by the publication of this post). The product page referred to in this post now redirects to a new license at full price. We will keep this information available for reference.] The name of the product is wordy, but unambiguous: “Avid 1-Year Software Updates + Support for Sibelius | Ultimate Perpetual License Expired Plan.” The cost is $299 — a savings of $300 over purchasing a new license.

Sweetwater still has stock of Sibelius Ultimate updates for expired license holders

Further down the page, it’s even clearer about the terms:

If your Sibelius | Ultimate update plan has expired, this Avid 1-year Software Updates + Support Plan for Sibelius | Ultimate lets you reinstate it at an attractive price. This plan provides you with a year of software updates as soon as they’re released, and one year of top-tier support from Avid, ensuring that your system remains current with up-to-the-minute releases and upgrades. This 1-year Software Updates + Support Plan is not a subscription. If you choose not to renew this plan when it expires, the Sibelius | Ultimate software and the updates you’ve received are yours to keep.

This product is for Sibelius | Ultimate customers whose software is NOT currently covered under a Software Updates + Support Plan.

In the UK, we found that Studiocare has the same product at £288. [Updated on April 29: It appears that Studiocare has run through their remaining stock of expired plan updates (possibly due to the interest generated by the publication of this post). The product page referred to in this post no longer exists. We will keep this information available for reference.] The product is the same, although this one is called “Sibelius Ultimate – 1 Year Updates & Support (Reinstatement)”:

Studiocare still has stock of Sibelius Ultimate updates for expired license holders

Whether it’s through Sweetwater, Studiocare, or another reseller, in my opinion this is currently the best option for users whose license has expired and who need to update Sibelius Ultimate without wanting to move to a subscription.

For current perpetual license-holders

For perpetual license-holders with an active support and upgrade plan, you’re in the best position as long as you keep your license current. A 1-year renewal is still $99, and a 3-year renewal is $199. The latter is clearly the best deal if you already have a perpetual license and anticipate using Sibelius for a good long while; it’s basically 3 years of upgrades for the price of 2.

Current perpetual license-holders can renew directly through Avid.

Bottom line

Let’s face it: software updates are a fact of our digital life. We’re accustomed to receiving many of them for “free”, but the reality is you pay for them one way or another, whether it’s through upgrade costs, subscription fees, advertising, or all of the above. And that’s OK — after all, it’s real people who develop and support these products.

Our goal is to help you sort through the various options and help you find the best value for what you need, and to help you get the most out of the software once you update.

To that end, be sure to check out our Scoring Notes Product Guide, where you can learn our take on all of the Sibelius updates from the past few years (as well as those for the other major scoring programs, too).

If you know of other resellers, either in the US or elsewhere in the world that are still offering these updates, please feel free to let your fellow users know about them by sharing in the comments. (Please note that any comment with more than two URL links will get automatically flagged as spam, so link carefully!)


  1. Hermann Schroeder

    Hi Philip, many thanks again for the Scoring Notes – I´m guarding all the Sibelius-Ultimate related mails, to have them always at hand.
    But now to my real comment related to the actual prices: My actual Renewal is (of course) a “3 years for 2” for which I paid the 199 € you mentioned in this Scoring Notes (chapter “For current perpetual license-holders”). My 3 years will expire on Dec 24, 2020, but Avid has upped the prices to 107,10 € for 1 year and to 224,91 for 3 years. That`s about 18 % more for the 1 year version and some 13 % more for the 3 year renewal – a lot more! Working with Sibelius from the first version (just before Sibelius 2) and at an age of 89 years, I now maybe should terminate further renewal plans – at least as the proper answer to such drastic measures from Avid ……..

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Hermann, it’s always nice to hear from you. It’s true, prices will vary from country to country. I’m in the US so we usually show US prices. Also, in Europe and elsewhere, prices typically include VAT, whereas in US, tax is usually excluded from the price, so sometimes the disparity is not as great as it may first seem.

  2. Bob Zawalich

    Thanks for this article, Philip. It is well written as usual, and it is *very* useful to have actual lists of reputable resellers, especially since Avid is really not making any more of these upgrades, and so the only ones available are those that are still in stock. It reminds me of when we used to try to find external keypads only to find that most actually didn’t work with Sibelius…

    Reseller upgrades will probably stop being an option fairly soon, but it would be great to have an active list of these. Otherwise you end up in an endless Google search when you keep finding that what you want is listed but no longer available.

    And the upgrade price price of $299 is still fairly shocking compared to the $150 or so that it used to cost for a new version, and I am, like most people, not crazy about going onto a subscription. I suppose it is at least better than what Adobe does, where your only choice to get Photoshop is a subscription, but having to be on an “update and support policy” that you need to keep track of, or you get tossed off and need to “crossgrade” to a subscription is not a happy state either.

    But as people who were happily running 6.2 on their Macs discovered when they upgraded to Catalina, the rug can be pulled out through no fault of Avid, and suddenly your choice it to accept the dreaded Ribbon PLUS pay a lot of money PLUS have to do a subscription and worry about what happens when Avid Link gets unhappy with you over a long weekend. Of course you can roll back your OS to an earlier version on an old machine. Good luck with that one too.

    So you need to do something, and good luck making the right choice. Should you try Dorico? MuseScore? Finale? Igor? An abacus? Lead plates backwards? Pen and ink?

    It is a bad time for all this stuff. Thanks for keeping a light shining, Philip.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Bob. As is often the case with these articles (and with your plug-ins), they are borne out of a direct response to user questions and needs. I’ve probably received dozens of such questions over the past couple of weeks.

      One very nice client of mine hadn’t updated since 7.1.3. He had a very positive experience getting up to date with Sweetwater and Sibelius Ultimate 2020.3. So I am happy to let others know it is a reputable option.

      As to the fairness of the price, I suppose it depends on your perspective. For most of 2019 Avid was allowing lapsed users as far back as Sibelius 1 to upgrade their perpetual license for only $149. So that was a very good deal. Even under the current pricing (from resellers), for Sibelius 6 users, to pay $299 to upgrade after 10 years, I would say is quite reasonable. It is less so to pay that price if your license only recently expired.

      As to what to choose, there are free trials for each product, so I always recommend that users try each one out, consult our Product Guide, and see what works well for their needs. And if they choose Sibelius, make sure they check out all of your plug-ins!

  3. Garrett Tagliabue

    Very well written article, thank you for sharing. It’s extremely concerning that a day does not go by where someone does not have a problem with Avid Link or have some kind of confusion regarding the status of their license. Mine has worked out fine so far but if it comes to a point where that is no longer the case, I guess I would switch software. I don’t want to do that though; as much as people complain online, I actually really like Sibelius a lot and hope I can continue using the software easily without concern for all this crazy licensing stuff. Thanks again.

  4. Garrett Tagliabue

    Also forgot to mention in my original post that I successfully got an update from a reseller some time ago. It DOES work, for now, at least.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Garrett, for letting us know your experience. I agree, the various licenses and versions are difficult even for an experienced customer to sort out. We try to make sense of it here!

  5. Shiki Suen

    Time to just give Sibelius up. I already switched to Dorico.
    Believe it or not, any software acquired by AVID won’t have revolutionary redesign / update.

    1. Nota Chance

      I’m switching to Dorico also.
      While I actually liked the Ribbon interface, I don’t like that they did away with the task bar. There are things that used to take One click, that now take Four, because they are under different tabs on the ribbon interface. They should have left the task bar… made it customizable (so we could put the things we use the most on it) and make it a on/off choice to show it or not. That way everybody could be happy.
      It seems to me that Avid just wants to do as little work on Sibelius as possible, while sucking as much money out of people as possible. It’s sad to see such a once great product going down the tubes. Which is why I’m switching to DORICO.

  6. Philip Rothman

    It appears that Sweetwater has run through their remaining stock of expired plan updates (possibly due to the interest generated by the publication of this post). The product page referred to in this post now redirects to a new license at full price. We will keep this information available for reference.

  7. Wayne G

    StudioCare has also sold out of these licenses, despite showing them as available on their site. I had a confirmed purchase that was going to be processed on my credit card, but today I got an email saying it was no longer available, and I would get a refund. If anyone knows of other re-sellers that might have these (B&H does not), that would be great!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Wayne, and sorry to hear it. I guess the publication of this post resulted in a few sales for the resellers. I’ve updated the post.

  8. Roderick T Beaman

    Dear Mr. Rothman:
    I purchased a Sibelius One system about four years ago for about $199.00. I think it’s version

    I checked the reviews and it was rated best, especially in being user friendly. I just needed something to record right hand melodies for songs I wanted to write. I just got used to entry using the keypad & have barely scratched the surface of alphanumeric entry. I don’t even know how to enter lyrics and when I place a title, it comes out sprawled across & outside the ends of the title page. I’ve watched your tutorials full through 3-5 times and still; don’t understand most lot of them. I’m some kind of a duffer but I think I have some kind of intelligence being a physician.

    If I understand your column correctly in this issue, I am thoroughly dismayed that my system will stop working at some point. What do you suggest I do?

  9. Chris Costner

    Found another Dealer that has them.

    1. Chris Costner

      1. Philip Rothman

        Good find, thanks, Chris!

  10. Lou V. Johnson

    Hi Philip, Thanks for your informative article publications!
    I have the Sib ultimate perpetual now & have had for a few months.
    Previously I had Sib 7.
    Recently Sib is popping windows on my screen indicating that I must register my old Sib 7, or within 15 days none of the old Sib files will be able to be saved. Tried to follow their instructions and none of it worked!
    Do I really have to do anything, or does the Sib ultimate take care of all that?
    ps It has been more than 15 days and old files still open …..
    Should I be concerned?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Lou! In your case, I know you’ve recently upgraded to Sibelius Ultimate, so I would not be concerned. Still, though, it’s a bit strange — I’d advise contacting Avid just to be certain.

  11. Walter Brewster

    Hi Philip,
    I have just been on the Avid merry-go-round after not quite understanding what I had purchased at the beginning of the summer. I signed up for a 3 month subscription thinking that I would be left with a working programme but knew it would be without updates when it expired. This, as you have probably already guessed, was not the case and my wife and myself were left with neither the 3 month subscription or our previous, so-called ‘Perpetual’ license activated.

    If I use software all the time I become very familiar with the nomenclature of subscriptions, upgrades, perpetual licenses, whatever! However, we have periods of intense use and then nothing for some time. For the semi-casual user Avid’s complex licensing processes are almost a deterrent to using Sibelius at all. I am quite used to Adobe’s Creative Cloud which works beautifully these days but with Avid the whole process seems over-complicated. The Avid Link is one culprit and frequently crashes on my Mac. The forum used to be a joy but now looks dated and slow – I could go on.

    The result of all this is a complete re-evaluation of our needs and finding something that just works. Enter MuseScore which I would never have tried before. Embarrassingly, it’s free but gets the job done to the level we require.

    In fairness, I felt the same about Dorico – wonderful programme but Steinberg’s manager was, if anything, worse than Avid’s.

    Happily, we have use of Sibelius 2019.9 once again but of course Avid conveniently chose to change the file format after that so files that we created in 2020 don’t open. My suspicions have been that this was done purely to force users to upgrade.

    My rant is long enough but I’m sure I’m not alone.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Walter – thanks for that perspective and I’m sure other users can certainly relate. We’ll do our best to keep covering the news and updates as best we can so that users can make informed choices.

  12. Tommy Guidry

    Thanks for the excellent article. Semi-rant, semi-solution here. I’m in that very situation. I paid a hefty sum for a “perpetual” license in 2019. It is now expired. I have a possible solution. To my knowledge, just about any version of Sibelius will work on a PC. I have a cheap PC and an expensive Mac. I would love to work only on my Mac, but I may use my PC for Sibelius so that I can upgrade to Big Sur on my Mac. Ever since Big Sur came out, my year-old Mac is starting to slow down, restart, etc. I believe that Apple does this intentionally to encourage people to upgrade. I absolutely refuse to give up a perpetual license to pay year after year for Sibelius. Like another user, I go use it very often some of the time, then I have no need for months at a time, so I’ll just use my PC for composing/arranging when it gets to the point that I must upgrade my Mac. However, if I can find an upgrade from a legit reseller, I’d go that route first. Rant — I give Avid two thumbs down for calling this license “perpetual.” Also, it took forever to properly download the software through Avid’s confusing array of passwords, links, and emails that that never appeared. I read and reread the instructions. Finally, I literally kept doing the same process over and over for nearly 6 hours into the night, then, voilà, it worked! I used to really love Sibelius, but it’s like they sold their soul to the devil. I I have no love for Avid, especially pulling this type of student. It does not even seem legal to call a license “perpetual” when they will not provide upgrades to work with Mac OS, even for a price.



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