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.
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.
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the latest Sibelius updates, and you’ll run into a increasing list of incompatibilities the farther back you go with outdated Sibelius versions.
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.
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)”:
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.
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!)