Sibelius brings back perpetual license upgrades for a limited time


Avid has reintroduced the ability for Sibelius customers with a perpetual license to get current with the latest updates and support, by bringing back a discounted option for those customers. Available only from December 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021, the “1-Year Upgrade with Software Updates + Support Plan” is $59 for Sibelius (mid-tier) licenses or $129 for Sibelius Ultimate licenses.

This is what used to be termed a “reinstatement”, although Avid is not using that word this time around.

You may recall that Avid discontinued reinstatements at the end of 2019 (you’ll find some extended analysis on the subject at the end of our Sibelius 2020.1 review). Since then, perpetual licensees of Sibelius Ultimate who let their support plan expire, and did not wish to purchase a new perpetual license at full price, had only the option of crossgrading to a subscription for $79/year for two years, and $199/year thereafter — surrendering their perpetual license in the process if they wanted to take advantage of the crossgrade price.

How it works

Today’s announcement effectively brings back the ability for anyone still hanging on to a perpetual license, but not currently on a support plan, to get current — and stay current — at a very attractive price. For just $129, a Sibelius Ultimate perpetual licensee can not only update to the latest version of the desktop software — with a full year of updates and support to follow — but get full access to the Sibelius for Mobile app on iPhone and iPad, as well. After the first year, such a user can stay current for the regular software update and support plan renewal price (currently $99/year), provided they don’t let their plan expire.

A few details to be aware of here (more at the article on the Avid Knowledge Base):

  • As mentioned, this offer is only good until December 31, 2021;
  • However; you don’t necessarily need to activate your plan before December 31. There is no deadline to activate the plan — it does not expire, so you can purchase it now and “start the clock” some time in the future, and get a full 12 months of updates and support;
  • Unlike some previous reinstatement offers, this one doesn’t go back to the beginning of Sibelius time. It’s “only” available to anyone who had a license for Sibelius 5 or later (Sibelius 5 was released in 2007, so this is quite generous);
  • Customers can purchase the upgrade directly from Avid or from their preferred Avid reseller — with the caveat that only licenses registered in a user’s Avid account can be upgraded directly from Avid, while upgrades purchased through a reseller can be applied to all eligible licenses. In other words, if your license does not appear in your Avid account (because it precedes their current database or because you bought from a reseller), you need to purchase this reinstatement from a reseller, and then redeem the code with Avid.
    • Update to clarify: Anyone who is updating from Sibelius 8 or later can purchase the upgrade from either Avid or from a reseller, regardless of from whom the Sibelius 8+ license was purchased. If you are upgrading from Sibelius 7.5 or earlier, you will need to purchase the upgrade through a reseller, even if you originally purchased Sibelius through Avid. Sweetwater is one such reseller option.

Wait — what’s the difference between a perpetual license with updates + support, and a subscription?

Welcome, friend, to Scoring Notes, where we valiantly try to help answer this question!

Practically speaking, for Sibelius Ultimate (the “pro” tier), it’s this:

  • Both a perpetual licensee with an active plan, and a subscriber, get software updates and support, for both the desktop and mobile apps;
  • A Software Update + Support Plan for perpetual licensees costs $99/year, after you pay for the perpetual license itself, which is $599 and includes one year of updates and support. If you stop paying, the software still works, but you don’t get any more software updates or support — and, until today’s announcement, there was no longer a way to get back on board, other than subscription;
  • A subscription costs $199/year (unless you “crossgraded” from a perpetual license, in which case you were eligible for $79/year for the first two years of your subscription), and, if you stop paying, the software stops working and you can only use it in very limited ways. Unlike with a perpetual license, there is no additional cost to initially acquire the software.

Avid has added the perpetual license upgrade option to its menu of upgrade and renewal paths for Sibelius Ultimate and Sibelius.

What if I crossgraded from a perpetual license to a subscription, but I want to take advantage of this opportunity for a perpetual license upgrade?

This offer only applies to users that still have a perpetual license for Sibelius 5 or later. If you crossgraded to the subscription and surrendered your perpetual license, you won’t be eligible for this offer.

For everyone else, though, this is an unexpected and welcome opportunity to keep their perpetual license and enjoy all of the benefits that the latest Sibelius updates have brought.

For complete coverage of all of those updates, please check out the Scoring Notes product guide and open up the “Latest Sibelius news and reviews” for links to each and every one of our reviews and news articles from the past several years.


  1. Bob Zawalich

    Of course they could have just left it like this in the first place, and avoided a great deal of anguish and user unhappiness. Nevertheless, this is a *great* deal especially if you are on a Mac and your old version no longer works.

    Tell your Sibelius using friends about this.

    And DO NOT let anyone who had the full version of what was formerly know as “Sibelius” upgrade to “Sibelius” for $59. That is useless in the real world. They want “Sibelius Ultimate,”, which is the successor of the former “Sibelius”. Trust me on this. $129. Make sure of that!

    1. John

      Bob, where is the exact link to purchase once u are in your Avid account?

  2. Matthew Hindson

    The last time I did that, I was out of the loop by 9 months (i.e. since my perpetual license “expired”.) I bought the renewal. They only gave me 3 months until it expired again.

    So I am not inclined to go down that route once more.

  3. Matthew Hindson

    And of course, on the Avid website, i.e. my Avid account, the only option is to go across to the 1 year recurring subscription.

    (Have an Education-based license.)

    Why on earth do Avid make this SO COMPLICATED???

    1. Terence Jones

      I’m seeing the same thing… and no option for my old 7.5 perpetual license, so that’s a big “no” from me. I’m not going to subject myself to a subscription for this when I have a perfectly working Dorico install that I’m very happy with.

  4. Adrien de Croy

    For someone who has been out of maintenance for a few years on a perpetual license, $129 is a very generous deal.

    I hope that Avid get a good response to this and decide to make it permanent, maybe allow anyone to go back into the fold for a price.

    For our product, we allow this, but there’s a financial incentive to keep the license in coverage. If you let it lapse you can reinstate, but the cost is 40% of the list price, as opposed to $25, So it can still make sense to do it either way depending on how often you wish to update the software.

    1. Adrien de Croy

      correction, as opposed to 25%

  5. LMo

    This is fantastic! Hoping that Avid will see a lot of interest and eventually decide to offer perpetual licenses as an option.

    Purchasing now and upgrading from 7.5! Updates for a year is great. Still crossing my fingers for a DAW-like playback engine with articulation maps. I’d pay $129 every month for that.

  6. Nicholas Simpson

    I’ve tried to buy this perpetual license (upgrading from my Sibelius 7 perpetual license). I must say that Avid make it very hard. I can log in to my Avid account, but there’s no obvious way from there to buy the upgrade. As always with Avid, there’s no phone number you can ring, there’s no one available to “chat” to apart from a chat bot that obviously can’t provide the answer to what is a fairly subtle question. It’s almost as if they don’t want you to upgrade to a perpetual license but are instead hoping that, out of mere frustration, you will pay for a subscription.

    1. Justin Tokke

      I can assure you, there is no duplicitous motive here.

  7. Nicholas Simpson

    If, as I might be forgiven for assuming, you’re an Avid insider, can you help me buy your wonderful product!

    1. John

      I have the same issue- no obvious link to purchase in your Avid account. Bob, would you have any info on how it’s done? I have 7.5.1, want to use the 129 option to upgrade to ultimate, us on an m1 Mac

      1. Nicholas Simpson

        I started a thread about this on the Sibelius user forum, and Robin Walker replied to the effect that anyone from about Sibelius 7 backwards would have to purchase via a re-seller rather than from Avid direct, unless their credentials were visible in their My Avid account. It’s odd, because my System ID and Activation ID are both there, plain to see. I’ve sent a message to Avid, but they haven’t responded yet. Very frustrating and, you may think, no way to run a railway.

        1. Philip Rothman

          For anyone who thinks they should be eligible and are having trouble accessing this upgrade, either through Avid or a reseller, please do report back here with any reports of “ultimate” (ha) success or failure. I’m not an Avid employee as you all know, but I can certainly point them here to let them know of any problems, and, with your permission, share your info with them in case you don’t get a response. We never disclose private information, so just send me a quick note through the Scoring Notes contact form if you want me to pass along your name and email to Avid. We want the information on Scoring Notes to be accurate and help as many people as possible, and do think this is an excellent opportunity for anyone who is eligible to get a discounted upgrade and stay current with their perpetual license.

          1. Nicholas Simpson

            Thanks very much Philip. I will give you my details via the contact form.

          2. Joel Dube

            For anyone reading this still having issues, I took screenshots of what I had to do to upgrade. There a certainly a couple of major eyebrow-raising things about what’s required, but these were the steps I had to take.


            Also if you have an expired education license you are NOT eligible unless you can reverify your current relationship at whichever institution. I just happened to be taking some classes right now so I got lucky and was able to reverify, but it doesn’t really make sense.

          3. Philip Rothman

            Hi Joel! Thanks for sharing this and for taking the time to document the process.

          4. Nicholas Simpson

            Thanks Joel for posting this. I’ve looked at your screenshots, and unfortunately when I get to the stage of your fourth picture our paths diverge, because I have never owned Sibelius Ultimate so it isn’t listed there as one of my products. If I go to the Shop page there is no option to buy the perpetual license upgrade. It looks as if whoever designed the webpages didn’t realise that some have never had Ultimate.

    2. Joel Dube


      I’ll finally be able to make non-frankensteined angled slashed chords and use the studio scoring express template.

      Thanks for letting me stay in the loop Phillip! I have no idea what I’d do without this website.

      1. Philip Rothman

        Thanks, Joel!

  8. Quetzal Marchiori

    At least for me is 142,80 € for “upgrading” from Sibelius Ultimate!

    1. Quetzal Marchiori

      OK, it is strange but when you proceed to the payment it is showing the correct price!

  9. Philip Rothman

    I’ve learned that Avid support has been checking the upgrade this weekend and have resolved a number of little problems that could have been causing some users some problems getting the upgrade. So if you tried and did not succeed, try again.

  10. Nicholas Simpson

    Hi Philip. Thanks for that. I’m afraid I have just spent a further ten minutes on the site, and nothing has changed that I can see. I can log into the MyAvid account, but it tells me that I have “no special offers at this time”, and if I go to Shop it offers me either a purchase through my account, which we’ve already seen is impossible, or via reseller. I’ve contacted one of those to see how that would work, but I have to say that, overall, the salty English expression featuring the words “p!ss up” and “brewery” springs to mind . . . .

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Nicholas. Thanks for that report, and I’m very sorry to hear it. I’ve just made Avid aware again.

      1. Philip Rothman

        Hi again — I’ve just gotten more clarification. Nicholas, you will need to purchase from a reseller. The way it works is this:

        Anyone who is updating from Sibelius 8 or later can purchase the upgrade from either Avid or from a reseller, regardless of from whom the Sibelius 8+ license was purchased. If you are upgrading from Sibelius 7.5 or earlier, you will need to purchase the upgrade through a reseller, even if you originally purchased Sibelius through Avid. Sweetwater is one such reseller option.

  11. Rowena Harper

    Have moved to Dorico because my perpetual licence SIbelius 7 First stopped working on my Mac. Was tempted to pay $59 to get an update for the year purely for old chart maintenance etc but can’t find the option on my offers. I still want the perpetual licence, not a subscription. Am I missing where this offer is available?

  12. Nicholas Simpson

    Your guess is as good as mine. Avid don’t answer emails, don’t answer chat requests (other than with a thoroughly useless robot) and don’t have a sales phone number you can call. It’s almost like they’re trying to run the business into the sand. Good luck.

  13. Joshua Tindall

    Sibelius 7,5 user here … anyone know of a reseller in Europe who’s offering this upgrade?

    1. Nicholas Simpson

      Good question. I’ve just heard back from a re-seller in Nottingham (Jigsaw24), who says “I am sorry we cannot provide you with Avids upgrade offer for a Sibelius Ultimate perpetual licence as per the link you sent. We are only able to sell the Sibelius Ultimate Perpetual licence however this will be the normal price of £499 + VAT”.

      You could try instead I think they have the upgrade, although at the moment I’m stuck slightly because the order page in question does not state unequivocally that it’s an upgrade to a perpetual license. I’m nervous about this because the page does say, in terms, that they don’t give refunds if you order the wrong download!

      1. Joshua Tindall

        I got a pretty similar response from!

        Thanks for the tip, I’ll check them out :)
        I’ll keep looking for a Europe based retailer in the meantime as I would prefer not to pay conversion fees if I can avoid it.

  14. Nicholas Simpson

    Unlike Avid, actually do respond to queries on their chat page.

  15. Nicholas Simpson have confirmed to me that this package ( confers a perpetual license upgrade from earlier versions of Sibelius to Sibelius Ultimate. It includes a year’s worth of support (I believe a 3 year support package is also available). Despite the temptation to switch to Dorico (I don’t like being treated as a mug by Avid) I have shelled out £130 for the upgrade. Haven’t downloaded it yet, so fingers crossed . . . . The people at DSmusic were very helpful, BTW.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Nicholas. That’s encouraging – thanks for the update!

  16. Borys Medicky

    Joel Dube’s December 4 post, complete with screenshots, worked perfectly for me. Thanks to Joel for taking all the trouble of detailing all the steps.

  17. Jihwan Kim

    Today is 12/31/21, the last day of the offer and for those considering getting this plan: a caution for everyone thinking of doing this through Avid, and not a reseller.

    Philip, you wrote on this blog post: “However; you don’t necessarily need to activate your plan before December 31. There is no deadline to activate the plan — it does not expire, so you can purchase it now and “start the clock” some time in the future, and get a full 12 months of updates and support;”

    Your statement is ONLY applicable for purchases made through a RESELLER. I made the mistake of thinking that when I purchase through Avid, they will send me a code, which then I can redeem at any point. Not so. The plan is automatically active and has a deadline for 1 year from my purchase (yesterday).

    Avid’s website gives conflicting and somewhat misleading statements regarding this; it gives a strong first impression that you can redeem at any time without such caveats as I stated above (and Philip, I believe you may have seen it this way as well, given your blog post). But if you scroll to the very end of the FAQ page, there’s a note in small font that says that the plan will start upon purchase, if done through Avid. I just didn’t read that note, because I was satisfied with statements made elsewhere in the FAQs. I sent a support request to Avid to see if I can reverse my purchase, and hopefully they’ll be willing to.

    In the meantime, I hope this post helps other potential buyers.

    1. Justin Tokke

      What advantage does delaying your start date give you? You can’t use 2021.12 unless you start the clock on the update/support plan. If anything buying through Avid simplifies the process as there’s no codes to deal with at all, just log in and go.

      1. Philip Rothman

        Jihwan: Thanks for relaying your experience in detail and letting us know of the differences between obtaining this upgrade through a reseller versus directly through Avid.

        Justin: The advantage is because Avid has decided to make this a limited-time offer with expiry today. So if someone doesn’t necessarily need to use Sibelius now but wants to take advantage of the opportunity to get current with their perpetual license, they must purchase now. Then, when they resume using Sibelius (i.e., in a couple months’ time), they would get a full 12 months of upgrades and support.

        If this were an ongoing offer and not a limited time deal, then, yes, the customer could wait to purchase until they were ready to get back onboard with their perpetual license.

  18. Jihwan Kim

    Thanks for your replies. Justin, just to add to Philip’s explanation, it would allow you to wait until there’s an update you truly want, at which point you can start the clock. Personally, I haven’t found any of the updates over the last year applicable to me (at least not something I would’ve been happy to have spent $100+ for), and now I’m in a position hoping that the updates over the next year will be useful (for me personally, that is).

    Well, Avid replied and it looks like they’re not going to refund/reverse course, so there you have it. Choose wisely!

  19. Bill Nelson

    Bummed that I just received this Scoring Notes email on January 1st. As a Sibelius 7.5 user I would have loved to upgrade but apparently missed the deadline by a day.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Bill,

      Sorry to hear that. The monthly newsletter goes out automatically on the first of the month. If you’d like more timely newsletters, please sign up under “Get Notified” on the side of the screen, which go out every weekend, usually on Saturday and are a weekly e-mail roundup of posts and podcast episodes.

      Or, for even more timely news without cluterring your inbox, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, where we post as soon as a new blog post or podcast is published. I also post all new content to my personal LinkedIn page.

      Avid was also running ads on Scoring Notes advertising this sale during the entire month of December. I guess the bottom line is, please be invited to come and visit us more than once a month :-)

  20. pierre

    I got my 1st copy of Sib Vs #3! A few PC crashes later, I couldn’t find my source disc, so I bought Sib First, which allowed me to read my whole library again – Joy! Then the AVID launcher was introduced, along with the notion the ‘perpetual’ was just a word that denied its true meaning, AVID now want an annual subscription from our long-time loyal customers. OK, I deplore the subscription model so I let it lapse in 2018 & was still able to read & write without restriction.
    Just last week, I foolishly said yes to an update in the launcher & since then, I’m on the: ‘this file has more than 4 staves, you may open but not edit’ scheme. Then I found my old V#3 disk & popped it in loaded, was reminded there’s also a compatibility issue with W10 now for V#3
    Reached a now-familiar message saying: You must register your product.
    When I did was told: Your product expired in 2018. You have use of Sib for 30 days until you register or upgrade.
    Is that any reason to trash my library? Anything I open now is garbled . . seems
    What happened to: you don’t need to upgrade you can still use the product you bought?
    Disappointed, pierre

  21. dani

    Reading this back in December I decided I’d upgrade and give Sibelius another go. That was a go around, around and around and around, trying to find information for this on the Avid website, and then repeat correspondences with Avid Help and with a dozen or more resellers across Europe. Avid was a dead end, almost as if I was communicating with a bot than a real person, no useful results, the same suggestions repeated more than once, confusing and frustrating. Now, however, I see options for perpetual licenses have popped up on some of those resellers I’d contacted back in December, though more expensive than the offer first announced here… I gave up then and ended up investing in other notation software instead… The good news first read here resulted in only frustration, angst, disappointment and a headache…

  22. Christopher Bayley

    Used Sibelius from original company and varried on when Avid snatched it. Always the perpetual liscence. Problem was in their greed to almost steal as much money as possible the options got more and more confusing and I fell into their money grabbing trap and got a subscription version not realising umtil too late.
    Avid are a very dishonest company and best avoided if possible and am very disappointed

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