Why and where you should get Sibelius 7.5, while you still can


sibelius75A well-regarded composer friend of mine called me today asking about Sibelius 7, 7.5, and 8, and what it all means. He currently owns Sibelius 7.

For now, I’ve recommended that he step up to Sibelius 7.5, but not yet Sibelius 8. You can read my recent review of Sibelius 8 here, but the long and short of it is that there is no downside to getting Sibelius 7.5 now (especially if you are sure to apply the 7.5.1 maintenance update). Avid has said that if you purchased and registered Sibelius 7.5 on or after April 11, 2015, you qualify for a free upgrade to 8.

So why not just buy Sibelius 8, then? Well, right now, while 8 is largely stable, there are a few bugs (regressions from 7.5). Those will surely get ironed out in time, but the best reason to hold off on buying 8 for now is that it buys you some time to decide when or if you want to get on board with Avid’s new time-bound licensing program, with its subscription and perpetual options. If you get Sibelius 7.5 now, you’ll have nearly a full year — until June 30, 2016 — to see how Sibelius development progresses before potentially upgrading to Sibelius 8 and thus starting the clock on any renewal plan. In other words, if you purchase an upgrade to Sibelius 7.5 now, you could wait to upgrade to Sibelius 8 in June of next year, start your yearly perpetual renewal plan at that time (for free because you qualify for a free upgrade from 7.5) and not have to fork over another penny until June of 2017.

My colleague Bill Holab recently wrote a widely-circulated piece on New Music Box in which he lays out the case in cogent detail. Bill uses 7 for most of his work, but I’ve moved everything to 7.5.1 because I find it more stable and useful. Other than that, his conclusions align with mine, and I agree with his statement that Sibelius 6 is “acceptable to work in, but there are some limitations and it’s now several versions back. I would recommend moving on from that version before long.” (For a helpful guide on transitioning from Sibelius 6 to Sibelius 7.5, see this post from last year.)

Near the end of his piece Bill recommends that “you upgrade to 7 or 7.5 before you get trapped in the version 8 licensing scheme. But act quickly, you’ll need to buy 7/7.5 from a retailer who has existing stock since Sibelius is no longer selling those versions.”

So, where, then, to buy Sibelius 7.5, should you so choose? A quick survey yielded the following, but note that availability and price is subject to change. This list is not comprehensive and only refers to US and UK retailers.

[Note that this site is a participant in the Amazon affiliate advertising program; if you’d like to learn more about what that means, please see our privacy policy, section 4(b).]

Amazon (US)

Sibelius 7.5 Upgrade from Sibelius 7: $83.76
Sibelius 7.5 Legacy Upgrade (from versions 1-6): $103.07
Sibelius 7.5 Crossgrade (from other notation software): $172.95
Sibelius 7.5 Academic: $246.99
Sibelius 7.5 Trade-Up (from Sibelius First or Sibelius Student): $306.57
Sibelius 7.5: $495.00

Amazon (UK)

Sibelius 7.5 Upgrade from Sibelius 7: £69.95
Sibelius 7.5 Legacy Upgrade (from versions 1-6): £77.59
Sibelius 7.5 Trade-Up (from Sibelius First or Sibelius Student): £319.94
Sibelius 7.5 Academic: £204.38

Sweetwater (US)

Sibelius 7.5 Upgrade from Sibelius 7: $89.95
Sibelius 7.5 Crossgrade (from other notation software): $199.95
Sibelius 7.5: $599.95

Guitar Center (US)

Sibelius 7.5 Upgrade from Sibelius 7: $89.95
Sibelius 7.5 Crossgrade (from other notation software): $199.95
Sibelius 7.5: $599.95

B&H (US)

B&H listed many of the Sibelius 7.5 products as “special order” requiring 7-14 days shipping.

Andertons (UK)

Sibelius 7.5 Academic: £219.00
Sibelius 7.5: £399.00


  1. George Litterst

    Thanks for these insights.

    Do you any information to share regarding improvements to MusicXML exports with version 8? Avid doesn’t seem to have much to say on this subject.


    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi George, I don’t believe anything has changed regarding the built-in exporting feature of Sibelius 8. You could always try the Dolet plug-in and see if you get better results. It was last updated in October 2014 and is free from MakeMusic.

      1. George Litterst

        Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, the Dolet is not adequate either.

        One of the big problems has to do with Credit text, such as composer and title that appear at the beginning of the work. With both exports, those items are incorrectly exported as text blocks that are attached to a measure.

        Additionally, fingering is often not exported as the correct data type.

        1. Philip Rothman

          Probably the best thing you can do to affect MusicXML development is join the new open standards working group, if you haven’t already.

          1. Michael Good

            Could you also please contact Avid, requesting they improve their native MusicXML export, and/or improve the ManuScript interface so the Dolet plug-in can access more information? Right now Dolet is doing as much as ManuScript allows. As far as I know, nothing was improved here for Sibelius 8. Someone please correct me if I am mistaken.

            Avid has joined the new W3C Music Notation Community Group, but these seem to be software implementation issues rather than MusicXML specification issues.

          2. Philip Rothman

            Good idea, Michael – it would be great if ManuScript were more open to MusicXML access.

  2. Ralph L. Bowers Jr.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Ralph!

  3. Composer


    I have 7.1.3 which seems to do all I require?

    What does 7.5 offer?

    In NO WAY do I wish to get involved with maintenance contracts!

    Many thanks

    1. Philip Rothman

      Composer, you can see what’s new in 7.5 in this blog post. Generally if you’re getting along fine with 7.1.3, you probably don’t need to upgrade, but 7.5.1 is more stable and adds some helpful improvements. My thinking is that route is a low-risk alternative to upgrading to 8, until we see how the updates to 8 play out in time.

      1. Composer

        Thanks for that!

        I, like others are also waiting upon the new Steinberg Product to check that out, but having said that, .sib. 7.1.3 has been good to me!

  4. Steve

    Thanks Philip – this is good information. The best and logical choice for many, I presume.

  5. Luis

    I’m a little confused. I’ve read that there are multiple ways to upgrade, including having a permanent license (or did I read that wrong). So what is the disadvantage of having upgraded from 7.1 to 8 instead of 7.5? Sorry if what you already said should have made that clear for me.

    1. Luis

      OK. So I went back and read again. I think I get what you’re saying, but the assumption seems to be that a more stable version might come after one’s time is up, which could mean at least one of two things. Either: Sibelius is not just planning obsolescence but counting on Sibelius users not being very bright; or: you don’t think Sibelius can (based on your extensive experience) deliver on their update/upgrade promises within anything less than 2 or more years. Here’s my question: Is the price for the plan good for both the business and the consumer or is it only good for the business? If it is only good for the business, the business will tank because consumers will bail. If it is only good for the consumer, the business will tank because there’s no profit in a profit-driven business that is as specialized as Sibelius (that is, with a narrow slice of special consumers). I wonder, would this new business model be more useful for schools but less useful for individuals? There’s got to be some benefit for Sibelius consumers that Avid sees in this new way of doing things and Avid has to have deliverables to to make it worth offering. Otherwise, it’s a dumb idea for everybody. And dumb ideas don’t make money. I think Avid seriously wants to keep making money. Am I totally off here? Thanks for the blog. It definitely helps keep me on my toes.

      1. Philip Rothman

        Hi Luis, I admit it is confusing. Basically I am suggesting that if you upgrade from 7.1.3 to 7.5.1 now, you’ll get 8 for free whenever you decide to upgrade to 8, at a total price that is the same or less than what you would pay to upgrade directly to 8.

        So, there is no downside to getting 7.5.1 now, wait a few months to see when Avid delivers an update to 8 that’s worth it for you, and then starting your annual subscription cycle at that point.

        The only reasons that I can see to get 8 straight away at the present time are if you’re on a Windows PC with a hi-res display or using a Surface. For Mac users there is virtually no benefit to 8 yet.

        In fact, a reason not to upgrade to 8 on a Mac would be if you’re still using 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion) or 10.8 (Mountain Lion). Sibelius 7.5.1 will run on those systems but 8 will only run on 10.9 or higher.

  6. Ian

    I’m still on 7.1 – the last release before Avid fired the development team. I decided then that they wouldn’t get any more of my money.

    1. Andy Patterson

      Have to admit I admire you for that. I miss what Sibelius used to be. I miss contacting Walter and the gang at the help center in San Francisco. Was a lot more personal and personable back in the day.

  7. Laurence Payne

    If any of the changes from 7.1 to 7.5 were the work of the new team, why did they fail so dismally to come up with anything new for 8? It seems pretty obvious that 7.5 was implementation of advance work done by the London team up to their dismissal, so it must be considered the final “Finsbury Park” version. If you want to stick somewhere on principle, stick there.

  8. Sharon Kaplan

    Can anyone solve my problem? I have Sibelius 7.3. Just upgraded to Windows 10 (and may go back to 7 because I am becoming suspicious about problems I am having). Student bought Sibelius 7.5. When I open her attached file, it tries to open it in Sibelius 4. No dice. So I saved it and tried to open from Sibelius 7. It says I need to upgrade. She tried to export as xml and it says I don’t have it. Help!!

  9. Laurence Payne

    Sharon: I assume you have Sibelius 7.13 (there is no such version as Sibelius 7.3). Each Sibelius version can open files made in that and earlier version. Your student has 7.5, which is a later version to yours. Therefore you cannot open her file.
    There’s an easy solution. She can open the file in her Sibelius 7.7 and Export/Previous version/Sibelius 7. This will produce a sib file that you can open.

    1. Sharon Kaplan

      Thanks. I will forward this to her. I did finally see her work, but she sent as an xml, I saved the xml and then imported it into Sibelius. How tedious!

  10. Laurence Payne

    Sharon: Yes, XML import is tedious. Fortunately it is completely unnecessary in your case.

  11. Composer

    I have soon to be delivered Sib. 7.5

    I am unsure if I should actually install it?

    I am currently running 7.1.3

    I bought it just to have it whilst available and it might save costs should I wish to later purchase a version that is given a good rap by Sib. users & I DON’T have to Pay ANY Fee to keep it going!


    1. Laurence Payne

      Yes, you should install 7.5, plus any available online updates.

      1. Composer

        Thanks for that Laurence!

        A week or so they said to delivery!

  12. Laurence Payne

    Recent contributions from Avid staff on the main forum suggest that people who upgrade to Sibelius 8 but can come up with a reason for requesting a Sibelius 7.5 licence may be treated with sympathy. The suggested reason was compatibility with a 32-bit system. I don’t know if “Because I want it!” would be considered sufficient :-)

    Actually, the more I look at it – if you have an earlier version and want 7.5, buy 8. Is anything actually broken apart from marquee selection (and surely THAT is fixable)?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Laurence, there are no major problems with 8. There have been some reports of Rewire not working in ProTools, and a few other odds and ends like the lasso (marquee) problem. If those don’t bother you, then 8 is fine. Still, you don’t sacrifice anything by getting 7.5 and you’re guaranteed a free update to 8 later.

      The best reasons I can think of to go with 7.5 directly at the present time (if the upgrade price is comparable to upgrading to 8) are if 1) you’re still running an older system 2) you want a few more months to decide if (or when) to start the clock on the annual license renewal plan 3) you’re working with other people that have 7.5 and don’t want the hassle of exporting back and forth.

      1. Philip Rothman

        That said… if you are a Windows PC user with a high-DPI display or a Surface, then you’ll want 8 straight away, if you don’t yet have 7.5.

  13. Miguel

    Hi everyone!

    I just bought Sibelius 7.5 Academic from the link in Amazon, but checking my order, I realized that in the description (and only when you actually did already the purchase) they tell you that they are going to send you Sibelius 8 because Sibelius 7.5 is now “obsolete”.

    Anybody knows from other place I could by Sibelius 7.5 Academic in the USA?

    Thank you!

  14. Kenny Lui

    Hi Philip

    You said:

    if you purchase an upgrade to Sibelius 7.5 now, you could wait to upgrade to Sibelius 8 in June of next year, start your yearly perpetual renewal plan at that time (for free because you qualify for a free upgrade from 7.5) and not have to fork over another penny until June of 2017.

    Can I really control the time when to start the renewal plan? As far a I know Avid will deposit Sibelius 8 license sometime (not too long should be) after the activation of Sibelius 7.5.

    Tks & rgds

    1. Laurence Payne

      There is a small ray of hope in a post, from a recent Avid employee, in the main forum. Dissatisfaction with the new scheme is noted, and the possibility of modifying it is at least admitted.

      1. Laurence Payne

        That’s a recent post, but a current employee. Sorry. We don’t seem able to edit misprints in these messages?

    2. Philip Rothman

      Hi Kenny, thanks for writing. Is that really the case? Check the license terms of 7.5. Unless they say that activating it also automatically triggers an 8 license, you should be on solid ground to control the timing of your 8 upgrade. There are plenty of 7.5 users who have not yet upgraded to 8 and are waiting to upgrade. Let us know if you’ve experienced something different.

  15. Composer

    I only have a limited Download Data capacity!

    How large is the Update file from 7.1.3 – 7.5, 7.51 or more?)

    Can these files be downloaded from my friends computer who has massive a Download capacity to say a USB and then I install it all from that USB?

    Does any one know the file size(s) Updating from 7.1.3 to 7.5, 7.51 or more before 8?


  16. Richard Vitale

    Hi Phil,

    I directed some questions by email to Sibelius’ product designer Joe Pearson and senior product manager Sam Butler and wanted to check them with what you’ve heard as I’ll have an article in NYC Local 802 paper shortly.

    An existing user of Sibelius 1-7.5 will be able to upgrade for $89 for a year. In comparison Finale upgrades are $149/yr and they seem to have an upgrade each year.

    If you forget to put on auto-renew within that year, there is a one month grace period to renew before your pricing goes up to $239/year (19.99 a month) if you if you haven’t purchased and registered Sibelius 7.5 on or after April 11, 2015.

    Does the above sound correct to you?

    If it is true, a big argument for buying Sib 8 before the deadline and using the auto-renewal option is this would be the safest route to insure that Sibelius continues to work with the upcoming OS’s in the coming years.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Richie, the most comprehensive official source on all of this are the FAQs posted by Sam Butler a while ago.

      1. Richard Vitale

        Yes, thank you!

        It’s a very long thread and also very confusing to sift thru, so I posted on that thread: If you forget to put on auto-renew [Sibelius 8] within that year [when Sibelius is released], there is a one month grace period to renew before your pricing goes up to $239/year (19.99 a month).”
        I was just double-checking my facts and at the same time illuminating folks (hopefully with information that is still correct) that if they don’t renew by the end of the grace period, and a couple OS’s later Sibelius doesn’t work, it will be a more costly purchase.

  17. Nigel Smith

    I’m confused. I have Sib.7.1.3, it works fine and does everything I need. If I don’t upgrade, will I be able to continue using it for years to come without paying an annual or monthly fee?
    Thank you.

    1. Richard Vitale

      Hi Nigel, that was exactly my concern and why I emailed Joe Pearson and Sam Butler at Sibelius, I didn’t understand the pricing and when I would need to buy before the new pricing model became too expensive for me. When Sib 8 became available, if you don’t purchase and put on auto-renew within that year, there is a one month grace period to renew before your pricing goes up to $239/year (19.99 a month). So you have a year and a month before the release date of vs. 8 to do so.
      Students/teachers can subscribe for 99/yr. At some point the new OS on our computers will not support Sib 7, so I’ll have an article in Sib Chat Line and Save Sib Facebook site when my article is printing in Local 802 Allegro paper with a graph of all the pricing choices.
      It could be years or months before Sib 7 stops working on the new Mac OS’s, I’m hoping years, but if Avid wants you to buy vs. 8 then that’s where the development might be exclusively.

  18. Richard Vitale

    Correction: So you have a year and a month AFTER the release date of vs. 8 to do so (purchase Sib 8 at the 89/yr price).

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