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Single user license model with one-time payment for Liquid Notes

In recent times the music software industry has seen the emergence of plugin rental stores, which enables the use of a new licensing model: renting a software for a pre-defined period of time rather than a one-time payment. This is more in-line with the level of comfort users today expect from Web 2.0 services, yet there are pros and cons.

Here is a closer look at licensing models and what advantages or disadvantages those contain.


License model in use with Liquid Notes

At the time when we developed Liquid Notes, we first had the harmonic analysis run in the cloud. This required an Internet connection and came paired with a license management system that checked the validity of a certificate with each attempt for an analysis of a MIDI arrangement. For reasons discussed in-depth in the past this online approach had to be replaced by the harmonic analysis moving offline, as too many people were using Liquid Notes on a studio computer that had no connection to the Internet.

This had the consequence of also having to find a replacement for the license management solution, which eventually led us to the license management service provided by Nalpeiron. It has since been used with each iteration of Liquid Notes.

This change brought with it a one-time payment for a single user license, whereas before - at least on paper - more flexibility was provided.

With customers having become used to apps and subscription-based models, demand for lease models in software has risen. It enables the customer to pay for the use of a piece of software within a certain time only - say, for 10 days or 1 month. Also, he/she is not bound to making an outright purchase of the software, and instead can decide into which baskets he/she puts his/her money.

While these advantages are obvious to every software developer, providing such a service is far from easy. License management systems are already expensive as is, with the additional requirements for a lease model adding significantly to the cost. This is a particular issue for desktop software, as app stores haven't evolved like they have on smartphones: there, licensing is managed by Apple and Google, whereas on the desktop the developer needs to buy into a service or develop its own.
Also, any such service requires an Internet connection of some sort. Either, for generating of a code to be copied onto another machine, or a computer with the music software installed that is connected to the Internet.

There ain't no simple solution for it. This is why widespread adoption of lease models hasn't happened yet.

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