Why you can't own a perpetual license of SoundFlow Cloud

There are a number of reasons why we chose to make SoundFlow primarily subscription based. Here's a little insight into the reasoning that went into our decision.

The strategy involves 3 major focuses:

  • Ensure continuous development

  • Avoid compatibility nightmares

  • Make ground-breaking cloud connected features possible

Ensure continuous development

We wanted a very simple solution that could ensure a) a steady cash flow so we can continue to develop SoundFlow (sound designers developing solutions for other sound designers is not something that is easy to keep well funded); that is in the interest of everybody using it, since it will then keep SF updated with major new technologies and software releases, b) the ability to continue to push out new features without having to worry about having to hold those features back for months or even years before we could charge an upgrade price.

We want to share

Basically, we have SO many features in prototypes and some even in alpha or beta quality, that are just waiting to be published. So ensuring that the licensing framework allows us to not have to worry about holding back features, is probably the single most important factor that went into the decision. In other words, we just want to share without too much trouble and while feeling safe that we can continue to do so financially.

Avoid compatibility nightmares

Since Avid made Pro Tools a primarily subscription-based product (meaning: continuous incremental updates), we needed to find a way to make sure SoundFlow stays updated with the Pro Tools releases.

If Avid would change anything that made certain SoundFlow features stop working, we would need to push out new updates to those features. If we were to keep SoundFlow on the old style "free minor updates but pay for a new major version scheme"; we would need to create arbitrary major bumps for SoundFlow versions to keep the development funded, major bumps that wouldn't naturally correlate to either Pro Tools versions or to major feature enhancements, because those would not necessarily be in sync with each other. Imagine having to wait for a new major SoundFlow release for months to get support for a new Pro Tools version. That would limit everyone to only using very specific combinations of Pro Tools and SoundFlow versions that were known to work well together. Gauging by the number of posts on Avid forums about compatibility problems with macOS, hardware, etc., we felt like we didn't want to add more confusion and issues into the mix.

Support nightmare

Furthermore, being a workflow application that is dependent on integrating with not just Pro Tools, but many different apps from different vendors with differing release schedules and update mechanisms, the landscape becomes even more complex. Imagine having to test and prove compatibility between users of endless combinations of macOS versions, Pro Tools versions, Cubase, Ableton Live, Logic, and all the other apps that we support.

That quickly becomes a support nightmare. Of course it would be technically possible to do - that is much how software development worked in the past. But we felt like that's exactly what it was, not only a model of the past, but also a model that would steal huge amounts of time & money from instead developing new amazing features that could help us all.

A modern solution

By founding the SoundFlow platform on a modern licensing and continuous updating model that is suited for how people consume services in a cloud connected world, we are making sure that the SoundFlow platform is fully geared for what the future brings. And instead of playing catch up in a constant compatibility chaos, we can spend our time thinking about how we imagine the future of creative sound work, and quickly get around to just doing it (we like that slogan even if we didn't come up with it).

Keeping every SoundFlow user constantly updated with the newest features and bug fixes, we ensure maximum compatibility for everybody with zero maintenance needed by the customer. Simply keep your subscription active and you'll be both backwards and forwards compatible. You can even choose to go on the beta channel if you'd like to live even more on the bleeding edge of development - or you can stay on the stable channel to make sure you only get new updates once they have been thoroughly tested by our users around the world.

Cloud connected features & collaboration

We never set out to make SoundFlow just a little shortcut utility that helps you get a few things done a little quicker. Although that is the heart of what SoundFlow does, we want to continue developing SoundFlow into a full scale cloud connected workflow platform for people in sound design, composing and post production. By making sure licensing & update mechanisms support that, we won't be hindered in adding new cloud features but can simply activate them when they're ready. No user action, installation or additional configuration required.

New cloud features are already here

We have many exciting new plans in this space, that we'll continue to push out once the features graduate to beta/stable quality. The first truly cloud connected feature we've published (beyond user settings being cloud synced) is the sharing of custom command packages. We will keep this place updated with exciting new features as they become available.

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