Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SmartMusic Changes Are Coming!

Our customer rep at SmartMusic sent an e-mail yesterday pointing out some interesting changes coming from their company.

First, they are changing their pricing a bit and actually making it easier for students to use different computers/devices with their subscription.

That may not sound like a big deal, but I bet we all have had students with more than one home.  This will save some hassle with moving the subscription from Mom's place to Dad's place.

They are also upping the price a bit and there looks to be some changes in the practice room plan as well.  In our case, there may be some savings in school volume purchase plan.  If you are doing one of those, your rep will have the details.  It is going to be pencil time to figure out the best solution.

The other bit of news was about the iPad version.  It really does sound like it will be ready for assignments next fall.  It also sounds like it will be using the built-in microphone to do its thing.

Using the built-in mic is a great idea.  One less thing to arrange for, one less thing to lose, one less thing to damage, one less thing to blame for a poor performance, etc, etc.....

Makes me wish that our district was doing its 1 to 1 computing initiative with iPads.  Currently, the powers that be are thinking that the cheaper Google terminal is the way to go.  I'm not sold on the idea.

Any further comment and my attorney will be arguing First Amendment Rights vs. an employer's right to docile employees at a hearing someplace.  Hopefully, MakeMusic can port something over soon. 

The iPad/SmartMusic combo will be a great package for the young band student.  I can especially picture beginner brass players using this to help find the right harmonic in rehearsal on those first days.  Put the iPad on a stand and check when ever there is a problem!

It will be an interesting fall.


Brian said...

Roger I am in favor of the multi-device approach (and I can even stomach the subscription increase), but the new practice room pricing model is a big concern. I'm a little surprised you didn't say more about that, the cost increase is substantial.


Roger Whaley said...

Yeah, they are increasing prices. I have not had the chance to talk to my rep about exactly how much the increase is going to be in our case. It didn't seem fair to complain about it yet.

This is speculation about the practice room price increases. It may be MakeMusic needs to cover their costs for those users. 400 users on a single practice room computer subscription has the potential to take up a lot of server space on the back end. Just guessing there.

It may be a choice between raising the price on the single user subscription to cover the cost of practice room user or getting some revenue from the practice room users. (Again, just guessing.)

If you use the service, it isn't unreasonable to help pay for the service.

SmartMusic hasn't been a huge money maker... just check their annual reports. Hopefully this is the last increase they need to turn that corner. I would hate to teach without their tools and those tools do go away if the business closes.

Brian said...

"I would hate to teach without their tools and those tools do go away if the business closes."

Agreed, but in that case how about a little more transparency? If we are all in this together, a little honesty would go a long way, don't you agree?

$8 per student for practice room use is not speculation, it is what they published. If there are other pricing plans or discounts, they have not said anything as far as I can see.

Roger Whaley said...


Basically, All of my kids have SmartMusic subscriptions and we (the teachers) place the order for them. We have been getting them at discount because of this. To my way of thinking, not covering all of the expenses by raising it all on the basic subscription may be of benefit to our situation.

But, like I have been saying, I still need to talk to my rep and run the numbers. I haven't seen what the volume discount is. Hopefully, the discount is still helpful on the affordability front.