Piles of money burning

When It Comes to Subscription-Based Software, Many of Us Seem to Have Had Enough

I really loved reading “Against Innovation” by Damon Krukowski. I was tickled as I went at it, feeling good by not being alone, which would be fair if it weren’t for the fact that many pros are having a hard time now that EVERY software tool is by subscription.

Damon writes:

“What had happened earlier that spring was a routine software update to a piece of my digital studio. But the update rendered a different, crucial piece incompatible. So I updated that. Which made another piece incompatible – an expensive piece. And I couldn’t update that. (This was at the height of the pandemic. Who could afford to update anything?) Moreover, I was in the middle of a project – mixing our album A Sky Record – and I very much wanted to continue along the lines I had started. In the digital era, we are all accustomed to fast moving technology – but could I really no longer make it through even one album from start to finish on the same equipment? And if not, how do we ever come to any kind of mastery of our tools? I went online and started asking everyone I know in audio engineering how to deal with this situation. To my surprise, the advice I got back was nearly unanimous: unplug. Stop updating. Revert to the stable system you had before. And take everything offline so this doesn’t happen again.”

Us users have legitimate reasons to revolt against being offered only subscription-based software. Here are some of them:

Dependency on Constant Updates
Frequent software updates disrupt workflows, introduce compatibility issues, and undermine stability. If an old but crucial file cannot be opened by your newfangled software version, and you are under a deadline, compatibility becomes critical. Not only that, but by resisting subscription-based software, users can regain control over our tools and update them at our own pace, minimizing disruptions. When you think about it, does Adobe REALLY need monthly (or more) updates when their versions tend not to be THAT different from drop to drop?

Cost and Ownership
Ongoing subscription fees burden individuals and small businesses, preventing true ownership of the software. Rejecting exclusive subscriptions allows users to seek alternative pricing models or outright purchases, providing financial flexibility and ownership rights.

Preserving Craftsmanship and Mastery
Consistency and familiarity with tools are essential for professionals to develop expertise and creativity. Rejecting constant updates supports stability, enabling users to focus on honing our skills and achieving mastery in our chosen tools.

I hope I’m not coming off as a luddite…nothing farther from the truth. I own a digital agency, for crying out loud! But exclusive reliance on subscription-based software may not always align with users’ needs and preferences. The frustration expressed in Damon’s article emphasize a widespread desire within the professional and power-user groups for stability, control, customization, and ownership. By exploring alternative software options users are taking a stand, asserting our right to choose tools that best serve our creative needs while avoiding the uncertainties and financial burdens imposed by subscription software.