Online Subscriptions. I have to be honest, I don’t like them. There are typically three types of payment options for subscriptions you will find online. Monthly, 6 months or yearly. Some offer all three options. IF I decided to sign up for a subscription, my least favorite is monthly. I’m not a fan of having monthly bills (been there, done that), let alone paying monthly for a resource. And what is even worse, there seems to be this trend going on where I am seeing more of them. (More on that later)
With that said there are a few online resources, that I feel has value, actually most have value but it’s whether or not I want to pay for it each month or year. So for today’s Tech Tuesday post I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of it all.
First I wanted to go through some of the subscription based resources that I am aware of. I’m sure I am missing some, so you can add some to the comments if you so desire.
MusicLearningCommunity.com ($19.99 a month for teachers)- It took me years before I finally decided to subscribe to MLC. Why? Because of the monthly subscription. Did I mention I don’t like them? So over the years I researched, I pondered, I got upset that it was a monthly subscription and then I finally signed up for the free trial. Needless to say, I found value in it for my students and now use it as their theory assignments each week. I needed to make sure that if I was going to pay $20 a month that I had to make FULL use of it.
TonicTutor.com (10 students for $7/month; 20 students for $15/month; 30 students for $23/month; 40 students for $30/month; 60 students for $45/month; Under 10 students for Free). I have a free account for Tonic Tutor. But if I wanted all my students to have individual scoring access I would need a subscription. I don’t use this resource enough (occasionally during lab time) to make it worth it for me.
Theta Music Trainer ($7.95 a month or $49.00 a year). This is an ear training based game subscription resource. While it has value, I tried it- didn’t use it enough to make it worth subscribing.
Midisaurus ($49 a year). Wait a minute? Isn’t midisaurus a software program? You got it folks, it seems the latest trend is to turn software programs into subscriptions. I DO NOT LIKE! And won’t subscribe.
Alfred’s Essential’s of Music Theory ($129.99 annually for teachers). Once again another software based resource now a subscription. See above vent…
SoftMozart.com ($149.99 a year). And once again, see above vent…
PianoMarvel.com ($12.00 a month for teachers and their students; normally $15.00; 30 day free trial available) I recently signed up for the free trial of Piano Marvel. Piano Marvel is a program I’ve been looking at for years. (Did I mention I usually don’t dive into subscriptions based resources?) I have to say that I have been impressed with the program, I do have some concerns with it as far as using it as a main method per se, but it does have its value and I am highly considering subscribing to it this year.
PianoMorning.com ($49.00 a year). PianoMorning is another one that I have subscribed to for years. I don’t mind subscribing so much to this one since I get something each week from it. PianoMorning includes not only music, but theory, technique and composition sheets that I can use. Because I am a subscriber, everything is reproducible. I like that it is only a once a year subscription.
WillBaileyPianoTunes.com ($5.00 a month or $30.00 a year). I just recently subscribed to Will Bailey Piano Tunes. The big reason besides getting new music each week for my kids to enjoy is because of my new Clavinova. I wanted more resources for my students to use with it, and Will Bailey includes midi files (in addition to audio files) with all his pieces. The yearly subscription price I think is right on the money. And each week my students and I can enjoy something new from him. In addition to sheet music, Will has made video tutorials to help students with improvisation and chord chart playing. Perfect for accompanying or learning pop songs.
There seems to be an upcoming trend with some apps that are subscription based apps. I am NOT happy to see this. In addition to game apps, such as PianoMania, you will find music reader apps where you will need to purchase individual pieces (ie: NoteStar). With these types of apps, if I had the option, I would just prefer they give a yearly subscription option versus pay per song and have access to it all. Wouldn’t that make more sense and bring more value for your money?
I am not going to even list all the music teacher advertising sites out there because there are so many nowadays. They usually are yearly subscription based sites.
MusicTeachersHelper.com (Basic (up to 20 students)- $14 a month; Plus (up to 40 students- $29 a month; Premium (unlimited students- $49 a month)- In a nutshell MTH is what I call an online “secretary” for your business.
Regarding payments… my wish list for companies that have these subscription based resources is that they offer several payment options. Some offer only monthly, some offer only yearly and so on. It would be really nice to have more then one choice. And I would also suggest that if you give a yearly option over the monthly option that it saves the teacher who committed for a year a nice discount (perhaps a month off?). Some do this and I do appreciate it very much.
My biggest complaint with online subscriptions are mostly with what I would call static subscriptions. Meaning you are paying a monthly or yearly fee but not getting anything new from it except for the “privilege” to use it. What ‘used to be’ software programs are my biggest complaint. My husband is a videographer and uses Adobe products. These products (such as Creative Suite) used to be available as a software. No longer is the choice to purchase the software, instead if you want to use their products, customers are forced into switching to a subscription based program (upwards to $75 a month!!!). This is making quite a lot of people upset (including my husband). Promises of keeping things updated are not being met and there are a lot of unhappy customers with this new system. There are rumors that Microsoft Office (yes, that is Word, PowerPoint, etc…) is another one that is considering switching to a subscription based program. Both of these are what I consider static services. You really aren’t getting anything new then what you would receive if you had just purchased the software out right. (Or at least not enough value to make the extra incurring expense worth it).
So if all these resources are switching over to subscription based programs what is going to happen when we can no longer support them? This all ADDS UP!!!! For fun, I thought I would see how much it adds up. Say like I am a teacher who has 30 students (thought I’d pick a fairly average number). And say like I decided I wanted to subscribe to all the game resources above, music resources and MTH. (*Note- I am not counting apps or advertising) This brings me to $1465.00 a year. If I had 30 students I can divide that number and that is $48.83 in subscription fees PER student a year!
First, teachers should not eat that expense. We are music teachers for goodness sakes! If you are like me, I already charge $100 a year for my studio registration fee. This already covers some of the subscriptions I do use for my students, among many other things. There is no way that I am going to raise it even more.
Some of you might say, well then just don’t subscribe. And yes, that is a totally valid solution. And maybe that’s what should happen. If everyone boycotted subscriptions maybe they would think twice in changing over to that format. (I’m speaking to mostly the ‘static’ resources such as software and apps- which is my biggest vent)
I would like to hear from you, music teachers. What do you think of subscription based resources.? What do you think of apps going the subscription route? What is it about a subscription that would make you consider subscribing? What would you not subscribe to? Let’s be a voice and be heard! Because frankly I just can’t afford anymore subscription based resources. I am very picky what I subscribe to. If it doesn’t meet my needs or gives me the most bang for my buck then I no longer subscribe. PLEASE comment below!