Is Dorico now also just a "subscription" based product?

That depends – if you have a perpetual license with a support plan, you receive updates and when you stop paying, your version remains at the last version you had when you stopped paying (and you have to pay a reinstatement fee, larger than the usual support fee, if you want to start receiving updates again). But if you genuinely have a pure subscription, once you stop paying, you lose access to the paid features of the software altogether.


Ah, that’s how it works. I had a perpetual license, stopped paying years ago, but still have access to the version I had at the time.

Finale 1.0 - 3.5. nuff said. i think most of the cost was for the manuals. i’ve lost track after 3k to stay up to date on software i hardly use now because Dorico and team actually care about their users, contrary to a lot of comments here. Dorico FTW. !! my 2¢

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Though there are a few big things that I’d like, I don’t really care about any ‘wow factor’. I nearly love Dorico (I’m still shocked regularly by how quickly I sometimes get things done) but it’s so good in so many ways that it’s only more disappointing when there’s something that seems unfinished. I realize that some of the daily annoyances wouldn’t be trivial to deal with but it’s disheartening that so many of them seem to be low priority. There’s still some hope that a grand development might solve lots of smaller problems at a stroke but it does feel like a long time ago that everyone seemed to share this confidence.

Maybe 5.1 or 5.2, etc. will satisfy the original poster.

Most of the new features in v.5 hold no interest for me. So what? I’m not anyone else and I don’t expect others to have my needs.

Improved MusicXML handling and Live Editing were enough to get me to plunk down my hard earned dough.


Tell me ONE piece of consumer software where this exists. Answer - it doesn’t - so why should Steinberg be held to a magical non existent standard. The only time this happens is cases like my day job where we have a customer paying a contract - worth in the millions - for some custom software. Yes we do everything they want. And for your $100 you want what exactly? You’ve got the ear of the team lead here on the forum, like that exists for any other software either? Most consumer software you get nothing like that.

Negativity or reality check? FWIW your expectations are unrealistic IMO.


That depends – if you have a perpetual license with a support plan, you receive updates and when you stop paying, your version remains at the last version you had when you stopped paying (and you have to pay a reinstatement fee, larger than the usual support fee, if you want to start receiving updates again). But if you genuinely have a pure subscription, once you stop paying, you lose access to the paid features of the software altogether.

To clarify for those unaware, Sibelius has both pure subscription and permanent license plans. The permanent license is difficult to find on the AVID site but it does exist.

You mean a cure for cancer and support for fermata playback – and the pro version comes with a solution to world peace?

Personally, I am not looking for excitement in any software I use – quite the opposite. What excites me is the opportunity to save a little time or to produce a better quality result. In that respect, I think this is a very strong release. I have listed features that I will definitely use: Dorico 5 update - thoughts - #149 by cparmerlee

There are at least 5 features on that list that I would have paid $100 for, simply on the basis of the time savings. But don’t tell Steinberg I would have paid more.

At the end of the day, we’re talking about $100 spread over perhaps 18 months. I know everybody may have a different financial situation, but I bet many people here spend more for coffee in a month than they will spend on Dorico in 18 months.

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No - perhaps I didn’t phrase this quite right. In my mind a major update should feel, well, “major” - that could be a large overhall of features, It could be a new graphical refresh it could be a sexy new feature that encourages more users to download the software.

My point was that quite a number of comments expressed disappointment at the scope of the upgrade - to them it doesn’t feel “major” enough to justify the big release. To me it’s not about all those little feature requests that don’t make it in. Those are user requests and whether the team incorporates them really is down to their overall plan and available resources.

Sibelius is currently incrementally overhauling it’s features in an attempt to modernise and respond to user feedback - because of the subscription format though there’s unlikely to be a big ‘hurrah look we’ve made a brand new all improved Sibelius!” Moment and as a result I think older users will miss out.

It’s that kind of big hurrah moment that imo we missed out on in this upgrade. The biggest feature (space templates) feels to me like an attempt to bring the abilities of Noteperformer in-house in a way that makes sense in Dorico. It’s an acknowledgement that despite the DAW-like playback, quite a large portion of the user base just want to create a quick mock-up without touching a DAW. Unfortunately the ones that would find that useful, well, use Noteperformer and are happy with it.

So to me double tapping for dots and the instrument builder are the headline items. I am also intrigued by midi triggers - I can think of some fun uses. Scripting gui is a welcome inclusion as well. These could all be “wow” factors but for me, and such is the nature of the community that it’s probably hard to judge what exactly will tickle their fancy

However I think Dan said it well on his recent blog post in that what people expected and didn’t get for various reasons was a comprehensive upgrade of the “third plank” - the notation side of the software, and he knew it would be contentious, hence the cautionary blog post.

Anyway, I’ve droned on enough about this - if you don’t agree with my summation then frankly I don’t see the problem - pay some money, enjoy the upgrade and stop moaning about it.

People should realize that it’s beginning to get harder for Dorico to have those adrenaline-infused-head-rush-oh-my-god releases, for the good reason it’s already so capable. Condensing was out of this world, as was the Key Editor. Now the interface has likely taken the form it’ll keep from now on, and what fireworks are left to do? All I’m hearing is small to medium features (not in the sense of how much work they are to implement however!)

Off the top of my head and feel free to disagree

Medium wow

  • DAW bridge
  • Finishing out the humanizing (whatever there is to come)
  • … I’m sure there’s more

Small wow

  • Fermata playback
  • Roman numeral
  • Modern notations
  • zillion other things

Basically I hope we can stop moaning about how we’re not titillated enough about Dorico releases - it’s not going to get better folks, it’s going to be more and more filling in the corners, because it’s already so good. FWIW I find plenty to be happy about with this release.

Of course the team is so good and the platform and architecture are so capable that I’m sure they still have some fireworks in store for us, that we can’t even imagine. But be aware the program is at a point in it’s lifecycle where maintenance becomes a larger issue, and new features become more difficult due to the existing system, so at any rate for all projects things the rate of excitement would start to slow down.


I agree that recent releases are rather approaching the original vision. Maybe curly-q lines and whatever obscure new experimental conventions the academic world comes up with.

HOWEVER, there are certainly new horizons beyond that original vision. An area of concentration within recent Cubase releases has been stimulating the composer’s creative juices, and helping where the music theory foundation may be soft. Cubase has a very elaborate chord/harmony exploration toolset. And I just discovered today that Cubase has already implemented something I have suggested Dorico should implement, which is a color-based system for identifying notes that are good or bad with the underlying harmonies.

It appears that the Cubase people have done almost exactly what I was suggesting:

  • Green for notes that are actually part of the chord
  • Amber for notes that are not in the chord per se, but are in the most normal scale associated with that chord
  • Red for any other notes (realizing that sometimes the red ones are the genius notes)

That would be very useful as a quick sanity check.

I don’t think there is any end to the layers of intelligence that can be added beneficially. And we all know that some AI generation of music is surely somewhere in the future.

The Dorico team has been kicking it, so I hope they will all have an opportunity to step back a little and recharge their batteries.

FWIW I hope Dorico doesn’t go down that road. I rather hate composers aids like that, they just IMHO dumb down a program with fluff. And I mean, if a person can’t visually identify non chord tones then good luck having enough speed to write anything substantial (and what exactly is a non chord tone? It entirely depends which is why you need to see it).

The bigger question - and this is entirely the Steinberg teams business, is how do they differentiate competitively. There are a zillion tools out there for those with weak or non existent training - Garage Band on your phone for starters. Will Dorico really differentiate with that stuff? My guess would be they’re taking the ‘high road’ - they are going for being at the top of the heap in capabilities - engraving, productivity, and playback.


HOWEVER, there are certainly new horizons beyond that original vision.

They haven’t filled out that original vision, hardly time to think about going beyond it (if possible - a software architecture usually only supports the original vision and that’s it).


Cutaway Scores and better support for Aleatoric Notation clearly would be big “firework features,” should they choose to implement them. Neither are things I’ve personally used a ton, but I have used them, and they’ve been pretty much established notation for close to 70 years now.

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Fair enough, but I’m not sure those are really fireworks. It depends on viewpoint but I’d put those as mediums FWIW, certainly not on the order of the Key Editor or condensing.

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I’m pretty sure it will not be a winning strategy to position Dorico as the province of the elites and academics. That’s a pretty small niche not known for a lot of disposable income. :slight_smile:

As far as composers’ aids, I have been doing arrangements for over 50 years, have at least an average understanding of theory, yet I still make mistakes. I appreciate any help I can get.

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It already is. Who, these days, uses notation? The vast majority of music is made by banging pots and pans together (ok I’m being snarky, but I think the point is valid)

I should add, I too like composers tools - I use the notes out of range feature as it’s easier than to keep track of ranges carefully. I guess we’re arguing about degree …

I mean they probably are in the “meh” category for myself personally, but for those that work in styles that use them, they would be a huge game changer. I sorta collect notation manuals and guides, so I have an appreciation for the style, even if I don’t use it much in my own writing.

The 1966 Karkoschka book “Notation in New Music” was translated into English in 1972, over 50 years ago, and is available on

Some of these notational conventions have stuck and some haven’t, but there are some fundamental practices in “new music” like cutaway scores that are achievable in Finale, and still aren’t in Dorico 5.


So a “help my students cheat on exams” mode, ok, got it, LOL! In all honesty, I’ve already adapted. The knowledge is assumed, it’s the application of it that they have to show on exams.

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The same people who always did: choirs, school bands, stage shows, gigging bands, marching bands, orchestras, movie studio orchestras, and so on. While there are certainly plenty doing the pots and pans thing, they were never part of the notation community and probably never will be. But speaking about the jazz world, a far higher percentage of players read and write charts now than did 30 years ago.

And making the software more accessible to those with less theoretical foundation should expand the universe of potential customers. It really is in the best interests of every Dorico user to have as many paying customers as possible.