July 17, 2024

The AI Paradigm Shift | Why Plugin Subscriptions May be the Smart Move in 2025 and Beyond

I know we all hate plugin and DAW subscriptions, but subscriptions look to be the smart move for most in 2025 and beyond because of the coming AI paradigm shift in software development and music production.

In the past, say 1999 to 2019, we looked at audio software as an investment. It held it’s value, you could sell it if you needed to, and it would continue to work for 5+ years no problem.

Also, software updates and new versions were always years apart. Even if you did not upgrade to the latest version, what you had would still work with your DAW and computer for years to come.

But with AI driving new methods of software development and distribution, this paradigm is about to change.

Technology is improving at a faster pace than ever before, and it’s going to change the way plugins are made, distributed, and updated forever.

Audio Software is no longer the investment that it use to be. Now it’s turning into a service that you pay for each month or year.

So what about those of us that already own thousands of dollars worth of plugins? Well, they’re basically worthless – as far as being a store of value which can be sold if needed.

With the changes coming to plugins, DAWs, and computers, I’m afraid we’ll find ourselves having to pay for things we already own once plugins move to subscription only.

There are lots of upsides to the coming shift though. Faster workflows, constant updates, easier to use plugins, and the ability to work on your songs/audio from anywhere, on any device.

The downside is, if you’re an OG – all the stuff you’ve bought over the years will have no retail value and it probably won’t be compatible with the latest DAWs and computers.

Plugin subscriptions are the way to go for anyone new to audio production.
You’ll spend less overall, you’ll have access to things we paid thousands of dollars for, and you can stop paying when you don’t need them (try doing that with a credit card bill loaded with plugin purchases)

This does not mean you should not buy any plugins! But I would avoid buying any plugins that you are not able to get a return on within a couple of years. If it helps your production process, great, buy it. Just don’t view plugins as an investment in your future, because they are not (anymore).

Instead, view plugins as a service that can help you make more money or better productions for a period of time before becoming obsolete and requiring more money for upgrades, features, and compatibility.

This is the new paradigm.

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