Photo: Derek K. Miller (penmachine) catches some Live action from friend Paul.

Updated: Rewrite. We in fact had several users successfully upgrade from Live 6 to 7 overnight, for free. That seems to have been either some extremely particular circumstance or a server glitch. (Pointing to the latter, Ableton took their shop down for maintenance Friday afternoon Berlin time.)

I could try to explain what different upgrades cost and how much it costs to buy them when, but frankly a) I don’t understand and b) this goes well beyond the realm of “things interesting enough for me to spend time on.” Suffice to say, Ableton has some rather complex pricing in play based on whether you’re an academic customer, whether you upgraded from a hardware bundle (like Live Lite), what older version you had, whether you buy Live 7 now or whether you just bought it, whether you’re buying a full version or an upgrade, whether you have Live or Live Suite, whether the upgrade is discounted versus the previous upgrade price or free and for 7 or 8 or maybe 8 is free or maybe 8 is cheaper and 7 is cheaper but you still need to buy 7 … plus whether you’re buying a boxed copy or download…

I assume this is the work of accountants or something. I can’t personally see how having pricing this complex is a good thing, but it’s Ableton’s business, of course, and I’m not an accountant.

One important thing I can tell you is that owning Max or Live won’t get you Max for Live free.

But let’s talk about the version of Live that’s actually shipping.

Back to seven…

Yep, you read that right, Live seven. Some time in the second quarter, Live 8 will be upon us, but in the meantime, Live 7 offers stability and goodness like the delicious Drum Rack and slice to Drum Rack features. And this means you’ve got a bit more time to learn what you missed in 7 before you dive into 8. (On that note, be sure to pick up our exclusive CDM slicing pack, which requires 7, and read up in the CDM winter guide how to take advantage of what I think was 7’s best feature.)

In the world of music technology news, of course, everyone upgrades every fifteen minutes to the shiny, new version of … everything. In the real world, that’s rare. Our friend Dave Dri offers some thoughts:

News of Live 8 has bounced around the internet, emails, IM’s and our group of friends, producers and collaborators. Only recently were we discussing desire for groove templates and the ability to group faders. Despite being an Ableton user from version 3, and exclusively as primary DAW from version 4, i had held off of upgrading to Live 7 for some time. Yes, I have been humbly ignoring things like native multiband compression and Drum Racks due to the realties of working with a number of other artists across a number of platforms and bits of computing hardware. My own live act had a pair of Asus M6R’s which ran noticeably slower under Live 7, so we deemed it financially responsible to wait until our originally planned upgrade of the hardware before we switched to 7 full time. In recent time we have all done just that, taking a razor to our setups and cramming as many gigabizzles and megaboots into our gear. Having meant to purchase the Live 7 upgrades before i went on an overseas trip last year, and ultimately forgetting it in the rush of preparation, one can easily imagine my surprise when scouting for the Live 8 upgrade costs and seeing the Live 7 upgrade offered for free. I can’t think of too many large scale software companies offering free upgrades to old users even as a means to massage them towards an impending product launch. Certainly it doesn’t seem likely that Sony or Adobe would take this path too often, yet Ableton continue working with their customers, rather than against. So now as i finally implement all those Live 7 features that some of my colleagues have enjoyed for quite some time, i drool towards 8 and, maybe, get some new music finished.

Getting music finished sounds great. And on that note, I’m off to spend the rest of the day in Live 7 myself.

Update: Ableton’s word

Via the just-released Ableton newsletter, here’s the “Can’t wait for 8” promotion:

Live 7 upgrades are discounted, and the awesome Operator and Drum Machines get thrown in free. Oddly, though, you have to pay again to upgrade to Live 8 – not sure what the thinking is there – but at a discounted US$59-99.

If you buy the suite now, the Live 8 Suite upgrade is actually free when it comes out – and the suite is US$150 off its previous price.

Educational products are disqualified, as are older full versions.

This is all quite complex … if we get anything clearer, I’ll let you know.

Proof we weren’t making this up

Someone did send us screenshots. If it happens again, let us know. Try kneeling and praying to the Ableton gods? Meditating on the number 7? (Hope the server glitch … returns?)

  • ernesto

    i'm a registered live6 user. how do I get the free upgrade?

  • simon

    Where do you see this? I've been looking on the ableton site, and the only thing I see is the "Can't wait for 8" section, which for Live 6 users, still seems to require both a $119 paid upgrade to 7 and then will require a paid upgrade to 8. (the only thing "free" I saw was if I upgraded to the "live 7 suite" now for $499, I'd get a free upgrade to the live 8 suite… but if I wait till 8 comes out, upgrading from 6 to the 8 suite will actually be cheaper.)

    And yes, I'm a registered live 6 user.

  • spinner

    This offer doesn't seem to apply if you've followed a Live Lite upgrade path.
    Fair due I guess. Wish Abe could make it slighly clearer what the upgrade price is going to be for the 6 – 8 upgrade tho.

  • simon

    ah, maybe that's it… I did indeed have a Lite 4 > upgrade to Full 4 > Live 5 > Live 6 path, and when I was browsing the shop I certainly didn't have any free upgrade offer, it was $119 for sure.

    And i'm with you on the lack of clarity, I'd buy Live 7 now but for all I can see it makes much more sense for me to hold on to my money until Live 8 actually releases.

  • I've got two registered licenses – one Lite v6 (upgraded from lite 4) and one full-fat v6 license (bought outright) and I've still got no free upgrade on either license…

    Was about to check the prices, but the webshop is down!

  • lmp

    This is not true.

    Upgrade from Live 6 to 7 still costs EUR 99/USD 119 for the download version.

    Or just let us know how to get this upgrade precisely… Thank you!

  • lmp

    ableton shop is up again. I own live 6 which I got via a lite upgrade, operator and sampler and there is no discounted upgrade there. there are no free upgrades from full versions to live 8 later, they are discounted however. The only free upgrade is the upgrade to the suite (download) version of Live 8 when you get Suite now – however, this offer also seems to be not available to full version owners like me. 🙁

  • Peter, this is not correct. upgrading live from 6 still costs 7 euro's when I check the Ableton e-shop.

  • Justin Reed

    tested and confirmed what everyone was saying…I heard about this free upgrade 6 to 7 on the serato scratch live forums.

    don't kill the messenger here, i heard the same rumour through a different source.

    man i'd like me some slice to midi…

  • can't see any upgrade from 6 to 7 for less than 99 eur. can you?

  • will there be academic pricing for live 8, even if the upgrade thing is not counted?

  • jonnyfive

    As far as I can tell this is a promotion for *new* customers and an incentive for folks to upgrade from versions bundled with audio interfaces. IE you buy the full version of 7 (no suite) you get Operator + Drum Machines free and a $60 upgrade price for live that's 459 for Live 8 Operator and Drum Machines, not sure what it used to be. Suite is still le 'spensive.

    Here's the crazy thing though, If you have Live Lite/LE you can apparently get Live Suite 8 for $30 more than me, ie my flat 7 (no suite) -> 8 suite is $349 but for some one with Live Lite you can get the 7 suite for $319 and then an upgrade to 8 for $60.

    Kind of sucks for people like us, who have already paid full price for and then for upgrade cycles, but hey economics are tough now, so I can understand them wanting to give people incentives they cant refuse. Plus its not like the software hasn't been worth every penny I've paid. That said I'd love a free Operator.

  • Percq

    I too followed a Lite upgrade path. I'm sure they'll clarify the upgrade procedure in due course but its extremely confusing I agree! The only thing in the suite I actually want is Sampler but if theres a decent discount for the Suite despite my Lite-past I may take it.

  • dumaisaudio

    ableton is making this so complicated! i went from live lite 5 to the full version 5 to version 6. it's $119 to upgrade to version 7 right now, and if you have version 1-6, it will be $249 to upgrade to version 8. i'm going to hold out for some sort of discount here, as i don't want to pay $249 to upgrade to version 8. if what this post says is true, it's $59 to upgrade from version 7 to 8? wtf.

  • I bought a Lite to Live 7 Upgrade in October. I did get Operator for free with it. I'm really hoping to at least get some sort of coupon for Live 8. Another $200 is not very appealing to me right now.

  • gbsr

    abletons pricing has always been way off. just the idea of paying that much money each 6 months (well, used to be each 6 months anyways) for a software package that already cost you a bundle was a wierd way to approach the market in the first place. this is why you see so many live users still sitting with version 5 or 6, they skip some updates simply because they are not inclined to pay that much at such a regular interval. however, the live 8 upgrade seems to be well worth it, although in my opinion they should have included max for live instead of having that as an additional product, which means even more money to spend. i imagine that most of the users who gets live 8 and max for live wont update until live 9, if even then. i feel sorry for those poor bugger who updated to 7 one month or so ago though.

    then again, this goes hand in hand with their limited licenses which is a killer for people customising their systems alot, such as myself. the last year i have probably reinstalled my os atleast 10 times. each time a new license is required for live. ohwell, crazy germans with their crazy money making ideas, atleast this time around they got the update right.

  • I'm afraid my degree in engineering is not enough for dealing with all those options… 😉
    As for me, I just need to cool down a bit, then I'll reconsider upgrading when Live 8 will be actually out

  • Jul

    Hey people, I think that was a bud during the updating of their online shop, but this night I upgraded for free.
    There's few other persons who had this funny cool opportunitie.

  • Jul

    Hey people, I think that was a bud during the updating of their online shop, but this night I upgraded (6 to 7)for free.
    There's few other persons who had this funny cool opportunitie.

  • RCUS

    Jebus this IS confusing. So again, I have a coupon for $50 off Live Lite, Live 7 or Suite (coupon came with my NanoPAD). Current pricing on Suite for new users is 649 USD. Tha version is then a fee upgrade to 8 when it releases.

    So the million dollar question is: For a new user, can Suite be purchased for cheaper than 600USD (using the $50 off coupon)? What about the cheapest for Live 7/8 for a new user?

  • j250xor

    I have Live Suite 7 educational license. Ableton's site tells me it will cost me 179 euros to upgrade to Live Suite 8. Is this an educational price or the standard upgrade price? Because it seems slightly steep for an educational upgrade price.

  • I would question whether Ableton's cost of ownership is that high, just because you can decide when to upgrade, as many people (like Dave) are doing. So you decide you get 4, and then you get 7, etc. I know that's what happens for a lot of people, and that if there were longer spans between upgrades, people would complain.

    But the pricing scheme is definitely too complicated for *me* to actually follow, whether there's some ingenious business logic behind it or not.

  • mouzpusha

    j250xor, there will be an educational discounted upgrade price, but you will not see it in the online shop proper, you're going to have to click on "education", then "educational pricing", but the edu pricing info for 8 is not yeat online. You will not be able to order your edu upgrade via the online shop directly, but you have to prove your status first by sending some proof of affiliation to the abes (they have downloadable forms, too) along with an order, and you will get your reduced price version when the order is processed.

    That was the info when I last inquired about an educational update anyway, but I think it's still valid.

    so long
    Andreas aka mouzpusha

  • easter

    humm… this is why i am going to pirate live 8 🙁 sorry ableton but its too much for me

    -formally legit user of Live

  • Dri

    Hi all,

    Just to clarify the "free" upgrade i experienced from Live 6 to Live 7. Those screenshots were not a photoshop effort, but it does appear that this is not as simple as it seemed. First to check: If you log in to the Ableton site (not the forums) and go to Shop, and click Upgrades, you will be shown the appropriate selection of possible upgrade products. In my case, as per the screenshots, this included a free upgrade from Live 6 to Live 7.

    What is very interesting at this stage is that a colleague that i'm collaborating with at the moment is unable to upgrade! Just before writing this i called him to check that he upgraded yesterday as i suggested and no, of course not, hes a drummer. So logging in today, hes unhappy to report its listed as USD119 for the same Live 6 to Live 7.

    So is this a temporary bug in Ableton or some kind of loyalty reward? The Ableton newsletter quotes the pricing of Live 8 as dependant "on the Ableton products you already own", which suggests a similar thing might be in place for earlier upgrade paths. Whether they TRULY intended this to be free, or it was a percentage discount value that bottomed out in the e-commerce app, or simply a bug… i dont know. Im not going to lose any more keystrokes on the matter though! Free lunch!

  • glitch

    Hey, I tripped across this last night while poking around for more info on Live 8 and Max For Live.

    I had purchased a full boxed version of Live 4, then paid upgrades for Live 5 –> 5.2 –> 6. I had skipped upgrading to 7 and was waiting for 8. There were no "Live Lites" in there anywhere.

    So now they just gave me Live 7 for free. Sweet!!!

    I don't know the exact 'magic bullet' for getting this, but I'll confirm what Dri and Peter have said: this is real.

  • velocipede

    It seems to me that if you have regular Live 6 and now upgrade to Live 7, you will NOT get a discount to upgrade to Live 8 and you will not get the free instruments, so there is no financial incentive to upgrade now.
    Then again, Ableton might make it more expensive to go from 6>8 directly than incrementally, but it seems unlikely.
    Hopefully, they will show a little love to 6 users or at least clarify their pricing plans.

  • zenzen

    Here it's Live Lite 6 > Live 7 (non-suite download) > Live 8 (non-suite download) = US$189

    Makes me appreciate Propellerhead approach: any previous version of Reason to R4 boxed = US$125. I went R2.5 (*free* from R2) > R4, having sat out R3.

    I'll go 8 (I need the easy, intelligent looping!) but will try to wait a year.

  • ST8

    I followed the live lite 5 -> live 5 full -> live 6 full upgrade path.

    I didnt get the option to upgrade to 7 free, however upon upgrading to live 7 for €99, i now get the live 8 upgrade for €49. Saving €50 which still isnt too bad

  • Well, yes, I will say — hard to understand as these options may be, the good news is you're likely to get a discount in there somewhere, and instantly. 😉

  • ma

    For me as a Live Lite 7 user it seems to me that I got three options for suite 8:

    1. Upgrade Live Lite to Ableton Suite 7 for 489€
    (and upgrade to Suite 8 for 49€ in Q2 – 538€ total price)

    2. Buy Ableton Suite 7 and get Ableton Suite 8 for free in Q2 – 549€

    3. In Q2 once Ableton Suite 8 are released, upgrade Live Lite to Suite for 399€

    A bit weird pricing, wait and save?!?


  • ma

    (regarding the prices above – it's all about the download version for me…)

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