Music software is expensive, I know. So I’m not surprised when I talk to lots of people who haven’t upgraded to the latest and greatest version, or are still running light versions of their software.

If you’re not running the latest version of Ableton Live — either an old full version prior to Live 5, or the limited Live Lite package that ships with a lot of music hardware (M-Audio, Digidesign, etc.) — now’s your chance. Through March 6, you can upgrade from the bundled Live Lite to Live 5 for EUR/US$199. Upgrades from Live 1-4 to the latest are EUR/US$99.

Pictured: Me at the Ableton booth, via the video NAMM report on, apparently demonstrating . . . um . . . not sure what I’m saying there.

I’ve been really happy with the jump to Live 5, myself. The arpeggiator and organizational tools like flexible clips alone would be worth it. If you’ve enjoyed Live in the past, I can certainly endorse getting the full, new version.

But this raises another question: couldn’t software makers keep upgrade costs low all the time? Ableton’s upgrade policy has been pretty reasonable, but they’re an exception rather than the rule: too often software makers discourage users from upgrading with complex, taxing price schemes. I certainly understand the need for revenue, but if your users aren’t upgrading, there’s no revenue, and the overall happiness of the user base isn’t what it could be as people trudge along with old versions. Listen to your customers, software makers, and I’ll bet you could forge a better relationship that’s more profitable for each. Just sayin’.