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?)