Reason+ has a subscription with costs that – depending on your needs – could save enthusiasts money. And the slogan “sound like you” is another hint the Swedish company may have heard what is appealing and unappealing about most tech subscriptions.

It seems like everything wants to be a subscription these days, so let’s skip straight to the questions you probably want to know:

  1. Can you still get the thing a la carte, without a subscription?
  2. Does the subscription make things cheaper or more expensive?
  3. Will you want it? Like, does it actually add something?

Quick answers: yes, cheaper (for most uses), and very possibly.

Yes, you can still buy Reason a la carte. That’s true of Reason itself, upgrades, and Rack Extensions and instruments and effects included here.

This probably makes Reason cheaper (depending on use case). Reason+ is $19.99/€19.99 (so $220 for the year) or a yearly plan for $199.00/€199.00 (paid upfront). I need to double-check details, but it seems the month-to-month is without a commitment.

That’s already saving you money off Reason itself, if you want upgrades regularly – enough so that it could also mean considering getting Reason Rack to run alongside your DAW of choice as a Mac or Windows AU/VST/AAX. That makes this big bundle of stuff run inside perennial favorites Ableton Live or Apple Logic Pro, or that other subscription-based DAW, Pro Tools).

But they’ve added a lot to sweeten the deal, making this even more inexpensive for your twenty bucks a month. Unless you already picked up the latest version and crossgraded to the Suite with all the extras (see comments), it’s worth a look if you want to upgrade and/or fill out your catalog of stuff.

And that remains an option – if you don’t like this model, the pricing for non-subscription licensing remains as before.
Complex-1 is 109EUR on its own. So 20 bucks a months saves quickly if you have your eye on Reason Studio’s own in-house add-ons. And it is a beautiful semi-modular synth – enough so that with a hard drive full of such software, I do like coming back to this one.

Will you want it?

This is really down to what you get:

  • The full version of Reason and Reason Rack plugin, always up to date
  • All Reason Studios devices
  • 150 patches and songs to start
  • Weekly updates (they say they’re planning around 10 packs a week)

The patches and songs are interesting, because – since you have the full Reason – you’re free to edit and customize and patch as you wish, using these as a starting point. That explains their slogan about making this your own, and at least from a marketing standpoint, it says that Reason Studios aren’t trying to make everyone sound the same. That is really a big deal for our whole community and industry as it expands to other users.

But the reason I think this is a good deal is really down to the Reason Studios devices. That includes Friktion, their beautiful physical modeling string instrument and the powerful sequencer Pattern Mutator (which sounds like an automatic generator but actually is really deep for performance and composition). And it includes Complex-1, the West Coast/Buchla-inspired modular. I mean, just a couple of these to me already makes this worth the price of admission. Even mighty Logic Pro doesn’t have quite this many instruments, effects, and compositional tools.
This stuff.

I really loved that software and wanted to be able to recommend it because I thought folks would have fun with them, but knew its pricing in the past was prohibitively high for a lot of people. This gives you another option to all the extras, even if I am sure Reason users will keep an eye on whether Reason includes stuff for free.

How it works. Once you add the subscription, there’s a new app to download called Reason+ that manages devices and sound packs. I’m a bit sorry that’s a standalone – a la Native Access from Native Instruments – rather than just built into Reason, but I’ll give it a try. More on it soon.

QA. This was going live as I was writing this so I couldn’t watch, but there was a QA video with the full team from Reason Studios.

Anyway, that’s what I know – weekly sound packs, a ton of access to add-on instruments and effects that you used to have to buy separately, and the upshot price winds up being a bit lower even for those who already own Reason (assuming you want those add-ons, that is).

The main question I see remaining is whether this supports or hinders the third-party ecosystem of developers making Rack Extensions. I don’t know enough to answer that confidently. My current bet is on help, not hinder – I mean, if I suddenly lost my Reason license, I would be buying this just to run some of my favorite Rack Extensions, and not only the ones from Reason Studios. (That’s a topic for another time.)

But yeah, this is much, much cheaper than Reason Suite even if you own Reason. If you’re happy with Reason now with what you’ve got, and only upgrade occasionally, and would rather budget on third-party stuff, it makes sense to take a pass. For everyone else who’s really into Reason or wants a chance to buy into the ecosystem more inexpensively, then the subscription looks like the better buy.

Let us know what you think, though, and if you have questions for Reason Studios.

(And I know those question still include “when do we get a scalable UI?” and “will they support Apple Silicon soon?” No new answers on those, will keep asking, but anything else!)

Of course, there remain other options, too (and things like FL Studio’s lifetime upgrades). Anyone saying this is software becoming more expensive than hardware – I need to see your math, as you’re confusing me.