Access to Pro Video Editors Should Not Require You Have $300 to Burn in Your Bank Account
Zac Hall: Let’s Talk About Subscription Pricing for Logic and Final Cut Pro for iPad
Mac users have had years of free updates to Logic and Final Cut Pro after paying once for each app. In fact, Logic Pro X will be a decade old in July, and Final Cut Pro X turns 12 next month. The price of Logic Pro for Mac today ($199.99) is the same as four years of subscribing to Logic Pro for iPad, and Final Cut Pro for Mac ($299.99) will equal six years of paying for the iPad version.
The lower barrier to entry has the potential to be a huge deal for budding videographers and musicians who want to be able to use pro-level tools without paying pro-level prices. Yes, by App Store standards the $49 a year can seem a lot. But it really isn't. Especially considering what you're getting for your money.
I absolutely agree with Oliver here. While you can argue $299 amortized over many years means it's cheaper to pay a big lump sum up front, but it's also far more accessible to have an app that asks for less money at a time. I've been editing video since I was like 12 years old, but it wasn't until I was 29 years old that I was finally able to afford Final Cut Pro (and even then I put it on a credit card so I could pay it off over a few months). We can complain all we want, but the fact is being able to front $300 for an app is a luxury many will not, or simply can not afford.
By setting the entry point to $5/month or $50/year, it lets people ease into the video and audio editing world better. After all, it's easier to justify spending $5/month start a YouTube channel and see if you can make it, vs committing to $300 and praying you do so that you make your money back. That's true if you're in your 30s like me, and it's way more true of someone in in their 20s or teenage years.
Yes, I spent $300 on Final Cut Pro 8 years ago (in the Obama administration!), which means it's cost me about $3.12/month, and that number just goes down over time. That's awesome, but I use Final Cut every single day and I can draw a direct line from the work it allows me to do quickly and at a high level, over to money I earn from my video production work. Like any good professional tool, I spend some money to earn a lot more money, so $5/month is noting from that perspective, as would $10/month if Apple doubles this when the Mac version inevitably switches over to this pricing.
Long story short, I paid $300 for Final Cut Pro 8 years ago. If it was priced like the iPad version will be, I would have paid $400 over those 8 years, which I admit is more than $300. However, I've gotten far, far more value out of this product than that amount, so the cost difference would be effectively zero for someone like me who uses the app constantly. But what about someone who only needs a pro editing app once or twice a year? They could use the app just as much as they do today, but spend like $10 per year. What about the creative person who wants to create great videos but doesn't have $300 in their bank account at any point they can throw at a project that might or might not take off? These are the big winners in this shift, in my opinion.
When the Mac version of Final Cut goes subscription, of course I'll be a little bummed, but I'd be kidding myself if I wasn't going to subscribe immediately to continue getting the best version of the best video editor out there and continue using it to make a living. I will continue to get many orders of magnitude more out of the app than it costs via subscription, and more casual users who only need it sometimes will be able to get access when they need it without needing to drop a large pile of cash to be let in the door.