Gear Reviews

NAMM Avid | Pro Tools First is Free

Tom from Avid explains the Pro Tools First free program as well as their new marketplace feature.

Tom: We’re now giving away – that’s right, it’s free – a version of Pro Tools that’s 16 audio track, 16 MIDI tracks And we just lost our cameraman. You said free?

This is Noland at We’re here at the Avid booth, and we’ve got Tom, and Tom’s going to bring us up to speed. You told me you’ve had a lot of changes and whatnot even over the past couple of months, is that right?

Tom: Yeah, we have some big announcements here at NAMM. The first one I’ll start out with is called Pro Tools First, funny enough. So essentially, everybody has a story to tell; everybody wants the chance to record edit, mix their music or their soundtrack. And we’re now giving away – that’s right, it’s free – a version of Pro Tools that’s 16 audio tracks, 16 MIDI tracks. And we just lost our cameraman. You said free, and he’s gone, free Pro Tools. What was that again?

Tom: Yeah, Pro Tools First is free. It’s 16 audio tracks, 16 MIDI tracks, 16 instrument tracks and like 20 or so plug-ins in virtual instrument. Really?

Tom: Yeah. So you can do up to three projects, and it’s all saved in the Cloud, and it’s free. It’s a full working version of Pro Tools. So storage wise, do you get a trial amount or how does that work?

Tom: That’s correct. So we don’t have the full pricing model announced here at the show, for if you want to go beyond what’s included. But there will be ways to upgrade, sure. Also, we’ve announced Pro Tools 12 which, in and of itself, is more about how you’re able to get Pro Tools. So let’s start with it if you don’t have Pro Tools at all. So you can essentially go out and buy it, like you could now, for $899, and that includes a year of support and any upgrades that happen in that year period.

If you do have Pro Tools already, and you’ve purchased 11, and you want to upgrade to 12, it’s $199. That gives you the year of support and any features that we come out with in that timeframe. If you don’t own Pro Tools yet, and you’re not so sure you want to try it out, we now have a monthly subscription. So no upfront investment for $29.99 a month, you get a full version of Pro Tools. Is that the full like everything power and all that or –

Tom: Yes, the Pro Tools is a 96-track, standard version of Pro Tools. That’s not Pro Tools HD which requires hardware, but yes, you could subscribe for $29.99 a month. And if you sign up for a year at a time, it’s $24.99 a month with no additional outlay. I think that’s $299 a year. My math is good. Round about or so.

Tom: So it’s a great way if you’re just getting started to get on board. And I don’t know about your cable bill, but mine’s way over $29.99 a month, so a great program and industry standard. So what that means? That’s Pro Tools 12.

Now we’re also here to show the Collaboration and Marketplace features. So essentially, the idea that you could be in London; I could be in LA, and we could create a music piece together, and that would be over the internet, and we literally could find each other over the marketplace. There’re several aspects to the marketplace.

One of which is the artist community where you can go, post your profile “I’m Tom; I play guitar; these are samples of my work; I’m willing to collaborate with” da-da-da-da on this type of music. And then there’ll also be a marketplace where I’m able to sell my music or license it to other media professionals who use Pro Tools.

So you also with the marketplace are able to license and buy plug-ins. For instance, you send me a track that has the 11 guitar plug-ins on it, and I don’t have that plug-in, but I would like to change your settings, I can buy or rent that plug-in for seven or 30 days, or I can buy it outright without quitting Pro Tools. It installs it and authorizes it immediately. This marketplace, is it up and running now, or is it you’re just telling that it’s coming?

Tom: It is. The marketplace is available now. It’s not fully functional as it’s going to be in the coming months. Now if you do sign up for Pro Tools 12, you have a chance to get on early access. So that means, be one of the first people in the Cloud collaborating and posting your profile and getting that information going. So if you want to do that, get Pro Tools 12. That’s step 1. Step 2 is sign up for early access and get a chance to get on the early opportunity. Okay. And then the Pro Tools First, that’s just to test the waters for people who are also thinking of getting into it?

Tom: That’s right. So if you’re not sure, if you’re just trying to get started, and 16 tracks is enough, try it out; it’s free. And if you want to upgrade, you can go to the monthly subscription of $29.99 a month or buy it outright for $899. That’s definitely really cool.

Tom: It’s a big stuff. Oh, yeah definitely. So that’s all. Everything right now is all the things we talked about are out the door and functioning at one level or another.

Tom: Not yet. All of those are coming in the Pro Tools First and the Pro Tools 12 subscription. That’ll be coming in a month or so. I got too excited, I jumped the gun. I’m sorry.

Tom: And then the collaboration, early access program, they’ll sign up starting in a month, but then it’ll come on board slowly in the spring. Wow, that’s awesome. Have you had any feedback yet from just the audience here at the NAMM show or anything like that in regards to excitement and whatnot?

Tom: Yeah, there’s a lot of excitement. A lot of people like myself are finding that it’s very difficult using Dropbox or other sharing services to make a session, upload, send you a stamp, send you an email, you have to do your stuff, send it back to me, I have to import it, make sure I’m not duplicating files. So it’s a lot of back-and-forth work that will be completely taken care of with Pro Tools and Avid Cloud collaboration. So it’ll be awesome for the guy who has got his setup in LA and the other person is in London, whatever it may be, you’re working on collaborative project. They can cut that stuff there, and you’re not even uploading or downloading nothing. So how does that work? Let me ask you this real quick, Tom. In regards to one big challenge with Dropbox and all those cloud stuff is the time it takes to get that content up to the Cloud and then back down from the cloud. Do you go about proxy on that in regards to track or how does Avid handle that?

Tom: No, they’re full-featured tracks. But let’s say, for instance, I had a bunch of sound effects, say I had 24 tracks of sound effects, and I wanted to send you to maybe do some sound design in a couple of spots. I don’t have to send you all 24; I can free use a stereo version. So I’m only uploading you a smaller file, but it’s still full bandwidth that you’re getting. And you could send me back your stereo version of what you’re doing. That might save a lot of time in regards to the upload and download ability of projects that you’re collaborating on.

Tom: That’s right. And here in Los Angeles, my ISP just doubled my speed for the same price overnight. I mean now you can get 20 up and 100 down for like 60 bucks a month. And I think of a lot of sound designers, composers; they do collaborate with other people, and they need to quickly get work to other people and just do a bit and move on.

Another interesting point about the marketplace, it won’t just be for music tracks that are available to sell or license; it’ll also be for sound design, sound effects. Really? That’s cool.

Tom: Yeah. So really exciting opportunity. See, we’re already getting the applause here from that statement. Stop it; stop it. Well, that’s awesome. We’re really looking forward to finding out more about this and just watching as it develops. It’d be a great time. Where do you want people to go to find out more information about what we talked about?

Tom: Sure,, you can keep apprised of when Pro Tools First becomes available and also Pro Tools 12. Okay. Tom, thanks again. Really appreciate your time.

Tom: Great seeing you, yeah. Yeah, likewise. Enjoy the rest of the show.

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