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Friday, January 21, 2011

Notation Software Tech Support Policies - getting help when you need it

Talking about tech support can be a dangerous topic, as everyone has had negative experiences when trying to get help with software they've purchased.

Although it would be great if every piece of technology came with unlimited tech support, that isn't always the case.  It is important to determine what support is available before you purchase a product so you aren't surprised if you run into problems down the road.

Tech support policies vary within the technology industry.  Apple, for example, only provides 90 days of tech support.  If you decide to buy a MIDI keyboard or software at BestBuy or any other big box chain, you definitely aren't going to be able to go back to the store to get assistance on troubleshooting latency or dealing with other issues.  (Which is why dealing with a company that is knowledgeable about music technology, such as Kelly's Music & Computers can be important.)

Determining the specific support policy for a product you are thinking about can be tricky.  For this reason, we are starting to gather information from our vendors so that we can provide you with the information before you purchase.

For example, when it comes to notation software, there are a variety of approaches:
  • Sibelius provides one free e-mail based support incident, with no free phone support.  Update: with Sibelius 7, Avid now provides 90 days of free e-mail and phone support. You can purchase a one year support contract for $99.
  • GVox provides unlimited free tech support, but they prefer that you use their website to open your tech support request.  You can also call and leave a message if you wish.  If they feel that it will be easier to resolve your issue by phone, they will give you a call.
  • MakeMusic, the makers of Print Music and Finale offer unlimited support, but suggest that you start with their very comprehensive knowledge base as most questions are answered there.

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