What Adobe Creative Cloud is really all about

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There was a major disturbance in the Force today when Adobe announced that from here forward, products would be available via Creative Cloud Only.  It’s obvious from comments all over Social Media there are a lot of folks disappointed by this but many of the discussions have degenerated into name calling and accusations of greed towards Adobe.  There’s also a LOT of misinformation about what the Cloud is and is not.

First off, the VERY basics of Creative Cloud 101.

This is a monthly subscription, you are NOT forced to buy a yearly subscription..  You can pay and use the software by the month or save some money and purchase by the year.  You can literally use the software for one month, unsubscribe and they resubscribe at a later date.  No penalties.

What’s included in the subscription?  For the based $19.99 / month a Single Application.   Then depending on your rate plan, the next level gets you everything Adobe makes.   You download the software of your choice to your computer(s).  For instance I have an iMac with almost everything from Adobe while my MacBook Pro only has Premiere Pro and Photoshop installed.

How many computers can you install onto?  Really as many as you want.  It will operate on any two machines (PC or Mac) at the same time.  However you can Deactivate the Cloud on any computer and Activate it on another at will.  I do this already.

What about volume licenses?  The Creative Cloud has a Teams feature specifically for larger and enterprise level clients.

Do I have to be connected to the internet at all times?  No, the software applications live on your local computer.  Your computer needs to be connected to the internet once every 30 days for the software to “check in” to ensure your subscription is active.

Do I have to use the Cloud for media or file storage?  Nope.  You can work completely local as you always have.

The only thing the Cloud absolutely changes is how you actually get your software.  Other than that, how much you change your workflow or integrate the Cloud is up to you.   Here’s the link again to read up on everything about Creative Cloud.

Ok now that’s out of the way…….

Today people all over social media are bitterly complaining about this new pricing model calling it a rental, a power move by greedy Adobe in some mythical boardroom, and just plain disappointing.  Reading over all the posts I found people are playing the “greed” card without really thinking the subscription based model through.

Think about your own business.  I guess all of us running businesses should just stop being so greedy, invoicing our clients every month after we complete jobs. How about we all pick a preselected month, say May each year, and send those invoices out that one time. That’ll be enough for all of us to carry our expenses through for 12 months at a time.   That wouldn’t make much sense.  I know my business definitely requires a steady cash flow through the entire year.  Sure we have lean months, but overall we prefer more steady months to the lean ones.

In reality, subscription models simply balance out the cashflow over a yearly timeframe. This is why so many companies do this. Your cell phone, internet, television, netflix, etc…. It’s a steady, dependable income stream.  Why do you think wireless phone carriers so often require you to stay for 2 years?   To offset the money they spent on your phone and a guaranteed income stream for two years.

With Software there’s a huge yearly cycle of ebb and flow as products are released and updated.   Adobe released on a regular cycle of every May / June so in May / June you have a huge spike of purchases. Then somewhere around September / IBC an update so another spike of purchases. Then the first quarter of the year purchases slow to a trickle as we wait for NAB and the new stuff.

The subscription model is really about smoothing the ebb and flow revenue steam if you really think about it.  It’s simply means there’s now a steady income stream so they can better plan their resources. It’s exactly the same as any of us running our businesses as I pointed out above. It’s simple business. The software is now a service, use it as you need to, don’t use it when you don’t.  Instead of Adobe merely targeting May / June as “big release months” they can simply roll out update as they’re ready, minor and major.

After seeing and playing first hand with Premiere Pro CC it’s night and day comparing CS6 to this new version. Just from the interface speed alone. On my three year old iMac at home it’s like I’m switching computers when I work the same project in CS6 and CC. So that tells me I’m going to get my money’s worth switching my entire shop over to the Cloud. I’ve been running the CS6 suite at home for about 6 months or so now as a Creative Cloud test and have been very pleased with it.

I would fully expect Apple, Avid and even Autodesk to eventually switch to this same model, especially Autodesk as the $3500 entry price tag is a stopping point for most folks.   Make that a yearly subscription at $50 a month and you’d probably see a huge influx of people jump on that one because it become more “palatable” being a high priced software coming down.

In the end you have to do what you feel is right for your own needs and business.  For some that’s going to mean leaving Adobe for something else.   That’s perfectly ok and in fact I encourage this if you are truly that upset about this model.  Most of you know I did this very same thing one year ago when we made the move from FCP 7 to Avid and now Premiere Pro.  I was absolutely NOT going to FCP X and there was no point in sticking around since Apple was paying no attention to the editors (in my mind) so I left.   And it felt GREAT!   No more “feelings of betrayal” and having my feelings hurt.

Who cares, it’s just software.  You know how many pieces of software are available today that edit video well?  A lot.  I’m really happy with my decision to switch to Adobe a year ago and I really like the positives of what the Cloud has to offer so we’re staying put at Biscardi Creative.   If you’re not happy, they please please, find something else and move on.   The sooner you do this, the happier you’ll be and trust me, a happy editor is a more creative editor.  Trust me, this I know from experience.  

Walter Biscardi, Jr.