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Pro Tools 12 announced at NAMM 2015

Avid announces Pro Tools 12 and Pro Tools First at NAMM 2015 and sets a new standard for the industry standard.
January 25, 2015

Every producer has their favorite production software, but Pro Tools is the industry standard when it comes to audio. At NAMM 2015 this past week, Avid announced the newest version of its software which fundamentally changes the way the program operates and is delivered to the consumer. Besides now offering a free version of the program (more on that later), Pro Tools is becoming more of a collaborative cloud space for artists and producers to work together.

Pro Tools 12

Avid cloud collaboration is one of the main features in the new Pro Tools 12. Anyone who has ever collaborated with someone via the internet on an audio project knows how frustrating it can be to share project files. One of the problems is that if two people are simultaneously working on the same project there will most likely be two different versions by the end of the session. Pro Tools 12 hopes to fix this issue by keeping a list of all of the changes made and who made them. The main project file is stored in the cloud and can be downloaded and worked on, with changes being constantly updated and logged to the cloud file. Taking this a step further, the creator of the project can choose to accept or decline a change made by a fellow collaborator. This keeps everyone on track (no pun intended) with an up-to-date file that has a full list of all the changes made to the project.

Also in this version of the program is the Avid marketplace, which seems to be a social space for creative professionals. This goes hand in hand with the cloud aspect of the program. For example, a drummer can have a sample of their previous work displayed on their profile and if another artist likes the work, they can invite that drummer to collaborate on a project. Since a list of all of the changes are kept in the file, it is easy to compensate someone for their work should that particular project be sold. This approach unifies the work flow and gets rid of some of the frustrating drawbacks to collaborating with other people on a particular audio project.

Pro Tools First

One of the most exciting things to be announced was the addition of a free version called Pro Tools First. This is a version of the software that is going to be available as a free download. Obviously the free version is going to have limitations, but not as many as you might expect. Along with the cloud collaboration perks, some features such as video track support, beat detective, and the option to export as an MP3 or to iTunes are not included in the free version. Another drawback is the 3 free project limitation to a users cloud storage, however the option to pay for additional project storage is likely to come in the future. Still, a free version with a couple limitations is better than nothing. A full list of the differences can be found on the Avid product site here. Both options are going to come with in-app purchases for certain plug-ins, although this is going to be a more prominent feature in Pro Tools First.
Pro Tools 12 can still be purchased out right, but Avid now gives the option of subscribing monthly to Pro Tools 12. Pricing is $29.99 a month or $299.99 a year. Pro Tools First should become available for download sometime before April so sign up to be notified when it becomes available.