About Subscriptions

There are a number of recurrent questions about subscriptions to Ardour that come up. This article tries to collect them all and provide a coherent set of answers.

Why Subscriptions?

It is much easier to manage the revenue flow from people who decide to pay to support the development Ardour if it arrives in a somewhat steady stream rather than big bumps when we release new versions. One-time payments for downloads and one-time donations are still welcome ways to support Ardour development, of course.

Why PayPal?

There are few online payment service providers who offer any kind of subscription service at all. PayPal is one of them, and because all of our subscription monthly payments are very small, PayPal's micro-payment fee schedule is extremely competitive and beneficial for us.

In some jurisdictions PayPal allows people to create subscriptions without having a credit card. This is also something that is not offered by any other subscription-offering service that we are aware of.

PayPal also handles the largest number of countries around the world, unlike many newer online credit card-based services that have limited their current offerings to North America and Europe (at best). Since Ardour is used in over 140 countries around the world, this seems respectful of our worldwide base of users/supporters.

I don't want an account at PayPal

A subscription is a 3-way contract between you, the Ardour project and PayPal. For this to be workable, PayPal needs to know who you are and to keep some information on file for you. There's simply no way this could work otherwise - even if we didn't use PayPal, some other company would need to do the same thing.

I don't use a credit card, PayPal won't let me subscribe

For reasons that PayPal will not or cannot explain, their policy about allowing customers to create subscriptions without registering a credit card varies from country to country. Germany is particularly badly effected - many Germans do not use credit cards, but PayPal in Germany will not allow subscriptions without registering a credit card with your PayPal account.

We don't like this policy but we are powerless to change it (or explain it). See "Why PayPal?" above for more perspective.

I can't/won't subscribe but I want to pay and get updates

Pay at least US$45 for a particular version and you'll get all updates to that version and the next next major version without paying again. For example, pay this much or more for version 4.0, and you will get 4.1, 4.2 etc and 5.0 for without us asking you to pay again.

Why don't you just set up a bank account in the Eurozone

There are many Ardour users within the Eurozone, and having a banking presence there would allow us to benefit from the modern, highly capable and cheap inter-bank tranfer system that the EU has built.

However, setting up a bank account in a different country without substantial fees is not trivial, and moving the money out of the country (or EU) is still remarkably expensive (PayPal is actually much cheaper for such things, which is partly why we use it). In addition, there is a lack of information about easy ways for an "e-commerce" site (like ardour.org) to interact with this banking system (i.e. to be notified that a particular transaction has taken place, and is associated with a specific order).

We may explore this option in the future, but for now, there is just a lot of bureaucratic obstacles to making it work well.

how do you renew your yearly subscription?..do you just repeat the same process?


Yes but I believe, and Paul can correct me if i am wrong, that they have now been changed to continue until you tell it to stop, so it shouldn’t be needed after it is renewed this time. Shouldn’t is of course the key word, especially when dealing with Paypal:)


Seablade is correct. Starting on March 28th, all subscriptions now run until cancelled. For subscriptions started before that date, yes, just repeat the same process and you’ll end up with one that runs until cancelled.

it’s hard to understand there is made a difference of account status depending whether a subscription (i.e. 12 x $1) or a one-time payment (i.e. $12) was made. certainly subscriptions help to forecast income. but they can be cancelled at any time. if “flow” is an issue, it’s easy to create a virtual flow from larger chunks, i.e. $12 was donated, now it’s split to 12 months to have flow by calculation (if that really makes a difference). donations of a certain amount should have full access (inclusive the nightly build server). anything else seems to be of technical nature that users don’t care about.


See this part of the announcement…

I can't/won't subscribe but I want to pay and get updates

Pay at least US$45 for a particular version and you’ll get all updates to that version and the next next major version without paying again. For example, pay this much or more for version 4.0, and you will get 4.1, 4.2 etc and 5.0 for without us asking you to pay again.

Chances are that is more than a year worth of updates. That is more than I get from most of my ‘professional’ software that works on payments in many cases. There is much less of a difference now than there used to be.


i have done that but still no access to nightly.ardour.org (for latest builds). why?

been a modest subscriber for a while but am having PROBLEMS with
paypal. I would gladly send you an international money order or even
cash in an envelope.

I’m happy to accept payment in various forms, but please understand that implementing a system that connects “manual” payments with the download system is a lot of work (I did this once at a well known e-commerce company, and there are a lot of issues since it basically means implementing an entire ledger system). So for “donations” (i.e. just saying thanks for the software), other forms of payment can work, but for the download system, it really doesn’t.

Sometime next year I hope to expand the payment system to cover (a) Bitcoin (b) a different optional credit-card processor.

Because the nightly site operates differently. Access to nightly (full) builds is intended to be a service for actual subscribers and is not currently covered by the change in policy for normal downloads. That may change.

my ass! this is not the way i’d expect you to treat financial contributors.

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In the “I can’t/won’t subscribe but I want to pay and get updates” section, a 45+ support option with other version support is mentioned, do I still have to go through PayPal and does it apply to the windows version?


We use PayPal as a credit card processor. They will ask for your email address.

The Windows builds are not available to anyone but subscribers. We do/cannot support Windows at this time (http://ardour.org/windows.html) and thus the builds are basically just extra goodies for people subscribing to the project. If/when we release for Windows, the builds will be available like the OS X and Linux versions.

I am under windows and I just ardour 4 download with the purchase of source code but it is still blocking the sound after 10 minutes how ?

Source code implies that you have to build it. Almost nobody builds Ardour on Windows. You are still running the demo/free version of Ardour, so it still behaves in the same way. Why did you decide to get the source code, and what did you expect to happen when you did?

Paypal forced me to open a new(german) account since we moved to germany.
I do not have a creditcard.

If i understand correctly, i can not be a subscriber again?

It all depends on PayPal’s policies in that country. They may change from day to day …

hmm, sh!+


Same problem, thanks for raising this!

no creditcard can’t subscribe - i think ardour is worth more than 45 bucks … but i don’t have 'em, sorry - thanks