Is Ableton A Monthly Subscription?

With so many DAWs moving to subscription-based payment systems, one question that producers and mixing engineers often ask is, “Is Ableton a Monthly Subscription?”

Ableton is not a monthly subscription. It is paid fully upfront or through a 6-month installment. Your choice of version will determine the price. Ableton Intro costs $99 (/$16.5 for 6 months), Ableton Standard costs $449 (/$74.83 for 6 months), Ableton Suit costs $749 (/$124.83 for 6 months).

For those looking for a superior piece of music recording and editing software, Ableton is one of the best around. Millions of musicians out there are more than happy to pay the total price upfront for all of its incredible features, which is why we want to take you through the Ableton pricing model so that you can decide if it is a good fit for your needs. 

The Three Tiers of Ableton

As of right now, there are three versions or “editions” of Ableton. At a glance, these three editions look very similar. However, as you move up the tiers, you get access to more effects, loops, and VST instruments.

Ableton Live Lite, otherwise known as Ableton Intro, is the first of the three tiers. Users can purchase this software for as little as $99. While this edition can be an excellent choice for those who are just starting off or getting attuned to the interface, it is not the best choice for veteran musicians and producers. It is pretty restrictive in terms of effects, instruments, and track numbers.

Typically, people end up upgrading to the Standard or Suite editions. While you can upgrade from a lower-tier without paying the total price, we recommend starting off with the Standard version if you’re a more serious musician before deciding if you want to take it any further. (For further reading, please take a look at our article about which Ableton version you should get.)

Ableton’s pricing is very similar to Pro Tools, another extremely popular recording and mixing software for music professionals. However, Pro Tools recently moved to the subscription model, allowing users to pay a much smaller monthly price if they choose.

Ableton Educational Discounts

One of the great things about Ableton is that they offer 40% discounts for students and teachers. If you are a student or a teacher at an educational institution, you can apply for savings on Ableton Live Standard or Suite. When you buy Live with Push, you can take advantage of an even bigger discount. 

With educational discounts, you can purchase Live 11 Standard for $269 or Live 11 Suite for $449. 

Users are only eligible for educational discounts if they are:

  • Students in full-time educational studies and 18 years of age or older
  • Students in part-time programs that are longer than 20 hours per week or run for 12 months or longer
  • Teachers who work full or part-time at schools or universities, regardless of the field. 
  • Private or part-time teachers that work at least 20 hours per week

Ableton Alternatives

Pro Tools

Pro Tools is an excellent alternative to Ableton if you are looking for professional music software with a subscription model. It is made for those who mix and record music as a profession, work with music in a TV or film setting, or frequently find themselves working with other engineers.

Similar to Ableton, Pro Tools comes with a wide variety of precise mixing and editing tools. Many people still believe that Pro Tools is the industry standard, which is why you will find it in just about every major studio in the world. 

Those whole like to collaborate with others will like knowing that their sessions will translate to other producers, mixing engineers, and studios around the world.

Logic Pro X

For Mac users out there, Logic Pro X is a fantastic choice. It has made some significant strides over the past few years and is slowly becoming an industry standard in its own right. One of the great things about Logic Pro X is that the top-tier version of the software costs about half the price of the top-tier version of Ableton. 

If you are looking to save some money while still enjoying high-quality software, then Logic Pro X is a wonderful choice. There are plenty of great effects and virtual instruments built into Logic Pro X as well, allowing you to get started right away. 


Every Apple computer comes pre-loaded with an entry-level DAW known as Garageband. Garageband software is one of the best introductory recording and production platforms on the market. Even as a beginner application, it is quite effective for making real music.

Garageband is very similar to Logic in terms of design, though it has limited features, which is why we would never recommend it for seasoned producers or engineers. However, with an intuitive interface, built-in instruments and effects, and a free price tag, it should not be overlooked as a legitimate choice for those seeking out a new DAW. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Is Ableton Monthly?

Ableton is currently on Ableton 11 and has three versions to choose from. The bottom version, known as Ableton Live 11 Intro, costs $99 or $16.50 per month for six months. The Ableton Live 11 Standard version is the middle tier and costs  $449 or $74.83 for six months. Lastly, Ableton Live 11 Suite, the top-of-the-line edition, costs $749 or $124.83 for six months. 

Why Is Ableton So Expensive?

While many people might believe that Ableton Live is expensive, it has a fairly justified price tag considering all of the features that come with it. For example, a hardware synthesizer might cost you up to $1,000 or more depending on the size, features, and popularity. The Ableton Live 11 Suite version comes with more than 70Gb of sound, 59 audio effects, 17 software instruments, 15 MIDI effects, and so much more.

Is Ableton a Good Choice For Beginners?

Ableton is a wonderful choice for beginners! For starters, the software comes with a clean and easy-to-use interface, which allows beginners to get familiar with it right off the bat. Ableton Live also comes with a range of virtual instruments and effects that you can use to start making music. Essentially, all you need to get started is the software. 

Is Ableton Worth The Cost?

The answer to the question of whether Ableton is worth it or not truly comes down to the user and their personal preference. Ableton is a key part of production setups throughout the world and has special characteristics that set it apart from the rest. With its unique design alone, many would argue that it is worth the cost and more. 

If you are someone who uses MIDI instruments quite often, works with loops or samples, or DJs live, then Ableton is unparalleled in its versatility. Live 11 is also one of the best pieces of software for live production as well, which is why so many performers use it for creating incredible live experiences. However, if you only want to lay down some vocals or edit small bits of audio, then Ableton is probably not worth the cost. 

If you’re not sure whether or not you are ready to commit to purchasing Ableton in full, you can try the Suite version of the software for 90 days without paying a single cent.