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#177669 - 10/31/12 06:09 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] GUI suggestions/requests for main screen
Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 15029
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 15029
Many people have requested GUI changes to the main screen, specifically the top area of the main screen.

(note: there is a different thread for general GUI requests **other** than the main screen. It is here http://www.pgmusic.com/forums/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=382579&an=0&page=0#Post382579

We would appreciate hearing any specific suggestions that you have - the more specific the better.
For example, do you want the ptoolbar, or piano area changed, etc. - if so how.

Thanks
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#177670 - 10/31/12 06:25 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: PeterGannon]
Registered: 01/08/11
Posts: 3976
Tommyc Offline
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How about the ability to customize your own in preferences. I personally wouldn't want to change anything, even though I changed my RB to Rharv's Metal skin and made one with wood, ducks and babies. I changed back to the original.

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#177671 - 10/31/12 06:45 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: Tommyc]
Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 1259
Loc: CA
Shastastan Offline
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Loc: CA
How about UNDO and REDO buttons?

Stan
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#177672 - 10/31/12 08:16 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: Shastastan]
Registered: 12/06/05
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Loc: 80 Mi North of Sacramento CA
seeker Offline
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F5 Icon....Please
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#177673 - 10/31/12 08:20 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: Shastastan]
Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 3907
Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
Ryszard Offline
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Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 3907
Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
Peter, thank you for opening up this important topic to the community.

I would like to be able to personalize or reorder the dropdown menus on the main taskbar so that they emphasize features important to my workflow and remove or otherwise deemphasize (gray out?) features which I rarely or never use.

Edited to add: Think about the option to 'parallel' menu items with the buttons so that if something is eliminated in one place it is removed in the other as well. I see it as an option because I can see cases where you might want to have a button instead of a menu item, and vice versa.


Edited by Ryszard (11/01/12 07:50 AM)
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#177674 - 11/01/12 04:17 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: Ryszard]
Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3363
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3363
have a separate play button and regenerate button. I am a new user but I never expect to have everything regenerated when I press play. The regenerate button is so powerful and should never be accidentally pressed. just my opinion!

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#177675 - 11/01/12 04:21 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: JohnJohnJohn]
Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3363
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3363
there should be some way to add notes (not musical notes but text) to bars. also a way to display all settings on all bars. maybe to do that you'd have to come up with a color/dot scheme like for rests? I know the real estate is small and lots of info but something cryptic would even work as we could learn it over time.


Edited by JohnJohnJohn (11/01/12 04:22 AM)

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#177676 - 11/01/12 04:26 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: JohnJohnJohn]
Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3363
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3363
not sure if this request should go here but I'd love to see an option that completely hides midi buttons, options, info, etc. I love RealTracks and do not ever see me using midi for anything so it would greatly simplify the interface if all these features would just hide!

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#177677 - 11/01/12 07:49 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: JohnJohnJohn]
Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 12443
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
jford Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
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Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Here are my suggestions for the main screen GUI; these are visual suggestions, not changes in how the program works (for which I have ideas also):

1) When you enter information in the chord grid, it should more Excel-like. That's what people are familiar with and new users will already know how to do that. Right now, you type in the little box in the upper left and the chord shows up when you hit enter. Just type it in the chord grid, be able to edit what you type while you type (using left, right arrows, mouse swipes, highlighting, cut, copy, paste, etc).

2) I agree with others about having the separate play and regenerate button. Play should be play and should not regenerate the song. Yes, I know BIAB was designed to play something different each time, and that worked well when it was only MIDI because regeneration took less than a second. Now with RT's and RD's, it takes longer to get sound going. So I like the idea of essentially swapping the functionality of Play and Replay. Play would play the current song as is (and generate it, if it's a new song or changes have been made), but if I want to listen to the song three times, it plays the same thing those three times (again, unless changes have been made, which necessitate a regeneration). The former replay button would now be a Regenerate button, and would regenerate the arrangement. I might go so far as to say it doesn't necessarily start playback unless you then hit play, but I suppose that could be a toggle option.

3) The main tool bar needs to be broken into smaller parts and allow moving around like in RealBand/PowerTracks. I would like to be able to move the Play/Stop/Pause buttons to the left side of the screen, for example.

4) All the toolbars need to be able to select "small" icons (like you can in RealBand) to take up less screen real estate.

5) There is no indication (especially to new users) that the "Audio" track is available to do anything. Visually, it looks like a label (but the wrong label) for the harmony settings. All the other tracks have radio buttons, the audio track does not.

6) Replace the single letter buttons with text. What the heck is "S"; make room for it to say "Sng" or better yet, "Song". The "F" buttons should at least say "Fav".

7) There should be some visual way to better help folks understand that for each half beat, you enter a comma in the chord grid. Maybe have a cell for each beat and do away with the comma (the program should then be able to interpret older files properly, which would have the comma).

8) Why have two different reverb spinners for the tracks? When you select a RealTrack, the A Reverb (what's a reverb?) allows you to select the value and the M Reverb (what's m reverb) goes grey. And vice versa. Why not just have a single Reverb setting that is sensitive to the type of track selected.

9) Why is LoopSec and Loop in two different parts of the screen? Seems like looping functions should be kept together.

10) The Wizard checkbox should be relabeled. It's not really a wizard in the current context of wizard. Maybe label it "Keyboard" or "QWERTY" or something similar.

11) When you have a MIDI track, you can select the patch you want from either the drop-down box or the GM2 box. Actually, I don't know why you need both. If you are using a GM2 synth, then those instruments should be shown in the instrument drop-down. Also, the drop down should (like the GM2 button does) break the instruments down into groups, not just a long list of 128 instruments.

12) When you select a RealTrack, instead of greying out the patch list, why not allow users to select the RealTrack (maybe using a list version of it) or RealDrum from the list just like MIDI tracks.

13) When I right-click on a track, I should get an option to assign plug-ins without having to go to the mixer to do so.

I have some more ideas and non-main screen ideas, which I'll post later, but gotta go to work now.
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#177678 - 11/01/12 09:42 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: jford]
Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 1192
Loc: Spain
Cerio Offline
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Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 1192
Loc: Spain
1. Implement a visual marker system on the chord screen:



2. Right button on any element of the screen -> Options for that element.

3. Modular GUI approach, wich means resizable elements, and an easy way of showing them on / off.

4. Zoom tool on the main chord screen (like the one on MS Word, for example), and an option to show more than 4 bars per row.

5. Alow custom organization / simplification of the menu system, as Ryszard suggest. That's a great one.

6. Smaller icons, with the option to not showing them on the screen if you want. It would be nice if they get a more modern redesign, making them simpler and less colourful. This could be just an option ("Modern Skin), alowing those who likes the "clasic" design keep using it.

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#177679 - 11/01/12 11:40 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: Cerio]
Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 7666
Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
jazzmammal Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 7666
Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
Visual: I'm not a graphic artist but look at other DAW's. Look at the color schemes and most importantly not just color but texture. Modern software is similar in look to luxury cars. Look at color schemes on a Lexus, Mercedes, Cadillac, Ford Fusion, etc and just come up with something that looks modern. Black, silver, chrome accents with some hot modern colors tastefully thrown in. Just that alone without changing anything else would go a long way to modernizing the look.

Now for some real oldie but goodies that have been talked about for years. Please, please get rid of 20 year old terminology like MME or the really old soundcards/synths like a Soundblaster 16 FM synth, crap like that. Really, who among your customers is actually using a 20 year old Technics KN650 or a Korg M1 or an Ensoniq (sorry Eddie)? Those things came out in 1985. Keep the synth list short and modern and have a button that says "have an older synth?"

Real Track/Drums selection: If it's a RT style and you want to change the guitar then when you right click to change the RT it opens to whatever RT is selected now. But, if it's a midi style and you want to add a RT guitar it opens to the top of the list. If it's guitar have the list open to the guitars and in addition, if it's a bossa style, then have it open to the bossa guitars, or tex mex or jazz or whatever. Simple and logical.

Midi individual instrument selection. Similar to the above, if it's a funk style and I want to change the guitar part there must be some way to isolate all the funk guitars from all the different funk midi styles that contain a guitar. I know this one is probably much more difficult than the RT thing but it sure would be nice. As it is having the ability to plug in individual midi instruments is really fools gold. Trying to find a part that's hiding inside different midi styles is just not worth it. Since you gave us that ability, I've given up on trying to use it.

That's enough for now, I know I'll have more later.

Bob
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#177680 - 11/01/12 01:01 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: jazzmammal]
Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 413
Loc: Benoni, South Africa
CountryTrash Offline
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Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 413
Loc: Benoni, South Africa
1. Away to mark/color a bar, and make some note that will allow me to make notes about what i want to domat that point etc.
2. +1 on clear Play/Regen buttons
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#177681 - 11/01/12 01:30 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: Cerio]
Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 8333
Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
John Conley Offline
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Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 8333
Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
I would like to see a separate app for "Playing", similar to the most recent pop up you developed for volumes and tone etc.

This would include all the play, stop, rewind, loop things, perhaps just another 'page', for the popup.

In the future, I'd certainly like to see the interface separate into tasks.

So for those who are developing a song the interface would be different from those who have finished and are using Band in a Box as a player, where they are using some of the conductor features, however have no intention of say getting into options or other menu items.

I'm finding it hard to conceptualize, however I think my idea is communicated. Different screens for different tasks. I spend 90 percent of my time loading and playing, so I just want the notes and a player interface, and perhaps the conductor features on my screen, with a songlist. But none of the setup or other tasks there, just a button to go to the "Main Interface", the current one.

You could always do what google does, i.e. (use new interface, or keep old...)
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#177682 - 11/01/12 03:09 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: John Conley]
Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 694
Loc: Waterloo Ontario Canada
Tony Wright Offline
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Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 694
Loc: Waterloo Ontario Canada
It's very gratifying that P&G should be asking for GUI design input but unfortunately it's a bit like an artist asking for input on how to design a painting. I'm afraid that P&G will receive dozens of pet ideas and the GUI will continue to look like it was designed by a committee. Also I can see that the ideas will concentrate on improved features rather than the look and the feel.

It's a good idea to seek some user input but P&G need to employ an experienced, creative computer graphics designer who is instructed to consider the latest GUI ideas from the industry and let him/her get on with it. At the end of the day, this is far more important than juggling the user input.

Tony

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#177683 - 11/02/12 02:47 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: Tony Wright]
Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 7666
Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
jazzmammal Offline
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Posts: 7666
Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
Quote:

It's a good idea to seek some user input but P&G need to employ an experienced, creative computer graphics designer who is instructed to consider the latest GUI ideas from the industry and let him/her get on with it. At the end of the day, this is far more important than juggling the user input.




Excellent point Tony. I was thinking exactly the same thing after I made my post above. Just like writing a song, most of the time it's done by one person, maybe two and that's it. Let somebody with a good track record just do it and Peter could post screen shots for us to comment on.

Bob
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#177684 - 11/02/12 03:57 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: jazzmammal]
Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3363
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3363
If I were on the team at PG I'd seriously consider several of the "big picture" suggestions above as well as a few others in the overall product/business plan.

1) completely redesign the user interface using a professional interface designer who works hand-in-hand with in-house staff so a great interface is designed that still works for all of the BIAB functionality

2) related to above, study and emulate the extremely cool interfaces being designed for DAWs, VST plugins, etc. I know these are mostly cosmetic but DANG are they enticing!

3) rename and relaunch the product. I know this is painful because the brand is well-known among your user base but you can tell them about the change in emails, on the forum, the website, etc. And, a new, slick product name could help establish the kind of credibility that would gain you a multitude of new customers. I continue to be amazed at how many pros in the music business either don't know about BIAB or have no idea how awesome it is. Trust me, as a new user, I was quite skeptical until I tried it and now I continue to be just blown away by what can be produced using this software!!! It should be in every songwriter's toolkit and I'd even go so far to say everyone making a demo should do their first version in BIAB before they ever spend a dime on studio time. I know there is no replacing the experience and quality of a studio & staff but you can get very close with just a little effort with BIAB!

4) related to above, again, hire a pro from outside your company or an agency to develop the new product name. invest in focus groups and field testing of the new name. It will pay off!

5) Update all demo videos to the latest version and include them at no extra charge when someone buys BIAB and all RealTracks. I felt a bit gypped to spend almost $500 and then have to pony up another $29 for video tutorials that seem to be a bit dated. You really should do this because it is in your best interest for a new user to get going quickly!

6) Go through the entire product, documentation, demos, tutorials, etc. and cut WAY back on all the jazz references. I guess the product has its roots in jazz but when you look at your potential market, jazz is probably the smallest group by far (check out 2012 mid-year music sales here http://www.scoopmarketing.com/2012/07/th...ndustry-report/ about the middle of the page and you'll see the only music selling less than jazz is classical!)

7) because you have a DAW you might consider a tighter integration with BIAB but I'm not sure if this would be a good idea as I'm pretty certain I'm gonna keep using Reaper because it is familiar to me.

8) target a younger demographic to add more diversity to your community. I'm on the other side of 50 and get the impression most/many of your users are too so it would be great to see some young blood involved in forums. They could get help from the seasoned vets and we could get their fresh perspective and see how they use BIAB.

9) get some celebrity endorsements. I play and write music and I've listened to tons of music and I write software...and with that experience I feel I am qualified to say BIAB is an AMAZING product so you should not have any trouble getting some endorsements.

10) advertise in songwriting and other musician magazines, websites, google adwords, etc. I have been playing music all my life and had never heard of BIAB until I read Robin Frederick's songwriting book where she recommended BIAB! And, BTW, it would be worthwhile for you to contact her to update her recommendation about BIAB...she makes no mention of RealTracks, focuses on midi and states that you have a working demo! http://www.robinfrederick.com/resources.html

11) related to above, contact other songwriting teachers, writers, etc. and get them to recommend BIAB on their websites!

12) contact music schools and offer a discount if students buy BIAB through their school

13) be more active on your Facebook page and/or start a blog with something daily or at least weekly


There is probably lots more that you can do but these were just a few of my thoughts on this chilly midwest morning.

And, FWIW, even if you change nothing about BIAB I will remain impressed and thrilled to have the product! You have done some amazing work here!!!!


Edited by JohnJohnJohn (11/02/12 04:03 AM)

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#177685 - 11/02/12 05:38 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: JohnJohnJohn]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 18384
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 18384
Loc: Hamlin NY
Another thanx for asking input from users. This is probably the only company that does this on a regular basis.

There have been a lot of good ideas brought forth thus far however organizing these ideas/improvements could prove problematic. My suggestion would be to take an idea from Sonar called screen sets. You could have three non-customizable ones.

I’ll try to explain. The three non-customizable screen sets would be as follows:
1-midi and RT/RDs for when working with both
2-midi only for midi only compositions
3-RT/RD only for RT/RD compositions.

It would work like this. All of the data in the main chord screen would be the same (chords, tempo, style, etc) however all of the menus would change according to the screen set you select. Note you should be able to move from one screen set to another without rebooting the program by pressing screen set icons. The midi screen set would only have menus dedicated to midi and RT/RD screen set menus dedicated to RT/RD. The screen set for both could stay the same as it is now.

If possible a few other customizable screen sets could be available for users to show or hide whatever icons or menus they use or don’t use.

I believe a method like this would unclutter the main BiaB screen.


Edited by MarioD (11/02/12 05:38 PM)
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#177686 - 11/03/12 04:03 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: MarioD]
Registered: 11/30/10
Posts: 349
carkins Offline
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Registered: 11/30/10
Posts: 349
I second Mario's idea of separate initial screen choices for separate workflows.
Photoshop does this with the options for Essentials,Design,and Painting as the beginning screen options.
Cleans up the workspace to begin with.

Then you have the ability to add more windows/palettes if you want.
These can be free floating or docked to a menu bar at the top.

I think being able to customize your workspace is an important feature to be sure.
That way you know where all your tools are without having to hunt through a multitude of drop down menus which can be very frustrating especially for a newbie.

Also have the ability to return to "Classic" view for those who desire it.

How about a Realband button that would automatically open your present BIAB work in Realband without dropping and dragging.
Always felt a seamless merging of the two programs would be the way to go.
Maybe under a new name?

Carkins

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#177687 - 11/03/12 04:30 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: carkins]
Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 8057
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 8057
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC

to steal an idea from Windows: THEMES, which I suppose boil down to collections of compatible skins that can be applied to all screen elements to produce a variety of "look & feel" combinations

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#177688 - 11/03/12 04:43 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: GUI suggestions/requests for main screen [Re: Pat Marr]
Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 8057
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 8057
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
regarding menu customization:

several of the software packages I use at work offer the ability to create custom toolbars by dragging commands from a comprehensive list onto a toolbar. These toolbars can be docked to the main menu, undocked and free-floating, dragged, repositioned, etc

Once the toolbars are organized the way you want, right clicking on the main menu lets you turn whole sets of toolbars off and on, so you only need to have subsets of commands visible based on the part of the project you're working on

The advantage of clustering commands together according to your own organizational logic is that it puts commands where you can find them, instead of having to navigate sub menus and right click menus

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Video - Band-in-a-Box® 2023: Artist Performance Set 13: Songs with Vocals 3

Learn all about the 25 Songs with Vocals added to our Band-in-a-Box Add-ons with Artist Performance Set 13: Songs with Vocals 3! Band-in-a-Box® 2023: Songs with Vocals 3

This included in the Band-in-a-Box 2023 Free Bonus PAK!

Band-in-a-Box® 2023 for Windows - 'Twas the Click Before Christmas!

Order any version of Band-in-a-Box® 2023 for Windows and receive your download key right away for use with our One-Click Installer, but don't wait too long... our Band-in-a-Box® 2023 for Windows special ends December 31st!

Order now to add over 70 new features and amazing new content to your Band-in-a-Box® collection, including 222 RealTracks (20 more than we've released in previous versions), new RealStyles, MIDI SuperTracks, Instrumental Studies, "Song with Vocals" Artist Performances, XPro Styles PAK 4, Xtra Styles PAK 14 & 15, Playable RealTracks Set 2, Playable RealDrums Set 1, 2 new sets of "RealDrums Stems," and more!

It's a great time to order, with up to 50% off Band-in-a-Box® 2023 Upgrade purchases until December 31, 2022!

Plus, there is a Free Bonus PAK automatically included with most Band-in-a-Box® for Windows 2023 packages, but for more even more Add-ons (including 60 Unreleased RealTracks!) upgrade it to the 2023 49-PAK for only $49. You can see the full lists of items in each package, and listen to demos here.

Check out our Band-in-a-Box® packages page for all the purchase options available.

If you need any help deciding which package is the best option for you, just let us know. We are here to help!

Video - Band-in-a-Box® 2023: Over 70 New Features and Enhancements!

Learn all about the 70+ new features in Band-in-a-Box® 2023 with video: Band-in-a-Box® 2023 for Windows®: Over 70 New Features and Enhancements!

We're having a SALE on Band-in-a-Box® 2023 Upgrade purchases until December 31, 2022 - save up to 50% when you purchase your Band-in-a-Box® 2022 for Windows Upgrade!

We've packed our Free Bonus PAK & 49-PAK with some amazing Add-ons! The Free Bonus PAK is automatically included with most Band-in-a-Box® for Windows 2023 packages, but for more even more Add-ons (including 60 Unreleased RealTracks!) upgrade it to the 2023 49-PAK for only $49. You can see the full lists of items in each package, and listen to demos here.

Check out our Band-in-a-Box® packages page for all the purchase options available.

If you need any help deciding which package is the best option for you, just let us know. We are here to help!

Learn more about all the new features in Band-in-a-Box® 2023 for Windows.

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