Label Software Licensing Trends

By George Righter

February, 2024 Janssen Pharmaceutical, Netherlands, a division of Johnson & Johnson, and a RighterTrack client, recently upgraded their 10 printer Nicelabel 17 license to the latest Loftware Nicelabel version 10. It is a 10-printer perpetual license. 

While the “per printer” licensing gets a bad rap from a major, outdated software vendor, it makes more sense and is more secure this way. Note that per printer licensing looks at the number of printers that are currently logged onto the network. So, if a company has 40 printers, but never has more than 10 logged on at once, they will require the 10-printer license. The number of users is unlimited.

Contrast this with the older method “user” or “seat” licensing which looks at the number of concurrent logged on users or seat licenses. Straight from the top of a vendor's main page: “(Our) software is licensed per simultaneous users and all label design products include unlimited printer options.” The problem here is security. We found a lot of companies with seat licensing end up sharing log in credentials. For example, a single seat license where 20 different people log in with the same password. Shared log in credentials pose a huge security risk and have been considered taboo for years!

One new licensing trend goes by the number of labels printed per year. Bartender’s new cloud version has pricing for 10,000 labels to over 100,000 labels. At first this seemed over the top, but at a closer glance the pricing is more competitive than the other label cloud option. We'll have to see if this option catches on. 

Even though a fair number of companies still prefer to own their perpetual software, which has been the norm, and some worry about security in the cloud, the main licensing trend now and in the future involves mainly subscription-based cloud licenses. In fact, Nicelabel Loftware just announced that moving forward they will only be offering subscription-based licensing. The advantages of subscription-based software are numerous: enhanced scalability, flexibility, the reduced or eliminated need for infrastructure or maintenance, and easier support for the software companies. Because of these advantages, the preference for subscription cloud-based software licensing will continue to grow, at least from the perspective of the software vendors!