Great post, and totally true. That "expectation of evolution" is exactly why I decided the concept of a traditional print book about music technology was doomed, and acted accordingly.
I think part of the problem people have with subscriptions is they don't want to deal with change. Cakewalk sold the Sonar program, but then you got free monthly updates. Although some people welcomed them, others (probably the majority) didn't want to feel they had to learn new things every month. Musicians are used to their tools not changing, but changing what they can express through those tools...look at the reticence to embrace alternate controllers, even ones with tremendous potential like the Roli Seaboard and LinnStrument.
Your observation about hobby vs. business strikes me as spot-on. I have a subscription to Office 365 and it's one of the best investments I've ever made. You get a tremendous amount for your money, the 1TB of cloud storage alone is great...but you also get desktop and online versions of almost all the Office programs. It's a subscription I'll happily maintain. Hobbyists are happy if something works. Often they have to squeeze studio time in between work and family or social obligations, and they just want to be able to fire something up and not have to think about it. So that works against dealing with things that change, but at least for me learning is fun. So many times it will take me an hour to learn new things that will save me hours and hours in the future.
There is a discipline to finishing projects and then printing out the right assets and archiving them. It isn't hard. It does take thought and effort. But I am not of the opinion that something like a particular plugin matters to any significant degree over time. Everything matters. But not much changes musical meaning...The only thing that lasts in digital audio is linear WAV files.
Again, I couldn't agree more. When I archive a project, I archive the project file in the DAW's format. But I also archive each track as a raw WAV file, and
each track with all included processing. This has worked well for me, and I probably recycle projects more than most (e.g., creating soundtracks from selected song tracks, and testing new plug-ins/DAWs/etc.). The value of this was brought home to me while writing a new book. I took a song created in Studio One and brought it into projects for Ableton Live, Cubase, Pro Tools, and Digital Performer. Then whenever I wanted to show a technique or screen shot in any of those programs...no problem. I was actually rather surprised at how easy it is to move among a variety of programs that I hadn't used in a while. Between searchable help files and internet search, you can get the answer to anything in seconds. I'd never used elastic audio in Pro Tools, but 30 minutes later, I felt totally comfortable with it....because time-stretching in almost all programs works pretty much the same way.