Cubase 13 - Any word on new update cycle?

I think if they ever went subscription model it would be as a damage limitation measure in an ever competitive market to match what competitors can offer, I don’t think that’s a path they’d actively seek.

Whereas a 12 month update/service plan I could see them embracing as it allows development (Bug fixes, new features etc) to separate from the rigid sales cycle.

Either way, I can’t see perpetual being at risk. It’s just not Steinberg to do that.


Well, it’s only logical as far as I am concerned.

How many thousands of engineers/composers/songwriters exist today that make an actual living from what they do?

I have been in the business of writing music for films full-time, and I know a handful of people doing what they are doing for a living in terms of being sound engineers, composers, etc.

Most people have day jobs, and there have to be 10s of thousands if not hundreds of thousands that buy Cubase as a hobby, I can’t see Steinberg existing on a few thousand purchases a year from professionals, if that…


This will never happen , it may become an ‘option’ but not replace perpetual licences

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And the hobbyists may be more likely to pay for new releases, precisely because we don’t have a business that demands we produce quality output on a tight time schedule at a competitive price. Hobbyists have more freedom to “play around” and aren’t as affected by bugs and crashes.


I own a studio in partnership with a friend of mine - a side business, it’s not my main source of income. We use Cubase and Nuendo to provide tracking and mixing services for clients, as well as some film, jingle and game work. These two products run virtually every day here for 8, 10, 12 or whatever hours per day. They don’t fail. Yes there are some bugs, but nothing that stops us from doing what we want to do.

We also have a Pro Tools rig that is primarily used for collaborative work with other facilities. It also runs like a champ but isn’t really any more or less reliable than the Steinberg stuff. (If you’re curious, take a look at the Avid forums. On any given day, they look a lot like the Cubase / Nuendo forums).

It seems clear (to me, at least) that Steinberg is working on some kind of new model and I’m interested to see how it develops. The removal of the 0.5 release means they have reduced their annual revenue stream for the moment, so that clearly has to be replaced by something, but I’ve got no idea what that something is.

I’ve spent years in the large scale software and IT services industry (the business end, not technical). It has been entirely normal to sell multi-million dollar commercial application licenses (Financial Services, Insurance, Manufacturing, Government, etc.) to clients, and then charge them a significant annual maintenance fee just to provide bug fixing and customer support (i.e. 20 to 25% of the purchase price per year, and in some cases more). Any assumption that bugs should be fixed as part of the initial purchase price would be laughed out of the room. Good quality maintenance and support is expensive.

And then there’s enhancements and upgrades which carry additional substantial one-time charges, coupled with renewed maintenance contracts, and so on.

To introduce this kind of model to the user base in the DAW world would likely give most people seizures.

I’m inclined to agree with @somecomposer - Pro Tools aside, I think most of the DAWs out there make up a fair percentage of sales from non-revenue generating users who, despite wanting all the bugs fixed and better customer support, wouldn’t necessarily want to (or couldn’t) afford the actual ongoing costs required to do that, never mind get the new features they desire at an additional periodic upgrade cost over and above.

Steinberg and the other DAW vendors have a fine line to walk in this very competitive industry. Given the complexity of the software, I’m amazed at the functionality and reliability we get for pretty modest pricing, but unsurprisingly at the cost of longer bug life and weaker customer support.

And yes, like you, I’d be prepared to pay, and write off, an annual maintenance fee to give Steinberg more latitude to address long standing issues and provide improved customer support, while also paying an upgrade fee bi-annually or whenever for new feature development, but I’m not convinced that I represent a majority view.

And no, I’m not interested in renting software from Steinberg or anybody else.
If any given company gets themselves in trouble, I want the option to continue using their software via perpetual license until I can find a suitable alternative.

Apologies for the long post, but this has been on my mind lately.


That would be a deal breaker for me.

I am already spending hundreds a year on new plugins, updates and also running the business month in-month out.

And as KT66 put it, there is no guarantee the program will be bug-free.

And further agreeing with his post, Cubase is not unusable, far from it.

It has bugs, yes, but all DAWs have bugs…

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I just want a stable program, updates until the new version.

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Sure. Forums are forums.
The thing is, what is available apart from forums?

A huge number of pros don’t even spend time on forums (which is, again, one of the reason forums are what they are).

I find it very strange that the single difference between Cubase Elements and Nuendo is one of price and nothing else.
Those products are aimed at very different audiences, and you would expect the pro software to come with at least the option for some more bussines like support and service.

Which is normal. Development costs money, no matter if it’s bug fixing or new features development.

I agree, I’m not optimistic of it happening.
As I wrote in a previous post, I feel this particular market (audio software) is in a crisis. There seems to be a big fracture between what people demand and what they are willing to pay.

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So does everyone else.
Bizarre that you feel is ok to spend a ton on new plugins (most of which you don’t need) and updates, but for better quality and actual support for your main software, few hundred bucks is too much.
How is it OK for a business to spend 150EUR/year for updates, but a dealbreaker to spend 400EUR/year for updates, support, more bugfixes and better relationship with the software developer? :thinking:

Most business do that anyway. Somehow, studios using Adobe software or ProTools (tons of them) manage just fine.

I find these different perspectives on support and the structure of offerings very interesting. What becomes very clear is that the professional/business community is considerably different from the hobbyist community. It seems to me that, heretofore, Steinberg (and most other vendors) has tried to address the user base as if it were monolithic. It is not.

While I like to think my work is “professional” or “professional quality”, I am not a professional in the sense of doing this for a living and being highly dependent on the proper operation of the system all day long, every day. My workstation setup and project demands are evidently simple enough that I rarely have crashes or other bugs that really interrupt my work.

Cubase is plenty rich in features to serve professional composers and studios. It does seem like it would be in Steinberg’s interest to create a support offering that would be attractive to professional composers and studios, without driving away the hobbyists that surely represent the vast majority of licenses. Cultivating a large base of respected professionals would be a “halo effect” for the product.


Add to that the rise of content creators filling in the gaps where traditional audio professionals existed. It presents a weird paradox in that these are predominately home users with a limited period of fame of where they may reach to software like Cubase to support an income.

It’s a shift for sure, though whether that’s why many DAWs now support basic video functions I don’t know.

I’m convinced that people have more chance of setting up a youtube channel and making money featuring DAW/Music/Plugin tutorials than actually producing music to sell.

To make money in music it’s always been about who you know, but it’s becoming so much harder to find anyone who can give you a leg up as they’re struggling themselves.

Traditionally this was for sound & music for film, video commercials and such.

Well, that’s an assumption you are making, with no basis. I use my plugins and research them thoroughly before purchasing them. In addition, I own the plugins I buy, in perpetuity.

If you are referring to Cubase updates, I don’t do that. I was on 9 and didn’t update until 11, and I am not updating to 12 as I don’t currently need to. I will update whenever I want.

400 Euros a year is too much for my business. This amount could be spent on a very good plugin or several smaller ones on sale.

In addition, If I chose to, say on quiet periods, buy nothing, then all the plugins and hardware I purchased don’t need to be paid in perpetuity in order to own them, as such I can carry on my business as per my next job without occurring charges.

It will be way too much for me to have to pay an unnecessary tax of 400 E a year and I would definitely exit sharply and go to another DAW if this would be implemented.

Also, it is a matter of principal for me. When I buy something, I want to own it. Period.

But Steinberg is making updates without that business model, and it is up to the consumer to either make the upgrades or sit it out…

Bugfixes should be taken care of by Steinberg and are taken care of.

I know a few people that use Adobe and are not happy, and also looking for alternatives.

I also know engineers that own the full Protools thing with expensive yearly charges, but these guys are in top studios and can afford to do so. I personally would not touch anything like that on a lease basis.

Just to reiterate. I am not angry at Steinberg. There are bugs but the program is perfectly usable.

I am on 11 right now and it is working like a treat.

Anyway, my two cents.

I’m not sure if this model would work at all.

I happen to pay around 1.400 -1.500 euros every year for “licenses/support” of a fairly niche specialized suite of software (for commerce). I know that for 2 out of 3 “products” I am paying for, if I pick up the phone because I need support, no one will pick it up. If I moan about it, I am reminded that “it’s the license you’re paying for, not support.” Moreover, we’re talking about software AND hardware here. So there is a much greater probability that after a power surge or network mishap or anything else, the software won’t talk to the hardware, and since the system is proprietary and all things are locked in a black box beyond my reach, I can’t do anything about it. And then I can call support and they can do their thing, because it’s as simple as 1+1=2. (at least for that one product, they respond immediately)

On the other hand, anyone can shout at Waves (even a child with cracked plug-ins that want to use their pocket money for fortnite boxes instead), and they (Waves) behave. My personal view is that this business has become a
question of how to reliably and consistently get 10 euros from 10.000.000 people instead of maybe 10.000.000 euros from 10 people.

Now that you mention it, that is a significant factor for me. Here’s a rough breakdown of my usage. Most of this does not generate direct billings, but much of it is part of promotion for groups I manage, so I do get some income indirectly.

  • 25% content creation (preparing videos for Facebook, Youtube, Instagram etc. Not commercial quality, but I often need to do more audio processing than is available within the video software I use.

  • 40% producing mixes of live performances. None of this is for commercial sale, but much of it is used as demo tapes, etc.

  • 25% various odd jobs, cleaning up audio for various purposes, occasionally producing a high quality rendering of a composition done in Dorico

  • 10% composition, mostly just messing around

As a tangent, I notice that in an age of self-production, podcasts etc., commercial radio programs often lack the level of engineering that was almost universal a generation ago. The absolute worst, IMHO, is BBC, which ought to know better. More often than not, their radio program has huge imbalances between the different microphones in use – I mean 20 dB or more.

This kind of problem is endemic in talk radio, where the caller’s level is often much lower than the host. It makes for a terrible listening experience, so I don’t usually.

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Tax? Own? Why are you trying to transform a discussion about an optional support plan into something about subscriptions?
And talking about an anual support plan, do you know how that works? You own the software and it gets updates (and support etc) as long as you pay the plan. If/when you would decide you don’t want it, you stop paying and you stay with the latest version you got under the plan, in perpetuity.

As we are getting into the legal weeds here, I think it is important to note that the user doesn’t “own” anything. You may have a perpetual license to use the software, but you don’t own the software.


As pointed out by other posters above, there are several different types of software users in the audio world:

Full-time revenue generators
Part-time revenue generators
Indirect revenue generators
Non-revenue generators

And I would argue there’s a lot more of the latter than the other three.
There isn’t one financial model that will satisfy these different categories.
Companies like Adobe and Avid have successfully moved to a subscription model because a large percentage of their users are in business of some kind and have a strong commitment to their products, intentionally or otherwise. As long as the annual opex cost doesn’t interfere significantly with profit margins, the businesses may not like it but will swallow it and move on. And in fact some businesses prefer to operate under an opex vs. capex model so this is attractive to them.
But some people just don’t like subscriptions (I’m one of them) and those who aren’t generating revenue are more likely to be extremely averse.
(As an aside, since you mentioned Waves, if they were a publically traded company and I was an investor, I’d be asking some pointed questions at shareholder meetings about the competence of their senior management).
So, what’s the answer? I agree with @digitallysane 's observation that there appears to be some sort of crisis in the audio software industry at the moment, and part of that is due, I think, to rising expectations for delivery, bug fixes, new features and support, with a contrary expectation of lower (or, at least, not increasing) prices. It’s a model that can’t be sustained indefinitely.

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You guys that are close to software development know better how all this works. I just wanted to vent about the “other end” when a niche monopoly is established, and since the customer can’t do anything about it then, development goes on at its own pace. Usually Grave to Lento.


Trust me, even at the enterprise level there are clients paying an arm and a leg for maintenance and support and getting substandard service.
There are, of course, more contractual remedies for such a situation but it often comes down to a client in a room shouting at a representative of the app developer and getting nowhere fast.
It happens, and I sympathise.

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