The release notes for GA v5.1.10 say ‘now supports Steinberg licensing’.
I installed v5.1.10 this morning via the download assistant, but it still only works with the dongle inserted. I can’t find any instructions on the Steinberg web-site how to convert to dongle-less operation.
Today’s release is likely a stepping stone on a journey. From all that Steinberg has said over the past few months, it seems that there is a paid update to HALion/HALion Sonic on the way. Putting Groove Agent 5 on the list to switch to Steinberg Licensing suggests there is no intention to release a Groove Agent paid update in the near future. If there is a new HALion, there will presumably be a new Absolute, which means a Steinberg Licensing version of Groove Agent will be needed. Steinberg Licensing versions of Retrologue and Padshop were released with Cubase 12. If Absolute is to switch to Steinberg Licensing, The Grand and Backbone will also need to switch to Steinberg Licensing.
I suspect that the first transition of existing licences to Steinberg Licensing without a paid update will be WaveLab, as that will not have the complexity of migrating content packs to Steinberg Licensing. Steinberg Licensing support is likely to be added in the upcoming WaveLab 11.1 update.
What has happened this far is merely an enabling change - Groove Agent 5.1 (and presumably also Groove Agent extensions when Groove Agent 5.1 is in use) can now be enabled by Steinberg Licensing. The other big change in Groove Agent 5.1 is native Apple Silicon compatibility.
Steinberg has yet to release a way of moving existing Groove Agent 5 licences to Steinberg Licensing - and they may not release this for some time. I suspect the first product to migrate existing licences to Steinberg Licensing will be WaveLab 11, as that will not have the additional complexity of moving extensions to Steinberg Licensing. This process cannot start until the forthcoming WaveLab 11.1 update adds Steinberg Licensing compatibility.
I suspect Steinberg will not open up licence migration for Groove Agent until they have gained experience of licence migration with WaveLab.
Of course, Steinberg could do something entirely different to my expectations. All I am saying is that just because Steinberg can now migrate Groove Agent 5 licences to Steinberg Licensing does not mean they will start to offer these migrations in the next few days.
Absolute users will probably have to wait until a forthcoming paid update to Absolute to start using Groove Agent with Steinberg Licensing.
Heard back from Steinberg and yes this is just the prerequisite upgrade to enable the Steinberg licensing, so we just need to wait a little bit longer to get the transfer functionality (targeting that to be a few weeks or so apparently) The update could have been worded a bit more clearly to set expectations, but I think this is still really good news and happy to wait a bit longer.
I think there’s three aspects in being ‘Steinberg Licensing compatible’:
The program itself uses Steinberg Licensing as its protection. This will probably have to wait until GA6 comes out.
The content is protected via Steinberg Licensing. Same.
The program can use content, that is protected by Steinberg Licensing. I think this is what v5.1.10 is.
Take for example HALion and HALion Sonic. Both cannot use “The Verve” piano yet that comes with Cubase 12, because they don’t support Steinberg Licensing yet. It’s absolutely possible that a HALion version will come out soon, that supports the use of Steinberg Licensing libraries, though itself is still protected via dongle. Or HALion itself is moved to Steinberg Licensing with an update, but the HALion content stays dongle protected for now - in both cases, you would still need the dongle, but you can use new libraries that come out in future that use Steinberg Licensing.
So the question is, what “now supports Steinberg licensing” means.
The implication of Groove Agent 5 appearing in that list is that Groove Agent 6 is not expected in the next year or so.
The situation with HALion is different. A new HALion release was mentioned in the Steinberg Licensing discussion threads when Steinberg Licensing was first announced. It seems likely that we will see HALion 7 and Absolute 6 being launched later this year, along with the ability to switch HALion extensions to Steinberg Licensing.