is cubase dying a slow death? [speculative discussion]

a little sensationalist headline i admit.

first and foremost, this is not to slash cubase. i’ve been using cubase and nuendo for around 10 years professionally i think, and although i operate other DAWs, the fact i’ve stuck with cubendo means i have to like it.

what i try to address is acquisition of new users, or evangelism if you will.

i’m in contact with new producers, recently took some berkeley courses, check audio production-related media every day, try to always know what’s new and exciting, find new music on soundcloud, blog aggregators etc.

and my point, finally: none of the new producers, music tech-teaching institutions – online or 'real-world '–, none of the new exciting project-exchanging apps ( , support cubase. it’s always ableton and logic, and fl studio and pro tools second. ableton, in particular, is the de facto new go-to DAW for any starting producer. cubase has been disappearing from the discourse of the new producer generation, and, especially in the US, is becoming somewhat of an obscurity.

now, to be sure, there are thousands of producers using it, and doing great music with it. however, when it comes to new producer acquision, i see nobody adopting it. it has zero cool factor, terrible marketing, steep learning curve. again, i really like it, but in the long run, it’s the new users who will pay for the software development in the future and ultimately decide if it’s going to survive. just take a look at the steinberg vs future music producer video series - some v. good producers in there (some less so), but noone exactly young. now, please do not use the patronising ‘oh we don’t need them edm kids using our software argument’ – it is just that, patronising, and rather ignorant.

if you look at ableton’s facebook page - in the past two weeks alone, i’ve seen:

an announcement ableton are co-sponsoring the midi hackathon in berlin “med at shaping and defining the future of analog and digital music creation” (notice how they’re all about ‘the future’?);

announcement about a book they’ve just released (‘Making Music - 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers’);

a behind-the-scenes video about the development of the software ( ).

to re-iterate, i’m not here to slash cubase or promote ableton (personally there’s a lot i dislike about its workflow but that’s for another discussion) or another daw. i just think the cubase marketing and development really ought to take notice of what’s going on in the production world (hint: it’s not tape machines), and respond to that. not by throwing money and buying media space, but by creating a more exciting product, and an open community around it. the risk, otherwise, of their product getting rebranded ‘Dad’s Music Tools’, is nigh…

:yawn: :unamused:

Not quite sure of the intention of the topic… if its a plea to Steinberg’s marketers, then perhaps its well placed perhaps not, but I sorta agree with Swamptone, here you have the faithful. EDM is certainly a busy sector, but not the only one out there.

I am fairly sure that if they want that business they will change their marketing strategy… But I don’t see the lack of that direction right now a death knell to this product.

How many consumers care what tool made what they listen to anyway?

Is it the OP’s own ego that’s bruised by not using a flavor of the month DAW? (no disrespect intended)

More questions than answers… like with my grandson this weekend, he’s 4. So I use his Grand-dad’s DAW :laughing:

this is irrelevant of edm (which is a very elusive term and in some ways a thing of the past as well). it’s about (a newer) approach to production across the board, irrespective of genre.

regarding the ‘flavour of the month daw’ comment: i’d say it is the complete opposite, i am definitely a horses for courses person. i’d use ms dos if that’s what got the job done for all i care. (and i still use 90s trackers sometimes to get a different creative input.)

it’s clear people respond to open-ended creative solutions that will enable them to create ‘flavour of the month’ new genres infinitely. max for live for instance is such tool that literally gives birth to new genres and concepts (people doing motion-sensor-controlled performances to name but one example). it is indeed the opposite of incorporating a set of ‘electronic midi loops’ ‘ready to be dropped into your arrange’ (sic) (this is something sb has done btw. if the irony is escaping someone).

to attempt to answer your musing about my intentions-- basically: 1/ i like cubase and nuendo and want them to stay relevant and flourish 2/ for this to happen, new users must get excited about the product 3/ producers this day and age are educated, with refined tastes, so this won’t happen by including ready-made midi loops etc – which is great! people actually respond to well thought-out workflows and creative environments that pose no limitations. all it takes is to look around and sample the best the competition is doing. easy. :slight_smile:

Only a poor craftsman blames his tools.


Now stop blaming your axe.


Aloha guys, just to chime in,

From a certain POV I can see lukasbrooklyn’s point.

A while back I started a thread called:


Should young musicians learn to read/write music?

The listed apps mentioned by lukasbrooklyn here
(ableton and logic, and fl studio and pro tools) have one thing in common.

They are IMHO are much weaker than Cubase when it come to ‘Score/Notation/MIDI’ chops.

Does this mean new buyers are not the ‘reading/scoring type’ because society does not need that function
as much as it once did?

Those other apps mentioned are perfectly fine to use
(and in some cases better because the developers have less to on which to focus)
when it comes to audio/loops/beats etc.

And I’m sure the ‘powers that be’ at Yamy/Steiny land asks themselves that same or similar question everyday so they can plan
for future business models.

So perhaps the tide is changing. And if it is;
1-Is it permanent?
2-Are we (discussing in this thread) in denial?

So my answer:
Since no DAW is perfect for everyone, I try to imagine the most comprehensive/all around DAW possible.
and that to me folks is Cubase.

But watch the skys.

And @ lukasbrooklyn:
Yer title is IMHO ‘link bait’ and a bit disturbing to us loyal fanbois.

Perhaps putting [discussion] in the tile might help.
You know like ‘A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down’ thang.

My 3c3nts.

I use a wood splitter, no need to blame my axe ! :laughing:

I don’t think the validity of brooklyn’s post depends on the musicality (or not) of edm.

I agree it is reasonable to wonder … if first-time DAW buyers don’t reach for Cubase when they are in diapers, is there even a small chance they will when they grow up? Maybe it will be like what happened to the lost Uubunti-Apuaa tribes of the Amazon after they were “discovered” by Westerners … it took just 1-2 generations for their tribal languages of the past 1000 years to be lost forever.

I imagine Steinberg marketing is aware of all that, and so they release the stuff that so many of the ahem “more experienced” guys on the forum, the ones who are just as likely to pay the bills with Cubase, are known to raise their eyebrows about - LoopMasheDeluxe, DJEQ(!), and other EDM/Loop/Beat-oriented releases.

But - maybe it’s not so bleak? For example, maybe a more likely scenario would be … when the few guys who stick with music engineering/production for more than a few years start hankering for a bit more than they can get with Garageband, FL Studio, Ableton, Logic, and the like … won’t they reach for Cubase, or Protools then? Are they really going to be able to do a full studio band recording with Fruity Loops Deluxe? Or score a film with the others? In other words, just because a lot people start out singing through Mr. Microphone does it mean the U87 is a goner for sure?

Also important is the educational market … anyone know which DAW software is the most prevalent in grade-school/high-school music labs?

Well said.

i think whichever software is the easiest to crack will probably determine which is the most popular ,young kids ,no money ,free software.

Where’s the stats? Otherwise it’s just ad-hoc observations from a limited sample.

Bingo! However …

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” - Samuel Clemens


You have to have the stats before you can determine whether they are lies!

However, it often not the stats that are the lies per se, but the interpretive license taken with them.

For me, bring on the stats!!!

Mr. Clemens astute observation calls into question whether statistics can be discerned as Truth of Lies (i.e. interpretive license). The fallacy of man-made global warming, and the enormous popularity of that fiction, demonstrates that the great thundering herd of humanity is utterly inept at such discernment. They “believe” that computer models are scientific fact, that consensus of scientists interpretive license is equivalent to clinical, double-blind tests, and that the word of self-professed experts trumps the ability (willingness) of the common man to think for themselves.

I call into question nearly every premise in the OP; and interpret all that fol-de-rol as an obtuse Op-Ed (opinion, editorial) piece wallowing in a vast sea of internet chatter and noise … which I, even now, am contributing to. As such, the only thing worth discussing here is what a complete waste of bandwidth the bankrupt premise that Cubase “has been nailed to its perch” is.

I added “[speculative discussion]” to the title, that seems more fair perhaps?

you’re right, i’m just speculating, based on what leading audio/production institutions use to teach (sae, point blank, dubspot…), and what i see around me (that’s very subjective of course). i’d love to see stats but i doubt we’re ever going to see a company release figures like that. although i have seen a claim that image-line’s fl studio is supposedly the most used daw in the world (no idea where that came from either).

no. considering that they survived the whole dongle fiasco, as a DAW host Cubase is still strong.

however SB as a whole may not be achieving as much as they could.

all there plugins are expensive
still has a dongle requirement for plugins
no alternative dongle support ie ilok compatibility
rarely has sales

other than that i think they need to keep the updates rolling and continue to improve the host. while i work daily without issues there is still lots of little and big tings to improve

Excellent point imho steinberg should give away a, say, 8 track limited version of cubase completely free to anybody with a handful of decent vstis. Make it the goto freebe DAW same for the tablet world.

When I was younger and poorer I did use cracked products - and using them eventually turned me into an official user.

If computer music magazine for instance carried the freebe cubase with every edition to host their giveaway vsts then the userbase will grow without doubt.

And I do believe like another poster has said that cubase is seen as dad’s DAW and that is assured obsolescence.