Is Cubase Popularity Dropping?

Dear Steinberg,

I’ve been teaching Cubase to students of the Conservatorium Haarlem and my own studio in
The Netherlands for the past 7 years.
What i’ve noticed is that the knowledge about the existence and usability of
Cubase has dropped dramatically. Even to the point where the Cubase classes
i teach have been stripped from the curriculum at the Conservatorium Haarlem.

I teach a younger generation and they all think Cubase is some kind of
old school, PC only, clumsy, out-dated, program that was popular in the 90’s
of the last century.

After I’m done teaching, the students are usually in awe of the program,
as they should have been from the start.

I’m no marketing expert but i do know that Cubase is suffering from an image problem.
I also know that companies with products like Live, Logic and even Reason do
not have this problem.

At the moment Cubase is the ugly girl with the great personality. She only shines when
given a chance, but that never happens because people always choose the pretty girls.

Many of you may remember a video format called Betamax. This video format was
quite superior to VHS, it’s big competitor. But VHS was much cheaper and its results
were adequate for most people. Betamax phased out of existence and VHS became the
standard. Cubase is Betamax and Logic is VHS.

I tell my students that Cubase has managed to, feature- and quality-wise, become
as flexible as Ableton Live, as easy to use as Logic, and as sturdy and high quality as Pro-Tools.
(This should be your slogan!!)

As far as i can tell Logic has become the standard among, dance producers in particular, in The Netherlands.
It is followed or even tied with Ableton Live and I seldom meet people that use cubase.

Coincidentally I met someone who had just switched from Logic for the purpose of making Game Music.
He was disappointed there is no cross-grade available from other programs than Pro-Tools.
He is also disappointed about not being able to cross-grade from Cubase to Nuendo (for its built in game engine)

I hope Yamaha and Steinberg have enough sense of reality and are not too proud or convinced of their own
supremacy to try and change the perception of Cubase with the greater public.

Steinberg’s Cubase Pro 8 is by far the superior program of all and people should know this!

I write this not only because I love Cubase and have been using it on my Mac systems since version 1.0 back in 1989.
My livelihood a a teacher is in danger because Cubase seems to be losing it’s footing (in The Netherlands).

I hope this email helps to reestablish Cubase Pro 8 as market leader once again.

More than happy to help!

Best Regards,

Jord Ouwehand

Sad to hear this, makes me wonder how the market share is actually looking. Then again, its not to late to turn things around, hopefully their marketing department takes heed. Especially for your sake. :open_mouth:

I can see how this would affect your particular livelihood, however, as a tool set, for most, it will go on for years to come.

Good luck, hope it bounces back for you.

I don’t know about the statistics on number of Cubase users but I never got my now 19 year old son to use Cubase as his first choice. Some years ago we bought him a user interface that came with Cubase LE. The registration process was so frustrating (he never got it running) that he looked at other programs and never went back. I still use Cubase not only because it’s a great application but also because I don’t want to spend time learning other programs. DAW s is a mature very competitive business. I am surprise there is still so many programs that have survived this far.



Interesting post. I have to say, however, that if you want to help Cubase, posting something with the title “Cubase popularity dropping dramatically” makes it sound like you know the program is not doing as well as Abelton Live or Logic. I don’t know if it is or is not, but someone considering purchasing a Cubase license might see this post or maybe read the topic only and decide against looking further into the program, let alone becoming a licensed user. You could phrase the topic as a question, “Is Cubase Popularity Dropping?”

I purchased Cubase Pro 8 because it includes an impressive feature set along with an attractive instrument/effects package. It’s a mature program, now together with Yamaha (a plus for me, love their gear and technology). Anyway, Betamax may have been the failure in the consumer market, but in professional video production BetaCam SP ruled the world for decades and looked great. Cubase Pro 8 is the Red Camera of today. :slight_smile: Pros use it, kids want candy (Abelton)

If you are right, then there’s a reasonable argument that so is the OP.

I’m not changing from Cubase, mainly because it would take me far too long to become as facile with another sequencer, and I’d be afraid that after all that, I’d find I’d be lacking something or other I really depends on in Cubase.

But if the kids aren’t choosing Cubase now, how likely is it they will use it later?

Of course, whether the OP’s experience is universal, none of us know. I hope not!

Nothing wrong with multipe tools in the toolbox either. It’s all about time, and what you can spend it on.

Thanks for joining in the discussion guys! And Steven57, good point about the title of the post.

This trend, if it exists at all, is really worrying me. Not only because I might loose a source of income but also because a program this awesome simply needs to be on top.

Does anyone have suggestions on how Steinberg could go about that? Is it just marketing? Even more/ better features? Or should the cosmetics of Cubase change to a more playful look? The older built in synths are really ugly!

One feature request I have is being able to import color scheme-presets. It may sound stupid but I find, when the look and atmosphere of the program changes it really inspires me. It feels like new and fresh.

Also cross-grade options from other DAW’s should be possible.

Keep replying folks! Hopefully someone from Steinberg will chip in and shed some light on Steinberg’s opinion on the matter.


As much as I like Cubase for its in depth features, I can’t really blame them. The mixer and windows management looks and feels like it’s straight from the 90’s and the (on the fly) integration for controlling VST’s with any external controller feels like it’s from the 90’s too (clumsy to not even possible).
For me those points where the reason as a Cubase veteran to peek over the fence, so I can imagine potential user would skip it for that too.

Marketing is a short term solution to quickly draw attention.
Long term solutions are offered by smart engineering, customer relations and above all, focusing on your own product’s strength (the reason why existing users picked the product in the first place). Happy customers draw customers!

Popularity is imo related to availability on the darknet and thus availability to the masses who can’t pay for licenses.
SB has been battling this for a while now, and most of the things you could find available are years old.
That’s not the case with ableton and logic. What everybody knows, everybody wants, and even when people do not buy it directly, it creates name and fame.
Don’t forget that most of those technoguys who are now doing very well all started with darknet software… They show what they use, and the cattle will follows.
Technically speaking no reason to do so, but it is fancy to know that producer A or B is using it too… it creates some form of bond. Ableton is focussed on loops too, so as long as the beat goes, it’s likely it will stay that way.

Not so with logic. These are quite similar programs. Logic is solely Apple though. The software gets related to it’s OS status as an A-brand. Reason to go for it ? Maybe not, but Apple is still hot, and cheaper…

  • If you see the recent update of logic where they add Camel Audio’s Alchemy in to the native package… these things are really bad for BU for other brands. Alchemy did cost as much as logic’s entire price, and is now a free add-on. This is quite a big attack in the branch imho, and if the rest does not respond, it seems that logic will be creating more fame for itself then ever before.

But on the other hand: how far can you go in devaluating the value of your products. A decent answer for SB for example would be to include the full Halion package in Cubase for the same price… that’s value for money. (and is interesting for 3th party devs too). Not sure if they would even take such a thing in to account.

It’s a very good post in my opninion. I would not like to see SB getting in to financiel trouble, but it’s a hard world out there.
Good for us consumers though…

kind regards,

I think you have a very valid point there!

I would do my research before posting such a topic. Believe it Cubase is on top now. Thanks to PC users. As per the latest 2014-2015 DAW Poll. Followed closely by Logic and all others. I would go as far as saying that Steinberg is schooling them if you look closely.

Cubase is an advanced music production tool / DAW. Great for real musician. If you’re looking for loop based music production and have a Mac maybe Logic… With their massive 20 GB of sounds.

I think Cubase is a better choice for students / musicians, rock bands… Who are serious and are able to spend a few years learning how to produce at a Pro level…

It’s all about how you present a DAW to a kid that has no idea what to use. It’s all about the end result.
If a kid wants to produce hip hop, urban or electronic music and has little-no music skills. Logic might a better choice and Apple is working hard at marketing that.

I just did some basic research. And I mean really basic; I simply googled “Best DAW 2015”
Around 10 sites with charts/listings came up. Almost ALL put Ableton first, Bitwig is often 2nd and Cubase comes in third at only one of those sites. It usually dangles somewhere around 7th or 8th place.

Of course I don’t know if those lists are just preferences of the author or wether those lists are based on feature sets or actual sales numbers.

It seems that we established that due to a steep learning curve on all DAW’s, one tends to stick with what one knows. If this is true, then Cubase is in trouble. Also according to you AP.

And once you’re on Logic the chance of changing to another DAW is not huge, right?

Keep those responses coming!
This is getting really interesting.

Particularly the bit about the “Darknet”. Not that i would consider a simple Torrent-site “The Darknet”… :wink:
But the fact that crackable software becomes more popular the non-crackable software is interesting to say the least!

This poll is from Gearslutz by real DAW users and will close this year:

Well, that is indeed the best score for Cubase so far. Unfortunately that list is made by Gearslutz
whom are passionate enough about their preferred DAW to participate in the poll.
So although it is a very positive outcome for Cubase it doesn’t mean it’s popularity isn’t declining or gaining for that matter…

My question in the initial post is solely based on a gut feeling gotten from what i see happening around me.

Keep the replies coming!

Interesting indeed and it is an essential question too. Why does someone buy SB software and not something from a similar brand.
I also think both of you are right. On the one hand you got the (semi)-pro’s. They are hopefully for SB a niche in their customer database. In fact most real pro’s still go protools it seems, even with the recurrent fee. So why is the majority buying it ?

  • They heard or have read about it, and they are convinced. (maybe some)
  • they have seen it with a friend and want it too (maybe quite a few)
  • they have heard some beloved artist talking about it (quite a lot i think)
  • they have experienced it, and they say it is what they are going to use to do their thing with (probably most)
  • and maybe, because they learned how to use it in some form of education (probably most for ((semi)-pro)

Access is key to get introduced. But i do not want to get banned, so i leave the way to completely open. :slight_smile:

It’s a psychological question, and if OP says that his customer base, wich are pupils, do not know the software anymore, that is something to be aware of. He can do two things: be silent and learn another daw from the competition and adapt to the situation, or he can post his concerns with the intention to warn the company of his findings on the brands reputation. In fact this is very nice of him to take the time to do this, and we jump on it too, because probably most of us are defending the brand too since it makes actually excellent sofware. Nothing wrong whith the topic i seems to me.

kind regards,

We’re #3 according to this “best-of” from Beat Report magazine. My only loyalty is to trying to make good music and the technology is a means to an end. I’ve played with Abelton a little and it is powerful. For live work, the loop-based and slot-based system is quite elegant. For the EDM people, it seems like Live and Logic are the first choice with BitWig getting some attention.

With Cubase Pro 8, I think the user is more involved with sound engineering and recording a la Pro Tools on a professional level. I’m only a few months into the program and still have so much to learn, but I’ve been sequencing and recording to DAWS since the days of Voyetra Sequencer+

The recent youtube videos showing producers and artists discussing and demonstrating Cubase in their studios are worth seeing.

Anyway, in terms of popularity, it seems the program is doing well. Artist development and user training are, of course, key to getting the product recognized and more widely known.

Here’s how the article put it:

Reasons to use it [Cubase]
Given how long Cubase has been around, Steinberg has done a great job of improving it over the years. As a result, it is one of the stable applications out there. The VST compatibility and support is also second to none.

Reasons to avoid it
The workflow and interface can certainly be intimidating for first-time users. Additionally, its user base is much more limited, making it harder to find resources and community support. It can take a long time to achieve certain mundane tasks in Cubase than it would in other DAWs.

URL to full article -->

Interesting thread, good comments. :slight_smile:

It is quite difficult to find info on actual selling numbers and popularity, but a good indicator on the matter is google analytics.
Not that you make real judgements based on it since it is very much linked to the type of search term being used, but it are certainly indicators on popularity… number of searches in google. :slight_smile:
You’ll need an account with google to view it.


You can change the parameters and the search terms at the top of the page. For example when viewing “Nederland” you can see why OP is having a hard time…
Dutch people are Fruity Loopers and Reaper lovers.

Might have something to do with the majority of producers, mixers on youtube not using it. We get the likes of Pensado, plugging Waves and Protools (he’s obviously on the pay role) so there’s that market. Then all the EDM boys are in FL or Ableton.

Cubase really needs to spend more in the promotions and marketing department. Finding producers who have found some success and bribing them to do a videos on the tube.

All the new toys we see released never seem to have cubase running as the linked DAW. This is very bad for them! VERY!!!

Have you seen the Future Music Steinberg Studio Sessions on Youtube? Some of them are quite good.

If Cubase popularity is dropping, it could be because other DAWs (referred to as candy) are actually seriously good. :wink: