Licensing and the Survey

I am writing this post because I know Daniel reads these. I just completed the Steinberg survey asking me what I thought of my demo experience of Dorico. One of the questions was do you intend to buy Dorico in the future and if No, why?

Unfortunately the answer that came closest to my conclusion in the options was “too expensive”, but this is not quite right. The real reason is Dorico is absurdly expensive for ONE license. I am not getting into the the dongle conversation again, especially since now you can have a soft-license option. However, this solution is impractical for the way a lot of people work. Two licences seems to be the only solution, but since the competition offers the option to install their software in two computers, then technically Dorico is more than double the price to alternatives, if you need to install in two computers.

I just want Steinberg to know that this is the reason I’m not buying Dorico.

You CAN install Dorico on multiple computers. It’s just that the license to run it can only exist on one machine at a time. This of course slides over into the Dongle question, since the only way to swap “easily” back and forth from a desktop to a laptop (for example) is to use the USB Dongle, which I’m guessing you prefer not to do. Perhaps eventually Steinberg/Dorico will come up with an alternate solution that offers greater convenience.

I don’t think Steinberg is particularly concerned about the inconveniences of their particular system. From the Dorico blog comments (July 1):

…Dorico already has the most flexible eLicenser system of any Steinberg product, in that it allows you to choose between using a Soft-eLicenser locked to one machine, or to transfer the software onto a USB-eLicenser in order to use it on multiple machines. Thousands of users are happily using Dorico with this system, so it seems a shame to deny yourself the pleasure of using your perfect software simply for this reason.

Thanks for the feedback. I know that not everybody is content with the Soft-eLicenser system that Dorico uses, and everybody at Steinberg is likewise well aware. In the long term I am sure that there will be some changes to licensing for our products, including Dorico, but I stand by my remarks on the blog that I think it’s a shame not to use Dorico purely because of the licensing.

I heartily agree.

I can only implore you, as Steinberg’s representative, to address this issue with a realistic solution rather than simply sweep it aside.


I am not sweeping it aside, but I cannot realistically change it. Products that use the Soft-eLicenser can only be used on a single computer: this is true whether the product in question is Dorico, HALion, or any of the others. This decision is, as the saying goes, above my pay-grade, and has been discussed here ad nauseam.

As I have said many times before, Steinberg does not want licensing to be an obstacle to using the software for any legitimate customer. You can expect that in the future, the way in which our software products are licensed will change. Until there is something concrete to say, however, it would be imprudent of me to speculate about what those changes will be or when they will arrive.

In the meantime, if you need to move Dorico from one computer to another, you can either put your Dorico license onto a USB-eLicenser, or you can use the self-service “reactivation” workflow possible via your MySteinberg account.

I think what I and others have affirmed over the months since Dorico was released is we perceive it as an obstacle…

I wholeheartedly agree Daniel, this was not an angry post, but since I was sent the survey I thought you might want to know my reasoning.

I own Cubase, VSL, East West libraries, UVI, etc. I don’t mind the dongle because my Surface couldn’t (probably) handle them and they’re the type of applications that need a big monster Desktop. But unfortunately a notation software falls in the category of Adobe Acrobat, Office, etc. It needs to be mobile and I need it in more than one machine. Sadly, all your competitors offer me a solution.

All the best,


I realize I cannot begin to speak to economic realities that are involved, but what about meeting halfway? If the dongle is an issue (and for me it would be, as I know I would forget it at the most inopportune time), and purchasing a second installation is prohibitive, then how about having the second installation be at half-price? Reward the people who have purchased the program in good faith - as well we should - but give a break for those who need to work in more than one location.

Just a thought - probably not realistic; but then it might be the financial peace offering to those who won’t wade into the stream due to the high cost. And yes, I am mixing my metaphors, but there you go…

It’s a good thought.

Your idea has actually be implemented by other software vendors (although I haven’t seen it done in the music software business.) For me, I tried that approach of buying a second license (so I would have the security of my laptop running Dorico where-ever I was.) I was told that I had used up my one crossgrade (around $280 USD) and if I want another license I would have to pay the full license price of around $560. As you might imagine, that was non-starter for me. I like Dorico and all that, but that was pushing my enthusiasm for the product too far. Of course, even if I could have picked up a second license at $280, it also means that down the road, unless Steinberg creates any kind of policy, I’d get hit up twice for Dorico 2.0 upgrades.

Update: Sweetwater in the US will trade in a second competitive license for the crossgrade price as long as that license has not been used to crossgrade before.

If Steinberg decided to go down this road, they might take into account the “double” purchase.

Hey, it’s easy to decide marketing policy when it’s not your own company!

Too true. :wink:

Update: My Sweetwater (US Distributor) Sale Engineer was able to get me a second license at the cross-grade price for my laptop by trading on my Notion 6 license (beats $560 for a second license.) I’m $280 poorer, but a little happier.

Congrats! I’m also this close to buying my second license, but I’m too frightened for what happens when the paid upgrades kicks in… :unamused:

I’m working on the theory I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am not an expert at all, but I suspect something:
If the software allows a second license on another computer, this would offer an „easy“ reverse programming possibility to actually crack the licensing system of the programm. Then the market would very fast get flooded with cracked versions of the application, which means the end of revenue, the end of further developement etc. If my suspicion is true, it would explain why Steinberg quite successfully should go against this road. In the long run it might be to our own benefit, if the system stays that restrictive.
Having said that, this issue is the only reason, why I am sticking to my old software for notation as long as I can…

Actually providing two activations is no more risky than selling the product to two people; it’s no more easy to reverse engineer/crack.

It’s the licensing system that they’ve been using for Cubase for years. Maybe Cubase users are more likely to only run Cubase in a studio due to other attached hardware etc so the dongle isn’t as big of an issue.
It’s not an intentional decision from the Dorico team to make you buy two copies.
It’s also out of our hands (directly) but is part of a big discussion at Steinberg for the future for all our software.

Thanks, John. I understand it’s not the intentional decision of the Dorico team. Hopefully we’ll see better in the future. :wink:


I enter this thread exactly because I’m not going to buy Dorico for this dongle thing.
But I see that Daniel says: “you can use the self-service “reactivation” workflow possible via your MySteinberg account.”

When I read the relevant page I see that the reactivation is intended if one changes the PC, or reinstall the operative system.

My question is: can one without problems use this reactivation (between the same two computers, without reinstalling Dorico every time!) two or three times every week, until Steinberg defines a new protection schema? Or this use is not permitted?