Licensing Methodology User Interface • Frustrations and Disappointments

Forgive the rant. I’m a little disappointed. The licensing methodology for Cubase and its constellation of softwares is far from intuitive.

I’m a technical consultant on a lot of interweb/audio/video stuff for a number of clients. Maybe I’m not entirely clueless. Yet this licensing software makes me feel like I’m trying to program one of those old fashioned VCR’s (“Video Cassette Recorders” for those who don’t remember them. The joke was that nobody could figure out how to program them to record at a specific time. People expected to record the big game and found they’d recorded teletubbies instead.)

I’ve got four separate programs that handle different aspects of the same data:

  • the e-licenser software
  • the download assistant
  • the library manager
  • the activation manager

Just shooting the breeze here… but… shouldn’t these all be combined in one interface?
Things I need:

  • A filterable search field for everything.
  • Show me just a filtered list of what I’m licensed to install. Use icons to indicate what is installed and what has yet to be. Let me click a button to install or uninstall.
  • Show me a list of what’s new and free that’s not installed that I am allowed to install and make getting the license for free stuff easy right there in the combined interface.
  • Show me a list of stuff I’ve installed that isn’t licensed with an alert icon and give me a button to remedy that even if it goes to my account on the Steinberg website and shopping cart. If it’s free, help me remedy the free license. Give me the option to uninstall the unlicensed software too.
  • Show me a library of available stuff that’s not installed with an actual filterable search field and make it easy for me to manage installing it. Ask me for the activation code before installing it.
    *Show me a list of all the licenses I have installed including their activation codes, regardless of whether the license is e-licenser, activation manager or free.

We all learn in different ways. Is there a YouTube video for dummies where Dom S or someone else explains where to find the list of licensed stuff is, where the unfortunately unlicensed stuff is, and what to do about it, to me like I’m five years old?




You make some good points. Are you using Cubase Pro? I have often just checked online if there is a purchase price for a particular instrument or pack. Basically every single pack needs to be purchased. I know all this stuff for Halion is free:


Isn’t it called “My Products” in Steinberg Download Assistant?

Under My products, you see everything what comes with your products.

This would not be of much help. The activation code is used once. After that it is not necessary any more, even if you are doing a reactivation.

If they made it 100% consistent it would help.
Recently there was an update to VST Connect, including the SE version included in Cubase. I cannot find this in “My Products”.
Downloading the Freebies… I have to do some stuff required by Steinberg before I can download a freebie, but some of them are not in “My Products”.
Why? Because Steinberg usually thinks through these processes from their end. They have internal categories and place the products accordingly. There is a logic to it, it is at times just hard to figure out for non-Steinberg personnel or long-time Steinberg customers. It would make much more sense to think about these processes from a user’s point of view.
That is what @Laughter_on_Water describes.

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I just made another rant similar to this one, having forgotten I wrote this. I downloaded four free instruments and installed them. They worked for a while, then a month later, they stopped working because of licensing issues. I apparently put the licenses in the wrong way. So now I can no longer use those licenses because the items are no longer free. Same with the one that just popped up as no longer licensed. Cubase 12 Pro.

Thanks for your reply.

Your answers suggest that these are all the most natural things to know. They’re not. Things that were listed last month under “my products” are suddenly delisted this month because I didn’t activate them properly. The interface for Cubase itself is curated and well thought out. Things change and improve, but I get the reasons for user interface placements and flow. I can take a class on anything I don’t understand or get more information on YouTube. And I can make suggestions on how to improve that UI.

I shouldn’t have to take a class on product licensing to buy or use a product. If it’s free, it’s free. There shouldn’t be a hurdle for something free. If money is involved, making it hard to license something means I’m not as likely to actually attempt to purchase the unfortunate license. I will probably buy somewhere else that’s easier.

Now I see lofi piano is in my product downloads and that it isn’t installed. I had it installed before, but I had to uninstall it because I was told by Cubase a couple months ago there as a licensing issue. Is Lofi Piano really “my product” or not? I honestly don’t know at this point.

Every other time I open Cubase, I need to update the download assistant, the activation manager and the e-licensing fob software before anything else will work. I wait minutes for the updates. And some stuff still uses the fob. Frankly, I liked the fob for Cubase 11 because it made it easy to take the license from my desktop to my laptop and vice versa. Now? Not so easy. So I need a class in that too?

I can’t apologize for what I see. The licensing interface is a travesty of multiple bad user interfaces. The stellar interface of Cubase cannot excuse the unfortunate inadequacy of the license interface. I expect better from Steinberg. They need to take into account all stakeholders — not just long-time old-hats who think that significant change to a virtually unusable licensing interface is unworthy.

Please continue here: LIcensing issues keep popping up. Can we get this figured out? - #3 by Laughter_on_Water