Mark Wherry (Hans Zimmers studio tech guru extrordinare) doesn't sound sold on new xdong. licensing

Interesting piece,
Do You Hate Copy Protection Systems? If So Then Read This! | Production Expert (


Where’s the problem? He will get a multiclient license or a bunch of NFRs. In his szenario one user and two machines isn’t enough. So, if he’s using Cubase on 10 machines he have to buy 5 licences. Yes, I see the problems, not enough money and no time to activate once in a year with the offline license.

Encouraging to see someone who carries actual weight pointing out the unnacteptably patronising attitude of Steinberg reps who were online dealing with the actual paying users of their software.

Did you read it?

Finally, there’s also the issue of the future. What happens if a developer goes out of business and it’s no longer possible to get your purchases ‘authorised’? Not being able to go back and load older projects and sessions on a newer or replacement system because the company who sold the host, instruments, or effect no longer exists makes me rather nervous. And even if the company is still in business, music and audio software titles get deprecated and reclassified as ‘legacy’ meaning that authorisation is no longer supported.

I think he is spot on.


My hope is that Steinberg gives in to some sort of enterprise or commercial studio dongle for those who want it, I would pay a bit extra for it.

My understanding is that Adobe even has some sort of enterprise solution. It’s hard to imagine that 100 million dollar facilities working on multi hundred dollar million productions, are going to be forced to connect to the internet every 30 days or whatever.

Or someone who owns a Nuage console… shouldn’t a Nuage console really be a hardware license in itself, that just works forever?

I would be open to even adding a Yamaha/Steinberg iterface to my current ones in order to have a hardware license. imo, Cubase pro should just be bundled with the higher-end interfaces - would probably result in selling more interfaces.

What‘s if Pace goes offline. For ever. And the old driver can‘t installed on a new fresh system?
Or Steinberg, hopefully not, closes the business?
We‘re living in a software world and changes coming faster and faster.

Then people can use a legacy computer/OS with a driver that works and continue using the ilok dongle.

The DAW market is majorly funded by hobbyists/prosumers with disposal income - so they have to progress to hit as much of that crowd as possible. The pro market is nothing like what it was, I used to work with a number of studios and only know of one that is full time now. That’s in the UK, perhaps it’s better elsewhere? I don’t know.

It’s been crappy for years over here since people were recording at home more, you can’t charge much as bands would rather buy their own hardware or software for the money.

As much as Hans is a poster boy for the product, he isn’t really all that representative of the average Cubase user. That doesn’t make Mark Wherry’s points invalid or anything like that, but people want to be like Hans, rather than being in a similar position to him.

So Steinberg have to create a professional product, yet sell it to the largest market they can.

However, You only have to look at google trends to see how Cubase has spiralled downwards in interest. And undoubtedly this is why the dongle is being removed as it is an obstacle for people coming in to the platform.

If it continues then perhaps the chance of Cubase being non-existent is very much greater if they fail to turn trends around and sit dormant in the current state?

The current e-licenser relies on servers being online, and the app to carry out maintenance tasks. If Steinberg sit still, I’m pretty sure that things will be a LOT worse than having to be online once a month/once a year.

Just my personal opinion, though, of course.

Some things I would like to comment on:

First, Mark’s comment was released based on the announcement in April, not on the announcement in November with the detailed FAQs. He didn’t have any information about our plans back then. We will come up with a good solution for this corporate multi-seat use-cases.

Secondly, Google trends: Sometimes it feels like some of you like the narrative of Cubase being doomed. But it’s not like that and Google trends just shows what you ask for. If you compare Cubase, as a software, with other DAWs it doesn’t look as bad.