Most products including Cubase, Dorico, Nuendo, WaveLab, SpectraLayers and Groove Agent transitioned to the new licensing system.
Simply start your software, sign in with your Steinberg ID, and you’re up and running instantly — with no need for a hardware key or dongle. Steinberg Licensing is simple, quick, and flexible.
Transitioning to a new system
For many years, Steinberg products have used our eLicenser system, with its combination of the USB-eLicenser hardware key and the Soft-eLicenser software key, and it has served us and our customers well. But times change, and our customers have been asking us for extra freedom and flexibility.
Steinberg Licensing provides greater convenience, more flexibility, and enables you to use your Steinberg software in new, more powerful ways. For example, single-user licenses can be activated on three computers, so you can easily run your software in your studio and on the road.
Early 2022 we began the transition from eLicenser to the new Steinberg Licensing system. Over time, as new versions of our creative tools and instruments are introduced, our entire product line will use Steinberg Licensing.
How it works
Steinberg Licensing is an identity-based license management system, where your identity as our customer is at the heart of everything. Signing up for a Steinberg ID is as simple as entering your email address, choosing a secure password, and verifying your new account. It only takes a couple of minutes — and if you are an existing Steinberg customer, you probably already have a Steinberg ID.
With Steinberg Licensing, you can simply download your purchased software, run it, sign in with your Steinberg ID, and you’re up and running right away. When you sign in, your computer contacts Steinberg over the internet to check your license, record some information that identifies the computer you’re signing in from, and activates your software.
This online activation system also allows the flexibility to activate your software on three computers — and if you buy a new computer or temporarily need to use a different one, you can release your license from one computer to activate another. After activation, you can disconnect from the internet altogether if you need to, and run your software indefinitely without reconnecting.
Managing your licenses
You can check the status of your licenses using the new Steinberg Activation Manager software, which is automatically installed when installing software that uses Steinberg Licensing. Steinberg Activation Manager lists your licensed products and allows you to activate them on your computer, or release a license if you want to activate on another computer.
If you need to release a license from a computer you no longer have access to, you can deactivate all the licenses from the inaccessible computer from your Steinberg ID account web pages.
Progress in 2022
Since its introduction with Dorico 4 in early 2022, the new Steinberg Licensing system has undergone further developments. This is an overview of the progress made throughout the first year:
We introduced the Offline Activation option to activate products on systems not connected to the internet.
Activating product trial versions is now easier.
We introduced new functions in MySteinberg, such as deactivating licenses on unavailable systems, two-factor authentication for improved security and the Voucher tab for migrating software from eLicenser to Steinberg Licensing by upgrading corresponding license(s).
Frequently Asked Questions
Requiring an internet connection
Can I use Steinberg products on systems that are not connected to the internet at all?
Yes, we provide a process for activating a license using the internet connection on another computer.
You can use Steinberg Activation Manager to generate a license request that you can save to a removable storage device (like a USB drive) and take to a computer that is connected to the internet. Using Steinberg Activation Manager on the online computer, you can exchange the license request for an offline-activated license. You then save the license file back to the removable storage device and return it to the offline computer, where you use Steinberg Activation Manager to complete the activation of the license.
Please have a look at the Help Center article for further details.
How often will I need to connect to the internet? Do I need to be connected all the time?
Your computer only needs to be connected to the internet in order to sign in with your Steinberg ID and to obtain the initial activation. Thereafter your computer can remain disconnected from the internet, and your software will continue its normal operation. Running your Steinberg software does not require a constant internet connection.
Use on multiple machines
How many computers can I use with a new license?
You are allowed to install our products on multiple computers, but you can only activate a product on three computers at any one time. A single-user license is intended for a single person, and it is not permitted to use the software simultaneously on three computers. If you run out of activations, you can deactivate a license from one of your computers before activating it on a new one.
Can I buy a multi-seat license for an educational institution or business?
In 2023, multi-user licenses for educational institutions and enterprise customers will be available, allowing you to choose the number of computers on which the software can be used simultaneously. For the time being, the offering for educational and business customers will continue to vary according to the product.
If I activate my software on one platform, can I later activate on the other platform, e.g., Windows first, then Mac?
Yes. All Steinberg desktop software products are cross-platform between Windows and macOS, and you can freely activate your software on either platform.
Use by multiple accounts on a single computer
Will my license be usable by other user accounts on my computer?
For single-user licenses, only the user account on your computer which you use to sign in with your Steinberg ID will be able to use the software. Single-user licenses are intended for use by a single person, not for sharing between multiple users on the same computer.
For multiple-user licenses, planned to be available in 2023, further options will be available, including the option to assign a license to a specific computer, such that any user account on that computer will be able to use the software.
We own multiple copies of Steinberg products for my school/business, how does this work with Steinberg Licensing?
Our single-user licenses are for individuals and not intended for sharing between multiple users. However, we realize that many customers manage multiple licenses on behalf of their team or have computers that are used by multiple users.
We are still working on our full multi-user solution, but if you need to switch to Steinberg Licensing before that is available, the principle is that you should purchase licenses for the number of shared computers in use or the number of users, based on the maximum total number of simultaneous users.
For example, if you have a complex multi-user login process or license setup, you may want to wait for our official multi-user solution described below or get in touch with us to join our pilot program at email@example.com.
What will be the advantages of multi-user licensing?
For users with multiple licenses, we intend to offer flexible licensing models for the various ways our software is used and deployed, preferential pricing for multiple licenses, and enhanced license management features to give you greater control.
When will multi-user licensing be available?
Initially we were planning the initial launch for the second half of 2022, but have had to reschedule to 2023. We will keep you updated as our plans develop.
How do I update to a new version of an application that uses Steinberg Licensing?
To update from a version of a software product that currently uses eLicenser to one that uses Steinberg Licensing, you should first ensure that you have registered your eLicensers in MySteinberg. Then, when you buy an update from the Steinberg online shop, you will receive a Download Access Code (DAC) by email. Run Steinberg Download Assistant, and enter your DAC.
If the eLicenser containing the license for the version of the software you are upgrading from is found, you will be told that the update is complete, and you can proceed to download the new version from My Products in Steinberg Download Assistant.
If the eLicenser is not found (because, for example, it is not currently connected to your computer), you will be granted a temporary license for the new version so that you can download and use the update right away.
Then, when you have either moved to the computer containing the Soft-eLicenser with the license for the older version or connected the USB-eLicenser containing that license to your computer, simply enter your DAC again, and the update process will be completed.
If you encounter any problems with the update process, please consult the Help Center.
Will grace period updates be available for existing eLicenser-based products moving to Steinberg Licensing?
Free grace period updates will still be available for products using Steinberg Licensing. To check eligibility for a grace period, run Steinberg Activation Manager and select “Grace Period Check...” in the account menu. If you are eligible for a grace period update, Steinberg Activation Manager will show a message and redirect you to the Steinberg website. You can then sign in with your Steinberg ID, if necessary, and a Download Access Code for your grace period update will be sent to your registered email address. Enter this Download Access Code into Steinberg Download Assistant to download your new software.
Upgrading my computer
Can I upgrade the hardware in my computer without losing my activation?
Your license is tied to your Steinberg ID account. However, we do record some information about the computer on which you activate your license so that we can count how many computers you currently have activated and enforce the limit of three computers for a single-user license (or, in the future, the specific number of computers in a multi-user license). Your privacy is protected: the information that is recorded is not personally identifiable, and no information about specific software or files on your computer is transmitted.
If you change the hardware components in your computer significantly, it may appear to the licensing system that you are running on an entirely new computer. In the event that your computer is identified as a new computer, depending on whether you have a current activation on a second and third computer you can deactivate the licenses activated on the “old computer” yourself from the Steinberg ID account pages.
Do I need to take any special precautions when updating my operating system?
Provided you are updating your operating system in place, without reformatting your computer or installing a new hard disk, etc., then your software should remain activated after the OS update. However, it is not impossible for an OS update to make sufficiently large changes to your computer that it may be interpreted as a new computer, and in that case your Steinberg software will no longer be activated. In the event that your computer is identified as a new computer, depending on whether you have already activated your software on the maximum number of allowed computers, you can deactivate the licenses activated on the “old computer” yourself from the Steinberg ID account pages.
Can I continue using my eLicensers?
What happens if I lose an old USB-eLicenser after the switch to the new system has been made?
Yes. The eLicenser system will be maintained and run for some time to come, at least until such time as all actively maintained Steinberg products have been transitioned to the new Steinberg Licensing system. Even after the eLicenser server is eventually decommissioned, further still into the future, existing USB-eLicensers will continue to work for as long as they remain functional, and you are still able to run the corresponding software versions on your computer.
However, if you want to take advantage of the new features and improvements that will be introduced in major updates to Steinberg software, when you update to a new version using Steinberg Licensing, you will not have the option of using your eLicenser for that version of that product.
Steinberg Zero Downtime will continue to be available for some time after the introduction of the new Steinberg Licensing system, at least until such time as all actively maintained Steinberg products have transitioned to using the new Steinberg Licensing system. Although we are no longer manufacturing new USB-eLicensers, we expect it to be possible to buy USB-eLicensers from authorized resellers for some time to come.
When are you going to turn off the eLicenser servers?
We have no immediate plans to turn off the eLicenser servers as we are still in the process of transitioning our product lines. You may have read some communication from other companies that use the eLicenser system and mention a specific date, however, that is more about our contractual relationship with those companies and unrelated to when we would turn off our own systems. We assure you that the shutdown of the eLicenser servers will be communicated well in advance, accompanied by a clear answer to the question below.
What will happen to my old licenses when the eLicenser servers are turned off
As we transition across to the new Steinberg Licensing system, we will be listening carefully to our users and evaluating a number of possible migration options for users with eLicenser-based licenses for our older products . We will do our best to bring all our customers with us on the journey to a more sustainable and future-proof licensing system.
What about products from other companies that I have on my eLicenser?
Over time, other companies that currently use the eLicenser system will transition to alternative licensing systems. Please contact the vendor of your third-party software for more information about their plans.
Migrating existing licenses
Which Steinberg products are next in line for the switch to Steinberg Licensing?
2022 saw new iterations of Dorico, Cubase, Nuendo and SpectraLayers employing the new Steinberg Licensing system while current versions of WaveLab, Groove Agent and Backbone provided maintenance updates supporting Steinberg Licensing free of charge for existing customers.
Gradually, our entire product range will transition to the Steinberg Licensing system, with our instruments next in line.
After I update to Steinberg Licensing, will I still be able to run previous versions of the products I’ve bought?
Yes, provided you either have your USB-eLicenser connected to your computer, or the Soft-eLicenser containing the license for the previous version of the product is present on the computer. The new Steinberg Licensing system does not apply to versions of our products prior to the first version that uses the new system: so if you buy, say, a new license for Cubase 12 as a brand-new customer, you cannot run Cubase 11 or earlier, but if you are an existing Steinberg customer who updates to Cubase 12 from Cubase 11, you can still run Cubase 11 or indeed any previous version of Cubase provided you connect your USB-eLicenser containing the license for Cubase 11.
Can I sell licenses? If so, how?
Yes, you will still be able to sell your retail licenses using the Steinberg Licensing system. We will provide details of this process in the future.
Note, however, after you have updated an existing license for a Steinberg product to a version that uses the new Steinberg Licensing system, although the license for the previous version will remain in your eLicenser, you cannot resell, transfer or update/upgrade that license.
Pricing and business model
Will I still be able to choose when to upgrade or update?
Yes, just as you have always had the option to decide whether to purchase an update to the new version of a product after it is released, you will still be able to choose when to update. After a new version is available, your license for your current version will continue to work as normal.
Does the introduction of Steinberg Licensing mean that Steinberg is introducing subscription pricing?
Steinberg Licensing does not change anything today about the way we sell our products. However, the new system does open up many new possibilities for the way we offer our products, and we plan to explore these in future.
We know that many of our existing customers are concerned that Steinberg may switch to a subscription pricing model for our products. Please be reassured that whatever options for buying Steinberg software products may be offered in future, we have no plans to withdraw the option to buy and use our existing software products under a perpetual license, just as we always have.
What data does Steinberg collect during the activation process?
Your software licenses are tied to your Steinberg ID, which uses your email address as your unique identity. Each computer on which you activate your software will transmit a unique hardware identification key to identify that computer for the purposes of allowing you to run your software on the appropriate number of computers. This hardware identification key does not include any personally identifiable data and does not include any information about the configuration of or specific files on your computer. The host name of your computer may be transmitted for the purposes of showing you the names of the computers on which you have activated the software on the Steinberg website, should you need to deactivate a license from a computer other than the one you are using.
When you activate your software, or when the activation is renewed, only the time and hardware identification key is transmitted, along with a request for which specific license the software requires.
Does Steinberg Licensing apply to Steinberg's apps for iOS and Android?
No. Steinberg Licensing is only used by our software products for Windows and macOS. Our apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, and Chromebook devices will continue to use the standard licensing terms and systems of the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
For further insights on Steinberg Licensing, read this interview with project lead Ben Timms, courtesy of KVR Audio.