by Lyubomir Dobrev | 1,0 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes
Steinberg eLicenser

 ·  Source: Steinberg


This is news that we are pretty sure all Steinberg Cubase users will be happy about. The eLicenser dongle will soon be history! And the problems that this much maligned copy protection still causes on many computer systems to this day will finally be a thing of the past. Cubase will soon be using a new copy protection system that does without the dongle occupying a USB port. 


Steinberg to remove eLicenser USB from Cubase DAW

Originating in the late 80s, Cubase from Hamburg-based Steinberg is still in great demand around the world and is used in many small and large recording studios, as well as phones and tablets. However, the eLicenser copy protection system, which utilizes a USB dongle and software running in the background, is notorious for interfering with normal operating system operations. When the DAW won’t start or shut down because of a copy protection scheme, you are losing time and money by running software that’s rightfully yours.

Moreover, when major updates to Cubase are released, the user experience has sometimes been less than stellar on release day. The eLicenser server that authorizes the new version has been known to fail due to the deluge of people accessing it. Couple that with occasional problems that any software is prone to and a USB stick taking up a USB port that you would want to use for more important devices, and it’s easy to see why ditching the eLicenser would be a solid decision. It is not known whether the new copy protection system will also be used for other Steinberg software products and plug-ins that use the eLicenser copy protection.

What do you think of the new path that Steinberg is now taking? Is this a long overdue step?


Press release

This press release came from the Steinberg Twitter account:

Hello all, For many of you this is the announcement you have been waiting for. While we put our heart and soul into developing ground-breaking products in your best interests, we haven’t accomplished our promise to provide you with the user experience you deserve. In every part of Steinberg’s technologies in recent time. We have been listening to your feedback for years, but significant changes need time, and we had to carefully lay out our vision for the future. But now the time has come to put our approach to license management at the center of our attention.

We have decided to adopt a new license management technology that everyone will benefit from to prepare for coming requirements. An authorization system shouldn’t get in your way, but support you in the onboarding process. Anti-piracy protection technology shouldn’t restrict you as the customer, but secure your investment. A license management shouldn’t stop you from using your products, but enable you to be creative whenever and wherever you are. At this point in time, all we can tell you is that everyone at Steinberg is strongly committed to providing you as soon as possible with a solution that offers more flexibility, more reliability and, of course, a seamless migration.

More information

Steinberg eLicenser

How do you like this post?

Rating: Yours: | ø:

14 responses to “Steinberg prepares to ditch its unpopular USB eLicenser dongle system”

    Doctor Tee says:

    Music software needs a new ‘Midi moment’. Too much of the software is shoddily made and most of their disfunction can be traced directly back to their security features, like the effen’ DONGLE, its descendant, eLicenser, and other crap features like it.

    I stopped using Avid products over a decade ago, precisely because of their effen dongle. Many other companies have lost my business as well, because their creepy security features.

    louismarcell says:

    This is great news ,i have been using cubase since the late 90s Cubasis and the main issues i have had have been related to usb drop outs i value the software know and plan to use it more in a portable setup.

    John Argosino says:

    Doesn’t matter to me because I’m using Vienna Ensemble Pro for networking slave PCs along with Cubase, and Vienna still uses the USB e-licenser and they’re not switching anytime soon. But for regular users I guess that’s a good thing? 🤔 Saves $30 on the dongle

    Rasmus says:

    Back the the internet was not as accesible and I guess the dongle was neccessary for protecting the software – and it has the advantage that you can use your Cubase on as many computers as you want. With the current access to the internet there are other ways and it must be possible to make something that is just as flexible – and which doesn’t use as much of your computers resources…

    Chris says:

    “Unpopular” would imply that people do not use it. The dongle is not unpopular. Many Steinberg (and other companies) end-users use it, so it is not suffering from a lack of popularity. A better fitting word would be “disliked”, or similar. It is popular but it is disliked by many.

      Pierre says:

      Ughhh. Imagine trying to be a snob but being ignorant. Open a dictionary and see what unpopular means. It is unpopular. Popular doesn’t mean used by many, and unpopular means precisely what’s implied in the articel (according to Merriam-Webster) : “viewed or received unfavorably by the public”

        Ray says:

        Never had a problem with cubase dongles. I have worked in 4 college depts with cubase as main saw. Always put the dongle on an extension usb lead and secured it inside the pc case. The dongle itself has never been a problem in my experience. What has been the problem has been registering the dongles. Steinberg has appalling customer services. Usually sorted after much going and froing but in a college/ university environment I could welcome an easier alternative. Using it in my own studio has never been a problem. Worked fine, registered ok and never any problems but my Saw is only used for cubase and nothing else.

    Blackbeard says:

    The security is a waste of resources, those who are going to buy are going to buy. Those who aren’t aren’t having any problems getting the software so why even bother? Boils down to this….I don’t make any money with my music thus I use mostly pirated, picking legit as I go along. There’s no effin easy I Vaughn afford sweetheart I need period. However would I begin to get paid then I will purchase. This is how the system works. Stop wasting money fighting the system, pirating isn’t in this context someone stealing rather than paying……its someone that can’t afford the ridiculous prices meeting their needs. If starving artists didn’t pirate they would simply have to go without. Then when they did start to make money, well considering how generous waveform is compared to the competition all that money probably end up in their pockets. Its apparent that traction is began to accept the system. Regardless of what people say publicly, privately a goodly number pirate. Why waste money fighting a losing battle when you could accept it for what it is save that money and pass the savings on providing food stamp budget musicians with princely requirements the ability to afford your software softwares. The other side of the coin is like native instruments Eula. Fuck them, they basically ain’t getting a dime from me until they release their chokehold on software and hardware I paid for. I mean have you all read the eulas? Time to accept reality and work within the boundaries rather than bash your head against the wall. Oh and remember Hollywood is owned by bell who is working to further the interest of foreign powers, anyone that is a true patriot has a moral responsibility to take them down. And no its not a damned conspiracy theory….Washington and Hollywood are traitors we need revolution not this patheticly stupid civil war wake the fuck up people

    Faint Brouhaha says:

    It’s good news! It’s really good news. But in my case it’s almost exactly twenty years too late.

    user says:

    I personally like the USB eLicenser dongle system very much. I plug it into a separate USB port, which is very cool. If I need to verify my authorization through the Internet in the future (network verification is required every time I start the software), I will give up using Cubase.

    Richard Duncan says:

    Steinberg thieves, I paid around £300 for Cubase 10 back in 2019 and another £66 for upgrade to Cubase 11 plus £21 for an elicencer dongle. Steinberg won,t give me activation code for Cubase 10 after buying a new PC, thus making all my purchases null and void,…crooks, will never buy anything from steinberg ever again!

      Cpt Adama says:

      That doesn’t make any sense. Steinberg dropped the elicenser now and your allowed to install the software on up to 3 computers with Activation Manager. You should check back with customer support and reinstall without using elicenser. You should also deactivate online the old computer to give yourself the full 3 activations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *