Steinberg Simplifies Product Licensing

Steinberg new licensing system

Steinberg is taking a huge step forward in making its products more user friendly.

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Anyone who has used a Steinberg product in the past will be very familiar with the eLicenser, hardware key and security dongle. These things protected the company from theft via software piracy and also ensured that products a consumer had purchased could only be used by them.

The main issue with that approach was the complexity of the protection. It sometimes involved frustration on the part of customers who, for various reasons could not get the licence system to work. This was in part due to the multiple platforms the licence protection needed to work on and the mountain of variables presented by so many different hardware combinations.

That is now the past. Steinberg is moving to a very simple user ID 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.

The transition from eLicenser to the new Steinberg Licensing system will take place over time, as new versions of their creative tools and instruments are introduced, the product line will use Steinberg Licensing — starting with Dorico 4 and Cubase 12 in 2022.  It is expected that the overall transition will take between one and two years.

How It Works

Steinberg Licensing is an identity-based license management system. Whether you are an individual customer, or you represent an organization, educational institution, or enterprise, your entitlement to use Steinberg products flows from your Steinberg ID.

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.

Online Activation

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.

After activation, you can disconnect from the internet altogether if you need to, and run your software for 30 days without reconnecting. However, most of us have our computers connected to the Internet all or most of the time, and when you run your Steinberg software, if a connection is available it will periodically contact Steinberg in the background to update its activation. If you find yourself unexpectedly without an internet connection, your software should always have plenty of time remaining before its activation requires renewal.

This online activation system also allows the flexibility to activate your software on two computers at once — and if you buy a new computer or temporarily need to use a different one, you can easily release your license from one computer to activate another.

Offline activation (coming soon)

In some special circumstances, you might not be able to connect the computer on which you run your Steinberg software to the internet. Steinberg will soon provide the ability to check out a license for a period of one year. You will be able to do this either by temporarily connecting your computer to the Internet, checking out the license, and then disconnecting again or if you prefer, you will be able to use the Internet connection on another computer to generate a checkout license that you can install on the offline machine.

Managing your licenses

You can check the status of your licenses using the new Steinberg Activation Manager software, which will be automatically installed when you install 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 them on another computer.

If you are unable to run Steinberg Activation Manager on your computer, because for example, you are working from a new location, you can sign in to the Steinberg website using your Steinberg ID and release a license from there.


For more information on Steinberg products and the new licensing system visit

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