July 24, 2024

Waves Plugins are now Subscription ONLY – UPDATED

*Updated 03/29/23Waves REVERSES Course – PERPETUAL Licenses & WUP are BACK!

The article below is basically no longer applicable because Waves has decided to return to the perpetual & WUP model, plus add a subscription option. This article will remain for historical purposes, but it is NO LONGER applicable.

***Original Article Resumes

Waves dropped a bomb on the plugin world on March 26, 2023 with the release of Waves Creative Access, and removing the ability to purchase plugins or even update the plugins you already own.

Going forward, new Waves plugins will only be availible with an active subscription – meaning you will no longer be able to purchase plugins and own them. You will be able to use the plugins as long as the subscription is active.

There are two plans availible: Essential with 110 plugins, and Ultimate with 220 plugins. New plugins will be added to each bundle as they are released, with Ultimate getting more new plugins.

The other bundles that we all know from over the years are now gone. Things like Gold, Diamond, and Mercury are no longer “a thing”.

Price-wise, Creative Access isn’t a bad deal….if you are new to audio and don’t already own 100+ Waves plugins. For only $24.99 you are able to access tools that would of cost thousands just a few years ago, which is a great deal…if you are new to Waves.

However, for people that have already paid thousands of dollars for Waves plugins, it may not be an ideal situation.

The problem lies in Waves removing the option to WUP (Waves Update Program) or Update the plugins they already own to new versions – meaning if you own Version 14 of Waves Mercury, when Version 15 of Waves plugins come out, there is NO WAY for people to upgrade their licenses.

Which means your investment in thousands of dollars of plugins will eventually be incompatible with an updated OS, and you will have no way to update your plugins to a functional version – even though that version exists. Your only option will be to start a subscription and stay on the subscription in order to use the plugins. As soon as you unsubscribe, you will no longer be able to use the up-to-date plugins.

In response to this news, many people online have started to voice their opinion, and it is overwhelmingly negative. Some folks are talking about “Class-Action Lawsuits” and other legal action, where others are posting petitions.

As far as any legal action goes, I can guarantee that everything Waves has done is 100% legal. Waves is an Israeli based company with some of the best lawyers in the world on their payroll. Everything Waves has done has been looked over by a whole team of lawyers to ensure they do not break any laws or void any contracts with existing customers – so the lawsuit threats will go nowhere.

Waves Thinking

If you have a big group of people who already own many of your plugins, then you are not making any money on them. But, what if you offer ALL of your plugins (that normally would cost $5000+) for only $25 a month?

Well, now you attract new people and open a new stream of income that never ends since the customer never owns the product. You also attract the “newbie” into using your plugins since they are now within their price range – where as before it would take years to be able to afford all Waves plugins.

Whether or not this is a good move by Waves won’t be clear until version 15 drops and people who are on v14 are forced to subscribe in order to use the latest version.

But like any change, there is good and bad to be found.

It’s a good thing that people just getting in to audio now have easy access to amazing tools that help in crafting their music and audio.

It’s a bad thing that people who have already invested thousands of dollars in Waves plugins now own plugins they can’t sell, or update, and are forced to pay monthly to use products they already own – when all they need is an update for compatibility. There’s also an issue for those who used the 2nd license that was availible with a current WUP. As of now, those folks will need to start two subscriptions to get two license – which would be a doubling in price from keeping WUP current.

But even if you find yourself hating the new subscription model and you have to give up some of your favorite plugins – there is still something “good” to be found in the “bad”. Since you’ll be forced to search for new solutions, you may come across something even better. In a way, this could be a very exciting and creative time for many “old dogs” who have been in the audio game for years. There is no shortage of plugins out there! Imagine what new plugin chains you will come up with now that you are forced to leave the comfort of the plugins you have used for 20+ years!

Sure, perhaps it’s not ideal… but this is reality. Waves plugins are now subscription only.

A great deal for those just getting into audio, and a kick in the teeth for those who have paid thousands over several years slowly building up their plugin arsenal.


Subscribe to the new Waves Creative Access here

Read the Waves Creative Access FAQs here

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