After a massive backlash, you can now buy and update Waves licenses again

Waves Reverses Subscription Only Move

After a massive backlash, you can now buy and update Waves licenses again

Portrait of musicmanta author Christof Baer with blue tint in circular shape
Christof Baer
last updated this article on 
June 16, 2023
 and first floated it on 
March 26, 2023
Waves Brings Back Perpetual Licenses After Subscription Only Fiasco

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Waves Audio reverses subscription only decision and brings back plugin purchases and updates

Waves Audio* launched a new plugin subscription, called Waves Creative Access*, which was launched initially as the only way to get Waves plugins going forward. This meant you can no longer purchase or update Waves plugins.

Waves Creative Access prices start from $14.99 a month for Waves Essentials*, or you can choose Waves Ultimate* for $24.99, which includes all Waves plugins.

Into the Studioverse

New with Creative Access comes Waves Studioverse*, a new AI driven directory of plugin chains across Waves plugins.

A 7-day free trial is available*, once per account and per subscription plan. You can also try any plugin in demo mode. Plugins in demo mode are fully functional and time unlimited, but go silent now and then.

This move caused a massive backlash among existing and potential customers. As a consequence, Waves Audio reversed their decision to go subscription only, to bring back the ability to purchase and update perpetual licenses, alongside the new Waves subscription.

Letter from Meir Shashoua, Waves CTO and Co-Founder – March 29, 2023:

"Dear Waves community,

Over the past few days, many of you have expressed concerns about our decision to discontinue perpetual plugin licenses and our move to an exclusive plugin subscription model. I would like to start by apologizing for the frustration we have caused many of you, our loyal customers. We understand that our move was sudden and disruptive, and did not sufficiently take into consideration your needs, wishes, and preferences. We are genuinely sorry for the distress it has caused.

After respectfully listening to your concerns, I want to share with you that we are bringing back the perpetual plugin license model, side-by-side with the new subscriptions. You will again be able to get plugins as perpetual licenses, just as before.

In addition, those of you who already own perpetual licenses will once again be able to update your plugins and receive a second license via the Waves Update Plan—again, just as before. This option, too, will be available alongside and independently of the subscription program.

We are currently putting all our efforts into making perpetual licenses available to you again, as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you can keep up-to-date on this webpage, where we will post real-time updates as they are available.

I would like you to know that we are committed to you, our users. We listened to your feedback, and we will continue to listen to you. Waves is a company filled with users and creators, just like you, and we are all as passionate about the products as you are. With this in mind, we will strive to find the way to make things right by you, and hopefully regain your trust.

Thank you for your feedback and continued support—I wish you all the best,

Meir Shashoua
CTO and Co-Founder
Waves Audio"

Our View

While companies like AVID (Pro Tools subscription), Native Instruments (Komplete Now subscription), and Reason Studios (Reason+ subscription) retained ways to still buy perpetual licenses, Waves Audio chose to overnight switch from perpetual licenses only to subscription-only.

As we stated in our launch article, we were convinced that Waves’ sudden move will not go down well with current customers. Most musicians want choice, and unlike the other companies that introduced subscriptions, Waves decided to stop selling perpetual licenses completely.

So we welcome that Waves Audio quickly acted, and decided to bring back perpetual licenses, just as other brands do.

The prices for Waves Creative Access are broadly comparable to other subscriptions:

It remains to be seen if the subscriptions attract many new customers to buy into the Waves ecosystem.

One positive this change brings, is the end of the confusing always-on sales, which felt out of step with the times. The practice included new “sales” every week and suggested discounts of over 90%. In practice, you could buy most Waves plugins for $29.95 all year round.

The new Waves Studioverse* technology looks interesting but appears like a large curated library of presets, perhaps good for a starting point and inspiration but not much more we think.


Waves Creative Access subscription plans*

Waves Ultimate* - $24.99 month / $249 year

  • All Waves plugins in one subscription, over 220 plugins.
  • All plugin updates include at no extra cost.
  • New plugins added regularly at no extra cost.
  • NEW! StudioVerse, an AI-powered community for plugin chains: Thousands of mixing chains with AI search.
  • Limited time bonus: 2 free months of Splice Sounds+ included.

Waves Essential* - $14.99 month / $149 year

  • 110 industry-leading plugins, including Waves Tune RT, Clarity Vx, Vocal Bender, and more.
  • All plugin updates are included at no extra cost
  • Select new plugins added at no extra cost.
  • NEW! StudioVerse, an AI-powered community for plugin chains: Thousands of mixing chains with AI search.
  • Limited time bonus: 2 free months of Splice Sounds+ included



Introducing Waves Creative Access

Waves StudioVerse

Get in-depth reviews, fresh news, fun tutorials, top deals, and the latest sales to your inbox. When you sign up, you will be sent "Ray 1", a free 130 MB sample pack from musicmanta, with over 60 loops and one shots (previously published by Noiiz).

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