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Waves’ Plug-Ins Go Subscription-Only

Waves has introduced Waves Creative Access, adopting a subscription model for its plug-ins going forward.

Waves has introduced Waves Creative Access, adopting a subscription model for its plug-ins.
Waves has introduced Waves Creative Access, adopting a two-tiered subscription model for its plug-ins going forward.

MARCH 29, 2023 UPDATE: Waves Audio has reinstated its traditional plug-in licensee purchasing option in addition to offering subscriptions.

Knoxville, TN (March 27, 2023)—Waves Audio has moved to a subscription-only model for its plug-ins with Sunday’s surprise announcement of a new service, Waves Creative Access. Offering the company’s full library of 220 plug-ins, it will be the only way to gain access to new and updated Waves plug-ins going forward, as they will no longer be available for purchase.

Under the new plan, current Waves plug-ins owners continue to own their existing versions, but all current and future updates will only be available via Waves Creative Access, thus requiring a subscription. The new service has two tiers of service—Waves Ultimate has all 220 plug-ins ($24.99/month; $249.99/year), while Waves Essential provides 110-plus plug-ins for mixing and vocal production ($14.99/month; $149.99/year).

Open Channel: The Subscription Kerfuffle

Digital audio has become increasingly subscription-centric in recent years, whether it’s on the consumer side with streaming services, or the pro-audio side with subscriptions to DAWs, plug-ins and more becoming popular options for end users. Nonetheless, Waves’ move makes it one of the more high-profile companies in the pro-audio realm to discontinue a retail option on its main products. Waves Creative Access subscriptions are only for plug-ins; applications like eMotion LV1, SuperRack, SoundGrid Rack for Venue and Dugan Speech will continue to be sold individually.

Along with the subscription-only move came the additional announcement of StudioVerse, a library of plug-in chains and presets, that can be accessed by subscribers within a DAW. Chains by Young Guru, Chris Lord-Alge, Manny Marroquin and other notable producers and mixers are included, and users can upload their own chains as well. Chains can be found using StudioVerse’s search function, which includes not only typical text search and tags, but also the option of using a “Musical AI search engine” that scans a user’s track and then makes plug-in suggestions based on the content.