Knowledgebase > Licensing > FAQs > Licensing FAQs

Licensing FAQs

The following answers to common questions about our Licensing and Copy Protection policies apply to licensed Spectrasonics users:

What are the basic principles of the standard license agreement?

  • Single-user music production/performance: Allowed
  • Multiple users: Not Allowed
  • Non-music use: Not Allowed

Any uses that are not allowed under the license need additional permission or a special license from Spectrasonics.

What is meant by “Single-User”?
A single-user is defined as one person. The license cannot be owned by a company, corporation, organization, band, partnership, studio, etc.

Are there any legal limitations to how I can use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments?
Our standard license is designed for musical use. Legal limitations start to apply within non-musical applications. For example, you are not permitted to use them to make other sound sample-based products for distribution (unless you are using your own audio files or the DSP waveforms). However, you are able to use our instruments in all your musical applications without paying for any additional licenses. This includes the ability to distribute commercial and non-commercial music releases, song placements, music libraries, beats, stems, trackouts, cues, melody/chord packs, etc.

Can I order Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments directly from Spectrasonics?
Yes, Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments can be purchased directly from our website as downloads. If you wish to purchase boxed versions you can do it through our dealer network.

Is there a educational license price for Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments?
Spectrasonics doesn't offer student discounts, however qualifying schools and institutions can participate in our EDU program.

Do I need a special license to use Spectrasonics Instruments in music used on a commercial project?
No. The lifetime license fee to use the instruments and samples in any type of music is covered in the purchase price of the instrument. You can use it on as many of your own projects as you like and we hope that you make some hits with it!

Do I have to credit Spectrasonics if I use any Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments on a project?
No, it isn't mandatory, but we certainly would appreciate it!

Can I use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments in music library productions?
Yes, this is fine. Some soundware companies restrict this kind of use (since music libraries sometimes cross over into the soundware business), but Spectrasonics allows music library use. In fact, we have many customers that use our products in music libraries.

What if the Spectrasonics elements in my music are exposed for a period of time?
We aren’t concerned about normal music use. Of course our sounds may sometimes appear in exposed passages like intros and breaks within a song’s mix, but this is considered normal usage.

Can I use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments in music for film trailers?
Yes. Some companies restrict this kind of use, but Spectrasonics allows it.

Can I use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments in music for multimedia or game music projects?
Yes, with the exception of encoding samples created with Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments directly into the game. That requires a special license. Remember, music use is allowed, but non-music use (e.g. SFX) is not permitted without clearance. Please contact Spectrasonics if you wish to encode any of the samples into a game system.

Can I use the sounds from my Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments outside of music production?
If you are considering any non-musical use of the sounds from your Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments, it's very important that you contact us directly in advance to clear any special, non-musical usage:

Can I use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments to create samples for distribution?

The simplest answer is that the standard license that comes with the purchase of a Spectrasonics Virtual Instrument covers any kind of musical use and does not cover non-music applications.

Here are several different scenarios:

• A “melody pack” or “chord pack’ could be collections of the user’s original musical phrases, presented as audio files which were created using Spectrasonics instruments. They may wish to distribute these musical creations to other producers. This type of use is allowed under our standard license, since it is essentially a type of music production and music licensing. The only exception is if the audio files are to be embedded in other software or hardware, which would require clearance with us.

• A library of individual one-shot sound samples is not music, so the standard license that comes with our products does not grant a license to use our sounds in this way. If the sample collection contains one-shots or multi-samples that contain our samples, then you must secure special permission/license from us prior to distributing those samples. It does not matter how much they have been layered or processed, it’s still required to contact Spectrasonics before release. Legally, it is considered a "derivative work" when our copyrighted sound recordings are involved in the creation of new sound samples. 

• A composer/music producer creates musical pieces/tracks in different styles using Spectrasonics instruments for a music library company that wants to distribute them both with full mixes and with stems for maximum flexibility. Since it is music, this type of use is fully allowed under the standard license agreement that comes with Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments and does not require any special clearance.

• A user creates her own sound effects based on the core library sampled soundsources in Omnisphere and would like to distribute these sound effects publicly online. Since this is a non-musical use based on our copyrighted sound recordings in the core library, she should contact us in advance to clear the use.

• Same user creates her own sound effects based on her user audio or the DSP waveforms in Omnisphere and would like to distribute these sound effects publicly online. Since this is not using any of our copyrighted sound recordings in the core library, she is free to distribute them as she pleases and does not need to contact us in order to do so.

I’m a music producer and I want to make sound samples for other producers to use for their music, isn’t that musical use since the samples are going to be used in music?
No. While individual sound samples can be ingredients to make music, they are not considered “music” in any legal understanding. They are considered “sounds”. In other words, a snare is not a song. :-)

Please see the Sampling FAQs section for more details.

What if it's just for my own use and I don't distribute the samples I've created?
If you're a licensed user, you are welcome to use your Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments and libraries to create new audio samples and loops for your own use. They can be distributed within in a musical context only. Please see the Sampling FAQs section for more details.

Can I use the demo songs?
No. They are presented to give you an idea of what Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments can do. Demo songs cannot be sampled, remixed, or used in any other application without special permission from Spectrasonics. If you are interested in using any of the demo songs in some other application, please contact us and we'll connect you with the composer/publisher.

Can I resell Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments used to someone else?
Please see our License Transfer FAQs.

Can my writing partner use my Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments on their computer?
No. The license to use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments is on a per-person (single-user) basis. They would need their own licenses for the Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments to use them legally on their computer.

I work at a production music studio with several other composers/producers. Can we all use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments from our main server?
No. It's very important to know that each composer must have his own copy and license for Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments. We make regular checks to verify that large production studios have obtained the proper licenses for our instruments and sample libraries.

As a studio owner, am I allowed to include Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments on a rental or studio computer for studio clients to use on their projects?
No. The standard license to use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments is only granted to the buyer. We have a "single-user/multiple-computer" lifetime license policy. If it is a recording project that you are musically involved in producing, engineering or arranging of course that isn't a problem. However, your studio clients aren't licensed to use them for their own projects and the use of Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments cannot be "rented." In the case where a client has his own license for a Spectrasonics Virtual Instrument, that client is welcome to use the studio's installed copy of the instrument.

Does this mean that I can’t use Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments when working on someone else’s project?
Not a problem. This type of use is standard and perfectly allowable. The "single-user" is defined as the person who is licensed to use the software instrument for his/her lifetime. This means that the licensed user can use it on any musical projects he/she is involved in. This can be a person’s own project, a project where they are acting as a producer for another artist, or as a session musician performing on someone else’s project - live or in the studio. Most of our customers use their Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments on many different kinds of musical projects for different artists and collaborations.

The main point of our license agreement is the concept of a single, licensed user. A licensed Spectrasonics user must be musically involved in a project that is utilizing Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments - hence the restriction against simply renting the instruments or renting "time" to use the instruments as part of a studio’s services.

Can I install my Spectrasonics Virtual Instruments on a client’s computer for their use?
Not unless they are a licensed user.

Does this licensing apply to Sonic Extensions?

I’ve never heard of these kinds of licensing restrictions before. This seems unusual and totally different from using hardware sound modules. Why does Spectrasonics have such an unusual policy?
It’s actually not unusual at all or even unique to Spectrasonics. In fact, this is the identical type of license agreement used for thousands of sample libraries, virtually all sample-based virtual instruments, and the vast majority of music software. Single-user license agreements have different restrictions than those for hardware devices, and many people are not aware of the distinctions. One of the purposes of this FAQ section is to serve as a clear explanation of our policies. "Single-user" license restrictions are standard for nearly all software/soundware companies - not only Spectrasonics.

Who can I talk to if I have more questions?
We're happy to talk to you! You can send us an email at or call us at 888-870-4223.

< back to topics