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Bitwig Studio license model explained

Are you thinking of moving to Bitwig Studio because of the new 4.3 version or “The Grid”? Are you not sure how the Bitwig Studio licensing model works? Check out this simple guide on how the Bitwig Studio license model works.

Bitwig Studio since version 2 has gone to a new license model. The purchase of the product will entitle you to 12 months of updates – after the 12 months the product still works but does not update to later releases until you have an active subscription again. This is lifted off the Bitwig website so let’s start there:

Confused about Bitwig Studio license renewals?

Let our simple table below show you the route of the upgrade you need.

SituationNew UserExisting User
I don’t own Bitwig at allBuy Bitwig 16 Track or Buy Full VersionN/A
I own Bitwig Studio 8 trackN/AUpgrade to Full Version
I own Bitwig Studio 16 trackN/AUpgrade to Full Version
I own a full version of Bitwig Studio but my license has expiredN/ARenew Full Version Subscription
I own a full version of Bitwig Studio 16 track but my license has expiredN/ARenew 16 Track Subscription or Upgrade to Full Version
I own a version of Bitwig Studio 16 track and want to upgrade to Bitwig FullN/AUpgrade to Full Version
I own a version of Bitwig Studio 8 track and want to upgrade to Bitwig FullN/AUpgrade to Full Version


A new Bitwig Studio license (or upgrade) includes a 12-month upgrade plan. This means that any new version released within 12 months of your registration will be available to you, free of charge.

When your initial upgrade plan expires, your Bitwig Studio license will continue to work; you just won’t receive new releases of the program for free. You can renew your upgrade plan at any time.

How much does a Bitwig Studio license 12-month upgrade plan cost?
159 EUR / 169 USD*. The upgrade plan includes all program updates released during the time period.

Can I continue using the software after my upgrade plan expires?

Yes, you can. This is not a subscription; you own a perpetual license. The upgrade plan is only required for access to the latest release.

Will I get bug fix updates after my upgrade plan has expired?
Yes, all minor updates will be available to you until the next major update. So if you are on version 2.3.1 when your plan expires, you will be able to download and use 2.3.2, 2.3.3, etc. But version 2.4 will be unavailable until you renew your upgrade plan.

What if my upgrade plan has already expired?
You can renew your license at any time.

If you have previously owned Bitwig and your subsciption has run out – you only need to buy the renewal.

Discounts on a Bitwig Studio license

I told you there would be a money saving bit. So here it goes. If you have a license already and lets for arguements sake say it due to expire in February but it is currently November. You see that Bitwig have a black friday sale on and are selling updates and new copies for a discount…buy it.

I repeat, if there is a Bitwig upgrade discount, buy it now! However – DO NOT APPLY THE LICENSE CODE YOU BUY. Save it for when you need it. The count down does not start until you apply the license to your account.

bitwig studio 4 review featured image

Hey presto, Bitwig discounted product key but still within update times.

Another method is to not renew your license until you need to. Updates happen fairly regularly and every 3 months or so there comes a new major version.

Bitwig Major release versionBitwig Release Date
1Released on 25.03.2014.
1.1Released on 18.11.2014.
1.2Released on 30.09.2015.
1.3Released on 20.10.2015.
2.1Released on 12.05.2017.
2.2Released on 11.10.2017.
2.3Released on 28.02.2018.
2.4Released on 12.09.2018.
2.5Released on 07.03.2019.
3Released on 10.07.2019.
3.1Released on 18.12.2019.
3.2Released on 04.06.2020.
3.3Released on 26.11.2020
4Released on 13.07.2021
4.1Released on 24.11.2021
4.2Released on 10.03.2022
4.3 (Flatpak enabled from this point on)Released on 28.06.2022
4.4Released on 05.10.2022
5.0 Get the latest versionReleased on 29.06.2023
5.0 Producer 5.0 Essentials
Bitwig Studio license release dates

Therefore we can see a pattern has emerged of around the 3 – 4 month cycle happening May and October.

So 2 releases a within a 12 month period seems fair for a product to me. We also need to mention around late 2022 there was – pick your phrase as you wish – around the launch of the Spectral Suite.

While initially released as a separate product available as an add on, this was received with initial hesitancy from the community, leading to overall general push back from Bitwig users.

Bitwig themselves saw the light, listened to their customers and reversed their decision. The Spectral Suite was then included in the product from version 4.4 onwards.

Is Bitwig Studio good for beginners?
Endless options with Bitwig Studio

Bitwig Studio FAQ

Is Bitwig Studio free?

Bitwig Studio is not free but there is a free trial which can be used for 30 days before activation to give you a good idea of how it works before you commit to buy.

Is Bitwig Studio good for beginners?

Bitwig Studio is a great DAW for beginners as there are a few versions available such as the 8 track and 16 track version. This allows an upgrade path to start out small and then upgrade to the full version later on.

Does Bitwig Studio offer rent to own?

As of 2022 there is the ability to rent to own Bitwig studio via Splice.com. This is available for around £14 per month for the full-feature DAW and single solution for allowing you to realise any musical idea across every stage of production. Design sounds. Build instruments. Make music. You are also able to access upgrades for the length of your lease.

Are there beginner versions of Bitwig?

If you don’t want to go for the full package straight away, you could always go for Bitwig Studio 5 Essentials or Bitwig Studio 5 Producer. While Essentials and Producer don’t have access to all 154 devices and instruments found in Bitwig Studio, their users can still load and play off limits devices as presets in ‘Player Mode’ without modifying the settings or adding modulators (the devices will appear in a greyed-out state). This allows users with different versions to share and work on project files.

As an alternative, you can buy Bitwig Studio outright over less payments using Plugin Boutique and Klarna.

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