Can you share FL Studio with a friend?


Can you share FL Studio with a friend?

Image-Line’s now-iconic digital audio workstation (DAW) continues to present people from all works of life with the opportunity to explore, sharpen, and refine their musical abilities. It’s just so good you have to share it with somebody but…can you?

Image-Line strictly forbids the sharing of a single Fruity Loops (FL) Studio license among multiple users.  The main reasoning for this is the fact that once a license has been shared illegally, there is no predicting how and where that license will be shared. However, Image-Line does allow one user to use the same license on up to four different devices.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the licensing rules governing the world’s most popular DAW. If you and your friends are all aspiring producers, you might want to know how to approach your collaborative efforts, so as not to annoy the developers and have the license revoked.

Is FL Studio transferable?

As far as Image-Line is concerned, “transferable” has two different implications which produce contrasting reactions from the software developer. 

The first implication is concerned with the migration of FL Studio from one computer to another by the same user. If you change computers, or if you get an additional one, Image-Line allows you to run the software under one license. Special emphasis on the SAME USER part. 

Image-Line is not even fond of installing the DAW on multiple user accounts on the same machine! As long as it’s you (and you alone) using the software, you are unlikely to run into problems with the company. 

Image-Line shows a reasonable level of understanding to its customers. Nowadays, people can have multiple computers in both their home and work life. Therefore, forcing users to marry a piece of software to one machine for life may result in significant inconveniences and an overall bad taste in the mouths of customers. As a result of the above perspective, the company offers leeway for you to use the software on different machines.

The second implication of “transferrable” is concerned with sharing the installation license with other people. If you ask me, I get it. Although FL Studio comes in a range of packages that cater to different budgets, not everyone can afford to purchase a DAW license. 

A lot of the people that can dedicate time to mastering FL Studio have very little disposable income (students, unemployed people, people from disadvantaged backgrounds, etc.).

However, Image-Line is much less likely to “get it” if you do this and go on to share your license with multiple other users. One of the company’s major fears is that the people you share your license with might go on and share it with other people in turn. 

If someone in that chain uploads the license to a peer-to-peer (P2P) website, for instance, it could end up on thousands of computers worldwide. This would, naturally, leave you at risk of having your account shut down by Image-Line.

How many devices can you install FL Studio on?

While Image-Line does not necessarily specify the number of devices you can install the software on, Akai.com has found that an individual user can install the latest version (FL 20) on up to four devices at any given time.

How do I move FL Studio to another computer?

If you get a new computer or something, Image-Line allows you to transfer your FL Studio license on to the new machine so you don’t have to re-purchase it. (NOTE: The following instructions are for Windows machines).

The first step is to head to the Image-Line website to download the software onto your new machine.  Run the installation file and follow the step-by-step instructions. 

Secondly, on your old machine, back up your FL Studio program files onto an external drive. Cloud storage can be used here too, but that would be much slower than using an external drive. A smart thing to do would be to create a little text file with the file paths of all the backed-up folders. This will help you to remember where you stored some of these.

Next, you should copy all of your data folders, which usually contain your saved and exported projects, to the external hard drive. I would advise that you not add these to the program files folder you copied earlier because they each have different destinations. FL Studio data files will be stored in “Documents”. Program files will be stored in either “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86)”, depending on the computer. 

Once the FL Studio installation on your new computer is complete, plug in the external drive and begin moving the backed-up files and folders to their appropriate destinations. 

Use the aforementioned text file to guide you on the correct file path. Please (and I cannot stress this enough) make sure you do not get mixed up where “Program Files” and “Program Files (x86)” are concerned. 

Simply check to see where your new FL Studio has been installed, and copy the backed-up program files there. Merge any similar folders where need be. Back up any new folders generated by the fresh install in case the merging leads to any corruption.

You will have to reinstall some of the major third-party plugins, I’m afraid. This is because the .dll files they need to run will be replaced during the installation. 

Once you do this, open these plugins individually from the Start Menu or desktop, not via FL Studio. Running plugins in this manner is known as a stand-alone mode. 

Next, open the freshly installed FL Studio. Click on “Options” and go to “File Settings” and select the folder(s) where your samples and VST are kept.

The next step is to find the plugins. Go to “Options” again and click on “Manage Plugins”. This will initiate a scan that will sweep through the VST folder to find your plugins. 

This step isn’t foolproof though, and, for whatever reason, some plugins cannot be added this way. In the event of this, you will have no choice but to download the plugin.

Once you’re done with the above steps, you are now ready to continue making sweet sweet music on your new Windows computer. Mac users might have to consult a Genius Bar for assistance with the migration.

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