iLok: Essential Buy for the Composer

I own the iLok2, a device that allows me to store my software keys in one device.  There is a new version, the iLok3, which claims to hold 3 times more licenses in half the size, at twice the speed.


You might be wondering: what the heck is an iLok and why should you buy one?

An iLok is a special USB device holds the software keys for certain applications on your computers.  Just like CD codes that allowed you access to the programs you installed in the “old days”, an iLok holds the licenses/software keys for certain programs on your computer.  Without the license/software key, you won’t be able to access certain programs and files, even if you do own the programs and files.


An iLock thus gives you access to your much-needed (and likely expensive!) music programs and their files.

As an added plus, you can change your computer’s settings and still have access to your software.  In other words, if you have to erase your hard drive or make a large change to your computer, you can still use the software you bought.  This is because the license is tied to your iLok, not your computer or the computer’s identity.

You won’t need an iLok until you really need one–i.e. you will need one as soon as you buy or upgrade certain production software, sample libraries, and other software on your computer.  I currently use it primarily for being able to access my sample libraries (my East/West orchestral sounds for my electronic music), but it can be used for many more types of licenses, and is increasingly necessary as more applications require an iLok.

Please note that not all software requires an iLok, even though many applications do.  Check your program’s details to ensure you do need an iLok to use it.

In all, it doesn’t hurt to have one handy if you’re making a software purchase.  I managed to get my iLok2 at the same time as my first need for one.  Regardless, the iLok3 looks super nice.  If I weren’t completely satisfied with my iLok2 and were close to running out of licenses, I would consider upgrading.

For now, one iLok is enough–but it is indispensable.


Check it out!  You can buy it here.


Like product reviews?  Hunting for more gear?  Check out the Mackie Onyx Blackjack (audio interface) and Zoom G1Xon (guitar multi-effects pedal)!

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One thought on “iLok: Essential Buy for the Composer

  1. Pingback: Recording, mixing, mastering, and more – Composer's Toolbox

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