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ILOK system Basics

New to ILOK?

Here’s how to use the ILOK licensing system

An iLok is a special USB device that holds your licenses. In addition to having one of these USB devices, you must also have an account registered at ILOK.com.  ILOK accounts are free.  If you do not already have an account, visit ilok.com and click the ‘Sign up for a free account’ button.

So, assuming you have an account set up and are in possession of an ilok usb key, let’s begin.  You most likely have one of the following types of keys:

All will work.  It is important to install the drivers for these devices and reboot your computer. Driver downloads can be found on the ilok.com site.

After having made a purchase, we will deposit your license in your ilok account based on the USER ID supplied at the time of the order.  The USER ID is the name with which your log into your ilok.com account.  Please be aware deposits are made manually during business hours.  You will receive a ‘welcome’ email that will contain confirmation of the deposit as well as the download information for the software and access to any tutorial movies available. Please keep this email for future reference.

Now that you have all the above information, connect your key to your computer and using a supported browser launch the ILOK Manager application.  It will ask you to sign into your account and then show you all your available license and connected keys.  Select the connected key:


If a new license is waiting for you, it will be in BOLD, meaning it can be transferred to an available key.  Double-click or right-click it to start the activation process.  It will confirm the key where it intends to transfer and activate.  Confirm and you should be good to go!


Some Troubleshooting tips:

  • If you get  ‘Dongle Not Found’ alert, your driver may not be installed correctly or you may be trying to launch a version of the application that does not match your license.
  • Make sure the USB key is lit.
  • Check the key for any damage
  • If using a USB hub and you get errors or alerts, try moving the USB key to an available USB slot on the computer.

USB Dongles used by Soundminer

What are USB Keys and what do they look like?

All Soundminer desktop software requires the presence of one of the support USB keys (sometimes called dongles) for the software to operate. These keys are not included in the cost of the software.

This is what an ILOK keys throughout the years have looked like: 

These keys are made by PACE AP (www.paceap.com or ILOK.com) and can be purchased locally at any pro audio reseller.  These keys hold multiple authorizations from different manufacturers.  They are designed for single User environments and are preferred by AVID's Pro Tools and their associated plug-ins. Soundminer does not sell ILOK keys.

Codemeter key are flexible keys that can work as single user or as network keys. These are custom programmed by Soundminer and can be purchased from the site. They are fully programmable and look like this:

HASP keys have two generations - Hasp4 and HASP HL.  This is what an older HASP4 M1 Single User looks like:


These keys are also designed for single user environments but are manufacturer specific. In other words, they only hold licenses from one manufacturer and have to be programmed and shipped from the manufacturer so if purchasing this key type remember to factor in shipping costs and time.

This is an older HASP4 network key:

This key type is designed to hold multiple licenses from one manufacturer adn operate on a local area network.  No usb keys are connected at the workstation (client) but instead ,  this one key holds all of the facility's license in one central (usually server) area.

Older Hasp4 keys are no longer supported.  Users with these older keys would have to transfer to one of the supported newer key types.  Hasp HL keys are also not sold anymore because the Codemeter key is far less expensive and more flexible now. This is what the newer HaspHL keys which we still support look like:


Which key is right for me?

ILOK is best suited for single user environments where existing ILOK assets exist (ie. Pro Tools single user station).  Codemeter keys are better suited in LAN environments where there are multiple users wishing to share a set number of licenses.  HASP net keys, while no longer sold, are also network ready and can share licenses across a LAN.


What is an ILOK key and how do I get one?

ILOK is a USB key used for authorization of software.  ILOK keys are commonly used in many applications, including Digidesign’s Pro Tools.  ILOK keys can hold authorizations from many different manufacturers and can be purchased locally.  Once a user has purchased an ILOK key, they can register it for free at ILOK.com.  Once a user sets up an account, we can then deposit authorizations electronically.   To learn more visit ILOK.com


What happens if I lose my ILOK key?

Soundminer can replace licenses that are lost or stolen, but there is a small fee because Ilok in turn charges us for those in/out privileges.   ILOK.com does, however, offer some protection of its own in such cases and where ILOk can verify the key has been disabled,  licenses can be replaced for a nominal charge.


Can I transfer my license from my HASP key to my ILOK or vice versa?

Yes.  There is a $35US per licenses charge for any transfers.  If moving from HASP to ILOK you must return your original HASP key within 30 days or you will be charged for another license.

NET KEY NOTE regarding HASP: The number beside the key does NOT mean you necessarily have those many licenses.  It simply means the key can hold up to that number of licenses of any Soundminer product.  Purchasing a Net10 key, for example, still requires that you purchase ten Soundminer licenses in order to run 10 concurrent copies.  Buying a Net10 key and one license means only one person at any given time can run a copy of Soundminer

*Codemeter keys can be programmed for any number of licenses.

I lost my HASP key.  What do I do?

Each key is unique and should be registered when its received.  If the key is registered with us, you can buy a replacement key and license and have it shipped out as a replacement.

Can I use my network key to obtain my license from the web?

YUP.  You can set up a permanent server for your licenses and get your license via the internet without having to bring your key with you.  All you need to do is set up a computer to 'host' the key and to pass that communication past your firewall.  Not hard at all.  We can show you how.

What is metadata and the Metadata Initiative

We have long realized that sending a digital file isn't enough. In today's environments, you need all the search and licensing information as well.  You need to make sure your asset can be tracked as best as possible.  To that end, we have designed and offered software solutions that allow both end users and production libraries to control and embed their important information in the files they distribute as well as create software solutions that can collect that data. 

Metadata is a key components for both the user who needs to manage and search the assets as well as the libraries that need to document, manage and collect licensing information.  The MI is comprised of a suggested format and set of guidelines for metadata delivery as well as tools that allow both users and publishers to control that metadata within Soundminer.   The net benefit means lower costs for production libraries, instant delivery and a very happy user base.  Many music and sound effect libraries already deliver their assets using these software tools. Soundminer’s specialized toolset allows anyone to embed their data for delivery with both the audio and the information joined and readable in Soundminer applications. The toolset also supports the 'open' containers like BWAV BEXT(Pro Tools) and Mp3 ID3 tags(iTunes).  Soundminer's toolset also takes care of all the conversions keeping everything ordered, neat and organized. 

Music libraries like 5Alarm Music, Megatrax, 615 Music, De Wolfe and many other great libraries have all used our toolset to embed and deliver their assets.  The user benefits immediately as the tools allow the libraries to deliver files in several formats to the end user for immediate use in Soundminer, Apple’s Itunes, Digidesign’s Pro Tools, Steinberg’s Nuendo and other programmes that support the Soundminer metawrapper or any of the 'open' containers - ie. the BEXT broadcast wave standards and the mp3 id3 tag standards.  The end user needs only to drag and drop these files onto their aggregator and start searching. It is just that easy.

In addition to providing a toolset to enable the delivery of metadata, the MI also encourages libraries to follow a standardized process for the category, sub-category, composer and publisher fields.  Following this standard will ensure data will be viewed and searched in an efficient and organized manner.  For too many years each production music has been delivered without any standard forcing end users to deal with the mess that inevitably results when the library data is combined. 

By promoting standards for content ensures, that when combined with assets from many sources. the end user can search a manageable list of categories and sub categories.  In the real world, end users have music and sound effects from many providers.  Allowing those assets to be easily aggregated, makes them instantly useful and that means less costs for everyone and immediately potential usage. The standardized formatting of the composer and publisher fields will ensure cue sheets will become easier to both create and submit.  The end user experience is improved and the workload for the libraries is streamlined.  Everyone wins.  Leading production music libraries like 5Alarm, Music have delivered standardized data to end users with nothing but praise from users like Cory Coken in Chicago:

"We used to spend so much time adding new assets to our server. now its much easier with Soundminer and standardized music files.  The exceptional work on the 5 Alarm Music library has made it more effective for our editors to find, track and update their music.....I wish all libraries would adopt standardization.  In fact, we are now updating libraries with this standardization on our server first. I personally give preferential treatment to those libraries that do provide assets in this very usable, search-able format"

It is a simple streamlined process that, when followed, allows a library to use one toolset to prepare files for many systems, not just Soundminer and ensure that their assets are viewed along with other assets in a way that makes searching and updating assets for users easy.  They control their own assets with these tools, not Soundminer.  In addition, Soundminer continues to develop tools for every step of the process to ensure accurate reporting.  Soundminer’s Web Portal builds automatic cue sheets from the metadata embedded in these files and Soundmienr v4pro extracts the critical information right from the Pro Tools session.  The net result is better more efficient searching and this translates to better more accurate reporting.

To learn more download the PDF - Metadata Initiative

**Metadata standards vary across the industry.  Not all applications read all metadata and each manufacturer may have their own standard.  What all Soundminer products do is print to Soundminer's own metadata container while at the same time printing to as many of the industry standards available.  Users can add custom fields for a small fee and all embedding optimzies based on the file format for as many metadata standards as possible.  Every product in our arsenal is capable of import/export and remerging of text and V4.5pro can be suited to import Microsoft Excel directly.