Four Tet requests cracked plugin on Twitter and slams iLok licensing system: "I can't work like that"

Four Tet
(Image credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Kieran Hebden, AKA producer/DJ Four Tet, has taken to Twitter to source a cracked version of Skymon's new BigSky reverb plugin, after claiming that the iLok license management system has made his paid version unusable. 

"Anyone got a cracked version of that strymon blue sky plugin?", Hebden asked his followers, in a tweet dated November 4th. We presume that the producer's referring here to the recently released BigSky plugin, easily confused with Strymon's blueSky reverb pedal. Announced earlier this month, BigSky is Strymon's first plugin, and recreates the sound of their BigSky reverb pedal in software.

"I bought it but you need to be online to use it and I can't work like that," Hebden continued. Here, he's referring to the plugin's iLok licensing system, which requires users to be connected to the internet every time the plugin is opened, in order to verify their license. Hebden's followers were quick to point out that it's possible to activate an iLok license using a physical USB dongle, but the producer dismissed the solution, stating that he's "not really a dongle person." (Who is, really?)

While we at MusicRadar HQ emphatically do not endorse the use of cracked plugins or pirated software, we understand that for producers looking to work on the move, the iLok system can present some inconvenience. This is a sentiment that was echoed by Hebden's followers, with user @rdomain commenting: "That’s a shame about the whole dongle/online thing. I stopped buying software that needs a physical dongle a few years ago." Another commenter, @_sean_wave, doubled down, remarking simply: "gotta hate the iLok system."

iLok is a license management system used by an extensive range of software manufacturers, including Eventide, Softube, Slate Digital and Zynaptiq. The system is intended to make license management more convenient, as it allows one iLok device to activate a number of different licenses at once, and avoids the process of typing in lengthy serial numbers when licenses are activated. However, when using iLok-enabled software, users must validate their licenses through an internet connection or through an iLok-enabled USB key.

This isn't the first time we've spotted big-name producers dabbling in software piracy: remember when Kanye West was caught downloading a cracked version of Xfer Records Serum through Pirate Bay, after browsing MusicRadar's guide to the best synth plugins? We certainly do...

Four Tet's latest release, Mango Feedback, came out in August. 

Check out our 2010 in-studio interview with Four Tet, or revisit the producer's aptly named 2012 track "Locked", below. 


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