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[Mac Finale Sibelius] About "There was a critical error initializing the licensing engine. Error code: 5."

January 24th 2024 afternoon in Tokyo time, on my macOS 13.6.1 Ventura, an issue occurred where only the Garritan sound source did not produce sound in Finale v27.3, and an activation issue with Sibelius occurred at the same time.

The cause is currently unknown while it seems to be a problem related to macOS updates and license activation, but I have found a solution, so I summarize the information below.

1. Occurrence of problem

The circumstances at the time of this occurrence are unknown, but as far as I remember, when I put my Mac to sleep with Finale running, and when I wake it up after about 10 to 15 minutes and play music using the Music app, the playback sound is severely distorted.

The issue with the Music app was resolved by closing Finale, but the following symptoms appeared immediately after that.

For Finale:

When I select SmartMusic SoftSynth or other sample sound sources such as NotePerformer the sound comes out without any problem, but when I select Garritan Instruments for Finale (GIFF) or Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 (GPO5), there is no sound.

For Sibelius:

An error message appears automatically, without launching Sibelius. It says

"There was a critical error initializing the licensing engine.

Error code: 5.

Please contact Avid Customer support.

Application can't continue work and will be terminated."

Then I tried to start Sibelius but it didn't launch.

2. Solution

(1) For Sibelius

Regarding Sibelius, I copied the error message that appeared exactly as it appeared and searched the internet for it. Fortunately, someone who had experienced the same problem posted a solution on social media, so I was able to solve it smoothly.

What I learned from that information was the following article published on the Avid Knowledge Base at the end of 2023, which was a not-so-difficult solution to delete the specified file from the Application Support folder.

Cause and Solution to Sibelius Error message: "There was an error initializing the licensing engine...." (Last Updated : December 28, 2023 Products Affected : Sibelius, Sibelius Ultimate)

The following is a solution using this article as a reference and adding images etc.

[For Mac]

  • Close Sibelius and Avid Link. If necessary, press Option+⌘+Esc to display the Force Quit Applications dialog box to force quit these apps.

  • Open Finder.

  • Go to the top of the screen, click the Go menu, and select Move to Folder.

  • Type “/Library/Application Support/Avid” and press enter.

  • Delete the "License" folder inside the displayed "Avid" folder. *1

  • Delete the contents (binding.dat, RewireLaunch) in the "Common" folder.

  • Launch Avid Link. (Now you should be able to activate it.)

*1: If the Media Composer is installed, you will also need to reactivate it.

The effect has not been verified as the problem did not occur in our environment, but we also show the solution for the Windows version as well.

[For Windows 11]

  • Quit Sibelius completely.

  • Press ctrl+alt+delete to open Task Manager.

  • Go to the Details tab.

  • Select Avid Link.exe, right-click, and select End Process Tree.

  • Press Windows key + E to open Windows Explorer.

  • Make sure "View > Show > Hidden Files" is checked. *2

  • Navigate to "C:\ProgramData\Avid".

  • Delete the "License" folder. *3

  • Go to the "Common" folder and delete the contents within it.

  • Empty the trash.

  • Reactivate Sibelius by following the steps described in this article.

*2: This is required to display the ProgramData folder in the next step. Reference article: Windows: Displaying invisible files)

*3: If the Media Composer is installed, you will also need to reactivate it.

(2) For Finale

Unlike in the case of Sibelius, no error message appeared with Finale, so searching the internet for the symptoms did not give any useful information that would lead to a solution.

However, among the sample sound sources selected in "MIDI/Audio Menu > Use Audio Units for Playback", only GIFF and GPO5 didn’t work while NotePerformer etc. produce sound, it was predicted that the issue would be related to the ARIA Player which plays GIFF and GPO5.

Reloading the AU plug-in and deleting Garritan/ARIA Player-related preference files didn’t work, and the GIFF problem was resolved by uninstalling Finale, GIFF, ARIA Player, and GPO5, and then reinstalling Finale + GIFF. 

However, when I installed GPO5 after that, not only GPO5 but also GIFF stopped working, and in the end, by overwrite-reinstalling Finale + GIFF again, everything including GPO5 was resolved.


In this article, we have introduced the symptoms and solutions of the problem. The cause is under investigation, but because I know following facts, 

  • The Avid Knowledge Base article states that one possible cause is “A change in the computer caused Sibelius to think the activation doesn't belong to the computer being activated. For example, an upgrade to your operating system, etc.

  • With Finale, there is no problem if you only reinstall the GIFF sound source that comes with Finale, however, even if it is the same Garritan sound source, a problem occurs when I additionally installed GPO5, which is sold separately and requires license authorization.

It seems that the cause is related to the relationship between macOS updates and license authentication. As soon as I find something, I’d like to write about it in a separate article.



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