Notation software

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Southern Comfort
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Re: Notation software

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:20 pm


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Re: Notation software

Post by alan29 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:07 pm

That doesn't bode well for Sibelius.

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Re: Notation software

Post by musicus » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:41 pm

It all depends on what the parent company's priorities are (apart from making lots of money, of course). I'm not sure that Avid care too much about 'the little guys' in the UK. :(
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Re: Notation software

Post by Southern Comfort » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:40 am

Apparently even the guys who developed the software are being let go (as the Americans say), so who knows what, if any, tech support will be available in the future.

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Re: Notation software

Post by musicus » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:11 pm

The London operation (Daniel Spreadbury and his team) are the people who developed the software (building on the original work of the Finn brothers).
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Re: Notation software

Post by NorthernTenor » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:22 pm

Now's the time for a new product to enter the market. The Finn Brothers must be well beyond the point at which contractual obligations can stop them, and given the circumstances the London/Cambridge team can hardly be prevented. I would be inclined to buy a product from such a source.
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Re: Notation software

Post by alan29 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:30 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with NT. There is an elegance about Sib that I really like.

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Re: Notation software

Post by John Ainslie » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:37 pm

NorthernTenor wrote:Now's the time for a new product to enter the market. The Finn Brothers must be well beyond the point at which contractual obligations can stop them, and given the circumstances the London/Cambridge team can hardly be prevented. I would be inclined to buy a product from such a source.

I don't know the detailed circumstances (I'm not a Sibelius user myself). But if the software copyright belongs to Avid, there's nothing Daniel Spreadbury or the Finn brothers can do about reproducing it, even if they wrote it. Presumably they were employed or paid by Avid to do so - for Avid. Tough!

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Re: Notation software

Post by Southern Comfort » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:07 pm

John Ainslie wrote:
NorthernTenor wrote:Now's the time for a new product to enter the market. The Finn Brothers must be well beyond the point at which contractual obligations can stop them, and given the circumstances the London/Cambridge team can hardly be prevented. I would be inclined to buy a product from such a source.

I don't know the detailed circumstances (I'm not a Sibelius user myself). But if the software copyright belongs to Avid, there's nothing Daniel Spreadbury or the Finn brothers can do about reproducing it, even if they wrote it. Presumably they were employed or paid by Avid to do so - for Avid. Tough!


I think the writing of the software goes a lot further back. But the thing is, Avid now owns it and it's loss-making, so they're trying to get rid of it. MakeMusic (a.k.a. Finale) are waiting in the wings to buy it from them and then, once they've acquired it, gradually bury Sibelius without trace, leaving Finale as the only serious option (as it already is for the vast majority of publishers and composers) for composers who want to get their music published.

If I were a committed Sibelius user, I think I'd be switching to Finale now, before that move is forced in the years to come. And I'd be purchasing an engraving guide such as Gardner Read's Music Notation so that I knew what good engraving practice was, rather than relying on software to do it all for me.

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Re: Notation software

Post by NorthernTenor » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:48 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:And I'd be purchasing an engraving guide such as Gardner Read's Music Notation so that I knew what good engraving practice was, rather than relying on software to do it all for me.


Tsk, tsk. Just let it go, my dear honorary life member.
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Re: Notation software

Post by NorthernTenor » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:03 pm

John Ainslie wrote:
NorthernTenor wrote:Now's the time for a new product to enter the market. The Finn Brothers must be well beyond the point at which contractual obligations can stop them, and given the circumstances the London/Cambridge team can hardly be prevented. I would be inclined to buy a product from such a source.

I don't know the detailed circumstances (I'm not a Sibelius user myself). But if the software copyright belongs to Avid, there's nothing Daniel Spreadbury or the Finn brothers can do about reproducing it, even if they wrote it. Presumably they were employed or paid by Avid to do so - for Avid. Tough!


I'm not suggesting anyone other than Avid has the copyright to the Sibelius source code, which they bough from the Finn brothers some time back. The code, however, is merely a particular expression of a set of ideas; ideas as such are not subject to copyright and they can be developed, improved and expressed in a variety of ways. It is perfectly within the rights of the Finns and/or those previously associated with them to produce and market a better mousetrap, within a business model that doesn't include the overheads and other constraints of the Avids of this world. It may be that the Finns signed a no-competition clause as part of their deal, but constraint of trade law doesn't permit such agreements an indefinite life; and Avid wouldn't get very far if they tried to deny the rights of those they've let go to ply their trade. I, for one, admire the track record of these individuals sufficiently to say I'd consider buying a new product from them. This may seem a novel idea to those committed to institutional control of ideas and their expression, but it's the way commerce works at its best and thank goodness for that.
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Re: Notation software

Post by musicus » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:52 am

The future of Sibelius is far from clear at the moment, but I, for one, am not drafting an obituary just yet. Avid have said that it is not earmarked for the chop. That it is integrated with Pro Tools (which most certainly is not going anywhere), maintained and developed by a small and highly productive software team (albeit in relatively expensive London offices) and is a best-seller all support that view. The transfer to InMusic of M-Audio is huge, however, and likely to impact positively upon Avid's bottom-line in a way that a single software title could never do.

I recommend that we wait and see, and I further recommend that we refrain from 'talking down' any commercial products with premature announcements of their demise.
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Re: Notation software

Post by keitha » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:55 pm

Musicus is dead right - it is really a case of "wait and see". Avid says that it is relocating the Sibelius technical operation to save costs as a means of resolving some of its financial problems (I understand that a lot of the more recent software development has taken place in the Ukraine anyway). It is not saying that it will be pulling Sibelius as a product. Anything else, at this point, is speculation.

In relation to NT's suggestions regarding restraints of trade, assuming that they exist, they will have time and territorial limits. However, they could be quite long and wide because, unlike with employment contracts (where the period and territory have to be quite limited), much more latitude applies when restrictions are placed on the sellers of a business in a commercial transaction to protect the value of that business for the buyer who has paid out "hard cash".
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Re: Notation software

Post by NorthernTenor » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:09 pm

I'm less inclined to assume well of The Man than some here. I guess that's not surprising in a place sponsored by an organisation so chummily conformist that it hesitates to speak ill of the dishonesty and incompetence of Ecclestone Square.* The Finn brothers (the software's progenitors) are reported as saying:

We were very concerned to hear earlier this month that Avid is terminating the jobs of the Sibelius development team in London and handing the software over to other programmers, apparently to cut costs. As far as we know, Sibelius continues to be extremely successful, so this cost-cutting is a response to financial problems elsewhere in Avid, not with Sibelius itself.

Ever since then we have been quietly trying to do everything we can to change this situation, including twice offering to buy Sibelius back from Avid. However, Avid has declined. While they haven’t given a reason, we assume that Sibelius is a substantial source of profits to them, so they don’t want to sell it to anyone.

We naturally feel very sad about this treatment of our friends and colleagues who have been key to making Sibelius a success, and who have become the world experts in this specialized field. We are also very grateful to the many Sibelius users who have expressed their concern and support; though at this point, it seems unlikely that any protests will change Avid’s mind.

We hope Sibelius nonetheless continues to be the world’s most successful music notation software.


* Not surprising when you peruse the list of those invited to run workshops at its annual conference.
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Re: Notation software

Post by alan29 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:27 pm

....... sound of dead horse being beaten.

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