Sibelius UsersSibelius users of the world unite!

Archives of the NY Philharmonic now available online

Not related to the ongoing Avid drama, but the legendary NY Philharmonic has now made its archives available online, incuding hand marked scores by Leonard Bernstein.

What an absolute goldmine! Kudos to the Leon Levy Foundation for providing funding to this wonderful project.

Avid receives NASDAQ letter

In the wake of its failure to timely publish its year end financial statements, Avid has now received a letter from Nasdaq requiring it to present to plan to fix the situation by no later than May 20, 2013.

This is a standard procedure and should not come as a surprise. That said, I would hope and think that Avid should be able to get its act together and publish its financial statements well before that date.

More drama in the Avid house!

Just two weeks after the resignation of Avid's CEO, and one day before the financial statements were to be published and discussed during a conference call, Avid suddenly cancelled the conference call and deferred the publication of the financial statements until further notice.

Excuse me?!

It may well be a financial technicality - the new CEO Hernandez has a financial background - but this is very poorly timed, to say the least.

Unsurprisingly, a number of shareholder lawsuits have been threatened.

Well, let's wait and see what happens. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Avid.

Screenlight's take on this.

Avid CEO replaced

Big drama in the Avid House -- CEO Gary Greenfield resigned just two weeks before the 2012 financial statements are to be published, to be replaced by Louis Hernandez - as described here.

Given the timing, this suggests that Avid's financial performance is even worse than we had feared, causing Mr. Greenfield to tender his resignation.

What will the future hold for Avid, and Sibelius? Mr. Hernandez has introduced himself to the Avid community.

But even Pro Tools users are still sceptical.

As are Media Composer users (Media Composer is the video editing software, often referred to as 'Avid' which is where Avid's roots are).


Avid / Sibelius at 2013 NAMM; and launch of IdeaScale for Sibelius

After a couple of quiet months, Avid is now ramping up for the 2013 Winter NAMM.

For Sibelius users, the interesting news is that there will be a special Sibelius training for "Sibelius Certified Trainer".

This is a new program, somewhat similar to Pro Tools certification and Avid Media Composer certification. Is it going to be useful for Sibelius users and students, or just another way for Avid to monetize one of their products? I am a bit cynical but like to stay open minded. Well, who knows --- it is too early to tell. Sam Butler has commented on the Sibelius chat page: "I gather the intention of the Sibelius Certification will be in line with the Pro Tools Certification. It's very new so it's early days but it'll gain momentum, I'm sure."

Sibelius user David Hitchin has added this: "This certification goes along with the book, previously mentioned on this forum "Sibelius 7 Music Notation Essentials". Part of the course consists of completing scores required at the end of each chapter and submitting them for assessment and feedback. There are more details in the book here.

It is, however, a very basic qualification, and no one should assume that anyone with the certificate is necessarily an experienced music engraver - the basic requirements for the course include "A basic understanding of music theory and notation. Appendix A will provide a basic introduction to music theory." In spite of all that Sibelius does to produce good formatting by default, almost any score might require some tweaking by a musician who really understands notation to make it usable."

The perhaps more important news perhaps for Sibelius users is that The List - the famous list of improvements to Sibelius which was hitherto kept by Daniel Spreadbury is now kept by senior product manager Bobby Lombardi. The new thing is that Sibelius users will be to publicly vote for items to be put on the list, through an IdeaScale website where Sibelius users can propose ideas which you can then vote for or against. There has been similar list like this for many years for Pro Tools, and a number of proposals were adopted in Pro Tools upgrades. But, to be fair, there are also features that have been on the wish list for years, like the abilty to render faster than real time, organization of clips in subfolders / bins, 64 bit compatibility, and those are still not implemented.

Well, we will see what the future brings. In the meantime it is a interesting development.

Daniel's new home: Steinberg

In a surprising and interesting new development, it turns out that Daniel Spreadbury will become the product marketing manager a new research and development center of Steinberg, the software developer of inter alia Cubase, Nuendo and the VST standard for virtual instruments, which will focus on the notation and education markets.

Steinberg opening UK R&D center

New Steinberg Research & Development office in London for professional music notation and education software

HAMBURG, Germany — November 9, 2012 — Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH announced today that it is establishing an R&D center in London, United Kingdom, to focus on developing software for the music notation and education markets.

Marketing director at Steinberg, Frank Simmerlein, comments: “Steinberg has a good standing in both the education and composing markets, but we’ve always believed that these markets and its customers deserve the best support we can give. Therefore we are more than delighted to have found the perfect team of extremely talented and experienced individuals to make this possible in the foreseeable future.”

Ben Timms, head of Steinberg’s new London-based R&D team, remarks: “I’m delighted and proud that we are becoming part of the Steinberg family. Our collective expertise combined with Steinberg’s world-leading products and technologies can only mean exciting things for the customers.”

“As musicians, we are very excited to be joining Steinberg, a company whose unrivaled tradition of ground-breaking technologies we have always admired. As a development team, we are looking forward to bringing our extensive experience to bear on a new generation of products, designed by musicians for musicians,” adds Daniel Spreadbury, new product marketing manager for Steinberg.

The London-based office begins its operation in the middle of November this year.

We are happy to see that Daniel has found a new home, and wish him and his team the best of luck in their new endeavor!

Daniel's blog handed over to Philip Rothman

Since 2008 Daniel Spreadbury had been running a blog with his own personal musings about Sibelius and music related topics (not affiliated with or endorsed by Avid in any way, by the way).

In the wake of his leaving Avid, Daniel has handed the reigns for that website over to Philip Rothman. Philip is a composer, orchestrator and music preparer from New York City, who also teaches Sibelius courses from time to time.

It's good to see that the blog won't die down with Daniel's departure, and we look forward to reading Philip's posts.

Daniel's last day in the office

Today, October 31, 2012, is officially Daniel's last day in the office.

Goodbye Daniel, and thanks for all the great work you and your team have done for Sibelius and to foster its community!

In Daniel's own words:

"Today's my last day with Avid, and I'll be handing in my gun and my badge (well, my computer and my key) very shortly, so I just wanted to pop in and say a fond farewell.

I've written a slightly longer goodbye that will go up on the Sibelius blog at the end of the day today (, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

To every Sibelius user: thank you for being so passionate about the product we have worked so hard to build for you. Thank you for inspiring us to do our best work. And thank you also for your support over the last few difficult months.

It goes without saying that I will miss this place, and I'm not sure how I will adjust to not checking in here several times a day. There is a wonderfully supportive and expert community here. I very much hope it will continue in the same spirit. I wish all of you success in your every endeavour, musical or otherwise.

Although I won't be posting here any longer, I'm easy to find online: I'm on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (@dspreadbury), and I'd be glad to stay in touch (but please don't write to me asking for help with Sibelius!).

See you around!"

and there is the somewhat longer, more personal note.


Avid investors begin selloff of Avid stock

In the news today: third quarter results appear to be significantly worse than expected.

This followed an announcement of a significant sale of Avid stock by Blum Capital, Avid's largest shareholder, earlier this month.

Things appear to be rather gloomy for Avid.

British MP reacts to closure of Sibelius UK Office

Ms. Sheila Gilmore MP has responded to the closure of the Sibelius office (after meeting with Derek Williams).

Musicians' Union update on the future of Sibelius

The UK Musicians' Union has now also weighed in on the future of Sibelius with their report of the meetings with Avid.


BASCA hosts AVID re Sibelius

On October 3, 2012, the BASCA (the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) has hosted the presentation of a petition with well over 10,000 signatures by Save Sibelius to AVID. Derek Williams delivered a well argued speech on behalf of the campaign, and had the opportunity to pose several question to Bobby Lombardi, who was present on behalf of Avid.

Here is Derek's brief report of the meeting:

"Save Sibelius shared Save Sibelius's album.

16 minutes ago

BASCA meeting with Avid Technology re closure of Sibelius UK, held at MPA headquarters in London, 3rd October. Full details will be given after the Save Sibelius team have reached consensus on what future action is appropriate, including the Avid Boycott planned to commence 8th October.

Derek Williams briefed a representative from the Musicians Union for an hour before the BASCA event, which was well attended by representatives from several other organisations in addition to BASCA members. A further meeting took place the following morning between Avid and the Musicians Union regarding the same issues and a further combined meeting incorporating other concerned bodies is envisaged for December.
Avid Representative and new Head of Sibelius, Bobby Lombardi went through Avid's vision for Sibelius as follows:

  1. Avid is "fully committed" to Sibelius support and future development.
  2. Development will continue with the remaining 6 (currently dismissed) UK programmers alongside 3 new developers in Ukraine plus ProTools interop integration in California. Apparently the Ukraine team have not yet all been appointed, because Global Logic are having trouble finding developers in Ukraine with the right combination of musical aptitude and C++ programming expertise, something Bobby acknowledged as "essential", and which Avid already had with the UK team they had fired.
  3. Technical Support will continue from Pinewood (UK) headed up by Sam, who will replace Daniel Spreadbury on the Help Forum when he leaves at the end of October.
  4. The Avid support website will be redesigned as per undertakings made informally 5 years ago.
  5. A 'user brainstorming' model, similar to that used by Open Source applications will be adopted so users can feed back to developers what they want fixed and what new features they would like.

However, there was little indication how all this would be practicable with only a skeleton development team in place and staff scattered all over the world.
I was then invited up to address the floor, and to present the Sibelius Users Group petition "Avid: Sell Sibelius", which Bobby Lombardi graciously accepted and undertook to take back to the USA and personally hand to CEO Gary Greenfield. The handover of the petition is recorded in the album on Facebook
The meeting then opened up to questions from the floor, many on behalf of organisations represented there. The atmosphere was quite spirited, and several questions were put as to how Avid was going to be able to keep all these promises with none of the original development team left.
In the course of the evening, some interesting admissions were made:

  • Sibelius is indeed profitable as a standalone enterprise.
  • As we previously reported, the number of Sibelius users is confirmed at approximately half a million.
  • The user uptake on Sibelius 7 has so far been the lowest of any release.
  • Avid's mind is not closed to selling Sibelius. Bobby said, "Divestitures are made all the time by corporations, however it was decided that Sibelius was a key unit in our portfolio, integral with ProTools and should therefore be retained." No explanation was offered regarding the unsuccessful attempts by the Finn brothers to buy back Sibelius.
  • It appears that Bobby Lombardi volunteered to head up Sibelius when Daniel Spreadbury goes, at least in part because of the uproar we've created over Avid's sacking of the development team.
  • "Avid needs to do better in communicating with its customers." (presumably this includes giving out bad news such as the sacking of an entire development team)
  • "Strenuous efforts" are being made to hold on to the last 5 heretofore sacked programmers. There was some of to-ing and fro-ing between us about how difficult it must be for Avid to rehire the very people they had just sacked, or whose positions they made untenable.

I found the Avid personnel who attended to be sincere, talented and highly motivated - just the very sort of people Avid sack. One can only hope that the positions of Bobby and Sam will prove more durable than the over 70 staff of Sibelius UK whom Avid have "let go" since 2006. Bobby did not disagree when I pointed out that there has already been a huge diaspora of talent out of Avid.
We will communicate again shortly with our recommendations.

Derek Williams
Save Sibelius Campaign Organiser"

Goodbye Daniel!!

Well, this is really a sad, sad moment. Though it had been simmering for some time, it has now officially come to this: Daniel Spreadbury has publicly announced that he will be leaving Sibelius and will no longer be supporting either his personal blog or be present on the Sibelius chat page.

"As for me personally, I will be leaving at the end of October when the last of my colleagues from the original team leave. After 13 and a half years, I will be looking for a clean break, and I won't be posting here any longer, or maintaining the Sibelius blog, after I go."

Thank you Daniel, and team, for everything you have done for Sibelius.

Nothing is forever, but the way Avid managed to destroy a community and trust in a perfectly fine product can now go into history book as a prime example of corporate misconduct.

Sibelius 7.1.3 now released - the "swan song upgrade"?

On his personal blog site, senior product manager Daniel Spreadbury has just announced the release of the final upgrade coming out of the London office:

A long list of improvement that I am sure will put many smiles on the faces of mac users especially.

Sadly, at the same time this appears to be the final upgrade that was developed in London, so from now on everything is going to come out of the Ukraine ... let's wait and see how that will work out.

End of the World?

A new blog on a new website,

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