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Sibelius UK closure is confirmed – killed by US owners on the 4th of July

Industry media have backed up and followed our breaking story of the past three days that the home base of Sibelius music software has been shut down by US owners, Avid.

ProSoundNews, the audio profession’s journal, reports that the decision was slipped under the wire in a flurry of global cuts. A spokesman told PSN: ”Avid is closing its Finsbury Park site. However, we’d like to stress that this should not in anyway be confused with a diminishment in our commitment to Sibelius.” PSN adds a helpful detail: Avid CEO Gary Greenfield has raised his pay from $1.2m in 2009 to $4.8m in 2011.

Classical Music magazine, which is read by most UK  music professionals, calls Sibelius ‘the software of choice for composers of all types of notated music’ and gives the background to its rise and sudden fall.

The timing and manner of the heavy job cuts was significant. The information was pushed out late Monday, just as US media were shutting down for the July 4 holiday, ensuring minimum public attention. Nice work, Mr Greenfield.

I wonder what the Finn twins, who invented Sibelius when they were about 20 years old, are thinking today.



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  1. Speaking as an American, this is horrid, but typical of the out of control corporate mentality in the country. Of course, I do not believe in the sort of controls France is suggesting, but there used to be at least a modicum of responsibility in our corporations. Very little of that left now.

  2. CEO’s of large corporations don’t care about families except insofar as they impact on reputation and profit. So an effective way to attack this is to address the impact of Sibelius UK closure on reputation and profit. If either is damaged, the other is affected.

    The end of Sibelius UK can be seen as a loss of face for Britain as much as it is for the employees of Sibelius. It could also have political ramifications, given the current government’s express commitment to job creation and foreign investment, so those of a mind to do so could write in this vein to their MP, talk to local media and of course keep the emails coming to Mr Greenfield and his pals. There are other CC’s you might want to use:

    Gary Greenfield
    Martin Kloiber
    Dana Ruzicka
    Ian Bruce

    One can also comment in the Avid Facebook site by clicking ‘Like’ and then posting both in the ‘Write something’ field, and below its restructuring announcement. If Avid’s FB becomes flooded with complaints then not only will this raise public awareness about this decision to axe Sibelius, it may mobilise others to complain. There are also many local Fax and Telephone numbers that can be contacted at

    If Avid HQ become bogged down with complaints about this to the extent that it impacts on the running of their other enterprises, then they may look again at how else they can streamline Sibelius in the UK.

    • They’ll have been expect some backlash, but the question is how much backlash will they endure, and how much are we prepared and able to give? The Sibelius users’ group is very large indeed. If it can be contacted, and everyone sends an email, a letter and a fax, and posts to Facebook, then that will cause real trouble. They can’t keep changing their email addresses and Fax nos and blocking Facebook Likes forever.

      The new age technology gave us Sibelius, and it has also given us the means to protect it.

  3. It looks like Avid has taken down all the critical comments on their Facebook page. Typical.

  4. Martin Yates says:

    CEO’s don’t you just love them. Out of touch with reality…..

    • I suspect it’s closer to: pure selfishness- not caring about any reality other than his own as opposed to being out of touch with reality… He seems quite focused on his own financial reality.
      It certainly is disheartening and discouraging to see this happening.

  5. This was inevitable…. there was no Sibelius 8, so this had to happen.

    Maybe there is no reason to get too exited about this. If Avid have sacked the team that developed Sibelius, they they have also given them those people the opportunity to reform and develop a competing and perhaps even better product, learning from whatever mistakes they found along the way (copyright notwithstanding). And the developers can keep the profits instead of funding the CEOs pay packet.

    With more foresight, the new product can be called Haydn.

  6. Ben Byram-Wigfield says:

    Such was Sibelius’s dominance of the UK market where it was founded, that its older rival, Finale, is hardly known, and Sibelius is an eponym for notation software.
    The problem with closing the UK office is the loss of “folk knowledge” that the UK staff have for the product. However competent (or “cost-effective”) the new team may be, they won’t have the experience of the product’s history.

  7. {{ Classical Music magazine, which is read by most UK music professionals, calls Sibelius ‘the software of choice for composers of all types of notated music’ }}

    Sibelius may well be the “software of choice” for MANY “composers of all types of notated music” in the UK, but I certainly wouldn’t refer to it as THE “software of choice.” Many professional composers worldwide, in the UK and elsewhere (myself included), choose to use Finale, for example.

    That point aside, I certainly sympathize with Sibelius users and, frankly, had a feeling this sort of thing would start happening once a conglomerate like Avid got hold of the product. It would be nice to see a cooperative, open source music notation product not subject to the whims and needs of the investor class become the industry standard. I would include Finale in that description (MakeMusic, Inc. is a publically traded corporation).

  8. Jim Druckenmiller says:

    Two things Mr. Lebrecht,

    I was working at a book store when your book ‘The Maestro Myth’ came out. I bought it on the same day that I unpacked it to put it on the stores shelf. In fact I took a copy straight from the box to the cash register and paid for it, and I started to read it on my lunch break of that day. I enjoyed it, so Thank You for writing that.

    . . . actually I can still see it sitting upon my book shelf, even as I’m writing this now,. . . The Cover is unmarred and in good shape, the pages are still crisp, and the spine is tight and unbroken, heck I can even see the dust which is sitting on it, but then that’s how I like it because that dust helps to protect the book from the elements, but then this a tip you probably already know. :-)

    - – -

    Now that I’ve softened you up some, I hope you don’t mind me taking you to task for your chosen title on this topic. I’m glad to see someone else point this out because I too noticed the Irony. However I think you are offering Mr. Greenfield a little more credit than he might actually deserve here. You see it would take a knowledge of History for an American to try an underhanded act of revenge, against the British, such as you’re suggesting with. . . “ – killed by US owners on the 4th of July”.

    Well, until I see evidence otherwise, I don’t think we should assume too much too soon. There’s a good chance that for good old Mr. Greenfield, the 4th of July just happens to be a day like any other day, but on this one you’re just suppose to wake up and eat hotdogs during the day, and watch a few fireworks at night. . . But that’s about it!!. . . Anything past this takes a little bit of an education, and we don’t know that he’s ever received such a thing.

    There’s a FAR more likely explanation for all this, because I think it has something to do with the fact that one day he tried to find ‘Finsbury Park’ on a map, and not knowing where even the UK was located, he came to the conclusion that it might not exist. At that point his extensive management instinct kicked in and told him that he could probably save a lot of money if he didn’t keep sending out checks to places which are hard to find on the map.

    As you may even suspect yourself, there’s not a whole lot of proof that he even locate his own ass from a hole in the ground. So his real problem is that he CAN’T FIND THINGS. . .

    He can’t find a solution for the botched effort to acquire a lot of independent companies, in the hope that they can be collectively rebranded under the ‘impressive’ AVID logo and name,…as some sort of media specific empire.
    He can’t find a way to provide the talent which he had available with the inspiration and vision of a future which they could be working towards.

    He can’t find a way to ease the unnecessary burden of process which some AVID employees have written about, and are obliged to work under.

    He can’t even find the wisdom which would suggest that if one can’t improved upon things then the best thing to do is get out of the way, and at least let things go along as they have in the past (each of these companies somehow managed to get by prior to his leadership). . . and in the mean time put together some committee in an effort to get OPINIONS from the developers of the products which are being made. . . Listening to such advice would be another skill noteworthy of praise, but also something which he would need to find an acceptance of understanding before it can be put in practice.

    Anyhow, If you reconsider changing your Title to reflect my dubious argument here (I am an American, and I’m uniquely qualified to interpret my fellow countryman’s intentions, and stupidity). Then I promise you that I’ll go and dust off that book of yours which I have sitting upon my shelf. . . But don’t blame me if the cover starts to oxidize prematurely, as a result of having done so. You’d probably like that because I’d just go out and buy another copy. . . I could probably live without it, but that’s not something I’d want to do, and haven’t since it’s copyright of 1991, on whatever day that was when I opened that box.

    Well, I’m glad to have found your blog Mr. Lebrecht, you can thank or blame the Sibelius User Forum for this fact,…as I’m a happy Sibelius user who’s very ticked off at the moment. I promise I’ll come back to read some more of your stuff, and I may even be able to treat you a little nicer in the future. :-)

    Take Care,


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