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At Sibelius software, the last staff turn out the lights

The UK office was shut down last night. The software has been put in deep-freeze by its owners, Avid, who refuse to sell it back to the founders. Here’s what you can do, according to users and defenders of a great British invention.

Dear Sibelians,Yesterday the sacked Sibelius programmers walked out of the London Headquarters for the last time.We have no time to lose.

Here’s what you can do:
If you work in any schools, societies, choirs, bands, orchestras, unions, alumni, guilds – you can raise this as an issue and ask them to visit We have made it as easy as 1, 2, 3 to take immediate action.The site is linked to Facebook, a Change.Org Petition and has a One Click emailer to contact the entire Avid board. Every single action helps. You can swamp the Avid HQ with your protests.Even if you have already faxed, emailed, written, phoned, it is still worth writing back and even more importantly, invite your friends and colleagues to do likewise.

The golfing buddies on the Avid board have shown themselves time and again to be devoid of vision or proper understanding of the music industry. Their Wall St modus operandi is to buy viable companies, sack the staff, close down the offices and then simply let them trade on reputation with zero overheads until the products die off. Avid are literally making a killing at our expense.

Sibelius is currently we believe turning over $18 million a year. So now, with no overheads of development team and offices, for Avid that becomes clean profit as Sibelius is slowly killed off over the next 3-4 years.

To Avid’s Wall St mentality, that is smart business. Run on empty, make your fortune, then leave the carcass behind to hunt for the next pot of gold. Short term thinking that brings on the Harvard High Fives.

The programmers who left yesterday will have had enough code pre-written for a very slim Sibelius version 8 to be released in a year or two, so Avid can pretend that development is still going on. It isn’t. Development on Sibelius ceased yesterday.

Wall St speculators like Avid have no business in the music business. Let’s ramp up the pressure, and keep those Facebook Likes, emails, faxes, letters, petition signatures and phone calls coming.

And please keep watching this space – we’ll update you as the campaign escalates.

Derek Williams

UPDATE: Read the latest here.
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  1. Jonathan Babcock says:

    Sibelius is one of the finest software of its kind. I have been a loyal customer for years. The decision to close their doors seems thoughtless. Please let these developers continue to create great musical software.

  2. Even Finale users should get on this. They may not use Sibelius, but the competition has inspired many improvements in their application as well.
    We used to sneer at the idea that people who lived in state-controlled economies had their choices limited by the short-sighted policies of their politburos with their five-year plans. Seems like these corporate raiders will create the same situation, and do it much more “efficiently.”

    • As a Finale user, I say “hear, hear!”

      • ‘Even Finale users should get on this. They may not use Sibelius, but the competition has inspired many improvements in their application as well.’

        Arguably not *enough* pressure. The UI at last showing is still hugely counter-intruitive and difficult to quickly assimilate.

    • Peter Felice says:

      Agree with this!!! Competition motivates advanced success….without it, Finale will slow their development process and this will aggravate its users!

      • David Deacon-Joyner says:

        I agree with my colleague Dr. Bell-Hanson and Mr. Felice. I switched to Sibelius after using Finale for 20 years. Finale finally found humility and vastly improved its product once Sibelius came to prominence. It did it by becoming more Sibelius-like. Sibelius is a fantastic product on its own merits; it’s significance is not in being a competitor or motivator for Finale. For me, it is superior. I hope the Finn twins and the original British developers get their baby back.

        • David,

          I sincerely hope so also.

          • David in Brevard says:

            I’m a Finale user, but Sibelius has the best of reputations even among rabid Finale users. It has forced MakeMuisic to make Finale a much better program. But Finale is in trouble too. Its owners are selling to a vulture capitalist.

    • Thom Sturm says:

      Word! I’m forwarding this to all my Composer friends regardless of their allegiance.

    • I totally agree that the competition made both Sibelius and Finale better. I am a Finale user but my daughter’s college (and many other schools) use Sibelius. I really dislike the business practices of Avid and I will help bring any pressure I can for them to reverse this idiotic decision. As soon as there is a major change on an OS, Sibelius will be obsolete. This reminds me of what happened to Encore. Avid seems to be riding on the dominance of Pro Tools and thinking about profit over long term sustainability.

    • As a Finale user too, I say that many improvements in Finale came because of Sibelius’ new features. I hope all the best for Sibelius!

    • Scootman says:

      Finale is in trouble, as well, folks:

    • David in Brevard says:

      I am a Finale user, and I say HEAR! HEAR!
      Sibelius has put intense pressure on MakeMusic to improve Finale and associated products.
      Do all you can to bring these “:gentlemen” back to sanity.

  3. James Kepler says:

    Might I suggest that the programmers do what the programmers of OpenOffice did when Oracle decided to end the whole open-source thing–launch their own competition built on the bones of the old software. The entire German programming team for OpenOffice walked out and later launched LibreOffice, which has replaced OpenOffice in most Linux distributions. Of course, the Sibelius programmers don’t have to make their new software open-source, as they do have to eat from time to time, but they could nevertheless launch a similar product inspired by and based on sibelius, without the shackles of Avid.

    • Keith G. says:

      I didn’t know about LibreOffice and the issues surrounding OpenOffice. I applaud the effort and the result. It would be nice to see if that can be done with Sibelius. Perhaps we can call the result Takemitsu.

    • Charles Clark says:

      But Sibelius is not open source code. They would have to start from scratch and create a different look and feel for fear of being sued by Avid. That’s self defeating.

    • Mirek M. says:

      I’d like to clear up some misconceptions:

      LibreOffice was able to be formed because was open-source software. Since Sibelius is closed-source and the developers don’t own the rights to it, they would have to start from scratch. This is a flaw inherent in all closed-source software — unless it goes open-source, the customers are screwed when developers stop working on it. Here’s a similar recent case:

      It’s also a common misconception that open-source software developers don’t get paid. There are various ways OSS developers can make money, from crowdfunding, which got Bryan Lunduke a monthly salary of $4000 and raised over $6 million (and still counting) for the upcoming Ouya console on Kickstarter, to offering related services, which earned open-source company Red Hat more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

      If you want a great scorewriter that will never go obsolete, invest in open-source. You could try to convince Avid to open-source Sibelius, but chances of that happening are slim. You’re better off supporting an open-source scorewriter like MuseScore. If you’re missing features, find an experienced developer and start a fundraising campaign on KickStarter or IndieGoGo (or elsewhere) to pay his salary. If there’s something bothering you with it, submit a bug report (at If the core development team refuses to make the changes you demand because they conflict with their vision, you’re free to fork the software and change it to your liking.

      • Perhaps Avid could be convinced to release Sibelius as open source after they release version 8 and wring the last bit of profit out of it. (They’ll NEVER be convinced that going open-source right now while they’re still selling it and will soon be looking to sell the next edition, wouldn’t hurt and might actually help their bottom line. Wall Streeters don’t think that way.)

        • David Kastrup says:

          A lot of software is in a state where a complete discontinuity in its developer base is rather fatal to its further progress. So its future still would very much depend on the willingness of its original programmer team to continue working on it on an open software basis: That’s usually a rather solid restriction in marketing models, and they did, after all, develop Sibelius on a proprietary commercial base at the upper end of the price scale.

          • Mirek M. says:

            “So its future still would very much depend on the willingness of its original programmer team to continue working on it on an open software basis”
            Not at all. Any developer in the world could take the software at any time and work on it — there’s no reliance on the original developer team.
            And if it had a dedicated userbase, I’m sure many would fork over money to pay for continued development.

      • John Dannick says:

        So there’s not enough sales revenue to produce this software when charging for it, but there will be enough sales revenue if paying is optional and by donation?

      • Domingos Mascarenhas says:

        A free music editor already exists. It’s called MuseScore. It is way behind both Sibelius and Finale in complex editing capabilities, but in can be a good starting point for unemployed software developers. With the demise of Sibelius, the only other credible alternative to Finale is now Score. Maybe this is now an incentive for Score developers to come out of the Dark Ages (aka MS DOS) and smell the new century. In terms of its score editing and engraving capabilities – and that’s all I care about – Sibelius was only good at spuring the Finale team to improve their product. Now, if Score becomes Finale’s closer competitor, that will be a whole new ball game! How about support for UNICODE fonts, and lyrics in non-Roman scripts, for starters? RIP Sibelius, go Score!

    • I am very sorry to see Sibelius taken by a bunch of money grabers. Sibelius is a fine music copying program. Don’t let it die.I have used Score but it does not compare to Sibelius in ease of use.

  4. Clearly, Avid care little for Sibelius. Who knows what the future for that software holds. Thankfully, there is an alternative to Sibelius and Finale – Notion. Not only is Notion 3 a fantastic piece of software, but there is a super team of supportive staff here in the UK who will do their upmost to ensure that new users have the support they need. I have had the priviledge of working with them on the education side of things and their commitment is first class. They also make a really good iPad app for the software which integrates seamlessly with the full software. So, why not do differently and look beyond these two ageing brands to a very worthy new team on the block?

    • Richard Ford says:

      With respect, Jonathan, I have repeatedly tried Notion and it is not a viable substitute for me for either Sibelius or Finale. I’d love to see that happen and I think the intention for it is great.

      • Yes I agree about Notion. It is nowhere close to Sibelius. Maybe the upcoming version 4 will bring more options to alter and adjust the engraving layout.

  5. Been a customer since v2. Love the product, but if they leave v7 as unstable as it currently is, I’ll be compelled to move to Finale.

    • Tim Reeves says:

      If you’re brave and/or comfortable with computer programming, give Lilypond a try.
      It’s harder to use but even more flexible and beautiful output than Finale or Sibelius. Did I mention it’s free?

      • I participated for a short time editing the Lilypond manual and can tell you it is a solid piece of software that will print beautiful copy. It is not unlike writing TeX, LaTex, or other similar typesetting systems, except that it is for music.

        It is complicated because it has so many capabilities. The core of writing music is not too bad, but occasionally you need to throw in obscure symbols and it can do that and make it look good.

        It is very disappointing to see corporations dissolve good products for their gain and then pretend they have done something good for capitalism.

    • John Dannick says:

      You’ll need to move quick to buy Finale since they seem to be bankrupt and going into liquidation.

      • Stephen Owades says:

        That release doesn’t say what you seem to think it does. If th current “MakeMusic” corporate entity sells Finale and its other software and intellectual property to a new owner, the original shell would no longer have any assets and would be liquidated. But there’s no reason to assume that Finale would go away in such a transition.

        But it’s a bad sign if the corporate owners of both major music-engraving programs are either cutting back or selling out—it seems to be a tough market to be in today.

  6. Time for the fired British programmers to create their own and better version of Sibelius since there is still a need on this market. Now it is crucial to make music notation compatible with the I-pad.

    • AMEN!! Let the free market take care of it!

    • Alexander says:

      This is the most sensible comment on the subject I’ve heard yet. Clearly there is a substantial opportunity here. Sibelius may go down the toilet soon, and there will be a need for a replacement. And to have it come from the former Sibelius development team would be an excellent marketing point.

    • I am sure the former Sibelius development team have all signed contracts that contain non-compete clauses. . They most likely can’t even work for another company that competes with Sibelius let alone develop anything resembling notation software for at least 5 years.

  7. I looked at the screen-shots for Notion on their own web site and within the first second spotted at least 3 unacceptable notation errors in each–really basic stuff like symbols crashing into each other. Reminded me of Music Printer Plus or Finale before Sibelius entered the market.
    They can come back when they’ve surpassed current-generation Sibelius in correctness of music notation and usability for full orchestra scores and parts.
    Not impressed by ReWire implementations, XML implementations, OpenDoc compatibility, blahblahblah. Technologies are not my use-cases.

  8. Jonathan says:

    It may be time to boycott all Avid products. Inside word is Avid is running short of cash reserves and it’s products and subscription model have not met growth expectations- perhaps they over extended their reach.

    With such arrogance on display let Avid burn up in bankruptcy.

    • Indeed.

      Boycott Avid is in the next phase of our campaign, which will also be targeting Avid’s suppliers. Please keep watching and for updates.

    • Ironic, we saw this happen a few years ago with Guitar Center/Musician’s Friend when they built a bunch of stores. They built 5 in the SeattleTacoma area alone. They’re all still around but they could’ve done just three and had better sales overall. Even Starbucks and McDonald’s overextended themselves. Anyone remember McDonald’s Express?

    • Charles Clark says:

      We have stopped using Avid Pro Tools. We kept getting errors and wasting time. I wonder if something similar happened with the Pro Tools product.

  9. You may find that MuseScore can emerge as a real contender. As a linux user I am already forced down this road as I have to change to a different PC to currently use Sib but I find that I can do almost everything I need to do in MuseScore… Check it out as it is available on a number of different platforms (PC, Mac, Linux)

    I’ve not tried the midi side of this yet but certainly as a notation software it seems to tick my boxes…

    • I hear you. I’ve been toying with Muse Score since last September just because I want to see what others are developing. It’s always about finding different tools that might work for you. I think I was on a business trip and couldn’t bring my regular large laptop and needed to write some music. I downloaded Muse Score as a result. Jury’s still out on it, but so far it does a fair job especially for a freeware.

    • How about the Sibelius programmers forming some sort of coalition and then merging with MuseScore to advance this open source program to new heights?

  10. It is a shame to see any business fall victim to the “hack and slash” treatment that seems to befall so many businesses these days – especially shameful when the company in question is producing a laudable product such as Sibelius. I’ve been using Finale for almost 15 years, but colleagues of mine use Sibelius and, since I respect their work – tremendously – I respect the tools with which they do their work. Besides, as one comment made the point, the competition between the two programs has inspired the two teams to make their program that much better. Competition – in many ways – brings out the best in people, so long as it isn’t mean spirited.

    There obviously isn’t a massive amount of profit (for either company – Finale’s parent company may be sold as well, making Finale’s future up for question in the near future), but – for two powerhouse products in a niche market, they are doing well – so long as the owners aren’t too greedy. That, I believe, is the issue here: greed. If it weren’t the owners of Sibelius would have made it possible for the developing team to purchase the program and continue developing it on their own – but – they didn’t …. the bottom line is obviously more important to them.

    It remains to be seen if a similar fate shall befall us Finale users – but – rest assured – we feel your pain and frustration Sibelius fans … personally, I love Finale – but if you’re used to Sibelius you might not want to make a change (there is a competitive switchover rate, if you happen to be interested). Good luck.

    • With a turnover of $18 million a year, SIbelius is actually currently the only genuinely profitable arm of Avid. That is why they’re so reluctant to sell. Without Sibelius in their portfolio, Avid will be worth considerably less when they “go to the Wall” or are bought out by Sony, Yamaha or Panasonic for example.

      To further increase short term profit as they circle the drain, Avid sacked the development team most of whom left on 31st July, thereby halting development on the product, and closed down its London HQ. As Sibelius gradually dies, minimal maintenance of its millions of lines of C++ code will continue offshore with a scratch team in the Ukraine, minus the very people who actually wrote it all.

      Avid have no long term vision, because its board have achieved what they’ve set out to do, and that is to make personal fortunes by ransacking viable companies, the latest of which is Sibelius. The board are Harvard golfing buddie,s bereft of the vision of the likes of Steve Jobs to propel Avid into the future. They are comprehensively disliked by their employees, the most talented of whom are in massive diaspora.

      The Avid mentality is: make your money fast, utter platitudes about your commitment to the product, and then leave the carcass of the business behind to rot. After that, find another good company to plunder. In Wall St parlance, that is a smart way to make a lot of money fast.

      All this may make Avid seem unstoppable, yet they are fallible, because of People power. It is People who choose to buy Avid products, and so it is People who can likewise choose not to. It is also People who can unite to foil their plans to destroy Sibelius, by the sheer volume of our numbers and the power of the press, if they take up this story, to expose what is happening.

      There are two things that can halt Avid:

      1. Public activism too large to ignore, such that interrupts Avid’s capacity to conduct their core business, and
      2. Public humiliation in the media, that affects the share price and profitability.

      Sibelius has roughly half a million users. So it is clear that if most of us choose to rise up against Avid, then their comms will simply do a meltdown. There’s not a corporation on the planet that can withstand 100,000 protest emails or faxes, let alone 500,000, let alone follow-up faxes, emails, phone calls and posts to their facebook sites day after day, week after week.

      If you agree, then I implore you to join us at and

      We have started the ball rolling, and we can assuredly win this battle, but only with hands on deck and feet on the ground.

  11. “Wall St speculators like Avid have no business in the music business.”

    HELLO?????????? Avid is one of giant in music software. You can’t make a CD without AVID these days. And AVID is nothing do with Wall St.
    Welcome to a world of capitalism. Stop whining just because your favorite software got cost cut on their development dept. If Sibelius is gone, LEARN FINALE, idiot. Software doesn’t create music, people does.
    If you want to drive from point A to point B, who cares what car you drive? Stop whining and drive a car.

    • Keith G. says:

      “No,” your comments are idiotic at best. The reason there are different cars is that different people have different requirements, pleasures, muses. Same with software. I haven’t been attracted to Finale at all, having really spent way too much time analyzing the various software offerings in the market. I don’t do one kind of music, and so I don’t necessarily use one kind of software. I have used Cubase in the past, and Logic, and Sibelius. Each has its feature set that’s interesting, but finding the best match between the way I think and the best support for the things that I am weak in is what I look for in a software package. This isn’t rocket science to understand. For you to blast someone in the way you did is not only insensitive, but just plain… well, I said it already. Idiotic. Sorry, but you said it first.

      • The situation here is 1)need to move from point A to B, 2) you only have one choice of car, 3) and you are whining that you can’t accept any car because you love your near dead old one. If you are allowed to choose, then go ahead and choose what you like. But music notation software business is not same as car business.

        Do you remember a software called StudioVision and OMS years ago? A wonderful software and great competitor of Digital Performer. They were killed instantaneously by Gibson. This sort of things happen in music software business. Whining is just a waste of time.

        Only thing you can do is 1) use old Sibelius, 2) switch software 3) write a chart by hand. Very simple. Blaming AVID and connecting any capitalism thing to Wall St. are plain idiot.

        • Yes “whining” would indeed be a waste of time if that’s all we were willing to do, but saturating the comms of Avid with avalanches of emails and humiliating them with a public drubbing can be effective if it’s on a large enough scale. Doing nothing is just not an option for me. If we try, failure is of course a possibility, but if we don’t try, failure is an absolute certainty.

          With a user base of roughly half a million, Sibelius users certainly have the people power to pull it off.

          Why not join us? We’ve set it up so all you have to do is mouseclick a few places, and the rest is automated to make it as easy as possible for you to act.

          If you would like to see Sibelius survive, please visit and

          • John Dannick says:

            Just so you know, both the domains you give link to, so it seems supporting your campaign also means supporting facebook, something those of us who value freedom aren’t interested in. I don’t see why supporting notation software has to be tied into supporting [redacted] company and [redacted] Zuckerberg. [This site has a non-abuse policy]

          • @John Dannick

            The site does indeed link in to our Save Sibelius Facebook campaign as you correctly point out, however I can assure you that if you do not support the use of Facbook, you are still at liberty to participate in our campaign in other ways through the website as supplied above.. This does not link directly to Facebook as you suggest, but simply provides a range of options (including Facebook) that you can take or leave at will.

            I would very much like to reassure you, that despite being a user of Facebook, I still value freedom, and so do every one of my friends who use it. In my case at least, the two are not mutually exclusive.

        • Concur.
          I would like to run a TVR. But they company closed – there are many fans and owners, but not enough to run a viable business. I can buy and old TVR and drive it, find spares, make repairs myself… o I can choose a different car. No point in moaning. If I and others weren’t prepared to pay enough int he first place to make the company viable, then that’s that – too late.

          Same with Sibelius. They priced it (themselves, and later AVID) where they thought the market could bear it – plenty moaned it was too much. That wasn’t sufficient to afford to run it, so they take the action needed. Users moan. But how many of those complaining users are prepared to dig deep and offer to join up to buy Sib for an eye-watering sum that AVID would consider? Is there a Kickstarter / IndyGoGo campaign? Heavily backed or match-funded by users who are so sure that Sibelius is profitable / a workable business model? Is there heck. If you believe in it so much, then get down to it and make it happen.
          The Finn bros had their price – for sure AVID do too.

    • violinista says:

      I have used Sibelius AND Finale — Sibelius is still the only piece of software I would pay that price for, and I did. It’s worth trying to save.

  12. I’m glad that I use Finale, which unfortunately lacks some editorial ties available in Sibelius. The former Sibelius development team should send CVs to MakeMusic today.

  13. The problem is with the business model that requires purchase and ownership of the software product. Music notation is a fairly small market niche and so upgrades must be developed and marketed to keep the revenue flowing. A better model might be a cloud-based ap that can be used anywhere – on tablets, PCs or notebook – for a few cents per session instead of owning the entire program. This would assure a stable source of income for the developers, allow upgrades and corrections to be implemented easily and cut down on the overhead of distributing retail CDs in shrink-wrap packages.

    Ex Avid programmers – are you listening?

  14. BassPlayer says:

    What?? A corporation made a bottom line money decision to maximize profit in the software business??

    (I actually don’t think they did, but …they do anyway).

    Yea, there is a solution to your problem:

    1) Don’t buy or use ProTools or MAudio gear (riiiight)

    Petitions and all that…very cute, right on, fight the man. Utterly pointless to a corporation, and there are protools users that have tried this from 5 versions ago…go talk to them and see how well that worked.

    It sucks, but that is the way of corporate software.

    Go get musescore, finale or lilypond and vote with your feet and your money.

  15. I love Sibelius;
    I have not liked avid since they took over. They have already instituted policies which I dont enjoy; however Ive noted that they do take the time to try and sell me on their other products :(

  16. I was concerned when Avid acquired Sibelius and thought something like this might happen, especially when I saw them acquiring all sorts of other product lines under their umbrella. Sibelius has been a wonderful tool for me ever since 1.0.

    I originally learned on a product that I think was called Professional Composer or something like that back in the mid 80′s. Then in order: Music Printer Plus, Finale, Muziktime for Windows/Encore, and eventually Sibelius. It would be a shame to see this wonderful product disappear from the market.

    Although I don’t have the latest version, I know that I can use my Sibelius 5 to do pretty much all that I need to do for my writing/composing. I hesitate to upgrade based on what I’ve been hearing about Version 7, but maybe I should get it in case it’s the last version that will be made.

    My hope is that the developers might be offered a chance to buy the software and continue development(much like Steinway and CBS did with Steinway Pianos). I did send a message on the Avid site and plan to jump into any other forums concerning this. Please encourage others to do the same.

    • Er, isn’t it because you and other users don’t have the latest version that development costs aren’t sufficiently covered, hence the need to sell ?

      Why would you want the developers to buy it an develop it further? You’re already two (soon to be 3) versions behind the curve – why would a v9 be any more likely, really, to see you and others shell out hard cash to support the development effort?

      • exactly! we’re all 2-3 versions back! And why did the developers sell it in the first place? to cash out of course! If they were really concerned they would have held on to it! I miss mysic printer plus, which i was able to use till 64 bit windows. Encore wasvthe last notation program I could use intuitively. fwiw

  17. D. Robert Burroughs says:

    If you go to the Avid/Pinnacle/Euphonix/M-Audio/Sibelius/etc web site you will find support and sales are not being cut in the US at all. This Tempest in a tea pot seems to be much the same as the response that occurred when Sony took over Vegas/Acid/etc.
    One thing to be aware of is Avid’s introduction of Sibelius First. This program is more in line with the Video production focus of the company as it seeks to integrate audio-video production with the composition process.
    As to the Finale – Notion – Sibelius comparisons, I have all three and can say that Sibelius and Finale are the top contenders. Sibelius seems to have a bit of an edge when dealing with the integration of scanning and conversion of PDF files but as a composer that is not a necessary tool. Notion lags FAR behind in usability and the security system Notion uses locks up my computers on a regular basis (to such a degree that I have stopped trying to use Notion at all).
    For a composer that does not need to create audio files directly from their score there is a very inexpensive program that can give the big boys a run for the money. Noteworthy Composer which is available by download at for $49. If you have Aria player it is also possible to use NoteWorthy Composer with a sample library.

  18. Musescore/ Lilypond /Rosegarden been happy with this combination for years …

    • Ben Byram-Wigfield says:

      With respect, MuseScore, Lilypond and Rosegarden are not good enough for professional notation. The only other contender is Finale, and as has been said before, the competition between Sibelius and Finale has benefitted both products.

      • Forgotten Score?

      • Lilypond is beyond good enough for professional notation. It’s just hard as hell to use.

        • MuseScore is capable of saving work in .ly file type to be imported in LilyPond. The trick is that in order for it to translate well to LilyPond one must be fastidious with regard to leashing items appropriately; thus the need for editing using command prompts is limited if not nonexistent.

      • Janek Warchoł says:

        @Ben Byram-Wigfield: have you actually seriously tried LilyPond yourself?
        I saw some crappy scores made with LilyPond, but this doesn’t mean anything: i’ve seen a LOT more crappy scores made wiht Finale. And they were really crappy.
        LilyPond is indeed hard for use – for now. However, it still improves and will improve forever because noone can kill it like Avid killed Sibelius.
        This is a lesson for all of us: use free software. If you’re a pro and want pro quality, try LilyPond. If you want something easy but not that powerful, try MuseScore.
        I don’t think moving to Finale is a good idea – you never know if something similar to Sibelius’ fate won’t happen to it.

        • Jari Williamsson says:

          @Janek: Have you actually seriously tried (a recent version of) Finale/Sibelius yourself? Of course there are many crappy scores created with Finale, since there is very little overhead to actually create a score (and since Finale sometimes make less assumptions about the output than some more automated apps, the output can be damaged quite seriously by the user).
          In terms of published pages from major publishing houses, the output from Finale/Sibelius are totally dominant. For movie/TV/game scores, Finale/Sibelius are virtually the only used music notation applications. Finale has a long history of 3rd party music fonts support, much more so than any other music notation app.

          And regarding the future “fate” of Sibelius, we still don’t know what the future holds. Sibelius can still be bought and installed, it’s still supported, and it’s not likely that we have seen the last version of Sibelius.

          Finale has the best MusicXML support in the music notation business, so in that respect I think Finale is a good choice. And regarding the longevity of Finale (and Finale’s dependence on competition), I would like to point out this blog (posted almost 3 years ago):

          Free or open source is NOT the solution to anything, it’s just another kind of program development. For example, the very popular, free and open source image editor “GIMP” is currently lacking a Windows programmer, so the Windows-specific bugs are currently left unfixed.

          The bottom line is that whatever music notation tool you choose to use, make sure to support it. If you use a free/open source project, contribute to the project in some way. If you use a commercial notation product, buy the product – do NOT use a pirate copy. The music notation software field is small.

          • Mirek M. says:

            “Free or open source is NOT the solution to anything, it’s just another kind of program development.”

            Actually, in this case, it is. If Sibelius was open-source, all its supporters could band together to pay for its further development. Since Sibelius is not open-source, its fate rests upon a few executives, who, in this case, decided to discontinue it.

            If you want to ensure the longevity of a software, open-source is the only way to go.

          • Jari Williamsson says:

            @Mirek M: Sorry, there has been NO decision to discontinue Sibelius! Avid has made a change of direction regarding how it’s going to be developed in the future, a direction that many users don’t agree with. That’s all.

            And “paying for further development” is what upgrade pricing is normally used for in commercial applications. Being a programmer myself, I’m a big fan of open source. But I have been burned too many times by big open source applications that just have died from the complexity of the project that I can’t see open source as a universal solution.

          • Mirek M. says:

            @Jari Williamsson:
            Big open source applications die only because nobody’s funding further development.
            If a piece of software has a dedicated user base like the one showcased here, then it should be able to get the funding it needs.

    • David Kastrup says:

      Currently being the only full-time programmer working on LilyPond (and scraping along on user and developer donations), I am, of course, not impartial.

      My main reaction at this news is being annoyed: annoyed the programmers being shut off from their life’s work, annoyed at the eventual loss of countless users’ investment in creating scores. This is certainly one problem that Free Software does not suffer from: as long as there are programmers _willing_ to work on a project, the door remains open to them (if they can’t get along with others, they can start in a separate room off the main corridor instead of from scratch). Compatibility still remains an issue even with Free Software: trying to keep the syntax upwards compatible and, where not, cater for working conversion is a constant worry for us as well.

      But LilyPond’s input formats are text-based, so no information can magically become unreadable. And there is a helpful community around. And, of course, there is no instance that could pull the plug on LilyPond by legal means. Now while LilyPond is fine for my own notational needs, it is not everyone who is happy writing his music in a text editor, in a language with its own syntax. So LilyPond is not a replacement for the whole production chain delivered by the likes of Sibelius: it is more like a crucial part of it.

      So in terms of convenience and accustomed workflows, attempting a change to LilyPond is going to be quite more challenging than a switch to other, proprietary notation programs. What you save in purchase price will eventually become insignificant in comparison to the learning time you will find yourself investing.

      But as opposed to using proprietary programs, nobody is going to take the results of your work away from you.

      • Janek Warchoł says:

        Hear, hear!

      • Gerhard Torges says:

        Du programmierst Lilypond, David?
        Ist ja interessant.
        Ich muß mal wieder in drmm vorbeischauen. ;-)

        • David Kastrup says:

          Hi Gerhard, looking on drmm or actually the whole of Usenet for me won’t be successful. Last fall my hard disk died on me, and due to a somewhat sparse b*ckup schedule, I lost close to two years of personal work. Of course, things that had been sent out to customers or public repositories were not affected. I did not bother setting Usenet up again after that, and I guess that it probably took 2 months before I had the loss of productive output covered. So there are not many places where I can be found “in the net” nowadays apart from the LilyPond mailing lists and the LilyPond Report . Oh, and there is a talk I held about LilyPond in Chemnitz at if anyone is interested. Language is German, but probably the content of the slides makes some sense nevertheless.

          That _is_ one of the advantages of non-GUI programs with text input: you can teach people how to do things using text and slides rather than having to demonstrate when to move the mouse where and click what. So an online community can communicate at a quite more thorough level.

    • And — as noted above, Noteflight.

  19. Software Guy says:

    There is little hope that the programmers will band together and continue development as was done with Open Office/LibreOffice. The Open Office software was, as the name suggests, open source. This means that anyone can take the publicly available source and continue to develop a fork without questions of ownership or copyright of the source code. Oracle decided to release the paid developers on the project, but initially refused to release the rights to the Open Office name. This is why the name was changed to Libre Office. The original developers could continue to work on the product without legal obstacles since anyone (given the restrictions of the GPL) could continue to develop it.

    Sibelius is not open source. The programmers have no legal rights to the source code; the copyright is owned by Avid. If they kept copies of the source code after leaving the company, they committed a crime. If they use that source code to produce an updated Sibelius, or even market their own competing version with no changes, they committed another crime. If they decide to write their own version from scratch, there are two issues. One is that there are years of development time and millions of lines of code in the Sibelius product, and it would take many years to duplicate it. The second is that Avid, should they wish, could sue the team upon release of their new software with the claim that they used trade secrets learned during their time at Sibelius/Avid to which they have no legal right. Since they developed the Sibelius product, it is impossible for them to produce a “clean room” version of the product.

    I’m certain that Avid executives will receive very pleasant bonuses for reducing expenses.

  20. You just had to blame the Americans, didn’t you?

    • I would blame the people who are guilty for putting Sibelius in a precarious position, not an entire nation.

  21. As someone who is barely computer-literate, uses a 12-year-old computer and writes ouyt lead sheets by hand, I can’t afford music-writing software and don’t feel a great loss. The problem with relying on electronics to do your work for you is that when something goes wrong, you’re stuck.
    It may take more time, but I still think it’s necessary to learn how to write clean, neat manuscript by hand, the way we were all required to do back in the dark ages. Just sayin’.

    • violinista says:

      There may be value in learning how to do it, but writing out everything by hand is highly impractical for me. Why I would go through all that when I don’t need to is absolutely beyond me. The software works just fine for me 99.9% of the time, and when it doesn’t it tends to be what they call user error. Of course you don’t feel a great loss! You can’t lose something you never had.

  22. I know for a fact that they have stopped development and upgrades on all the educational products. I just bought star class and the groovy music software last year. I run a Mac and they worked fine (kids love them, no glitches etc)… Then I updated my Mac. It cannot run programs that use power pc. I called Sibelius (avid) to say “what the?” and was told directly that due to the gfc these products do not have anyone working on them.
    Unbelievable. I was a late upgraded to the current Mac OS so when I bought these products that said they ran on Mac they in fact did not!! This makes me the most frustrated of all. I can go back to using Finale in the future if need be (though that is a cost my school does not need, no one has mentioned that on here as an issue but it really is for me) but to not upgrade educational software still being sold as usable is plain unfair in my view.

    • Gerhard Torges says:

      Go back to the prevous Mac OS version if you can, Bree.
      When Groovy Music came out, it actually worked on all Macs, since all Mac OS X version then contained Rosetta, a software that made PowerPC programs like GroovyMusic run on Intel Macs.
      Apple (not AVID!) discontinued Rosetta with OS X Lion (10.7).
      So it’s Apple’s (or rather your) fault that you upgraded your Mac OS to a version whoch doesn’t run your softwae anymore. ;-)
      Turn back to 10.6 (Snow Leopard), and GroovyMusic will run fine again.

      • It is not his “fault” he upgraded his OS. What if his old Mac had broken or had been stolen? Newer Macs (like newer PC’s) only run the latest OS. At some point everyone on this board is going to be unable to run Sibelius on their computers if it is not being actively developed & upgraded to keep up with the current OS’s. Don’t blame the end-user for the fact-of-life of progress.

        • Let’s keep up the good fight for Sibelius.

          Even though there are other music software programs out there, I’d rather stick with Sibelius.


  23. Ron Sodewall says:

    I used the Sibelius programs for many years teaching High School music. It’s user friendly qualities make it a superb tool for both young and advanced students. The program updates and newer versions have adhered to the premise that the user is the best judge of what needs alteration or deletion in newer versions. To realize that Avid might have a focus to destroy the future of the Sibelius program is unthinkable and very ignorant of the needs of the. Wry industry it was created for years ago. What a loss that would be to the music industry (both professional and educational).

  24. That sucks the proverbial big one.

    Here are some things I suggest get done:

    1. Find as many Facebook Groups of musicians as possible and post comments there. I just posted on a facebook group called NO TREBLE (for bass players). There are 70,000 users of that group. Hopefully a few Sibelius users will see the post and take action. There must be other Facebook Groups I don’t know about for other instruments….make posts there.

    2. Get someone to post a review on and of Sibelius 7 – and give Sibelius 1 star. And explain why you are giving it 1 star. Then get as many users as possible to rate that review as MOST HELPFUL (or whatever the terminology is). That will ensure that the 1 Star Review is at the top of the pile….and will stop people buying from Amazon.

    3. Do the same with a Video Review and post that to Amazon….that video can then be re-edited and re-purposed and posted to YouTube. Get people to like it…get people to include it in playlists etc – get people to leave comments (plus spread the video(s) via Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus. In fact get as many people as possible to create videos with titles like WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BUY SIBELIUS, SIBELIUS MUSIC SOFTWARE REVIEW, etc. The more of these videos there are….the more chances there are for them to show up in search results when people think about buying Sibelius.

    4. All of this activity is designed to put people off from buying Sibelius – and hopefully that will affect Avid’s BOttom Line. Feel free to email me if you need more advice.

    • Stephen Owades says:

      If your campaign does succeed at damaging Avid’s bottom line by inhibiting sales of Sibelius, it’s hard to see how that benefits the long-term interests of Sibelius users. Without an income stream from new sales and upgrades, Avid is less likely to continue investing in Sibelius development. I guess it’s conceivable that they’d be more willing to sell the product back to its founders or to a new investor group if sales go down, but making Sibelius less viable as a business will hardly encourage new investors to gamble on it—or Avid to continue to invest in it. Acting out of pique is rarely a good strategy, though it may feel good in the short term.

  25. I understand that there are professional users of Sibelius and/or Finale who may find other options unattractive for a variety of reasons. However, Notion 3 does, for me, provide a very real alternative and is definitely something that anyone involved in teaching should seriously consider. It has some great live musical performance features that translate very effectively into the classroom environment. The company also has developed its mobile apps to a stage well beyond that of others and this means that access for our young people is excellent whatever device they are using.

    • Matthew Probst says:

      While Notion 3 is nice for live performance from notation, I repeatedly found that print quality and print options were problematic, and that Notion Music was really really slow in getting to those features, which they did not consider a priority.

      It’s possible that some of those issues have been fixed by now, but I got the impression that Notion Music has a very small amount of resources to dedicate to the project, and there were periods of months where the users heard nothing from the company on the discussion boards.

      I’d be glad to download the latest update of Notion 3 to try it out again. But for right now, t’s Finale or GNU Lilypond for me, depending on what balance of ease of use / output quality I need for a given project.

      • David Kempers says:

        Notion’s midi implementation is basically unusable. Importing a midi file into Notion 3 results in gibberish. I like the ease of using it and hope that version 4 is more in line with professional Notation software. As it is, it’s very limited in features and function.

  26. Don Williams says:

    My first question would be “why did they sell out to Avid in the first place ?”. People in this industry often get very greedy, and this is the end result, whatever the quality of the product. Unfortunately, many software companies fail to learn the lessons of their industry, and continue to repeat them.

    • The answer to this question is that Sibelius was largely owned by Venture Capitalists prior to Avid taking them over. They had been invested for a while by that point. It was an open secret right across the industry that they wanted out and that Sibelius was for sale.

      To put your point in perspective, VC’s tend to cut their losses after a few years if they haven’t been successful and focus their efforts on other companies.

      As to why the Finn brothers sold out to VCs? Presumably to get funding for expansions and management expertise.

      The harsh reality is that the market for notation software is quite small, and the features of Sibelius have been adequate for the majority of users’ needs for at least the last 10 years. They quickly sold a copy to just about everybody who wanted to buy one, and for many users there wasn’t a lot of reason to upgrade.

      Another factor (besides Avid’s poor performance over the last few years and recent restructuring) is that Sibelius’ office at CIty North, in Finsbury Park, North London is about to be comprehensively redeveloped. Whatever happened, they would need to have vacated by the autumn so that the site can be flattened.. Clearly Avid has decided to close rather than relocate to new premises.

  27. Real men use GNU/LilyPond.

  28. For the thousands of professionals who use Sibelius as the lifeline of their writing activities, this is devastating news. Although just a “software” package, without a doubt it is the best out there at this time and how many of us want to learn another inferior product and wait through all the years to get the product correct. I guess it’s time to stock up on pencils.

  29. Open source it!

  30. David Kempton says:

    This is intolerable. Avid, you owe me $700 and three years of my life, about what I have spent using this tool. Your corporate greed and sociopathic mindset is anathema to the music community, your business model is on par with Monsanto and the other ruthless planet-killers.


    Avid Video Editor
    and the many other products:


  31. This is very similar to what happened to the famous bulletin board software vBulletin. It was acquired by “Internet Brands”, who immediately defunded development, laid off the programmers, etc. The lead developers basically had no other skill besides coding bulletin boards, as they had worked on vBulletin for most of their lives – so they went out, used a different programming framework (better and more advanced!), and released a new bulletin board package – that nearly every vBulletin user started switching to… Last I read Internet Brands was screaming like spoilt children who realized that their huge cash cow was beginning to look like a cash tadpole…

  32. Although I’m a GNU Lilypond user, you have my full support. It’s not a question of which tool’s better. It’s a question of being able to choose the tool that fits you, when you find it… and not have the rug pulled out from under by for rank commercial reasons.

    • Gerhard Torges says:

      Thank you, RS.
      I tried Lilypond but it’s text input method distracted me from th music too much.

  33. robert crickmore says:

    “That, I believe, is the issue here: greed. If it weren’t the owners of Sibelius would have made it possible for the developing team to purchase the program and continue developing it on their own – but – they didn’t …. the bottom line is obviously more important to them.”

    The bottom line is more important to them?!? Really? Wow, what a shock that someone would think that. The hypocrisy in this statement is breathtaking. You own a company that you’ve put time (read 12-14 hour days for years) and money into and you’re going to sell it to for less than market value? Sure you will. And I mean you personally, buddy. You’re going to do that? You wouldn’t sell your skateboard for half price to your kid brother.

    What a complete load of wideyed liberal Occupy Wall Street crap.

    • joey crickmore says:

      That was MY skateboard in the first place, Bobby!! I gave it to you because you said you were gonna paint cool flames on it and still let me use it but instead you trashed it so it barely worked and locked it up in your toybox and wouldn’t let me play with it anymore. In fact I’ve seen you do the same thing with the other neighborhood kids’ toys too.

      I’m telling Mom.

    • Gerhard Torges says:

      You’re blinded by the High Priests of the Free Market Cult, Bob.
      This is an excellent example of the fact that it’s not the money we should gibr the most respect in our lives.
      Sibelius is gar more than a good selling product.
      It’s a manifestation of elegant software design, inspired and created by musicians, in a spirit of being helpful and being useful and still bein easy to use.
      I daresay Sibelius is part of the English heritage.

      • It’s a product, a tool, nothing more. Keep what you have, it will work as well as it ever did. Don’t buy any more Avid products if that makes you feel better. All software is “inspired” by market need. So is most any other product. It is owned by the company that paid the programmers to work on it. They will have to find other work, most likely on products completely unrelated to notation software, as they agreed when they read and signed their contracts. I can’t believe some of these comments. Some of you guys need to grow up and learn how to live in the real world. What a bunch of spoiled, self centered, children. You are embarasing yourselves.

  34. Saxsational says:

    Who needs music notation software anyway? None of the “musicians” I know can even read music. Not only that but their 4-5 piece bands play every night. If I am lucky, mine gets to play once a month. Bah!

    • Justin Lingard says:

      Try gettin an orchestra of 60,70 or 100+ to play without music.

    • Gerhard Torges says:

      Who needs written text anyway? None of the “storytellers” I know can even read. Not only that but they’re telling their stories every night. If I am lucky, I get to tell once a month. Bah!

  35. If Sibelius makes a profit of $18 million a year one wonders what percentage of this is actually going to be saved by closing down the London operation. As I understand it, none of the developers is being kept on (why would they want to stay with such a company), and there will be quite an investment in training new programmers, if that is envisaged at all by Avid.

    David Pickett

  36. Don Buckley says:

    I wasn’t aware that all this was happening until today, but now feel somewhat validated with the email I sent to Avid a few weeks ago in response to their customer survey after my purchase of Avid Studio:

    There is no response when I press Launch Survey on your email which triggers the following link,

    But its just as well because all I wanted to comment on was how I lament that another large corporation has swallowed up more innovative small software businesses like Sibelius and Pinnacle.

    My one experience trying to get some support for a Sibelius problem about a year ago clearly demonstrated that using that music notation program would never be the same again as I went through your pathetic snakes and ladders routine in an attempt to actually find how many hoops I had to jump through to actually get some help. I gave up.

    The same thing happened after purchasing Studio 10, the only two response I got were emails consisting of thousands of digits, I gave up.

    I am still in shock that the Finn brothers actually sold out on their Sibelius supporters, but at least on my part I will do my very best to avoid any direct dealings with a corporation that resembles a vacuum cleaner sucking up other talented people’s ideas with very little to offer in respect to true ideas of its own.

    In the meantime do keep working on that Launch Survey link. Just don’t use Avid support to get any help if you need it. Oh yes, and keep your credit card very handy.

    Don Buckley

    From: Customer Success
    Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 11:52 AM
    Subject: Avid would like your feedback on Studio


    I must say that my assessment of the Finn brothers sale of Sibelius to Avid may not be totally justified as I in fact know little regarding the details of the event.

    But like many of us, this software represents an old faithful friend and one tends to get somewhat emotional about its general health.

    How I wish that we could return to how things originally were.

    Don Buckley

  37. FTA: “Avid are literally making a killing at our expense”

    Literally? Are you sure?
    So they are making things die?

    • Duh, they’re killing the company! And what about the damage it does to the private customers and institutions who have invested time and money in buying the latest upgrades and staying familiar with the product, only to find that come a couple of years they’d better find another programme to learn? Not fatal, but a sickener for sure!

      • Janek Warchoł says:

        Some time ago i decided that i don’t want to be hurt in this way, and so i’m using more free software. I recommend doing so.

    • Some people literally don’t know what literally means. Literally.

  38. When the Finn brothers first came to my old company, Thinkware, to distribute Sibelius here in the US, we thought wow, this is going to take the country by storm. It took me 6 months and a ball-peen hammer to make believers of all my dealers across the country. After a while we couldn’t even keep it in stock. The Finale people also realized they had to step up their development. I feel somewhat personally responsible (along with my old colleagues) for the success of Sibelius in the US. And now it has come to this. This is not what I had in mind for such a fine piece of work.

  39. Tony Firshman says:

    No-one has mentioned Capella (Software Partners). I have both Capella and Sibelius, and prefer Capella.
    I agree though that it would be very bad for the market if Sibelius died. All it needs, as has been, said is a major OS change, as when Apple abandoned Rosetta.

    • Gerhard Torges says:

      So Capella finally got to be known outdide Germany?
      I know a lot of Germans (and probably Austrians and Switzerlandians (?)) use it because of the language.

  40. This is all very well. But none of the posters here run Avid.

    Their latest financial information is here:

    That’s a lot of info, but in essence they have made a loss of £50 million on turnover of $300 million, in the last 6 months. That’s like somebody who earns $18000 a year, but spends $21000. That can’t last. If it carries on like that the company will go bankrupt.

    Some of you might think you have some sort of rights to say how Avid runs it’s business. But you don’t. You have precisely ZERO right to tell Avid how to run their business. The directors have a legal obligation to their shareholders, not to people complaining on the internet.

    Of course this is sad for the London development team, but as Sibelius is a successful product making money for the company, I don’t expect they’re going to stop selling it. It’s also a mature product, which is worth buying as it it, I can’t see that it needs a lot more development right now.

    Even if it completely disappears forever, other software is available. I’ve used Finale and Sibelius. One of the problems is that for many musos Sibelius is the only music dtp software they know. They think music software equals Sibelius, like some people say Hoover when they actually mean vacuum cleaner. It would do some people good to find out that there are other programs out there.

    Perhaps some of your ire ought to be directed at the Finn brothers for selling it in the first place. Sibelius wasn’t ‘swallowed up’ by Avid. This wasn’t some huge multinational takeover. The Finns decided to sell. For £23 million. Nasty greedy Avid indeed. Who was just in it for the money when they sold the business in the first place?

    • Gerhard Torges says:

      “The directors have a legal obligation to their shareholders, not to people complaining on the internet.”
      That’s what the High Priests of the Free Market Cult say.
      I don’t say that it’s wrong to make money.
      But it’s wrong to have money as the one and only goal when you run a company.
      It’s morally wrong.
      And yes, that’s still important.

  41. Nigel Hopkins says:

    What is going on? Avid certainly don’t know what they are doing when it comes to notation software.
    I thought they murdered Sibelius with 7, but some people love it.
    I think it’s not logical in its layout.
    They tried to make it simpler, but that’s ok if you’ve never used Sibelius before.
    I’ve you’ve been a user for years, then it’s like turning the piano the other way around and trying to play it.

    Sadly we live in an age where the bigger the company, the more kudos they have, despite the fact they know nothing about the products they are selling. Ever tried getting some online help about Sibelius from Avid?
    God forbid that Sibelius isn’t saved. We’ll all be migrating to Finale.

  42. Trevor Allan Davies says:

    Anyone remember StudioVision by OpCode? Another case of exactly the same incomprehensible mentality. Take (arguably) the best piece IT engineering, the product of real creativity and extraordinary technical implementation, buy it and put it in the drawer forever. With OpCode it was Gibson in the villain’s hat. Now Avid is apparently doing the same thing with Sibelius. Perhaps the two most innovative and elegant pieces of music software ever, murdered with no thought at all for their creators or for the users who make their living by them.

    The self-regulating market economy!

  43. Interesting to note that there is no press release on the topic at

  44. I used sib ver 2 years ago and then came cubase nuendo bla bla bla cakewalk over the years many software houses are basically trying to get ahead of the field with ease of use to the end user.
    I have been writing music for about 25 years and when it comes to ease in the software front , for the pc I am using reaper its so easy to use ,ok you can’t do full score notation but when I play a piano sound with a touch sensitive keyboard it records the notes and you can edit them note for note , what is wrong with that?

    9 times out of 10 people use auto produced software like reason which is all pattern based to get along , the time of writing full scores in notation form maybe coming to an end in my opinion , please I am not having a go at full score writers as I have seen many people do great at that, but I feel technology has moved on in leaps n bounds where the end user can just press a few notes and make a hit in 5 minutes without the aid of writing a single note in notation.


  45. Colin Whyles says:

    Interesting. I used Sibelius from around v2. V6 was great. V7 is terrible. The new interface makes everything very difficult to find. It also looks childish. Purple and yellow? Teenage stuff. It is poorly organised as well.

    I use MuseScore on a daily basis and get on with it very well. As it evolves it will do everything I need. I also think its output is perfectly fine although you hae to work at it in its current incarnation.

    Don’t worry about Sibelius. What you have will continue working, regardless of what Avid might do. The only thing I would ask from a V8 would be an option to switch back to the V6 interface.

  46. Who sold it to Avid in the first place in 2006 ?

    It’s a bit late to complain now – stable door after the horse has bolted.

    Everything evolves. It was sold for profit and Avid have it and have had it for six years.

    The great composers- the one’s who produced such quality music, Bach, Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Elgar did everything by hand,

    • Skripach says:

      “The great composers- the one’s who produced such quality music, Bach, Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Elgar did everything by hand.”

      Yes, everything was done by hand, but the hands weren’t their own:

      Sibelius, Finale and similar programs don’t replace the hands of the composer, which are, after all, still part of the process! These programs are the COPYISTS of the 21st century, making the score neat and legible, registering revisions and generating parts. That’s an indispensible service, and always has been.

  47. No use complaining when the stable door has been left open and the horse has bolted.

    Capitalism working hand in hand!

    Avid are running a business, not a charity and they don’t intend to lose money. Same thing all over, cheap labour in China, Woolworths closed, the big supermarkets over the corner shop etc

    It’s a shame that some people on here have gone into panic mode without foundation. Seems abit silly.

    • Alan, please go to our website and read through the comments from thousands of concerned users. First and foremost, the shutting down by Avid of Sibelius HQ has nothing to do with any lack of profitability of Sibelius. Quite the contrary, Sibelius is the only net profitable arm of Avid who are engaged in reckless cost cutting to shore up their other Wall St losses. Get rid of Avid and Sibelius a viable standalone music software scoring company.

      Secondly, it is apparent from your argument that you either support Avid’s behaviour, or feel powerless to take any action. Think again. Think about the legally enforced racism in USA before Rosa Parkes and Martin Luther King, and then ask yourself whether one person can make a difference.

      Thirdly, most of those of us who use Sibelius as a tool of trade for out business have hundreds of clients and thousands of scores. To revisit these scores requires having up to date computers, up to date operating systems and compatible versions of the software. If Sibelius is allowed to wither away, as has happened with Opcode/Vision, MOTU/Mosaic, Encore, Tascam/GigaStudio, then one is left to choose between either remaining with increasingly obsolete technology, eventually unserviceable, or telling clients their work is lost. This is to say nothing of personal financial, emotional and artistic investment in major works, such as for example my 3 hour long opera, all scored on Sibelius.

      Avid claim commitment to Sibelius, and demonstrate that commitment by shutting down the headquarters and sacking the entire development team. Coding in the Ukraine will be to fix minor bugs and to babysit a wafer thin Version 8 that the department team left behind having only just started work on it, minus the very people who wrote it. Sibelius is written in millions of lines of C++ code. As an ex-programmer myself, I can tell you that without any of the original development team involved, Sibelius is doomed.

      Business doesn’t have to be inhumane and nasty to people. There are plenty of folk who have built successful businesses that look after the interests of both their staff and their customers. In fact, if you think about the businesses you’d rather support, wouldn’t you support those who look after you, and show they care? Now why do you think there is such an outpouring of support? Because of Avid’s business acumen? Not at all. It is Daniel Spreadbury and the team he heads up who have made Sibelius the World’s most successful scorewriter, winner industry awards, together with the Queen’s Innovation Award, and 2 OBE’s for its creators, Ben and Jonathan Finn, who are so concerned by the turn of events that they have twice tried to buy it back.

      Take a look at what Avid’s own staff think of their management (1.9% approval), and why the talented ones are leaving in droves as this incompetent company circles the drain.

  48. Well, find me a company where the workforce is happy? Very few out there.

    As for buying it back, I’ve no sympathy. Pound/dollar signs appeared and they sold out, perhaps wisely so.

    Avid may change the software, so be it; Sibelius has been changing since it’s conception. If Avid does not survive, Sibelius will either sink or be developed by another buyer, you’ll have to get used to that, if that’s the case.

    It might be the case that the parent company goes into liquidation, especially if sales of this type of software decline.

    If you say, Sibelius is doomed, why be so worried. If you have complete confidence in your own notating abilites, you have that to fall back on, it’s not the end of the world.

    The busiest of composers/arrangers – Tchaikovsky, Vaughan Williams and Nelson Riddle handed all their stuff to their publishers/copyists to be copied out. No problem!

    • Alan, then you and I (and the rest of Save SIbelius users, now approaching 10,000) will have to agree to disagree. I have no intention of going back to pen and paper as you seem to be suggesting, nor of learning yet another piece of software just because avarice killed the perfectly serviceable one i already have.

      By all means follow your own advice though.

      As for your presumption that all workforces are unhappy, I doubt very much whether you could substantiate that. Speaking for myself, I can confidently say that I have by and large got on well with most clients, colleagues and management. I can only express my sympathy if that has not been your own experience.

  49. John Grant says:

    A few alternative notation programs have been mentioned. Here’s another one: Overture, or Sonic Scores as it wants to be known. It may not do everything for everyone, but there are plenty of alternatives to Finale out there.

  50. As a Notion user, I’m not directly subjected to the Sibelius situation, but in evolving coding as in Nature, diversity is a healthy rule. Plus, co-ownership of companies should become the norm. If software designers and managers co-owned their work, they would take part in business decisions and would not be thrown out like used tissues…

  51. AnonymousExAvid says:

    This article pretty much spells how Avid works now, and has been working for years since they fired Dave Krall. I left Avid because I couldn’t put up with this kind of bullshit anymore. Your pleas do NOT matter. The company is in the hand of robber barons. Layoffs every few months, poor pay, moving everybody over from the #1 healthcare insurance to #99, and while adding millions to the exeuctive team’s salary and draining the company of it’s future and money. It’s vampire capitalism. If you’d like to know Bain Capital, which now because of the Romney campaign is infamous for this type of activity, is also involved with Avid. Just give up guys, this one is dead. When the blood runs dry the exec’s will use their golden parachutes and everyone else can hold the body bag. If you want get enough money together to buy it outright, some number which they think they cannot make with it trying to sell the same software for a few years. You know what would really help? DO NOT BUY Sibelius form Avid. Drop it’s value to ZERO.

  52. You have to clarify. Sibelius would never be dead !!!

    What is dying is support and development !!!!

    So, just keep the copies of what you have purchased in a vault, your manual or documentation and be happy with your product.

    it may be even possible that is not dead it is only outsourced !!! Maybe a team in India or in Ukrania is being prepared.

    I agree is is not the only solution. Nor the one with all the features. I love the voices of Harmony assistant the Cheap price of OMer, the feature of assigning different MIDI channels to the 8 possible voices in the same staff of Overture, the composing tools of Pizzicatto, the price of MuseScore and Rosegarden and the list goes on …

    Personally … I use … ALL OF THEM !!!

    My students come with every single file in a different format. So I have learned there is not only one solution to a case !!!

    I am still waiting for a music notation software with a more musician-user-friendly programming feature for analysis and to make macros, like Word Perfect use to do ! a music software that plays backwards like Music Printer plus use to do (for composition and harmony classes purposes) a music software that will fully allow me to have real movable clefs (G, F C or maybe a new clef I would like to create for a 10 note scale using lo, li la instead of ut,re,mi to any space or line as desired) and the ability to write in aleatory clusters for my contemporary class, a music notation software that uses a special staff for Umbrella analysis notation and another for for Shenkerian … and the list goes on

    So, if it is dying, let’s make a funeral, a good memorial and … move on. If is not, let’s party !!! and try to get suggestions that really invite all of us to get the latest upgrade !!

    • Sorry Mephi, I am running out of space to keep all the obsolete computers I have to run because of this sort of thing. Once they break down, all my scores and projects are gone forever. Even pen and ink scores last for centuries, but not IT it seems in the hands of Wall Street’s short term profits.

      You don’t need to “make a funeral”, and you don’t have to take high handed corporate bullying lying down. There are 500,000 of us and only 9 of them – check it out: Do the math, and take heart.

      You can make a difference. The power of One – refer Rosa Parkes, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King – individuals who stood up against impossible odds and won. Did King make a funeral out of his dream? It is approaching reality today.

      if we have a go of course we might fail, but if we don’t, then failure is a forgone conclusion.

    • Better deleted than supported from India.

  53. With any software you like, and depend upon, adopt extreme paranoia to protect yourself. Save every download, keep old versions safe before letting “upgrades” run. Have backups of versions that work, that you can go back to. Know that the final upgrade capitalists will make is usually designed to break what you have bought. It’s just protecting what you own…

  54. Michael Cowgill says:

    I was saddened by the news of Avid’s behaviour when it first broke a month or so ago.

    Over the past 12 months I have become heavily involved in the support and development of MuseScore, the Open Source alternative to Sibelius and Finale. The loss of Sibelius will be greatly felt by those of us in the MuseScore community as it is one of the yardsticks by which we measure our own achievements.

    I have already signed the online petition, but if there are other ways in which I can help rectify this insanity please let me know.

    MuseScore will, of course remain in development, and the improvements coming in version 2.0 will put it even further on the map in relation to commercial products like Sibelius, I hope, however, that something can arise from the ashes of Sibelius.

    Sadly behaviour like Avid’s is not the first of its kind in the world of Music Software – the acquisition of Logic by Apple a decade or so ago suddenly left Logic PC users totally without support, and the demise of the excellent MIDI library and editing software SoundDiver.

    Unfortunately, the dIrectors of these vandal companies isolate themselves sufficiently from the public to be able to ignore their opinion.

    I would advise all Sibelius users to make sure they have all their work saved in MusicXML format. AT least then they will be able to load their scores into other notation software when the crash comes.

    • To Michael Cowgill:

      I’ve never heard of MuseScore; I’ll have to check it out.

      Thanks for advising us to save our work in Music XML format.


  55. Beyond bug fixing, what new development does anyone think needs to be done in Sibelius – particularly since, unlike Finale, the add-in API’s are exposed and encouraged to be used?

    The problem is similar to large word processors – only a small percentage of user enthusiasts make use of more than a small percentage of features. It’s expensive to keep a staff fluent in the entire codebase when most of the work is in a relatively small subset.

    I’ve worked for companies in similar straits and, if this is all true, I would guess that Avid has retained at least a skeleton crew to support and fix critical bugs. If nothing else, the support contracts would leave them potentially liable if they didn’t. It’s also possible that Sibelius is now rolled into Pro Tools and will going forward be treated as a DAW component. That’s how I increasingly use it – exporting scores into Sonar for editing and frankly ease and more variety of sound sources.

    It’s a sad turn of events but we’re keeping our heads in the sand if we deny both the impact of piracy and the reality that the overwhelming majority of people involved in music don’t read notation and don’t care to. Avid is obviously more interested in selling to that majority than diverting resources to a niche market.

    You can ultimately blame the brothers for selling out Sibelius to fund their retirement.

  56. I’ve never heard of MuseScore, but I would hate to see Sibelius phased out. I’ve used Finale, and found it a rather frustrating experience, especially with the lyric lines moving all over the place; maybe Finale has made improvements, but I’d rather stay with Sibelius, and I will be glad to sign any other petitions, depite the fact that I’ve signed one already. I don’t have Facebook and don’t want it, but if there’s any way I can help save Sibellius, I would be willing to join the fight.


  57. Alastair Hume says:

    I have been using Sibelius since version 2, as a pro musician it has revolutionised our world, and provided me with income. I do hope this can all be sorted out. I’ll keep on using it, but what happens to the ‘registering’ process when we upgrade computers in the future?

  58. Sibelius is working just fine, why bother updating or fixing something that isn’t broken. I would rather not have to pay for more updates anyway.

  59. Victoria Clarke says:

    Sibelius is an outstanding piece of software, but unfortunately is very over priced. I used it for my university degree, but as I could barely afford even the student version, ended up using a knock off of version 4. I think most of us used this version. Maybe the prohibitive pricing and tenancy for people to use hacked versions damaged their actual sales?

  60. When innovators and shakers in the industry sell out, what’s left? Certainly not their dream!
    Jonathan and Benn Finn are sellouts. The result of all their hard work is ‘ashes’.
    We envisioned otherwise, but their dream was greed and profit.
    Avid capitalized on the Finn’s weakness and lack of vision.
    Thousands of us now suffer.

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