BASCA and MPA host Avid
11 October 2012
BASCA and the Music Publishers Association invited representatives of Avid, the owners of Sibelius software to talk to their members on Wednesday 3 October. The evening was introduced by Stephen Navin, Chief Executive of MPA and David Stoll, Chair of the CJEC (Classical & Jazz Executive Committee) at BASCA. Speaking on behalf of Avid software were Sam Butler, Bobby Lombardi, Randy Fayan and Ben Nemes.
The evening started with a presentation from Derek Williams, organiser of the Sibelius Users website and the Save Sibelius petition. He presented Avid with the petition containing 11,300 signatures and 2200 comments. It requests that Avid sell Sibelius in order for it to operate as a separate company, in the UK, employing the old UK development team. Derek outlined his main concerns over the direction that Avid have taken Sibelius in. These included:
- Closure of the London development office, with a reduction in the number of development staff working on Sibelius
- An increase in the salary of the company director (Derek quoted this as being from $670k to $4.8million)
- Lack of musical experience amongst Avid staff
Bobby Lombardi gave a response to the concerns expressed by Derek and the majority of the meeting was dedicated to Bobby answering questions from the floor. A huge number of topics were covered and a more detailed write-up of the meeting will be written soon, but a summary of Avid’s responses are given below.
- The Avid representatives expressed sympathy over the closure of the London development office and explained that the workers who had been made redundant had been invited to reapply for their jobs but had not done so (attendees agreed this was understandable)
- Development will now be undertaken by workers in Burlington, MA; Daly City, CA;and Kiev, Ukraine. All developers have high levels of musical experience including workers with conservatoire degrees and experience in music publishing.
- The UK support team based in Pinewood Studios as well as support staff in the US (CA and FL) have not changed and will operate in a similar way to previously. Sam Butler, who has been with Avid since it acquired Sibelius, and spoke about the work of this team.
- Avid will set up a crowd-sourcing website to drive new ideas for developing the software whereby users would discuss ideas on a forum which would feed into Avid’s development programme.
- The target market for Sibelius will be professional composers and publishers rather than consumers (i.e. hobbyists).
- Fixing technical problems with Scorch is a priority of immediate concern.
- Avid will support and encourage independent blogs, including hosting a new blog that will repost the last 18 months of Daniel Spreadbury’s Sibelius Blog. The archive and continued evolution of Danie’s Sibelius Blog will be transferred to the stewardship of a professional Sibelius user.
- Avid sees Sibelius as part of a suite of professional software including ProTools and Media Composer. Avid will also continue to support industry standard, open platforms such as VST Plug-ins and ReWire.
- It is clear that Avid does not have any plans to sell Sibelius.
At the end of the meeting everyone agreed that keeping open a dialogue is beneficial for all parties concerned and for the future of Sibelius and there was enthusiasm on all sides for arranging a similar meeting in December 2012.