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Sibelius flogged to US software giant

Published: 5th Aug 2006, 22:11:20 | Permalink | Printable

Going for a song

Sibelius 7 on an IyonixTop music notation software Sibelius was bought on the cheap this week by an American video editing giant. Avid Technology, who produce the Digidesign range of software, as well as the M-Audio selection of keyboards and microphones, snapped up Sibelius for £12.2 million.

Sibelius, created by the British Finn brothers, was first released for the Acorn Archimedes in 1993, and became extremely popular in classrooms in the UK - Sibelius 7 running on a RISC OS 5 Iyonix is pictured right. The Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac ports arrived around 1999, and there are 180,000 registered copies being used to date.

It is believed Avid will use Sibelius' popularity in education environments to push its existing line of creative software and hardware. Sibelius will at some point in the near future be bundled with Avid's existing products.


Avid buys Sibelius from The Register

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Guess this shows that even though you write software for a RISC OS platform it can still be lucrative (when you make it available for other platforms..) Another example could be Corel XARA. RISC OS has given programmers an alternative approach on how software should work and what the user experience should be. In my opninion those are the success factors of both RISC OS and the apps written for the platform. I doubt however that Avid would persue the RISC OS version in the future though.

Jan Rinze.

 is a RISC OS UserJanRinze on 6/8/06 11:10AM
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JanRinze: Excellent point and I thoroughly agree with that.

I can remember how composers and musicians would actually buy an Archimedes or RiscPC purely to run Sibelius - in other words a true Killer App. Several Hollywood films had their soundtracks written largely on Sibelius, even in the RiscPC days. Yet another example of finding Acorns in situations demanding a dependable and intuitive solution. In the field of music notation there is nothing like Sibelius and as such one may find it serving the world's finest composers.

Here is the complete story from the source, with a message from Jonathan and Benn Finn on the deal :


 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 6/8/06 3:21PM
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Does anyone know if the final RISC OS version will still be available for resale?

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 7/8/06 2:36AM
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I believe we can still buy new copies, but we have a couple of the latest version with printed manual (but a bit thumbed) at 30% of the new price!

 is a RISC OS Userchrisevans on 7/8/06 12:21PM
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I have two copies of !Sibelius7 in the mail last week, hopefully should arrive this week from the UK.

In my email reply from Sibelius UK, they mentioned that their knowledge of Acorn/RISC OS these days is diminishing. I guess we will never see Sibelius updated for RISC OS considering the work required to re-work it and the lack of market porential on RISC OS won't help either.


 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 7/8/06 9:18PM
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I've seen Cakewalk and many of the others, but Sib 7 on RISC OS is still by far the best musical notation app. A good reason for clinging to the platform, even though it has its annoying limitations eg 10 character filenames.

 is a RISC OS Usergoodingip on 8/8/06 6:13PM
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goodingip: Cakewalk is a very old MIDI sequencer, whereas Sibelius 7 is specifically music notation software. Although both applications are intended to assist in the production of music, comparing them is like comparing apples with oranges. It's more appropriate to compare Sibelius 7 with a version of Finale of similar age. Back in the days of Cakewalk (Pro), we had Serenade which was nice, but not really a fair match in terms of features. It was only years later that we managed to catch up somewhat with the arrival of MIDIWorks and MelIDI, the last addition being Anthem.

Sibelius 7 is a wonderful app, but has been long surpassed by the Sibelius versions for Mac and Windows, version 4 being the latest. However, if you still prefer doing scorewriting work on your ROS machine, Sibelius 7 is undoubtedly the best notation software you can have. For recording and sequencing under ROS, I thoroughly recommend MelIDI.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 9/8/06 12:28AM
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Many Sibelius users tell me they also have the PC version but preffer to use Sib7!

 is a RISC OS Userchrisevans on 9/8/06 11:33AM
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Much as I'd like to have seen a major update for Sibelius 7 in the past, it's obviously not going to happen. However, I do still hope that a "small" technical update to it to work natively on Iyonix / A9 might happen one day.

 is a RISC OS Userjms on 9/8/06 11:48AM
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I wonder if a number of us got together and e-mailed AVID, that they might do a version for RISC OS, who knows if they even know about us...they must still have !Sib7's source...or maybe I am just dreaming that a giant like AVID would even care about us?

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 9/8/06 1:04PM
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Oh, slightly off topic, but I know for a fact (seen it on the TV) that the composer Karl Jenkins (Adiemus fame) uses Sibelius!

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 9/8/06 1:06PM
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If you have access to a PC, the videos of the famous people who use (or used) Sibelius make excellent viewing. Alf Clausen (Simpsons) and the late Michael Kamen (Lethal Weapon, Baron Munchausen, worked with Eric Clapton and Metallica) were my favourites.

 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 9/8/06 5:22PM
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My two copies of !Sibelius7 arrived from the UK the other day.

From now on it will have to go through AVID, but would there be any RISC OS know how with AVID? What about the RISC OS version of !Sibelius7, how hard is it going to be getting future copies or even support. That is if AVID do not ditch the sales and support of the RISC OS version?

Just some thoughts that are crossing my mind, but could be questions that may need to be answered to?

*em2ac* May be a worthwhile effort to email AVID in a petition format? This would bring to their attention that there are RISC OS users out there. 180,000 registered PC Sibelius users, it would be interesting to know how many RISC OS version registered users are out there too.

In 1995, I met up with John O who was the authorised !Sibelius sales person for Australia and New Zealand during the Acorn times of the 1990's. I met John in Wangaratta which is a town 3 hours north of Melbourne as he was on one of his annual tours of Australia demonstrating and selling !Sibelius. John actually lived (and still does) near Auckland (New Zealand) and still keeps busy with the PC versions of Sibelius sales and training. I left Melbourne in 1996 to take a teaching job here now in Auckland.

When the PC version was released in New Zealand in 1998 and the Mac one in 1999, I spoke with John at that time about his opinions regarding the RISC OS and PC versions. The PC version was becoming more updated in 1999 and the early millenium, especially with all the add ons these days. Extra plug ins and school (Sibelius) resources that go with the PC version etc.

John did say in the early PC Sibelius days that there were still many advantages of the RISC OS version, that was mainly Acorn user styles, Drag 'N Drop, desktop speed, uncluttered RISC OS style menu system, three button mouse features (copy 'n paste -select/adjust)... and the list goes on. (Sorry if I don't know the correct terminology for these features).

So for score writing (as other mentioned before), yes, !Sibelius7 is still very good if you do need all the optional bells and whistles that PC versions get.

Then your !Sibelius7 scores can be saved as MIDI files to export to the PC version if you need options.

I think the email idea to AVID may be a good try? Any other thoughts about that one?

Some comments on Drobe a year or so ago about !Sibelius7 being updated, were that the difficulty as it is in Assembler language? Some suggested that starting from scratch to make a RISC OS version would be better? Anyone knowledgeable about that one? it sounds like a huge job?



 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 10/8/06 12:29AM
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Sawadee: I find !Sibelius7 more than adequete for notation, but it's the other limitations for music production on RO (soft synths, multitrack recording, realtime DSPs, 24-bit hardware etc.) which stops me from using an Iyonix for all my work.

As for writing a music notation app from scratch, when I talked to Dave Holden last year he suggested he might develop Rhapsody further when MIDI capabilities are available on the Iyonix. With Liquid Silicon's MIDI drivers on the way, that might happen. It is quite a way from matching Sibelius' features though, no Flexitime :-(

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 10/8/06 1:24AM
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"I wonder if a number of us got together and e-mailed AVID, that they might do a version for RISC OS"

Not a snowball in hell's chance. If the people who originally wrote it for an Acorn machine couldn't do a version then why would a company with no RISC OS experience do one for a dwindling market with severley limited prospects of future sales?

"I think the email idea to AVID may be a good try? Any other thoughts about that one?"

I'd have thought that "big" companies would simply ignore such a campaign. I would imagine the only way forward would be something similar to Martin W / Artworks. ie, for a developer with a realistic business plan to approach them.

 is a RISC OS Userjms on 10/8/06 5:54AM
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I guess there are so many other priorities to be done for RISC OS before !Sibelius7 could even be considered for the mammoth task of updating it for our platform?

The brighter side of it all, RISC OS does have !Sibelius. If we did not have !Sibelius in the first place, we certainly would never have seen it. Because of !Sibelius7 in late 1994, I have an Acorn computer. Six months prior to that, I bought a 486 PC and quickly sold it when I found !Sibelius on the Acorn computer.

At the time and unbeknown to me, I was not in the slightest aware of Acorn's potential and therefore was not really interested in anything it had but !Sibelius7.



 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 10/8/06 11:05AM
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Good for you Steve. IN my own case Sibilius' asshole attidute COSTED me valuable RISC OS clients. So in my opinion they can go to hell. They wanted big bucks , they now have big bucks and soon Sibilius will be forgotten. Except by Us RISC OS users will still crave on on how excellent that program ever was.

In the early days the FORCED ppl to go for the expensive RISC OS platform with an already expensive program and when they saw the light in the USA they turned 180. Instead of introducing the RISC OS platform as forcefully on them like they did in Europe on us. They completely abandonded us to quickly release Windows and Mac OS versions at significantly lower prices.

Hell, they didn't even want to get out minor updates!!!

Now they have enough money to never have to work again. Glad that they can "retire" and enjoy their (albeit small) fortune. But I hope I never meet such assholes ever again on this platform nomatter how great that program was.

 is a RISC OS Userepdm3be on 12/8/06 11:47AM
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epdm3be: That is a bit harsh. For starters, you couldn't have expected Sibelius to have tried to sell RO software in a country where there was virtually no market penetration by Acorn. I believe the other reason Sibelius abandoned RO was because Acorn were not developing Norcroft enough. But, whether we like it or not, Sibelius is the only major software package we have on the platform and it is one of the few bragging rights we have left (even if it isn't being developed anymore).

Sibelius will be forgotten? Unlikely, but I find Finale easier to use and they're pretty much on a par feature-wise. Avid still have plenty of work to do to retain Sib's market position.

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 14/8/06 6:35AM
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