Update — February 22, 2013: Because of a trademark conflict with “Keeping Score”, the new name of the Steinberg notation blog is “Making Notes”, per Daniel. The trademark owner in the United States is the San Francisco Symphony, registered in 2010.
Original post — February 20, 2013
With his usual combination of wit and wisdom (see The Simpsons and Monty Python references), Daniel Spreadbury has launched Keeping Score, a new blog to chronicle the development of Steinberg’s new music notation and composition software.
Our mission is simple: to create a next-generation application that meets the needs of today’s composers, arrangers, engravers, copyists, publishers, teachers and students. We know we have a big mountain to climb: we’re starting work on a new professional-level application for Windows and Mac (and hopefully mobile devices later on) and looking to bring it into a crowded market that already has two very capable and mature competitors, not to mention an explosion of new products that exploit mobile devices and the web.
Despite the magnitude of the task ahead of us, I believe we can be successful because of three things: our experience, our vision, and because we have the support of a great company. The 12 of us who currently make up Steinberg’s scoring team have, between us, nearly 100 years’ combined experience in developing world-beating professional notation software. The core of this same team was responsible for developing six major versions of Sibelius, introducing hundreds of innovative features over the past 14 years.
Daniel, of course, was the senior product manager for Sibelius until last year, and he is the originator and author of the vast majority of posts on this, the Sibelius blog. His new official post is product marketing manager for Steinberg’s in-development scoring application. He and his team are extremely well-respected in the industry, and I am excited to see what he and his talented colleagues at Steinberg will produce.
You can like the Keeping Score page on Facebook and follow Daniel on Twitter, where he will be posting regular updates. Best of luck, Daniel!
If there is anything that will convince Avid that they must keep developing Sibelius and keep it competitive, it is competition from Daniel Spreadbury and his team, who have the advantage of being able to build a brand-new app with no encumbrance from legacy code, together with a tremendous amount of expertise and knowledge as to how to create the best music notation.
Awesome – best of luck to Daniel and his team! Good news for Sibelius users (and everyone) indeed, keeps us all on our toes.
Can I post counter-argument here?
Avid are already selling a music notation that works really well. I have been a Sibelius user for nearly 20 years, and bought my first copy from one of the Finn brothers in person. For a working classical musician it has always been really frustrating that every now and then I have to fork out another hundred quid or so to upgrade the program, generally at no significant benefit. Obviously the playback gains are nice, but nevertheless the feature I first bought it for – the ability to produce parts – has been there from the beginning.
From Avid’s point of view, why would they bother paying staff to keep upgrading something that is already brilliant?
I wish Daniel and his colleagues every success with their new venture, and when it comes on the market I’ll keep an open mind about switching over. Inability to convert years worth of existing Sibelius files would be a powerful disincentive, mind . . .
Replying to Nick:
> it has always been really frustrating that every now and then I have to fork out another hundred quid or so to upgrade the program, generally at no significant benefit
You don’t have to upgrade, and if you genuinely feel there’s ‘no significant benefit’ in doing so you absolutely shouldn’t do it. I think the consensus is that there is a significant benefit to upgrading one version to the next. If you disagree, keep your money.
> the feature I first bought it for – the ability to produce parts – has been there from the beginning.
Good example – producing parts now has improved out of all recognition from the way it was when you first bought Sibelius from the Finns in person.
> From Avid’s point of view, why would they bother paying staff to keep upgrading something that is already brilliant?
But that’s not Avid’s point of view. Their point of view (or their stated one at any rate) is that they are still paying staff to upgrade Sibelius. Just different staff.
> Inability to convert years worth of existing Sibelius files would be a powerful disincentive, mind . . .
I won’t argue with that!
The problem with Sibelius upgrades are the newer versions are not compatible with the operating systems of older computers. I have Sibelius 5, I skipped 6 because 5 was fine. I have a new Mac and 5 is not compatible with its OS.
I don’t need an upgrade for what I do, and I did the trial 7 and found I did not like the ribbon format.
The problem is the same in reverse, of course; older versions of Sibelius will eventually become incompatible with newer operating systems. I suppose we could keep older computers alive; a prominent composer in LA keeps collects old G4s to run Encore on!
I’d prefer to invest in the future; whether Avid will do the same with Sibelius is an open question. We forget that even the things we’ve loved about past products can be improved upon (though the ribbon layout of Sibelius 7 makes that thought less abstract–as does the perception of Avid in general, these days).
I’d gladly plunk down my money on a notation system that a) is built off the past excellence of Sibelius, b) is the product of a team committed to long-term support and development, and c) opens all old Sibelius files. I suspect that I am not alone.