Avid announces a Sibelius-based cloud technology for publishers

Click here to read “Avid announces a Sibelius-based cloud technology for publishers” on the Sibelius Blog.

According to the release, the technology is called Sibelius | Cloud Publishing. Avid says that the new technology is based on Avid Everywhere and built upon the Avid MediaCentral Platform.

The service is targeted at music publishers. One of the main differences between Sibelius | Cloud Publishing and current technology based on the Scorch browser plug-in appear to be that, in fact, installation of a browser plug-in is not required in order for visitors to experience and purchase the music.

Wow! This is both deeply exciting and disappointing at the same time.

I have long awaited the time that my professional creative software begins to move to the cloud. It was a smaller but important step for productivity software like Microsoft Office, iWork, and Google Docs. And that software is still experiencing growing pains [1]. I knew it would take longer for video, audio, and photo editing software to move to the cloud given the complexity of such software, the size of the media they manage, and the fact that it would just really need to work consistently for professionals to depend on it.

My major disappointment is that all of the cloud features Avid is adding are intended for online playback and publishing, not for collaboration or storage. I can appreciate that they have a certain focus on how they see cloud technology influencing notation software, but isn’t it possible to have two or more collaborating on the same Sibelius file at the same time with the current technologies available? If Avid’s Pro Tools is gaining the ability to collaborate on the same audio project in real time with multiple people all over the world [2], how is it not possible to collaborate on a score?

It also seems that Avid doesn’t consider the ability to store scores in the cloud or edit them on tablets to be important. The latter I can appreciate. It is certainly their choice to envision what platforms the most powerful of score editing features are designated too. But I feel that the Avid Scorch app for iPad could at least allow the user to do minor editing on the go, like for example, move a few pitches around the staff. The Notion app for iPad is doing a great job fitting score editing features on the iPad's screen size while managing a pretty clean user interface in the process.

The Scorch app for iPad should at least be able to access documents from services like Dropbox and Google Drive. iOS now offers developers the ability put a document picker in their apps so that users can access files from anywhere, not just those stored in the app. See my post here for more details about how this works.

Maybe at least Scorch for iPad will get an update. It hasn’t received any new features for years and still looks like it belongs on iOS 6.

Perhaps I am short sighted because I am not actively composing and publishing my own work. These future updates could really take away the friction of sales and distribution for freelance composers. But I had hoped for a lot more.

  1. I exclude Google Drive from this statement. Their software is extremely mature, particularly with regards to it’s consistently, collaborative features, and availability on all platforms.  ↩
  2. See it in action here --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pz_6ZIy2To  ↩