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18 l August 2012

studionews UNITED KINGDOM All go for Nova

The past couple of months have seen the launch of a new distribution business in the UK. Phil Skins is heading up Nova Distribution, and venturing into the marketplace with two new and relatively unknown brands. Is he brave or bonkers? Don’t worry, Skins has got it covered, learns Dave Robinson in this Q&A

What’s the nature of Nova? I was made redundant from Roland, where I was business development manager for professional video and location sound recording. This happened three weeks before my marriage, ha ha! Fortunately I had some investment partners who were looking for someone to drive a nascent distribution business. So, I was there at the right time with the right credentials, as fate would have it. And Nova was born.

It’s a big step from being a BDM to starting a distribution business. A huge step, and a huge challenge. I’ve gone from the comfort of being in a corporate

UNITED KINGDOM/WORLD Save Sibelius campaign goes social

A group of ‘Sibelians’ are hoping to force Avid to sell the software through a social media campaign and online petition. Erica Basnicki gets the score

SIBELIUS USERS have expressed deep concern over the future of the music notation software after Avid Technology confirmed the closure of Sibelius’s UK development office in early July. So great is the concern among ‘Sibelians’ that an online campaign has been launched to encourage Avid to sell the software. As PSNEurope went to print, the Facebook page had already attracted nearly 6,300 fans, and the accompanying petition over 2,100 signatures accrued in just a few days. The issue was first raised

following Avid’s divestiture of M-Audio and AIR. Around the

Derek Williams: Sibelius campaigner

same time, a non-public communication was sent to UK Sibelius employees announcing the closure of the Finsbury park office. The news was quickly leaked online, and Avid confirmed the

closure in a release dated 7 July: “This office closing is part of Avid’s larger strategic reorganisation, and while it does impact members of the Sibelius team, we’d like to stress that this should not in any way be considered a diminishment in our commitment to Sibelius.” A second release addressing the outpouring of concern on social media sites outlined Avid’s plan “to integrate Sibelius development more closely with the rest of Avid’s audio development teams in California”. Despite Avid’s reassurances, Sibelius users are concerned about losing a highly committed team of programmers, most of whom are

which services a distribution model – representing Japan’s products through sales and marketing in the UK – to effectively taking control of all those departments. But through the experience I’ve gained, I’ve got a clear focus on how to deliver. It’s a gutsy move, but something that we [at Nova] believe in wholeheartedly. The two brands we are bringing to market – Eve Audio and Lindell Audio, both of which I signed up at Frankfurt – we believe in them. Eve Audio are high- quality studio monitors created by an ex-director of ADAM Audio in Berlin (see next month’s PSNEurope).

Tobias Lindell is a Grammy

Award-winning Swedish rock producer who has developed a number of 500 series ‘Lunchbox’ modules along with a 19” 1176-style compressor and a 19” channel strip. Lindell wanted to produce these processors with his own take on classic designs, incorporating his own unique interfaces, and at very affordable prices. Both Eve and Lindell have big ideas, a great understanding for the products and concepts and a real passion for what they are doing. It’s a big gamble for all of us, but ultimately, the products will speak for themselves.

How’s it going, then? Things are going well. There’s a lot to do to, building a company from nothing… Everyone thinks I’m completely mad or really brave. I’d like to think the latter. In one sense we may be fortunate coming into the marketplace at a difficult time, because any growth, when you start from zero, is potential! We’ve spent the past two months building the elements, the logistics and so on – we’ve just formed a partnership with SAE Logistics in Rickmansworth, for instance.

Do you want to take on any more lines, and staff? I want to emphasise that we are

also classical musicians, who have, until now, overseen development of the software. “You’ve got a team there who

bring very different things to the party,” says one Sibelius insider who contacted PSNEurope but did not wish to be named. “It’s like saying ‘yes, we can all drive;’ but only Michael Schumacher can drive like Michael Schumacher. You’ve got a driving force in Daniel Spreadbury (Sibelius’ senior project manager) who pulls it all together. I’ve never known anyone who answers tech support emails at four in the morning.” Spearheading the online campaign is composer and long- time Sibelius user Derek Williams: “I just went on to Sibelius’ support forum and said ‘this is completely outrageous and I’m going to do something about it, who’s with me?’ and all these people came out of the woodwork,” he said. “This is a team that made this application the greatest and

keen to help small brands, new brands… brands that are seeking a level of understanding and a passion for pro-audio distribution. Nova has a three-year business plan ahead which will inevitably require more staff, but for the time being, I’m in control.

You worked for Roland; now you’re working with Roland (Stenz from Eve Audio). Coincidence? Ha, Roland and Roland, yes – I see it as part of the story – the whole thing has been a whirlwind of fate. It’s a very exciting period of my life, everything is happening! n

most successful, best-selling score writer in the world, that’s profitable and highly respected; used by Hollywood A-listers, used by esteemed composers the world over. And you go in there and sack them all. It’s wrong. It’s an inhuman thing to do.” Many interested parties have

expressed interest in buying the Queen’s Innovation Award- winning software from Avid, including two separate bids from 1993 founders Ben and Jonathan Finn. So far, none have been successful. “If you really cannot sustain the team for financial reasons – please consider accepting offers from other people who would be willing and able to do so,” wrote Simon Whiteside, one of the software’s original developers, in an open letter to Avid CEO Gary Greenfield and senior VP Chris Gahagan. “This product is really too important to too many people to allow it to wither away and die.”n

Phil Skins: “Everyone thinks I’m completely mad or really brave”

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