One place where prior efforts like NIFF and SMDL failed was in marketing. Once the NIFF and SMDL formats were defined, there was not a concerted, long-term effort to drive adoption in the marketplace. Adoption of a new interchange standard takes time, especially in a small market area like music notation.
The Internet provides an excellent channel for marketing to software developers worldwide. We regularly use the Web as well as print media to learn about software programs that we feel could benefit by adding MusicXML support. Our marketing efforts really began in October 2001 with the first MusicXML beta release. This was followed closely by the establishment of a MusicXML eGroup, later moved to Yahoo! Groups and then to a developer mailing list. We put the DTD files on the site together with a tutorial, example files, and links to MusicXML software and publications. We have attended the industry’s major NAMM trade show in the USA since the company was founded. We also attend conferences and trade shows elsewhere in Europe and North America to spread the MusicXML message to all sorts of developers, be they in academia or industry, using closed-source or open-source models. We track all this activity in a summary spreadsheet which summarizes the MusicXML status or potential for hundreds of applications.
Sometimes it takes success in one product category before one can move to the next category. The major commercial sequencers are currently missing from the MusicXML implementation chart. MusicXML support really only became commercially interesting to these applications once both Finale 2006 and Sibelius 4 had built-in MusicXML import on both Windows and Macintosh. Adding MusicXML support now makes sense to help the workflow of customers who compose in the sequencer but have scores and parts prepared in notation programs like Finale and Sibelius. The major sequencers are elaborate products with complex development schedules, but we hope it is not much longer before some major sequencers support the MusicXML format.
Part of marketing to developers involves removing barriers to entry. XML itself helps a great deal with that due to the widespread availability of free, high-quality XML parser software on just about every modern development platform imaginable. Our MusicXML licensing contributes to this via a royalty-free license modeled on the W3C license used for XML itself. This license was developed in the days before widespread concerns about license proliferation. To date we have not had issues with license compatibility, but this is something we will monitor during the MusicXML 1.2 cycle to see if a change to a more standard license might be appropriate.