TuneCore Fires Last Remaining Founder, Gets Into Ridiculously Petty Fight With Jeff Price

from the destroying-its-credibility dept

Last summer, we wrote about some of the bizarre happenings at TuneCore, a very cool and useful service that has helped more musicians actually make money than probably any other service out there, ever. It basically became the de facto standard for musicians who wanted to get their music into the various top digital music stores. TuneCore was founded by Jeff Price — who is known for being opinionated and not afraid to share his opinion. This rubs some people the wrong way, but even when I’ve disagreed with Jeff, I’ve always found him to be completely genuine in his singular belief that the most important thing to him was to help artists as much as possible. Many people who have dealt with TuneCore over the years quickly realized that Jeff was the driving vision and heart behind the company. However, last summer, he was pushed out under questionable circumstances with no explanation from the company or its board (who has maintained a pretty uniform wall of silence).

Over the last few days, it seems that more has developed, which raises some serious questions about the priorities of TuneCore management and its board. What has become clear (and confirmed from multiple sources) is that TuneCore’s lawyer from the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, contacted Price to say that it was “investigating” whether or not he had “faked” a $500 invoice from a trip. Apparently, the invoice came from a bed and breakfast that Price stayed at because it was cheaper than a hotel, and where he paid cash, because the operator of the BnB offered a discount that way. TuneCore’s lawyer is arguing that no legitimate lodging would send a Microsoft Word document as an invoice — and thus, he must be faking it. One wonders just how much TuneCore is spending on its lawyers to “investigate” a single invoice for a $500 reimbursement.

The situation led TuneCore co-founder Peter Wells to send every shareholder at the company an email arguing that this was a ridiculous move, a waste of time and money and clearly just an attempt to embarrass or intimidate Jeff. It also raises serious questions about TuneCore’s priorities at the moment. Is it about serving artists, or about attacking their founder and fired CEO Jeff Price? The full letter Peter sent is included at the bottom of this post, but this key line is the important one: “We at TuneCore ask artists to trust us with their music, their money and their relationships with iTunes and Amazon and more. How can we ask them to trust us if we act like this towards our own?”

As I was trying to learn more about the details behind all of this, the other shoe dropped. The third co-founder of the company, and the only remaining co-founder still employed by TuneCore was fired earlier today, with some believing it was some sort of retaliation for Peter’s email to the shareholders, and as the company continues to try to maintain a wall of silence.

Jeff Price, too, is upset about this whole situation. He told me that his main concern is that this whole thing is a distraction for the company, and that he feels he has “an obligation to the artists to have TuneCore reach its potential.” He also noted that the fact that the company is focusing on this is “heartbreaking” before going on to note:

The idiocy here is beyond me. It just makes me so sad. I get called out for being on a company business trip where I saved the company money. It’s just so strange. I don’t get it. Why is the company spending its money this way? What’s the end game? How does this benefit the company? If they’re capable of doing this to me, what are they doing for artists?

As for the supposed “faked” invoice, I’ve got an email from the woman who runs the bed and breakfast, explaining that she rents out her place via AirBnB, and that for “return guests” that they liked, they would often just deal in cash with invoices (which they report as income) and charge a slightly lower rate (I assume to save on the AirBnB fees). She confirms Jeff stayed and that while a Word doc is not very “formal” — it is legitimate. Thus, it appears that this was, indeed, a case of Jeff saving TuneCore money.

Others — including shareholders and customers of TuneCore — are speaking out, and many are quite concerned about the direction of the company. Gian Caterine, who for years was TuneCore’s CFO was incredulous about the accusations against Jeff and quite worried about the future of the company itself. Regarding the idea that Jeff might fudge a $500 bed and breakfast invoice, Gian found that to be “ridiculous.”

Jeff is the “king of coach.” He’s such a frugal guy. Of all the criticisms you could have about Jeff, stealing $500 is not on that list. It’s ridiculous.

But his much larger concern was what all of this meant for the company.

It looks like the company has lost its path. There’s no one left at TuneCore that has any meaningful background in music. Jeff was always the spokesperson for musicians’ values. There’s no evidence that the company has any vision, and I can only see this leading to a loss of credibility among artists…. There’s a big, big issue with vision and leadership now. They have not articulated a vision and there’s no one with the necessary experience left to help…. I don’t know if it’s ignorance or arrogance, but the damage is pretty severe.

Rather than pointing fingers at Jeff, they need to get on with it. The whole situation leads me to believe that there’s something really wrong that has nothing to do with Jeff.

Another shareholder, Joel Morowitz, who helped co-found Jeff’s previous company, the indie label SpinArt, was similarly angry about the attack on Jeff and what it meant for TuneCore.

Personally, and as a shareholder, I am absolutely disgusted by these allegations against Jeff. It reeks of desperation and diversion. I have known Jeff for over 30 years, and while no person is perfect, I can personally attest to his high ethical standards, especially with regard to his tenure at Tunecore. More than anyone, you know how much time and effort he put into it. And now, after building Tunecore into the undisputed leader in the field, and quite literally, changing the model of the music industry, they now shout “lack of confidence” and “mismanagement”!? It just doesn’t wash…and they know it. They have never been forthcoming about Jeff’s termination.

He further pointed out that having a law firm investigate a $500 reimbursement is nothing more than “wasting valuable time and resources,” questioning just how much the law firm was charging for such an investigation: “the sum of the bill is most likely far greater than the amount being disputed.” Again, he is at a loss as to why there’s this focus on attacking Jeff:

I am so saddened that this situation has devolved into a stalemate. Instead of focusing on the continued growth and diversification of Tunecore, they have chosen to turn this into a battle against Jeff. It is abundantly clear that whatever the real reasons are for Jeff’s termination, Tunecore has been on the decline since his departure. Jeff was certainly not without controversy in the public eye, but no visionary CEO ever is. He was the clearly best person for the job. What do we have now?….a company with no vision, no direction, low morale, and most importantly, no effective leadership.

I’ve also been speaking to a few TuneCore’s customers, who have expressed similar concerns. Andy Richards, who notes that he was TuneCore’s 23rd customer way back in the beginning after randomly finding them online, notes that Jeff always struck him as “an extremely driven and passionate entrepreneur, but above all, a music fan who truly respected the artists with whom he worked.” Furthermore, he notes that he’s still on TuneCore, and hasn’t seen any direct changes yet, but he’s “definitely keeping an eye on things and will jump ship if I don’t like what I see.”

Disputes between startup management and investors is nothing new. We see it in the startup world all the time. Sometimes it does just make sense to bring in new management, but for companies built around driven and visionary CEOs, such changes can be quite problematic, especially when they leave a complete void where the vision used to be. The fact that TuneCore now seems focused on simplistic and petty disputes about a $500 reimbursement — even to the point of accusing Jeff of having faked the invoice seems to raise serious questions about just what the company is focused on these days.

Over the past few days, I’ve reached out to every single board member at TuneCore, along with key remaining members of the management team. I’ve heard nothing from the board. However, just as I was about to go to press with this story, I heard from a PR person (he apparently leads the “crisis communications” team at his PR firm) who told me that he didn’t think this was a matter that the press should be concerned with as it’s a “private” issue. He then issued a further statement:

Tunecore focuses on its core business of helping artists reach their fans and consumers. It is expanding into Japan, Canada and on campuses, and has several exciting initiatives on the horizon which will increase its value to its artists/customers. The matter of the dispute is one more appropriately handled behind closed doors with the parties’ attorneys, and if necessary, in a courtroom. It is not for public consumption, nor does it have any bearing on its work toward its core mission.

The company offered no comment at all on Gary Burke being fired, saying there was nothing to say on the matter.

Again, disputes between management and investors are a common plotline in the startup world. But this one seems particularly messy, and unfortunate, given the large role that Price and his cofounders played in turning TuneCore into such a large player in the space.

Peter Wells' original email to all shareholders:

From: Peter Wells
Date: January 27, 2013 12:56:29 PM EST
Subject: Bed and Breakfast invoice fiasco


Jeff told me that he's been accused by Eric Amdursky of the law firm O'Melveny & Myers, working on behalf of TuneCore, that he's being "investigated." Supposedly, Jeff "fabricated" an invoice for something like $500 to TuneCore. He allegedly made up a receipt and submitted it to TuneCore, presumably just to get some cash. Jeff allegedly drafted an MS Word document receipt out of whole cloth, claiming he stayed in a bed & breakfast, and having TC reimburse him, all fraudulently.

This is beyond absurd. Any of you who know Jeff know he'd never do anything like that. Jeff tells me he paid in cash to save TC money, and I believe him. He tells me the receipt he got came directly from the owner of the B&B, and I believe him. He even told me he's in contact with her and she's backing him up. Fine, that's exactly what I expected.

It's completely absurd. Jeff Price creating a fraudulent invoice to bilk $500 out of TuneCore? The same Jeff Price who wouldn't even buy office chairs the whole first three years of the company, scavenging them instead, just to save the company money? Jeff, famous as the "fly coach" and "eat sandwiches" CEO? The whole idea he would "fabricate" a receipt is ludicrous.

It's galling to think anyone would accuse him of something like that. You don't treat people this way, not for any reason--not to mention someone who built the very company that's now abusing him.

I sincerely hope most of you are unaware of this. I hope I'm the first person to bring it to light. I hope those of you who work with OMM will take swift action to get this "investigation" closed, move to a more ethical law firm, and consider even taking action against OMM. It can't be legal to make things up like this.

If this "investigation" was known about and blessed by any member of the Board, any officer or employee of TuneCore, then I can only say I'm beyond disappointed. We at TuneCore ask artists to trust us with their music, their money and their relationships with iTunes and Amazon and more. How can we ask them to trust us if we act like this towards our own?

I'm expecting swift action. First and foremost, I want this fiasco of an "investigation" terminated. I also want OMM to draft an apology to Jeff and to TuneCore, and if they billed hours for this, that money ought to come back. Since OMM was acting for TuneCore, I think it would be appropriate for the Board to apologize to Jeff as well, for the actions of a company they hired and for whom they must take ultimate responsibility.

I strongly urge all of you who are shareholders in TuneCore to write everyone cc'd on this email supporting Jeff against these baseless allegations. I urge you to let the Board know they have to be more careful with the lawyers they hire and keep a sharper eye out for the tactics they're using. And of course, if the Board actually meant to go forward with this nonsense, then I urge the shareholders to bring all possible pressure against the Board, who are acting against the interests of TuneCore. Tactics like this will harm the value of our shares, damage the good name of the company and erode the trust between officers, executives, employees and the artists who trust us.

To those of you who alleged Jeff "fabricated" a receipt to squeeze money out of TuneCore: for shame. I will take any action within my power to remove you from your post, wherever you work. The only thing stopping me from bringing this to the public is my concern that the unethical actions of a few might tarnish the name of TuneCore. Please give me a reason not to go public, because if sunlight is what it takes to dry up these lies, then so be it.


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Comments on “TuneCore Fires Last Remaining Founder, Gets Into Ridiculously Petty Fight With Jeff Price”

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Jay (profile) says:

Who flipped?

I think the answer is that the Recording Industry lawyers have gotten to the board of directors. Was there any recent changes in leadership?

How about any recent incluxes of cash from investors?

I see this as a way that the RIAA has eliminated their competition through dubious means.

There are way too many problems with this story that just don’t make sense when Occam’s Razor warns of sabotage (IMO).

Robert (profile) says:

Re: Re: Who flipped?


Gill Cogan
Gill brings more than 25 years of venture capital investing experience in software, communications and semiconductors as well as building and leading venture capital firms.

Prior to Opus, he was a founding partner and Managing Partner of Lightspeed Venture Partners. He was also Managing General Partner at Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners. Gill has invested in a wide variety of early stage information technology companies such as Vantive (NASDAQ: VNTV, acquired by PeopleSoft (NASDAQ:PSFT)), Harmonic Lightwaves, Inc. (NASDAQ: HLIT), Visigenic Software (NASDAQ: VSGN, acquired by Borland (NASDAQ: BORL)), Airgate PCS, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCSA, acquired by Alamosa Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: APCS)), P-Com (NASDAQ: PCOM), Kalpana (acquired by Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO)), and many others.

Prior to joining WPG in 1990, Gill managed the West Coast operations of Adler & Company and was on the team that made investments in companies such as Mercury Interactive (NASDAQ: MERQ, acquired by Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ)), Zoran Corporation (NASDAQ: ZRAN) and IXYS (NASDAQ: IXYS). He was one of three General Partners who formed the first independent Israeli venture fund in 1985. Gill has significant operating experience as a result of his tenure as CEO of Formtek Inc., a systems company based on technology developed at the Carnegie-Mellon University, which was acquired by Lockheed Corporation. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Electronics for Imaging (NASDAQ: EFII) and serves on the Board of Directors of several privately held companies. Gill holds an MBA from UCLA.

Marty Alberston
Marty has been with Guitar Center since 1979. Mr. Albertson joined Guitar Center as a salesperson and has held various positions of increasing responsibility with Guitar Center since that time. In 1980, he served as Advertising Director and in 1984 became National Sales Manager. Thereafter, in 1985 Mr. Albertson became Vice President of Corporate Development, and became the Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 1987. From 1990 to 1999, Mr. Albertson served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In 1999, Mr. Albertson became our President and Co-Chief Executive Officer. In 2004, Mr. Albertson became our Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Albertson was elected a director in 1996.

Effective November 1, 2010 Mr. Albertson retired as Chief Executive Officer and will remain as non-executive Chairman of the Board.

Fred Bourgoise
Fred was co-architect of the groundbreaking worldwide music publishing administration service Bug Music. He was President and co-owner from 1976 until its 2006 sale to Spectrum Equity Investors. From its humble and committed beginning, Bug became the music administration gold standard and trusted island for publishers, songwriters, copyrights, and artists. While experiencing meteoric growth and success Bug evolved into the largest independent music publisher in the pre-digital-download-streaming world, with offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, London, and Munich, Germany. After the Spectrum purchase, Fred continued to serve as a consultant and board member for Bug until 2009.

Fred first assisted TuneCore in 2010 as a consultant. In June 2011 he was elected to the Board of Directors.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Who flipped?

It’s pretty typical of VCs – the only accomplishments that matter is whether or not your portfolio companies are acquired. I know people at Opus, it’s one of the better firms, so I’m guessing that there is more to this story. Founders will eventually all get screwed by VCs, for any reason possible, it’s par for the course.

That said, it’s pretty bad story all around and more transparency would help a lot. Really, Jeff’s best revenge is to start a rival company with a better business model…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Who flipped?

Well, I think there should be new terminology for those types of VC’s then.

That way people will know the difference between “Sure I’ll help your business and we can make some money” and “I’ll put in money, but at the end, you won’t have a business, and you will be lucky if you have any money”.

Hey, if big companies can get away with telling me that they can roll over cell phone minutes but not cell phone data althought we all know it can be done, there shouldn’t be any reason we don’t come up with a better way of defining VC’s into proper categories.

Crashoverride (profile) says:

Ok for some reason I read almost the whole post….. Yet I fail to understand three things…why was the post even created…..what was the authors goal in having us read it…and why was it so freaking long.

I get it the invoice is an odd/interesting story but the story was repeated several times in the post. Yes it sucks when founders get pushed out… even worse when for at first glance for odd reasons. But quite often there are competing goals between a founder and a board.

alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I read the post as well. As someone who enjoys TechDirt for the sharing of stories of interest related to the intersection of tech and legal, I think it’s a perfectly valid story to cover. Especially since Mike has consistently been an advocate for 20th century business models adapting and innovating their way through the 21st century, and TuneCore is (or has been until now) a shining example of that.

Just read the reply from the “crisis” rep. Denying the current situation is a private matter and “not for public consumption”. Except that’s crap.

If TuneCore has lost its capacity to serve artists (and it’s effortless to argue the methods how this has all shaken out so far clearly correlate to that being true), the impact could be a very big deal, and as such, it is, in my personal opinion, quite a valid story to keep an eye on.

anonymouse says:

Re: Re:

So you do not believe the people using the site and investing in the business should know why the best person for the job was fired. I for one read the whole thing and am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the follow up when someone in the company decides to tell the full story of what happened. Obviously their is a mismanagement of funds and resources by those in power but I want to know why…
To say this is a waste of space article makes me think either you are just attacking the site for writing a story about them or are involved in the situation, as there have been a few comments very similar to your recently calling out authors on why they wrote the stories they have been writing.I would say you are trolling , but then again you could be from one of the businesses trying to discredit the site for releasing the news and putting eyes onto obvious problems in the running of the business.

Keep it up techdirt, this is one of the types of story I want to see on here as do many many others who read the site daily.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s an interesting story about an important company and important people in the new business model space for music. My current band has just recorded our first EP and we are currently talking about what services we want to use to distribute it, tunecore was a name that came up and it’s a service which a few bands I know use.

I was already weary of working with tunecore even for my tiny project and I know for a fact that if I explain to those other bands what has been going on with the company that they will look to switch services.

Anonymous Coward says:

This seems like retaliation of some kind to me.

The problem with that is Jeff boy is a doer, if he starts a new TuneCore(fork it) he probably get all the support from others and leave the old one to rot.

Now on the cynic side, even if Jeff embezzled $500 bucks this one time, who cares? should anyone care? I am sure everyone and I mean everyone embezzled something at some point in their lifes, for reasons that range from the ridiculous to the hilarious, the real problem is when people do it in large amounts or if it becomes an habit that over time amounts to a large amount. But here I don’t see it, even in the unlikely event that he embezzled said money, what he gave back was much more, I don’t see the parasitic nature that is so harmful at all, what I do see is that someone somewhere is trying to hurt him and it want it bad, is almost like they want TuneCore to sunk so other business can come up and be the only game in town, but that is just me being tin foil hat dude.

For all of that, Jeff should just restart a company doing the same thing and working hard to not fall into the same traps that he fallen in the first attempt.

My best wishes to Jeff.

AB says:

“several exciting initiatives on the horizon which will increase its value”

Exactly the kind of double-talk spouted every time a company is about to cheapen it’s product. The changes will be accompanied by some sort of eye candy to keep customers distracted from the actual activity. Some customers will see through the slight-of-hand and jump ship right away, others will be blinded by the shiny things and embrace the changes. Usually only a study of history will eventually strip away the subterfuge and reveal the reality.

anonymouse says:

Re: Re:

At least the people who use the site to distribute their creations now know there is something going on that the business is trying desperatly to hide. If anything i think this attemot at portraying him as a criminal is an attemot to have something to hold over his head to prevent him possibly releasing information that those who use the site deserve to know. I for one think the MPAA is probably involved in this somewhere, it is a direct threat to their business model that they just refuse to let go even though it is a disaster for musicians and was the main reason this site was and is a big success. I hope that the creator who is being attacked will somehow get another site up and, as someone said above, has learnt not to fall into the same pitfalls, surely he should be advising other start-ups where not to go wrong and hopefully he will use this opportunity here to let everyone know what happened.

garyFburke (profile) says:

My firing

This is Gary Burke, the third cofounder of TuneCore. While it’s true I was let go today, I do not believe that this was a retaliatory action in the current battles between Jeff and the Board, and had nothing to do with any invoice issue. While I was let go for tangentially related reasons, they had to do with me as an individual. They did what they felt they had to do.

I wish TC’s team all the best and am currently evaluating options.

anonymouse says:

Re: Re: My firing

There is another option, if you accept funding make sure that there are terms and conditions in any contract that always hold you as a major share holder and as the one who makes any decisions regarding the company going forward for the following 30 years or until you relinquish that power.
Every business needs funding to get of the ground it is how you accept that funding and what powers you sell for it that actually count not whether you accept funding to grow or not.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: My firing

Next time keep the company private this way you do not have to deal with share holders, an unreasonable board, and maximizing value to the share holder.

Even private companies have shareholders and a board of directors, at least a private company of any decent size. The big difference between public and private are rules governing the number of shareholders you can have, and a lot of regulations on disclosure. You may remember some of the stories about pre-IPO Facebook.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

It's his own fault

Jeff Price really should have seen this coming. We’ve seen it again and again and again with technology companies, and people never seem to learn.

OK, folks, in case you don’t understand this point, Business 101: whoever provides the funding is ultimately in charge, whether or not they have any clue what your business does or how it works. The minute TuneCore took outside funding, they were knowingly selling their own souls, and they should have expected it to come to this eventually.

Just look at how every technology company seems to find a way to end up throwing their high quality that got them where they are into the toilet within a couple years of going public. It’s the same thing on a larger scale. If you take outside funding, you are selling your company’s soul to people who care more about money than about what you’re trying to accomplish with your company, and they will run it into the ground for the sake of a quick buck. That should be not just acknowledged as something that might happen, but expected.

You don’t want that to happen to your own company? Live within your means.

alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

Re: It's his own fault

“You don’t want that to happen to your own company? Live within your means.”

If that was the attitude every entrepreneur took, we’d have no large scale highly valuable and useful businesses in the world that started out small.

While Steve Jobs was a perfect example of what you’re describing, Apple would never have become such a major tech company had “live within your means” was the overriding factor.

To blame entrepreneurs for the reckless mismanagement that comes from greed-driven, 20th century minded investors (as was also proven when Jobs came back and rescued the company, taking it to even greater heights), is a misunderstanding of the delicate balance between vision and resource requirements for a company that can potentially, and in the case of Apple, literally, change the world.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: It's his own fault

“whoever provides the funding is ultimately in charge, whether or not they have any clue what your business does or how it works.”

Well, they’re on their own then. If they run the company into the ground and lose all future income, just because they wanted to act like assholes toward the people who know how it would actually work as a long term venture, that’s on their heads. It’s a shame that business is so obsessed with next quarter that they can’t build a sustainable business with the people who know what to do, but I don’t see why people can’t point out that they’re killing themselves and acting like dicks in the meantime.

“The minute TuneCore took outside funding, they were knowingly selling their own souls”

So, you’re saying that if you don’t want to be treated like shit you should never take any outside funding? I wonder how many successful startups would even be possible with that attitude. The cost of infrastructure alone can be too much for startups to keep up with in cases where they grow more than incrementally per year, and most have to borrow just to do that.

“and they should have expected it to come to this eventually.”

Why? There are numerous startups that have become highly successful with outside funding that retained their original founders without this kind of action. It’s true that many organisations have growing pains and often change the product to match their growing market, but that has as much to do with the necessities of changing from a small business to a large enterprise than where the funding comes from.

Besides, none of that explains the pointless squabble over a B&B receipt. If money was all that mattered to the board, why are they wasting what must be many, many times the original cost on chasing it through court? That seems more personal than business.

Samantha Murphy (user link) says:

Disappointed Artist

I’m an artist/artist advocate and released my last single on Tunecore when Jeff was still there. Jeff was very helpful to me and connected me with several different people at the company in order to facilitate my release. Additionally, I’ve spoken on panels at numerous conferences with Jeff. As a founder myself, I know what it takes to build a company, particularly one helping artists. Rarely have I seen the passion Jeff Price has for helping artists. Also, I don’t believe he’s financially driven. I’m very disappointed, but I’m sure CD Baby is thrilled since that’s where all the artists will have to go back to.

Fake Clowns says:

Jeff Price is a cretin. Peter Wells is a fake-ass mofo. Yeah, guys, keeping on whining about wanting what’s best for TuneCore and then continue to “expose” dirty laundry that you yourself soiled.

And congrats, Mike, for posting this drivel. Jeff knows how to manipulate people. Especially media wanna-be’s like you. Jeff also fights dirty (just look at any of his gazillion other public conflicts out there). Like when he savagely attacks his own customers because they disagree with him on some academic music industry crap. And he knows how to run a business into the ground. Just ask SpinArt artists if they ever got their money when that label closed. Nope!

No wonder TuneCore kicked him out. Might have been their last chance to stay afloat.

Only thing TuneCore is wasting money on is their press people. A corporate bullshit auto-generator would have handled this better. Amateurs!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Whoa, that sounds like you’re asking for facts rather than assumptions dragged out of someone’s ass! You know most people don’t provide those when they launch attacks here, especially when they try to side-swipe Mike in the meantime. Why, facts might actually prove the truth and that might not be anything related to what they’re saying.

(unless the OP wants to back up his assertions, of course).

anonymouse says:

Re: I left Tunecore last year

If this is what they did and I have no reason to doubt you, then I suspect there was a large amount of conflict into how the company moved forward.Doubling the amount the business takes from artists flies directly in the opposite trend for the reason the business was initially created.

More and more it looks like this could be as a result of the MPAA not wanting it to look too attractive for their artists that are already jumping ship to better business models.

Just to bring something else into the mix, If this is how they attack/takeover Tunecore they are obviously very afraid of the impact Tunecore is having on the music industry, now imagine what will happen to the industry when Megamusic is eventually available to artist, imagine how hard they must be working to take over any other sites doing anything similar.

Is this just one of the final death throws of the music industry? I for one look forward to hearing much more about this part of the industry on techdirt. I suspect there is a very interesting story behind all of this, not only involving Tunecore but the other sites doing roughly the same thing, i.e rewarding the artists and not taking a huge cut of their profits. I wonder who the shareholders are that have taken over, are they connected in any way with the old music industry. Maybe they are using shell corporations to buy shares in businesses that are successfully using this business model.Maybe they are backing some of their previous staffs successful attempts to take over the control of the site. Now that would be a good story to read , MIKE, are you listening 🙂

PaulT (profile) says:

“TuneCore’s lawyer is arguing that no legitimate lodging would send a Microsoft Word document as an invoice — and thus, he must be faking it.”

Because B&Bs are always run by people who know computers and always provide things in the same way?

“she rents out her place via AirBnB”

Well, there you go. I’ve rented a couple of times through people on that site and while they’re usually pretty good, they’re often not full time businesspeople. They’re often people who have a spare property trying to make some money on the side and find short term holiday letting more profitable than having long term tenants. Why would a particular standard of invoice be expected?

Yeah, this definitely sounds personal. Even if the invoice was thought to be suspicious, the lawyer could simply contact the landlady in question (presumably her contact details would be on the invoice) and confirm that the invoice was correct, perhaps asking for a more standard form of invoice or proof of the stay if required. A 5 minute phone call and a signed letter would presumably be enough to confirm no wrongdoing. Instead, we have legal action, accusations and innuendo and the company’s name being dragged through the mud.

anonymouse says:

Re: Re:

But if they resolved this with a call then they could not justify discrediting him and making him look like a bad investment for any future endeavours he has. I would be looking to find out who leaked this, if i was him and i would be looking to charge them with defamation, serious defamation that could cause future investors to back down from supporting him. Maybe he could get enough of their shares in payment to take over the business again. LOL ok dreaming, just taken medication….

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’ll go further (you can call me a conspiracy wacko).

If my understanding is right, Tunecore allows bypassing of the big labels. What if there’s some external power driving Tunecore to it’s demise. Suppose I tell the board members they’ll get a big fat check if they drive the company to its destruction. It’s not like the MAFIAA doesn’t use its financial power to do all sorts of horrible things…

Food for thought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ll take that one a tad further. What if they set up Tunecore, knowing the big players would eventually swoop in and they thought they would get paid off royally…only to get stabbed in the back and sent packing with empty hands as the RIAA, once again, plays dirty and “wins” this time.

I mean, it’s a longstanding joke in the IT community to come up with something that either Microsoft or Google would buy. I kinda believe that same theory works the same for other industries.

At least with Google and Microsoft, you do really get paid for something that was your idea. RIAA/MPAA are just cocksuckers that are no holds barred greedy and have no qualms about going in dry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

In fact, if one of the founders were the ones that did hire Gill Cogan, then they knew exactly what they were getting in to…except for the fact that underestimated the greed and seedyness that Gill is capable of and probably didn’t forsee getting stabbed in the back in the end.

THAT’S the type of things that companies fuss over. The $500 invoice is just the cover. It’s like in the IT world…everyone goes to Reddit and IMGUR, but it isn’t until someone is getting fired does that type of “unapproved web activity” get added to the list of trumped up reasons to fire someone.

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