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Old 08-03-2008, 11:28 PM   #1
sixstringlass
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Default Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

If so, go ahead and delete it. I just don't really have anyone to talk to about this who understands and I really have to get it out of my system.

Back in March of 2007, I contacted a local recording studio about producing and recording 5 of my original songs. Of the dozen or so studios I contacted, the guy I contacted (I'll just call him Dufus) had the terms I liked the best: in an e-mail, he wrote to me that he worked with singer/songwriters all the time and could produce my songs for the sound I desired, that he would work with the songs until I was happy with them, and that it was on a project basis. He said it would be $3,500 for 400-600 hours of studio time. We agreed over the phone, later, that it would be half down, half on delivery.

I paid him the first half of the money on May 22, 2007. The first recording session for "scratch" guitar and vocal tracks to build the songs around was to be done on June 10, 2007. After scheduling it, he cancelled it no fewer than 6 times. I didn't initally get into the studio until July 15, 2007.

Over the next 15 weeks, he cancelled recording sessions 10 times, but the whole while, he is promising me that work is being done on the drums and bass for the tracks. Conversations consisted mostly of this information every week. the only other thing I ever got from him was that he wanted me to pay the other half of the money. He kept telling me that they were almost done, and when I refused to pay until I had the master, he finally told me that, if I didn't pay up, I wasn't going to get anything: that work would stop on the recording until I paid.

Now, all this time, I was asking for a formal contract that laid out what was said in the e-mail (which they said they would get me, but kept putting off) and for receipts for money paid to them (which they also kept putting off). On August 17, 2007, I paid them the other half of the money.

After waiting 20 weeks and not hearing one single note that I didn't perform myself, I asked them to show me what they (Dufus and the engineer (who I'll call Dinglebutt) - who also owned the studio) had been doing all that time. They refused to show me anything, saying that it was "industry standard" to keep paying artists from the work they had paid for. I knew this was complete BS, so I called them on it. I told them I wanted my money back, and all I got was accusations that I was "threatening" them.

They refused to refund my money, so I contacted one of my web design clients, who is an attorney in LA. He looked over everything I had and told me that he doubted very much that I would get a penny out of them, but it was worth trying, so he said I should send them a formal demand letter asking for the money back and telling them why, and mentioning that contracts of this type don't need to be in writing or signed to be vaild. But then he also said that, he was fairly certain that I would not get my money back and that I should try to work with them to get something out of them.

So, we had a meeting (me and Dufus and Dinglebutt), and I finally got the receipts, but the contract they gave me was plagiarized off a web site (it used almost identical language throughout and even used the same font and typeface). I refused to sign their contract (which also asked me for more money to complete the production) and they banned me from the studio and stopped work on the project (which I suspect never actually started).

So began the e-mails. From October to March, I have more than 200 e-mails, in which they contradict and lie to me, even from message to message (such as saying barring me from the studio was about me not signing the contract one day and then, the very next day saying that it was a scheduling conflict. Dufus told me in these e-mails that it would be impossible to make me happy (even though I had never said anything about what they were doing... I had never even heard it), and that I could either butt out and let him do his job or forget about getting anything - my money, the product I paid for - from them.

So, I wrote the formal demand letter in December, but didn't send it right away because I am nice person and wanted to wait until after the holidays. Lo and behold, they wonder why I've stopped writing to them, and I tell them that I plan to sue them. Suddenly, they're going to do it. Without my go-ahead, they start sending me samples of the songs in progress and they are complete and utter crap. I have made better recordings with my 4-track cassette deck... these were not the "worldclass" recordings I was promised.

The last straw came a year after I had first contacted them when, almost simultaneously, I heard from another studio owner (who I would have gone with had he not been booked for months and months) who told me that work like this should only take a few hours per song... and that Dufus posted messages on MySpace saying that he was moving to New York. I called Dufus to find out if it was true, and he did not reply, either by phone or e-mail or even a text message. Nothing.

At this point, I haven't recieved anything from them in weeks and weeks, much less anything that is useable, so I send the formal demand letter now that they are clearly blowing me off. In reply, they sent me a bill for over $6,000 for... get this... 131 hours of studio time.

Since then, I have paid the filing fee for small claims in Washington State in Spokane County (where this all happened... about 2 hours from me) and another $68 for the sheriff's office to serve the papers.

The sheriff's office botched it and someone there called Dufus and Dinglebutt to let them know that they are coming to serve them (WTH?!) so, of course, they dodge service. Now, I am having to get someone else to serve them, and they have posted a 'refund policy" on their web site that says, basically, that everything that they did to me doesn't qualify me for a refund. It's generalized, but it's still about me, and I know it wasn't there prior to me sending them the formal demand letter. I have to now find a way to find out exactly when it was uploaded so that I can present that in court, too.

I am just so depressed and angry over all of this that I just want it all to go away.

Sorry for going on and on and on. I just really needed to let this all out; all my friends are saying that I am overreacting and that is even worse.

Charity
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

Well, I hope you get your day in court and the dufus and dinglebutt get what's coming to them.
I'll add you to my prayer list and pray that you are blessed with a return in finances and the ability to find a new person to help with your recordings.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

I'm in a band (although we're on hiatus right now), and every band has their horror stories. Honestly, if you have the space, it's probably just better to buy your own equipment and do it yourself. The stuff that's available now for "the novice' is amazing compared to 20 years ago, and you can self-teach yourself how to mix it and engineer everything. I know that doesn't help in this case...
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

You're in my prayers. Some of my HS buddies went through something similar. They didn't pay quite as much, but it took the company nearly 8 months to provide the track for their band...and the quality was beyond terrible. I have made better recordings using (literally) a tape recorder at their practices. It was a 10 dollar tape recorder too, nothing close to fancy.

I'll send this along to my friends, family and prayer groups.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

That really sucks. I hope you are able to recoup some of your money, at least. God bless.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

A few years ago the band i was in went through the same thing lost about $1500.00
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

Thanks, everybody for your kind words and support. I really needed to read this today. You guys totally rock!
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

Just remember when you make it big time, we get free CDs and back stage passes to your local gig in our area!!!
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

Dufus is a musician as well, and is going on tour this fall on the East coast. I would love to go to every show so I could heckle him. He deserves it. :)

And the band's second CD will be finished by October. If anyone wants a copy, let me know. I'll hook you up. :) (It's pop rock similar to Fleetwood Mac.)
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Does Anyone Mind If I Rant?

I thought that I would give all of you who listened to me rant an update on the situation.

I took the producer and engineer to court on Friday, and I won!

I am just thrilled that it is finally over.

Thanks again for your support!

Charity
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