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  1. DMB's Management Still Disrespecting Fans

    brian on 2005.04.25
    at 03:57 pm

    In a follow up to my last post about the DMB on iTunes, I decided to go the band’s website and find out more about the album, it’s release date, etc. After enjoying the video selection (but not the site design, navigating the videos was arduous at best. Just heinous layout. Why do some designers feel they have to reinvent the wheel for each site? Your scrollbars and scripts suck and destroy the user experience!), I decided to go check out the pre-order for the new album, “Stand Up.”

    I’ve been a Dave Matthews Band fan since prior to their first album. A kid in high school (1992-1993) who used to give me rides to track practice had tapes his friends had sent him from Charlottesville, VA where Dave had just formed the band and was playing in clubs and bars. Within two minutes of hearing the music in this kid’s car I asked “What is this? It’s incredible” he answered “Dave Matthews Band.”

    Fast forward, I’ve been to dozens of concerts (the best way to enjoy their music) downloaded many, many concerts online (thanks to the band’s liberal non-commercial taping policy) and bought every studio album the day it came out. I’ve bought all but two of the live albums. I was a charter member of the band’s fan club The Warehouse but after two years, I decided the $30 a year fee was exorbitant, when other band’s clubs were free or $5 a year. I did get an exclusive CD (which was excellent) and some stickers.

    The main draw to the club is the chance to order tickets prior to the general public. DMB tix are hard to come by and this is a major plus. I remember the first DMB concert I attended in Hartford. The tickets were $17 (ordered prior to the Warehouse) and not hard to get. It was great. Now you can’t get any decent seat below $50 (before “service fees”).

    As a Warehouse member you get priority to purchase, but have zero say in where the tickets are, and certainly no discounts. The very first time I ordered tickets through the system, I got the worst concert tickets I have ever had. I wasn’t way far away, but I was so far to the side I couldn’t see but Dave’s nose sticking out beyond the speaker stacks. Awful. Those were the only tickets I got that year. So $30 membership plus ~$50 each ticket (for two) and still have to pay the extortionate Ticketmaster additional service charges (why isn’t this illegal? Ticketmaster is perhaps more evil than any oil company, maybe even in Enron-company) I spent well over a hundred dollars to attend one concert that I could hardly see and got one CD. Plus the member website was truly uninspired and devoid of content.

    To balance this, the next year I ordered, I had 7th row center for the same venue and price (I’m sure that went up some, but approximately). Despite all this, I left the club, and I am still sad about that. I feel I was an original fan and should be part of the club, but I refuse to be taken advantage of by DMB’s management.

    This is the basis of my love/hate relationship with the DMB. I love the DMB and their music. I jump up and down and yell and sing at the concerts like a high school girl. Carter Beauford is the single greatest influence on me as a drummer. If i could meet anyone in the entire world, honestly, it’d be Carter.

    However, I despise their management. Redlight Management/Music Today is as close to evil as anything I’ve ever seen. As proof, a friend told me that various business schools discuss their management tactics as classroom material. They absolutely extort the DMB’s incredibly devoted fans. They could not be any more the antithesis of the actual band who are phenomenally friendly and charitable.

    Take my experience today as one example. I decide that following tradition, I should order the new studio album. I go to their pre-order page, where they have several package deals in addition to the basic album. I was surprised that the prices were actually reasonable. $13.99 for the album on CD plus a bonus CD that has 5 more songs. I expected this to be at least $18. “Wow.” I thought. “Maybe they’ve changed their tactics!” There is also a special CD/DVD hybrid format called Dual-Disc which is CD on one side and DVD on the other. On the DVD side is not only some video content, but also the full album at 24bit 5.1 surround sound. Awesome. And it’s only a dollar more at $14.99. Without a doubt this is what I’m interested in.

    Scrolling down the page, I see the other combos which are the album plus different shirts, etc. At the bottom there’s a package that really interests me. The dual-disc album plus the three “Live Trax” CDs which are live albums only available direct from the band. Three concerts plus the new album for $59.99. A little steep, but a lot of music. I decide to invest in this.

    So I sign up for the MusicToday website so that I can check out. I’m moving merrily along until I get to the shipping and rates. There’s a note at the top of the page.

    Stand Up will be released nationally on Tuesday, May 10, 2005. All orders received before Friday, May 6, 2005 at 3pm will be shipped on that day. If you selected the 3-4 Business Days shipping option, Musictoday guarantees that your order will be delivered to you on the release date. You must select the 3-4 Business Days shipping option to receive the album on its release date. If you select our Standard shipping option, your order will take between 7 and 10 business days from Friday, May 6, 2005 to arrive.”

    Surprise! if you want to pre-order the album (good for DMB) and actually get the album by the release date (good for you, plus, isn’t that the point of pre-ordering?) you have to pay for special shipping! The rates are below…

    Standard shipping (Arrival after the release date)
    $10.74
    Express shipping (Guaranteed for arrival on release date)
    $15.99

    Even standard shipping is about twice what it should cost to ship a CD (or even four, like I was ordering!) Additionally, most places nowadays ship free on orders over $50 (unless the order is very heavy, CDs clearly are not). Amazon ships orders over $25 for free.

    This put me over the edge. I was about to send them $60 directly (without them having to sell wholesale to a retailer) and then they go and try to play this crap to their core fan base, who are of course, the ones who a) want to pre-order the album and b) get it at the earliest possible date!

    They are up to their old tricks again!

    I promptly ended my order and went to Amazon. I ordered the same dual disc album for $0.50 less, plus picked up a Trey Anastasio album I had wanted anyhow (to tap it over the free $25 shipping threshold) and the DMB got a significantly smaller amount of money from me. If the shipping on the site was even $7 I think I still would have ordered directly. But no. And this isn’t about money. It’s about respect. I may not get the CD on the release date, but I trust Amazon not to gouge me.

    RLM still considers DMB’s fan base it’s personal punching bag. Unscrupulous. Disgusting. Very sour taste in my mouth. I’m sad I won’t get those three concerts. One is even a Hartford show that I’m reasonably sure I was at. But I cannot stand nor will I support these ruthless tactics.

    Message to Dave and the guys: love the music, can the management. I’ve had to put up with them for 15 years, please do your fans a favor and dump RLM. You certainly don’t need them.

    Posted in: Music

     

    Comments (12)

    1. Brian said on 2005.05.09 at 01:35 am

      great post

      i have been feeling the same way for a year or two now. by the way, the warehouse now is 35 dollars a year. this has changed over the last year. there are no added benifits with the price raise. also.. although the duel-disc version of Stand Up is 24bit, it isn’t mixed in 5.1 surround sound. International fans get the shaft even worse than us on shipping prices.

    2. erica said on 2005.05.10 at 05:48 pm

      well said brutha.

      i’ve been a warehouse member for 6 years now, and have never gotten a decent seat at a show from any requests i’ve put in. i recently wrote a note to the warehouse asking them what the deal with that was, and basically got told “T.S. – its part of the ‘terms of agreement’ you agree to before buying tickets”.
      the warehouse 5 cds they put out with the member packages are decent. but aside from that, i can do without paying the $35 for a mouse pad that i don’t even use, and uninspiring photos printed on crappy paper.
      i love dmb, but i’m so done with the warehouse.

    3. michael said on 2005.05.11 at 12:52 am

      warehouse club tickets

      Great post, great insight!!! I just wanted some clarification. When you purchase tickets through the warehouse membership, they are 50 bucks for each seat? For any concert?

    4. Brian G said on 2005.05.11 at 01:28 am

      re: warehouse club tickets

      at least 50 bucks, yes.
      some are in the mid 60s if i recall correctly. It depends on the venue. Some are more than others.
      Also there are fees and shipping and such on top of that.

      you have to pay a yearly fee to have the opportunity to pay ticket fees.

    5. Kristen said on 2005.05.11 at 04:22 am

      I 100% agree with everything here! I’m so glad theres an article like this! I have been feeling the exact same way, and I’ve been saying it ever since last summer; that I LOVE DMB but hate their management!

      I totally support that guy not getting the disk pre-order off of musictoday.com, I wish I had thought of that.
      I am currently contemplating the idea of cancelling my Warehouse membership, I’m a 5th year member now and you’d think that would do something for my ticket requests, but it really doesn’t. The Warehouse has hooked me up with good seats I think TWICE! Since I love the band so much both times were two of the best times of my life, but still… paying a fee every year just to pay more fees for tickets it rediculous, and the price going up when you don’t even get more for your money is rediculous.

      The only fans that get hooked up by the WH are the ones that have really been members since day one. I’m lucky to have one as a friend of mine, but still this is also a reason I don’t think I’ll be a pyscho about going to every show on the planet after this year because it’s time I give my money to myself for something I’ve never done before, I think Red Light and Coran Capshaw have enough of my money. It really sucks too because I read somewhere that Dave said he trusts Coran with everything so he doesnt even question what he does or bother to oversee anything.

      Dave, I love you baby… but you really should ditch Coran and Red Light, they go against everything you stand for, and are so not beautiful and sexy and romantic and generous and humble like you and the rest of the boys! Please do something Dave, Stefan, Carter, Roi and Boyd!!

      Yeah I also agree that ticketmaster is the devil. I love this article!!

    6. Christian Hoffmeyer said on 2005.05.12 at 01:10 am

      DRM on Stand Up

      I feel like I’ve been duped.

      I get all excited about Stand Up, order the pre-release from Musictoday, and wait. It comes in a day late, and I’m honestly feeling like I’ve been screwed. I can’t listen to any of the music on my computer. It won’t play in iTunes or transfer to my iPod. It says it will play in Windows Media Player, but I haven’t been able to get it to work. I tried to copy the music through their interface, didn’t work. Their interface says it will play the music directly, but that didn’t work either.

      It’s sad that I own every DMB album except 2 live shows because I got tired of paying for the same music over and over again. Well, they’ll poke me in the eye no more. Go peddle screw your fans somewhere else. We’re all full up here.

      Christian Hoffmeyer

    7. Christian Hoffmeyer said on 2005.05.12 at 01:10 am

      DRM on Stand Up

      I feel like I’ve been duped.

      I get all excited about Stand Up, order the pre-release from Musictoday, and wait. It comes in a day late, and I’m honestly feeling like I’ve been screwed. I can’t listen to any of the music on my computer. It won’t play in iTunes or transfer to my iPod. It says it will play in Windows Media Player, but I haven’t been able to get it to work. I tried to copy the music through their interface, didn’t work. Their interface says it will play the music directly, but that didn’t work either.

      It’s sad that I own every DMB album except 2 live shows because I got tired of paying for the same music over and over again. Well, they’ll poke me in the eye no more. Go peddle screw your fans somewhere else. We’re all full up here.

      Christian Hoffmeyer

    8. Dan Semaya said on 2005.05.15 at 10:58 am

      I've blogged about this

      I’ve been blogging about DMB’s treatment of their fans for quite a while now:

      http://semaya.net/blog/2004/07/dmb-digital-downloads.php

      http://semaya.net/blog/2004/12/this-warehouse-frightens-me.php

      http://semaya.net/blog/2005/04/here-we-have-been-standing-for-long.php

      I’m not a big fan of Coran or Red Light.

    9. Sean Hollywood said on 2005.06.22 at 02:43 am

      Online petition

      Amen.

      I quit Warehouse after getting NO response from their “customer service” three years ago. Although I miss the concerts (from bad seats the 4 years I was a member), getting rejected for 3/5 of the concerts I put in for just sent me over the edge.

      Now the stupid “CD” (notice how there is no CD logo on it) won’t play in iTunes withouth ripping it to another CD, and just causing nothing but trouble – that’s it! Dave, I love you baby, but you have ripped me off too long!

      I’m thinking about starting an online petition. One that we can share with DMB and Warehouse about how displeased we are!

      Who’s in?

      I set up the petition at this website
      http://www.petitiononline.com/DMB/petition.html

    10. rafael said on 2005.06.27 at 12:17 am

      Take signs to the concerts

      Management conspiracy?

      That’s the only logical explanation. RedLight Management is decided to kill this band.
      think about it.
      The fan club, “The Warehouse” shamelessly steals money from the fans.
      Annoying catalog of high-priced merchandise on every cd (by the way, all the merch sucks)
      Too many concert cds with the same material. Die-hard fans may be broke.
      Hiring of this junk of producer.
      The smelly bus incident.
      Now, this disrespectfull spyware issue. (I also consider the music on this cd a disrespect. It frankly sucks, but that’s another story)

      I propose taking creative signs to the concerts. Let the band know that their managemant will destroy them. Maybe they just don’t know any of this, and RedLight won’t tell them. Maybe that’s the only way the band address this.

    11. Julie said on 2005.09.13 at 04:32 pm

      DMB

      DMB ROCKS MY FACE OFF!! I LOVE THEM!!!! THEIR MUSIC AND THE LYRICS ARE ALL SO AMAZINGLY TALENTED!! I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO DAVE FOR THE PAST 6 YEARS OF MY LIFE AND I STILL CANT GET ENOUGH OF IT! IF I HAD ENOUGH MONEY TO BE A MEMBER OF THE WAREHOUSE I WOULD DEFINITLY BE A MEMBER!

    12. Julie said on 2005.09.13 at 04:32 pm

      DMB 2

      yes, all the cd’s do have some of the same songs, but there are many different versions of each songs…for example crash! i love all cd’s, but the folsom field cd version of crash is my favorite…so its not like they just have the same songs exactly, each one is different!

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