Spinning Out of Control, the Death of Another Dot Com
Solutions Media, Inc. and SpinRecords.com Shut Their Doors
On October 9th, TheStandard.com reported that San Diego based, Solutions Media, Inc. (SMI) had closed down, joining a growing list of dot com failures. SMI is best know for their online record company and music distributor, SpinRecords.com, which laid off all of its employees. TheStandard.com reported that, "According to people who were laid off Friday, employees were greeted at the front desk that morning with the news that they were no longer employed. Furthermore, they were told that they would not get paid for the previous two weeks of work."
Further investigation revealed the following message on the SpinRecords.com website for their artists: "SpinRecords.com has folded. They still have your CDs. The offices are located at 1935 Camino Vida Roble in Carlsbad. Go get your CDs ASAP." Since then, this message has been removed from the website. In addition, a clearly disgruntled staff posted in the Spin News section of the website that the entire staff was laid off, pointing a link to TheStandard.com story as well as displaying a parody cartoon image of Wayne Irving, SMI Chairmain and CEO. And of course, the reference for dead dot coms, FuckedCompany.com featured what seems to be comments from laid off employees, Spin artists and customers. A comment posted by "SpinPastry" said, "This is awesome. To be involved with the most over-dramatized .dom death in history! There's not much else to say here except 'let the looting begin!'. And to my fellow exSpingineer, I love you man, keep rocking!"
SMI's portfolio of media properties includes SpinRecords.com, EAT'M (Emerging Artists & Talent in Music), SomeMusic.com, SpeedMonster.com, Spin Records Publishing, Inc., VuCast, No Cover Magazine, SpinTV and SMI Professional Services. On the Solutions Media website, SMI list the following companies as it's clients: MusicMatch, Inc., Sonic Foundry, Q Design Corporation, Visiosonic, MAGIX, EarthLink/MindSpring, NetZero.com, Pine Technology USA, Memory Corporation Group, i2Go.com, Listen.com, and Maytag.
SpinRecords.com has billed itself as the "Original Farm Club," and was known for the high percentage it paid artists on revenues - 60% from sales of CDs, digital downloads and merchandise. In a July 27th press release, Wayne Irving described SpinRecords.com as "as an artists' co-op run by and for the artists."
On July 15th, SpinRecords.com announced a new music subscription service which was offering unlimited downloads of SpinRecords.com artists for $4.95 per month. As Robert Shapiro, COO of SpinRecords.com told MusicDish in July, "The
subscription service is a good model for the distribution of digital music -- it's a way for artists to get money from people downloading their music. And we think people will use it. People use Napster, not just because it's free, but because it's easy. Our subscription plan is just as easy to use, if not more so." Obviously, it was not enough to keep SpinRecords.com afloat. As late as August, SpinRecords.com was continuing to expand, announcing a partnership with MobileEngines, Inc. to "provide users with access to SpinRecords.com music and entertainment content directly through wireless devices"
MusicDish spoke with Lisa Tenner, Producer of the EAT'M conference, which was brought by SMI in a stock and cash deal last year valued at the time at over $2 million. Tenner told MusicDish that she had just learned of the closing of SMI and that she has not be able to get in touch with anyone at the company for the last six weeks. Whether she felt it would be the end of EAT'M, Tenner answered, "I will not let that happen! I will do whatever it takes. We have educated too many artists..." Since learning of the closing, Tenner has been swamped with calls from potential media and investment partners. She is currently reviewing her options on keeping EAT'M alive, but admits that the popular Las Vegas conference might have to take a year off.
MusicDish spoke with three artists who distributed & promoted their music through SpinRecords.com, to get their reaction on the closing of the company.
"They sweet talked me into thinking they were an actual record company that wanted to help me out, so I promptly whipped one of my Cowboy Surfer CD's over to them thinking it was all good," commented Santa Barbara, California artists, Cowboy Surfer. "After several attempts to contact the people who had hyped me so diligently at the Expo [New York Music & Internet Expo 2000], I was contacted by some lackey that Cowboy Surfer would have to settle for some other site called SomeMusic.com. So not only were they not a record company and wouldn't be helping my career at all, but they wanted to shuffle me off to some other site where I would have to promote myself."
Country artist, Tonya Rae, said, "they contacted me sometime ago last year, I believe in September. They said they would like to add me to their site. I went and checked them out, they had a really professional site and I enjoyed looking at it. It had a lot of information, so I said great, would love to. At that point they had me send the entire press kit to them, which I did. They then had a guy whose name is Judd contact me to do an exclusive feature story on me. We spent a few hours on the phone (they called me) and he wrote up a beautiful article and feature spot on me. After that, everything went down hill." Tonya continues, "As far as getting exposure from SpinRecords, that would have been nice, but it never happened. They started going down hill around the time they asked me to join. So I never got anything from them."
Von Babasin of the band ONOFFON, stated, "Craig and Maruhnissa Combs, both editors at Spin, really liked our music, and they put up a few pages on their site that included a bio/review of the band and our music. When they asked if we wanted to sell product on their site, we said sure." Von continues, "The best thing they ever did for us was include our 'Your Mind' CD in their promo book at the EAT'M conference. We never directly saw anything as a direct result our Spin promotion."
MusicDish will keep you updated on any new developments in this story.
Cowboy Surfer - http://home.earthlink.net/~cowboysurfer
EAT'M - www.eat-m.com
MobileEngines, Inc. - www.mobileengines.com
ONOFFON - www.onoffon.com
Solutions Media, Inc. - www.solutionsmedia.com
SomeMusic.com - www.somemusic.com
SpinRecords.com - www.spinrecords.com
TheStandard.com - www.thestandard.com
Tonya Rae - www.tonyarae.com
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