Monday 18 February 2013, 12:52 | By Chris Cooke
TuneCore founder tensions could go legal
TuneCore’s falling out with its founders, that led to the sacking of top man Jeff Price last summer, could go legal according to a report by Digital Music News.
As previously reported, Price’s departure from the independent digital distributor came as something of a surprise last August, he having been very much the face of the company since its launch. In a subsequent interview with DMN, Price blamed a falling out with Gill Cogan, a partner at one of TuneCore’s early investors Opus Capital, as being behind his departure. The outgoing CEO added that he feared his former company now lacked coherent leadership, though he wished the firm well.
DMN subsequently said that TuneCore itself had refused to give an interview about the future of the company, because the digital news site wouldn’t agree to refrain from asking about Price’s departure in any conversation. Rumour then had it that TuneCore management were getting antsy about Price’s public statements, and were trying to claim ownership of his Twitter handle, which they argued belonged to the company.
But tensions between TuneCore and Price, and his fellow co-founders Peter Wells and Gary Burke, could now go legal because of reports the company’s creators are developing a new service, which the TuneCore board fears could compete with their business. According to papers seen by DMN, TuneCore bosses also believe Burke was working on the new venture while still employed by his original firm.
A confidential TuneCore memo DMN says was passed to them by an insider source notes: “It has come to the attention of the board that Mr Jeff Price, Mr Peter Wells, and Mr Gary Burke have been working together to launch a new company that may be competitive with TuneCore while Mr Burke was still employed at and paid by TuneCore. These actions are in breach of various legal agreements, and are in direct conflict with outcries from Mr Price and Mr Wells that they have TuneCore’s best interests in mind. The board is considering legal action at this moment”.
Should all this reach court, it could make for interesting viewing. Whether all this shenanigans is having any impact on the number of artists and grass roots rights owners using TuneCore for their digital distribution isn’t yet clear.