According to THUMP, former staff, teachers, and over 55 students are accusing Dan Giove, the CEO of Dubspot which is the internationally renowned electronic music DJ and production school, of erratic behavior and fraudulent activities. Students have alleged that they never received the classes that they had paid for upfront as well as not received refunds in most cases. Students complained of poor communication from the school’s staff as well as classes being rescheduled numerous times. Students have also said that when they were finally able to go to a class, the instructor would often be absent because of not receiving their teaching fee and understandably refusing to teach. Disgruntled Dubspot customers include a mother who bought her son a series of classes as a postgraduate course and two Austrian natives who obtained visas as well as apartments in the United States to take Dubspot courses.
Nina Braith from Austria paid $4,396 for an Ableton Live Producer Certificate course at Dubspot’s New York location that was set to begin just this last March. After not hearing about an official start date, she went to the school last month to seek answers. “The school was a mess,” she told THUMP. “There was hardly any equipment there anymore and I was offended by a guy who was [at the school], and rudely asked me to leave. I have spoken to two teachers who had worked at Dubspot before and can’t believe how much money Dan Giove already owes to so many people, students and teachers, and for how long this situation is already going on,” she said. After not hearing back regarding getting a refund from Dubspot, Braith was luckily able to get her money back from her credit card company.
Dubspot was founded in 2006 by Giove, and is currently the subject of an ongoing legal action by staff and students who have taken their cases to court for owed amounts ranging from $150 to $10,000. Some students have won their cases, but most have yet to receive a response from the school’s staff regarding their refunds. Multiple top level employees at the school have also left within the last six months.
A former student and marketing employee of the school, Robbie Lumpkin, told THUMP about Giove’s volatile and erratic behavior saying that the CEO’s decision to open a new space in LA was ill-conceived as well as the “nail in the coffin” for the school. Senior staff at Dubspot tried to deter Giove from opening the school’s LA location in 2014 due to lack of funding, but six of those employees were fired by Giove after a team meeting in New York. Mike Henderson, a former early employee of Dubspot who helped design a lot of the school’s digital DJing curriculum that included a Traktor class he taught, recently quit the company and was given audio gear by Dan Giove instead of owed paychecks as well as commissions.
After months of students complaining, Dan Giove finally announced that he is stepping down as CEO of Dubspot. He sent an email to teachers and students explaining everything that has happened at Dubspot over the years, which reads as follows:
“I write this letter today to apologize. These past several months I have let you, our community, our staff, our partners and extended family down. I have not been the person that I know myself to be and have been trying to get both my physical and mental health in order. I have been unresponsive to emails, calls, text messages, and social media. For this, and for anything else I have done to disappoint you, I am truly sorry. When I started Dubspot 11 years ago, I had a vision of building a place where I could learn to create music while at the same time being around like-minded individuals who were also trying to do the same. I never could have imagined the worldwide success that Dubspot would become over the years that followed. We have had so many happy students since 2006 who have realized their dreams and I am sorry this wasn’t the case for many of you.
There are times when companies go through tremendous challenges and misfortunes. That time began for us about 3 years ago when I decided to open Dubspot LA. To be blunt, and looking back on things, I now realize that Dubspot was undercapitalized and without enough infrastructure in place to open the new LA school. From that point on, I have had a very difficult time sustaining and at the same time I have made some poor decisions. More recently, in June of last year, we were kicked out of our home on 14th street because the building was sold. We tried to move as quickly as possible to find our new space and did so. But after almost a year of struggling, we weren’t able to afford the rent, even after many attempts to negotiate with our landlords.
Over the past several months, I have been doing everything I can think of to save the company and make things right. Contrary to some reports, we stopped taking registrations for NYC and LA Mid-March once we realized there was no way to survive in the physical locations. We have issued many refunds over the last few months and will continue to do so. Fortunately, I have found silent investors to help turn things around and return Dubspot to the successful business it once was. To that end, the core teachers of Dubspot have all agreed to a going forward financial arrangement and our online courses are now operating as usual. We have a small active staff committed to answering the phones, responding to emails, live chat on our website and we are dedicated to insuring that each and every student who has paid for classes will receive one on one consultations in order to best fulfill the classes that were paid for. We are also actively restructuring and looking for new studio space so that in addition to our online presence, those of you that want to come to live classes will be able to do so.
I have been asked by my investors to formally step down from CEO of Dubspot for the foreseeable future to focus on my health and the birth my son. I will be assisting in a support role and will focused on making sure all students are either refunded or continue online. In the next few weeks, we will be announcing the new interim Director of Dubspot. Please stay tuned in the coming days for very important upcoming announcements about Dubspot and our students. In the meantime, please email us at [email protected], or call us at 1-855-9-DUBSPOT, so we can address any other questions or concerns. Or please email me directly here.
With all that has happened over the years, only time will tell whether or not Dubspot’s reputation will be permanently tarnished and if they’ll be able to rebound.