Beatport, AM Only, And Denver
Undeniably, Beatport and AM Only are two of the biggest power forces in electronic music. But, it is what they are allegedly doing with said power, that is getting them sued. Monopolizing, black-listing, and pigeon holes, oh my!
Nightclub owner/entrepreneur. Most importantly known for his string of successful clubs booming with EDM. His empire currently includes Vinyl (Best New Club 2004), The Church (Best Club In The Nation 2002, 2004), Bar Standard, City Hall, Funky Buddha, and The Living Room (collectively known as SOCO). And you can't be prominent without having some haters. His own town of Denver, CO, call him the "truth-embellishing, foul-mouthed, hyper-educated Christou."
... I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that you know what Beatport is. But some details that you may not know of are that it was founded by Shawn Sabo, and more importantly, Brad Roulier, who just so happens to be the former talent buyer of Regas Christou back in 1998. Christou used Roulier to help him book multiple top DJs to perform at his own venues. Also, here's a fun fact: Christou co-signed Roulier's $50,000 loan to help start up Beatport, LLC in exchange for a promise that Roulier would later give Christou partial ownership of the company. And here's another fun fact; did you know Bad Boy Bill, Richie Hawtin, and John Acquaviva each have part ownership of Beatport?
If you've been to more than one EDM party in your city, or any major EDM festival where a consortium of major DJs were booked, then I am 98% sure, that the booking agency AM Only was used. Boasting in their roster of THE biggest names in our industry (TiŽsto, Will.I.AM, Richie Hawtin, ATB, High Contrast), AM Only is the premier agency that provides you the opportunity to experience world-known DJs in your hometown. As exclusive as they are, elite, many DJs want to be with this agency because they are perceived as the best.
After the success of Beatport, Roulier explored the possibility of purchasing The Church from Christou, but instead, he decided to open a competing nightclub in Denver. Now of course, he kept this a secret while still being employed by Christou, because he continued to negotiate the potential purchase of The Church. Well we all know how this turned out--Roulier opened Beta in March, 2008.
In the 43 page court brief filed December 1, 2010, Regas Christou, claims that Brad Roulier used his connections at Beatport to coercise DJs to play at only Beta nightclub when they came to Denver. How did he do this? By threatening to remove an artist and/or their entire label from the Beatport marketplace if they played at a venue outside of Beta. And to add insult to injury, Christou also claims that AM Only told talent buyers affiliated with his club's in Denver, that top-tier DJs were not available on dates that he requested. However, a talent buyer also associated with Christou requesting the same names in Phoenix, Arizona on the same dates, magically were available.
The document lists many examples and proof to validate these claims. And what good would any court filing be without name dropping Deadmau5? According to the document, Christou's talent buyer offered $15,000 (more than double the market rate for such a performance at the time) to play at Vinyl for two hours after his performance at Red Rocks. Deadmau5 expressed interest in the offer, but after meeting with his agent, said that he could not accept because he was afraid of angering Roulier.
In the latter part of the document, Christou counts his losses: "(i) its revenues and profits from performances of A-List DJs have decreased significantly; (ii) its ability to compete with Beta has been frustrated, causing SOCO to lose actual and potential customers and past and future profits and harming SOCO's goodwill and reputation; (iii) the reputation of SOCO's clubs and Mr. Christou have been diminished, resulting in inability to form business partnerships and greatly increased costs of booking all live performances, including but not limited to A-List DJs; (iv) the negative effect on SOCO's revenues has significantly reduced the going concern or sale value of SOCO's component business including The Church and Vinyl; (v) revenues from patrons visiting other of SOCO's clubs in the South of Colfax district both before and after performances by A-list DJs has decreased; and (vi) the effect of diminishing the reputation of and number of visitors to SOCO's clubs has significantly reduced the value of real property owned by SOCO's component entities."
What Happens Next
Not only has Christou filed these claim against the parties, but he requests a jury as well. Which means, he's not trying to have this settled out of court, he wants a trial. If you read the briefing, I think that you would agree that Christou has a good bit of arguments that may help him win this court case. No official statements from the opposing parties have been released. Because as we all know, there are two sides to every story. However, their silence might also speak volumes as well. Beatport is rapidly turning into the Facebook of EDM (those of you that have seen "The Social Network" will understand what I'm talking about).
I'm curious to see how this trial will play out. We're talking about some of the biggest brands in electronic music--who knows, Deadmau5 could be called as a witness. Some other examples of malpractice that were given in the document also provide quotations against Beatport, yet lack a name next to the quotes. Not exactly sure what this means, but I'm guessing they are trying to protect some people.
Read The Full Court Brief
It takes about 30 minutes to get through, but there are a lot of juicy details in the document that make it a dynamic read. Complaint and Jury Demand