Dubspot's CEO Steps Down After Student Complaints

The CEO of Dubspot announced that he is stepping down after dozens of students alleged that the New York DJ school failed to provide classes that students had paid for in advance. In an email sent to students and teachers for the organization seen by THUMP, Dan Giove apologized for letting down students and blamed expansion to its LA. location while undercapitalized as the reason for the school’s troubles.

“I write this letter to apologize,” Giove said in the email. “These past several months I have let you, our community, our staff, our partners and extended family down.”

Giove attributed the decision to expand Dubspot, which was founded in New York in 2006, to LA in 2014 as the main reason behind the company’s financial downturn. “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.”

He said the expansion proved difficult to sustain and led him to make “some poor decisions.” Adding to the company’s woes, in June 2016, their flagship building on 14th Street in Downtown Manhattan was sold by its owner and left Giove scrambling to find a new location. “After almost a year of struggling, we weren’t able to afford the rent, even after many attempts to negotiate with our landlords.”

In the email, Giove also cited personal reasons as contributing to the lack of communication that many students and staff members complained about. “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.” Giove acknowledged his unresponsiveness in addressing issues with the school on emails, calls, text messages, and social media. “For this, and for anything else I have done to disappoint you, I am truly sorry,” he said.

In the email Giove also outlined the company’s plans moving forward, including the creation of an interim director, whom he said would be announced soon. According to the statement, Giove will now be assisting in a support role and focused on making sure all students are either refunded or continue online courses. He also described some steps the company has already taken to correct the missteps.

“Over the past several months, I have been doing everything I can think of to save the company and make things right,” he said. “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,” Giove continued.

Giove added that he has found silent investors “to help turn things around and return Dubspot to the successful business it once was.” He said that online courses are now operating as usual and that there is a small staff in place “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.”

Dubspot is also looking for a new studio space in New York, according to Giove. No date was given but he said that live classes will be resuming.

Read the full text of his statement below:

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 support@dubspot.com, or call us at 1-855-9-DUBSPOT, so we can address any other questions or concerns. Or please email me directly here.

Thank You,

Dan

Popular DJ School Dubspot Accused of Scamming Students

Former students and teachers of the internationally renowned electronic music production and DJ school Dubspot have accused its CEO Dan Giove of fraudulent activities and erratic behavior, THUMP has learned. In emails seen by THUMP, over 55 students alleged that the school did not deliver the classes which they had paid for upfront, and in some cases have not issued refunds.

In the emails, students complained of poor communication on the part of the school’s staff, and classes being rescheduled multiple times. Students also said that when they did manage to go to a class, there was often no instructor present because they themselves had not been paid their teacher’s fee and refused to teach.

Nina Braith, from Austria, had paid $4,396 for an Ableton Live Producer Certificate course at Dubspot’s New York location that was due to start in March. After not hearing from the staff about an official start date, she went to the school in April to see what was going on in person. “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 added. After not hearing back about getting a refund from Dubspot, Braith was able to get her money back via her credit card company.

The school’s two physical locations, its New York flagship and its LA outpost, have now both closed, but no formal announcement has been made by the company. Dubspot, which was founded in 2006 by Giove, is also currently the subject of ongoing legal action by students and staff who have taken their cases to court for amounts ranging from $150 to $10,000.

While some students have already won their cases in the courts, most of the students THUMP spoke with said they have yet to receive a response from staff regarding their refunds. Multiple top level employees at the company also appear to have left within the last six months, according to their public professional networking profiles.

As recently as April 2017, online support and admissions employees were still collecting fees from students eager to sign up for courses. Dubspot’s online school, which offers remote learning, still appears to be taking reservations for classes. The company’s social accounts are also still functioning, with no mention of the closed locations or cancelled classes.

Robbie Lumpkin—a former student and marketing employee at the company who currently works as a promoter, DJ, and stage manger at Output nightclub in Brooklyn—told THUMP about Giove’s often erratic and volatile behavior, saying the CEO’s decision to open a new space in LA was ill-conceived and the “nail in the coffin” for the company. According to Lumpkin, a number of senior staff at Dubspot tried to deter Giove from opening the school’s LA location back in 2014 by pointing out there was not adequate funding for the expansion. As corroborated by other former employees at the company, at least six of those employees were swiftly fired by Giove after a team meeting in New York.

Mike Henderson—a former early employee of Dubspot who helped design much of the school’s digital DJing curriculum, including a Traktor class he taught with notable DJ Shiftee—recently quit the company. He told THUMP he was given audio gear by an apologetic CEO Dan Giove in lieu of owed paychecks and commissions.

THUMP has also seen a lengthy email thread originating from an email address called “Dubspotowesme” with numerous disgruntled Dubspot customers, who connected with one another to share their stories and discuss potential legal action they could take against the school. Among those on the chain include a mom who bought her son a series of classes as a postgraduate course, two Austrian natives who obtained visas and apartments in the United States to take Dubspot courses, as well as various other students whose stories seemed to follow a similar theme.

THUMP’s request for comment was not returned at the time of publication.

David Garber is on Twitter.