INDEPENDENT MUSICIANS RISE AGAINST CORPORATE GIANTS: THE STORY
EVER FELT TOTALLY HELPLESS AND RIPPED OFF?
Have you ever felt totally helpless after being ripped off by a big corporation? Maybe it only had to do with the ultra ridiculous charges inflicted upon you by a MEGA GIANT CABLE COMPANY just to be able to enjoy a little T.V. watching and have internet service. They get you to sign up for what seems like a fairly reasonable fee, give you all of the “EXTRAS”, only to stick it to you for the next couple of years until the contract expires (who has time to read, let alone understand everything on those 3 pages of fine print that happens to be in a language which only resembles English!)
Maybe it’s only the high out of pocket expenses that you work so hard for to pay for your $5000 deductible insurance only to find by year’s end you put out only $4950 towards medical expenses besides the extremely high premiums you’ve paid all year long just to try to protect your family.
Imaging inventing a way cool product and people seeming to work with you under the guise of helping you to bring that invention to market! Big corporations pretending to help you out but really behaving like THIEVES and stealing and marketing the product that YOU INVENTED! Would you like the opportunity to feel a little bit better about some of the wrong doing that goes on in this world that seems to rain on you and I (the little guy)?
I know that just presenting this article to you for my friends Michelle & Steve helps me to feel quite a bit better about the unfortunate unfair things that most of us have to endure on an almost daily basis by the “big boys” who reign it all over us.
A CHANCE TO HELP OUT
Here’s a great chance to help out a couple of solid, stand up, hard working musicians, Michelle Mangione and Steve Soest – both truly wonderful people. “These are hard working, ethical musicians with excellent reputations in the industry.” (There’s even more about Steve Soest here and his column Keepin’ It Real). Check out the following story as this affects not only Michelle and Steve, but you and I as well, and any other musician/inventor out there who has ever had an idea to make a product that never existed or an idea to make a product better.
MICHELLE MANGIONE/STEVE SOEST LAUNCH PROTEST AGAINST GUITAR CENTER AND KMC MUSIC
Please come show your support if you can! If you are anywhere near Anaheim, California on Saturday, January 25th at 9:00 a.m., the place to be is the NAMM Show (National Association of Music Merchants) in front of The Anaheim Convention Center!
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP
JOIN OUR PROTEST AGAINST corporate music giants GUITAR CENTER & KMC MUSIC!
WHEN: SATURDAY, JANUARY 25, 9:00 AM
WHERE: NAMM (National Assoc. of Music Merchants) Show, in front of the ANAHEIM CONVENTION CENTER
800 W. Katella Avenue, Anaheim, California PARKING: Paid parking only – carpooling is encouraged. (The Convention Center operates some shuttles to/from paid parking lots. ) WHAT TO BRING: water, a sign and your enthusiasm.?? ***You can come at any time during the day to lend your support!***?? FOR MORE INFO: Contact (949) 923-0502 or email: [email protected]
INDEPENDENT MUSICIANS RISE AGAINST CORPORATE GIANTS: THE STORY…
Michelle Mangione/Steve Soest launch protest against Guitar Center and KMC Music
To date, here’s how the story goes:
EARLY 2011 – MUSICIANS/INVENTORS DEVELOP PEDAL
Two musicians/inventors, Michelle Mangione – a 20 year Cajon player and Steve Soest, a 40 year consultant, service provider & product designer to major manufacturers developed a forward-facing, foot operated pedal for a popular box drum known as a “Cajon”. Mangione and Soest knew the idea was good and the timing was right. They set out to license the idea. They thoroughly researched the percussion market for any similar products or patents in the U.S. market and found NONE. Though they did not have the benefit of legal representation, they did as much research as they could, asking questions and searching or information on the best way to protect themselves and their idea.
MAY 2011 – MANGIONE & SOEST APPLIED FOR A PROVISIONAL PATENT
They filed a provisional patent application and found a Non Disclosure Agreement that seemed to fit their needs.
JUNE 2011 – MANGIONE & SOEST PRESENT THEIR IDEA
Mangione & Soest presented the idea in a corporate meeting at Guitar Center Headquarters in California. The meeting included Mark Nelson, then VP of Merchandise Drums & Percussion, and several other Guitar Center Employees. The purpose of the meeting was for the inventors to pitch the pedal idea to Guitar Center to see if they had any interest in licensing the idea and going into a partnership for production of the pedal. In the meeting, Mangione & Soest gave a detailed presentation of the pedal’s creation and applications, which included a prototype of the pedal, a video, photos and written information. The two also presented their market research and ideas for pricing to keep it cost effective. That day, Mark Nelson signed a non-disclosure agreement representing Guitar Center. The result of the meeting was that Nelson expressed interest in an e-mail dated June 1, 2011, stating “Cool idea, we’ll be back in touch next week.” Over the next 6 weeks, there was further email correspondence between Nelson and Mangione/Soest regarding the pedal.
JUNE 20, 2011 – MANGIONE & SOEST TO FINISH PEDAL BEFORE NEXT NAMM SHOW IN ANAHEIM
The team decided they wanted to reach their goal of finishing the pedal before the next year’s NAMM show in Anaheim. They sent an email to Nelson explaining this, asking for a solid commitment. They also asked Nelson to connect them with Drum Workshop (DW), if Guitar Center was going to pass on the project.
JUNE 20, 2011 – LICENSING FEE/PERCENTAGE
Nelson replied, “Hi Steve, have you guys thought/decided on a licensing fee/percentage?” and “Yes, if we pass I’ll connect you with DW”.
JUNE 24, 2011 – SPECIFIC NUMBERS
Mangione & Soest emailed Nelson with specific numbers.
JULY 6, 2011 – FOLLOW UP EMAIL AFTER NO RESPONSE
After getting no response from Nelson, Mangione/Soest emailed a follow-up letter to the June 24th email.
JULY 2011 – AFTER MUCH INTEREST GUITAR CENTER PASSES
After much communication and interest from Guitar Center, Guitar Center supposedly passed on the idea, but Nelson suggested Mangione/Soest give a “detailed presentation” of the pedal to Ken Fredenberg at Gibraltar Hardware (KMC/Fender)
DRUM WORKSHOP NEVER AGAIN MENTIONED
Nelson never again mentioned an introduction to Drum Workshop – the introduction that the team had previously asked for.
JULY 7, 2011 – TRUSTING NELSON’S GUIDANCE – MOVE FORWARD WITH THE GIBRALTAR INTRODUCTION
Trusting Nelson’s guidance/advice, Mangione/Soest emailed Nelson telling him to go ahead and move forward with the Gibraltar introduction. What Nelson did not tell the inventors is that he was moving to Gibraltar Hardware. (By September 2011 he would be named “Senior Vice President of Global Percussion” overseeing Fredenberg!)
JULY 13, 2011 – AN INTRODUCTION IS MADE TO KEN FREDENBERG AT GIBRALTER
An introduction is made by Nelson to Ken Fredenberg at Gibraltar. “They have an innovative product that I think you should take a look at as potentially part of the Gibraltar line…[the pedal] allows a person to play a cajon with a bass drum pedal in a way not offered before. As a point of interest, the cajon business is one of our big growth areas the past 2 years at GC, so the product has potential.” said Nelson in an email dated July 13, 2011. He then suggested Mangione/Soest should present a “detailed description” of the pedal to Fredenberg.
JULY 13, 2011 -” … SOUNDS VERY INTERESTING.”
“I know it’s a growth area, sounds very interesting.” Fredenberg replied in an email dated July 13, 2011.
JULY 14, 2011 – “THIS PROJECT LOOKS VERY INTERESTING TO ME”
Fredenberg wrote in an email: “This project looks very interesting to me. For Gibraltar hardware and pedals we are always on the lookout for innovative ideas…Plus our company does a few other brands like LP and Toca who both offer cajons…Having the related brands involved can also be a big help when introducing a new product such as this.” Fredenberg said in an email, and then asked Mangione/Soest for more information about the design
JULY 19, 2011 – FREDENBERG SIGNED NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT
JULY 19, 2011 -MANGIONE/SOEST EMAILED FREDENBERG MATERIALS
Mangione/Soest emailed Fredenberg materials including video, photos, and written information of pedal.
JULY 25, 2011 MANGIONE/SOEST EMAILED FREDENBERG
Mangione/Soest emailed Fredenberg follow-up to July 19th email. JULY 27 – AUGUST 29th – ONGOING CORRESPONDENCE Ongoing correspondence regarding pedal, and possible modifications. Although Gibraltar expressed interest in the product, for reasons unknown they never entered into a licensing agreement for the product. Michelle and Steve made numerous attempts to contact Ken Friedenberg regarding Gibraltar’s interest. There was no response.
August 29, 2011 – MARK NELSON NAMED SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
To the surprise of Mangione/Soest, Mark Nelson was named “Senior Vice President of Global Percussion” at Gibraltar Hardware, overseeing Ken Fredenberg! (Seen In an announcement made by MMR September 2, 2011)
NOVEMBER 2012 – THE NEW GIBRALTER CAJON PEDAL INTRODUCED AND RELEASED!
The new Gibralter Cajon Pedal was introduced and released for sale around the world, without the knowledge or consent of Mangione & Soest.
DECEMBER 24, 2012 -NEW GIBRALTER CAJON PEDAL DEMO VIDEO
New Gibraltar Cajon Pedal demo video published on YouTube.
JANUARY 2013 -NEW GIBRALTER CAJON PEDAL NAMED BEST IN SHOW AT NAMM
The new Gibraltar Cajon Pedal was named “Best in Show” in it’s category at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California.
SPRING 2013 – GUITAR CENTER MAGAZINE AD FOR PEDAL
Michelle Mangione and Steve Soest saw an ad in Guitar Center Magazine for the pedal, and file a lawsuit against Guitar Center, KMC/Gibraltar, Mark Nelson and Ken Fredenberg. “We believe that we approached them with a truly unique idea that they did not already have, and now they are profiting from it.” – Soest “We feel they left us with no choice but to file a suit against them. We have repeatedly asked for proof of their ‘prior and independent development’ of the pedal as they claim. To date, they have yet to come up with any such evidence. Instead they continue to attack technicalities in our non-disclosure agreement, stating that we failed to stamp each piece of our presentation as ‘confidential’. They claim that we had ‘no protectable trade secret,’ but ignore the merits of the case. Instead, they are hammering on legal technicalities in hopes of having the case dismissed on procedural grounds. They are bullying us, offering us a “nuisance value fee” of $10,000.00” – Mangione
2007 – GUITAR CENTER ACQUIRED
GUITAR CENTER was acquired by Bain Capital in 2007
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Join us in our protest this Saturday (refer to details at the top of the page.)
BOYCOTT GUITAR CENTER, KMC MUSIC AND GIBRALTAR HARDWARE!!!
EXCERPT OF VIDEO PRESENTED TO GUITAR CENTER AND KMC IN 2011
PRESS RELEASES: It’s rather unfortunate that large corporations choose to do the things that they do to good people and feel that they can get away with it without any repercussions. Truly an embarrassing situation for Guitar Center, KMC Music, Mark Nelson, and Ken Fredenberg to get caught up in. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone Magazine, or even The Tonight Show have a field day with this one.
I’m sure that everyone out there who reads about this or sees it on the news understands why it’s best to support the independent local music shops where one can be treated fairly face to face. I’m glad I’m able to shop locally at Five Star Guitars in Portland, Oregon!!! – Jack
This just added: A reminder from Wrecking Crew Filmmaker Denny Tedesco that there’s a free screening of The Wrecking Crew Movie for NAMM attendees only on Sunday, January 26th, at 12:30 pm in Room: The Forum (203A-B) sponsored by Heil Sound.
Be sure to support Denny Tedesco also and check it out!!!