Radio RNR and Lisa Rodriguez get the 1st entry in our new "PREACH TRUTH. BELIEVE LIES." series. An ongoing series of blog posts dedicated to people or groups that spew BS for their own personal gain.
Let me start by saying this blog entry is being written for the sole purpose of preventing other independent musicians from being hoaxed out of their hard earned money. I've been hesitant to post a blog about this on our website, as it's publicly stating I was duped, but I've been googling forums and finding so many other people are being constantly contacted by RadioRNR...all with the same line of crap. I was able to get my money back, but others won't be so lucky. I'm posting this in hopes it prevents other people from moving forward with RadioRNR.
If you aren't a fan of ours, you are probably coming across this blog because you were recently contacted by RadioRNR (also known as Rawk Media Network) to have your music put on some compilation CD, and you are googling them for more info. They want a fee to be put on the compilation, so you are probably skeptical...as you should be.
IT IS A SCAM! IT IS A SCAM! IT IS A SCAM!
I'll tell you my story just so it doesn't leave any doubt in your mind.
About 6 months ago (August 2009), we were contacted by RadioRNR via e-mail. They said they found us on Sonicbids and wanted to include our music in a compilation CD. I pretty much wrote it off because it was a boilerplate email with no specific mention of our band name or anything. We've gotten similar e-mails before and I either ignore it or write back looking for more info. Almost every time I've written back, I get no response, or something equally vague in reply. Anyone who's ever been tried to be recruited by Amway, Quixtar, or any other pyramid scheme, knows the vague reply technique ("well just come on down to our meeting and we'll tell you more"). With RadioRNR, I got a fairly quick reply saying Lisa Rodriguez, "the program director," wanted to talk to me on the phone the next day. I figured why not...lets hear what she has to say. Before the call, a review of the compilation and a basic terms of agreement was sent over to me. I glanced it over, but was more concerned with what she had to say.
I talked to her for about an hour and she said she wanted to use our song "The Manual" on their New Music New Faces Vol 2 compilation.
She was explaining how many listeners they have per day, the first compilation they released, marketing, web traffic, search engine optimization, etc. She was clearly the salesperson type, as she did most of the talking. However, she seemed to know her stuff and wasn't attempting to go over the top with how the previous compilation sold. An extremely modest number, like 300 copies. She said the goal of the CD is for the cross-exposure and don't expect to make any money for royalties on sales. The benefit would simply be exposure and a lot of cross-linking on the web. Essentially, we'd be paying for marketing.
I think the fact that she wasn't telling me it would sell 10000 copies and over-hyping the crap out of it...that's what made me a little interested. She also asked that we have the song mastered, because it sounded like it hadn't been. She was right...it wasn't. We talked some more and the fee of $300 dollars was mentioned. This was going to be for CD mastering, physical production, promotion, blah blah blah. Decent amount of money to allow you to use OUR song, so I was skeptical again.
After the phone call, she sent over an electronic agreement, should we be interested in moving forward. The document was created through echosign.com, which is a totally legit electronic contract service, so I thought that was a positive.
I reviewed the contract and it seemed good. Nothing claiming ownership of our music or any of that. It even had a date when the album had to be released by....it was 60 days (remember this number) from the current date and it was going to be released on CD Baby (as the previous compilation was).
I spoke to the other guys to get their thoughts. I remember saying "this could totally be a scam, but if it is, this chick is good." I had googled her name and radioRNR. The website had streaming music and seemed relatively current. It wasn't anything mindblowing, but I wasn't really expecting anything like that. Just something that looked like it was maintained and not ultra-cheesy. It had videos with Lisa interviewing some artists, and it definitely seemed like the same girl I talked to (she has that raspy, "I drank a little too much last night," thing goin on). As far as google results...nothing negative came back (a different story if you google it now).
We had kind of decided it's a "why not" scenario. It's a risk, but we found out she wanted payment via PayPal, so if it turned out to be junk, we'll just request a refund. PayPal was the key for me...if she said she wanted a check, money order, or some other whacked out e-payment site, not a chance I was doing it. Since it was PayPal, I went ahead and signed the contract and issued payment. Still skeptical at this point, but I felt PayPal was the safety net.
About 2 weeks went by and we weren't added to the website (which is something included in the contract). I tried to e-mail Lisa a few times and got no reply. After a few days, I said "fuck this, I'm requesting my refund." Magically, after filing a PayPal dispute, I get about 10 phone calls from Lisa the very next day. Her voicemails said her "legal department" contacted her about the dispute. Funny...why didn't her "legal department" contact me? Oh right, because she is every "department."
Anyway - I looked at the dispute online and she cited the contract stated 60 days for delivery (remember?). I look through the PayPal dispute rules and noticed any disputes have to be filed with in 45 days (check out section 13.5 of the PayPal agreement). Son of a bitch...she outsmarted me. (worth noting that PayPal really should make this info easier to find. You really have to look to find that.). The echosign contract was legit, but was just her way of covering her own ass. You've got 45 days to file a dispute, but her contract doesn't promise delivery until 60 days, so technically she's hasn't screwed you over...yet. I give her credit...well done. I had to pull back my dispute because I had no case...she still had another 6 weeks to deliver what she promised. During all this, she called to apologize for any misunderstanding and that everything was still on schedule.
Guess what happened when the 60 days rolled around? That's right...nothing. I know, you are shocked (sarcasm again). haha. I tried a few more times to contact her just for kicks...no response to emails, text messages, or phone calls. Again, "shocking."
I contacted PayPal to try and reopen the dispute, but they said there was nothing they could do because it was after 45 days and I already opened a dispute on that particular transaction. Luckily for me though, I funded almost all of the transaction with the credit card (via PayPal), so I contacted my credit card company and filed a dispute directly with them. They didn't have any 45 day limit and issued me a credit. It took a while, but just yesterday, the credit was fully processed and my money was refunded.
Obviously when you get scammed, it's a bit embarrassing, but if this blog prevents another artist/band from getting taken, then the embarrassment is worth it. I've googled RadioRNR more recently and find other stories like mine, and even worse, that Lisa Rodriguez is still doing this to other bands. People like her are absolute scum. If you want to prank call her, please feel free - her cell number is 702.927.4180 (if she hasn't changed it 10 times since then). If you do call her, PLEASE leave a comment on this blog about what you said. Get video if possible. haha.
Hopefully your google search has given you valuable info and you will steer far clear of RadioRNR, Rawk Media Network, RawkNRoll.com, or Lisa Rodriguez. It's all lies. Well, now that I think about it...Lisa was right about one thing...this whole thing will increase our web traffic...even if it's because people are googling "Radio RNR Scam" - ha! Suck it!
Comedic Side Note - during my phone conversation with her, she was trying to sell the idea of putting money into something if you take it seriously. The example she used was how much money she spends on a personal trainer in Vegas. I remember her saying "it's a lot of money, but my body is slammin!" - I've seen her in the videos on the site. Her body is far from "slammin" - I should have known it was a scam right then and there. hahaha.
Update Jan 29, 2010 - as you can see by the comments below, this has happened to many people, so please post this blog around the web to prevent others from becoming a victim of blatant theft. Web forums, facebook, your own blog, etc. You can also report this to www.emailscammers.com.
If you have other recommendations to report this or how to help people get their money back, please leave your suggestion in the comments below.
Lisa Rodriguez and RadioRNR pretend to PREACH TRUTH, but they just want you to BELIEVE LIES