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DJs Beware: Dubspot Ripping Off Students, Not Paying Teachers?

One of the long-standing online DJ and production schools, Dubspot, is being accused by former students of never providing classes, but taking potential students’ money nonetheless. As reported first on Thump, students are claiming that the school swindled them out of their money. Keep reading for insight from reviews, former teachers, and more.

Here’s what Thump’s report notes:

Former students and teachers […] have accused its CEO Dan Giove of fraudulent activities and erratic behavior […] 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.

[…] 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.

Dubspot has been having these issues for a number of years – including this December 2015 report of a instructor quitting and Dubspot taking no action:

Dubspot’s In-Person Schools Shuttering

Originally Dubspot had two in-person schools (one in Manhattan, and the other in Los Angeles), but both of them have very quietly shuttered. The school in Los Angeles was the subject of multiple citations from the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education here in California. The most recent citation in July of 2016 was for operating without approval to provide postsecondary education services – and the citation assessed a steep fine of $50,000:

An order of abatement by the State of California

And based on a Reddit thread from March, the NYC school also kept getting shut down by city officials:

From The Perspective of Former Teachers

We did a bit more digging around Dubspot to find out what various former teachers associated with the school had to say – but didn’t have to go much further than the most recent Glassdoor reviews to see similar tales of woe:

Our Own Dubspot Experience

In the interest of being transparent about DJTT’s advertising relationships, I thought it would be pertinent to note that Dubspot purchased advertising on DJ Techtools many years ago. When I went back to look at when exactly it was (2013), I found out that amusingly, they actually still owe us a significant amount of money in unpaid invoices.

We hope that the team still running Dubspot can make things right – and pay all backowed money for untaught classes and teachers – but at this point, it seems like legal action is the path that most students are taking, according to Thump:

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.

Have your own issues or stories about Dubspot? Share in the comments below. 

  • J. Anthony Allen

    Have you guys seen this? Slam Academy is offering 50% off to former Dubspot students for their online programs. Slam is totally legit, and has a lot of former DS faculty. They actually get paid at Slam, though.
    Look under “Competitive Upgrade” at this link:
    https://www.slamacademy.com/scholarships/

  • Chris Lutton

    This happened to me, my instructor James Patrick hadn’t been paid in months and quit right in the middle of our Sound Design course. Fortunately, I was one of the first ones to come forward about the issue, almost 2 years ago and was given a refund after months of requests, and threatening legal action.

    • Wyatt Schmidt

      I think I took one of the last full courses he gave. Great teacher.

      • Chris Lutton

        Yeah, I was in his Ableton course too and loved it. His style of teaching just fit me and my personality. To anyone looking for a replacement course with James Patrick, he is the owner/operator/instructor at Slam Academy, available online and in class in MN.

  • Pingback: Betrugsverdacht bei der DJ-und Producerschule Dubspot. – Pro Audio News & Tutorials | mixingroom.de()

  • Rolfski

    Classic case of upcoming bankruptcy

  • Pingback: DJs Beware: Dubspot Ripping Off Students, Not Paying Teachers? – dPico AUDIOS()

  • Unreallystic

    This is sad to hear. There are people who will say learn on your own, Youtube, blah blah blah, but that PALES in comparison to having someone actually teach you, who can answer your questions, help you generate questions that you didn’t know you had yet, that can let you know you are going down the right path, etc. too many of the DIY approaches are about technical solutions to a singular question/issue, they are NOT about workflow, they are NOT about real self-improvement. I’ve taken lots of online courses for production, I’ve done the Youtube thing, and I STILL was thinking of doing something like Dubspot because I still feel this big “hole” from not having worked under someone one. I was able to get some reps DJing with a friend as an understudy if you will, but production has been all solo. Classes are great, heck I think DJTT did a breakdown *l;ast year* of several class options, and there is real merit to classes with actual instructors and feedback (not your boys or some random forum).

    • Dennis Parrott

      I agree. It is very sad to hear. I am a former Dubspot student and got a real education about DJing from DJ Endo and DJ Shiftee when they launched the Digital DJing with Traktor course. The education was serious and useful.

      I also agree with your statement about learning on your own. Getting a serious grounding in the fundamentals of DJing from Dubspot allows me to use those other sources productively now. I guarantee that it would have far more difficult to learn what I know now by simply reading blogs or watching YouTube videos. Dubspot taught real and serious fundamentals first and that gave me the ability to understand what is in those other sources.

      And the most important thing about having a real class — even as distance education as I did — is that there was someone on the other end critiquing my performance and offering suggestions and help. There is NO YouTube video that comes with a real person who will answer your questions or evaluate your execution of fundamentals.

      It would be very interesting to find out how and why Dubspot has come to this. I suspect we would learn some very interesting things…

  • bkbikenerd

    Damn Kiva quit in the middle of a class. Met this dude a few times. He’s friends with friends and a stand up dude. Dub Spot must have really pushed how far they can fuck with people. NYC city ain’t cheap. Not getting paid has serious consequences like, homelessness. I would have to walk out too.,

    Kids, learn production/DJ’ing on your own. There’s youtube, & forums. This is a lot more than was available to prior generations.

  • I’llm

    The question is why until now the fbi doesn’t take that dubspot website down so the scam will stop?

    • The FBI has some bigger cases they’re working on right now, I think.

      • Robert

        Glad we can still be level-headed about this, haha.

  • Richie Beretta

    I used to teach here when it was actually pretty a great school (NYC campus). It’s a shame what it’s become – beware of this place and if you want any of the real info just ask

    • Dennis Parrott

      okay, so what happened at Dubspot?

      i had a great experience with them doing a class over the net and have recommended them many times to people in forums like this…

      why did they fail?

      • bert

        A lying, cheating owner in charge.

  • 11Fletcher

    Does DJ Techtools can be paid with hardware from the school and make a big cheap sell for us ? 🙂

    • Clever solution. From the Thump article, it sounds like they’ve probably given away all of the gear:

      “Mike Henderson (a.k.a DJ Endo)—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.”

      • Nephy

        I wonder how must sustenance a cdj has in it….

    • deejdave

      I believe you are trying to say DJtechtools can be paid in hardware from Dubspot which can then be unloaded onto its (Djtechtools) customers for cheap, correct?

  • bert

    My advice, teach yourself. There are too many production courses available that have no meat and bones. Teach yourself! Everything you need to know is on YouTube.

    • DJ Nietzsche

      <> is a bit of a stretch.
      Sure you can find lots of information, but it is unstructured and the quality varies. There are plenty of good music teachers on YT, but they are somewhere in a mountain of rubbish. Even the quality of lessons from music schools varies depending on who is presenting it.

      Once you have experience and know what you are looking for it might become easier, but if you are looking on Day 1 for a beginners guide, you’re going to end up watching videos of people showing you how they do things, not explaining why they do things. It is easy to learn how to copy other people, more difficult to get people to tell you the thinking behind their methods.

      • No, they’re right. Everything you need *is* on YouTube. It just needs a lot of research or advice to drill down. YT, coupled with an active community (like r/technoproduction or r/beatmatching, for example) is all you need. Particularly with DJing, the fundamentals aren’t rocket science. Pre-‘web2.0’, everyone learned on their own or with friends (myself included). There was nowhere online apart from small basic websites. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKaURMbnz40

      • bert

        If you’re a bit thick, then yes, you will struggle to teach yourself. Those dying to know, the o es obsessed with learning won’t have any issues.

    • Actually everything you need to know is in the manual for any software, with YouTube as a supplementary tool. People don’t want to invest the time, so they shortcut with a class. Same applies with the business world – you can pay $ for certifications, or you can learn on your own – if you talk the talk, you get a seat at the table. *shrug*

      • Dennis Parrott

        I have been making a living writing software since 1978. I wrote FORTRAN when FORTRAN was still cool. Your statement that “everything you need to know is in the manual” tells me you have found either incredibly awesome products that invested a lot of time and money in the manual or you have not read enough manuals. I will turn 60 this year… I have read more than my share of manuals AND MOST OF THEM SUCK ROCKS as learning devices. (…on second thought, make that ALL of them…)

        I will use the Traktor manual as an example. If you think you will learn to DJ using Traktor by reading their manual I want to watch while you do it. I expect to be enormously entertained.

        It was through Dubspot’s Digital DJing w/ Traktor course developed by Endo that I was able to read all of the stuff in that manual and have it make any sense. The root problem is that manuals usually take the position of thinking you already know all the basic definitional things and they are simply going to talk about how to do it in their software.

        Also, as Spacecamp Dan observed people learn in different ways. It would be a rare bird who can pick up the manual to a complex product like Traktor with NO knowledge of the subject area (DJing in general and doing it with computer technology in specific) and learn both the subject area and how to do it using the software by simply studying the manual.

        Classes and videos are no shortcut to anything. I can read and watch until my eyes bleed and it means nothing until you actually attempt to do what you read/watched on the decks.

    • Not everyone learns the same way. Some people can self-teach, others need the guidance of an instructor in order to learn efficiently.