Because Songs Matter


Like many other blogs and web sites on the internet, I wrote about the sudden closing of Miles of Music with a tone of sadness. As I said at the time, I always felt better about myself after buying cds from M.O.M. and had even grown to view their notoriously slow shipping as an endearing trait. As many posts on ninebullets tend to do, my eulogy to M.O.M. slid off the front page with little more than a few other people chiming in to express their sadness about the closing. Then a week or so after the initial posting a funny thing started to happen. Bands started commenting on the post and, like me, they weren’t too happy about M.O.M.’s closing but, unlike me, they weren’t exactly mourning it. Then as a week turned into a couple of weeks, and then into a month, the comments and emails went from a slight trickle to an unignorable stream. It finally became apparent to me that M.O.M.’s business practices as of late may not have all been above board and that there was definitely an underside to this story that nobody was telling. With that in mind I took it upon myself to start talking to these artists with the intent of telling their story. As the stories started to file in I started feeling worse and worse about having ever spent any money at Miles of Music and started to feel as angry as these bands I was talking to. Wanting answers, I did some basic internet sleuthing to uncover Jeff’s (Mile of Music’s founder) email address and reached out to him. To Jeff’s defense, he was quick to respond and very up front about what happened with Miles of Music from its inception all the way up to its sudden closing. As we continued to exchange emails my anger gave way to understanding.

Did Jeff make some mistakes? Yes. Are the bands catching it in the ass? Yes. Was this Jeff’s intent? No. Is he laughing all the way to the bank? Pretty much the exact opposite.

I am writing what follows in an effort to help the bands and artists who were doing business with M.O.M. get some answers and maybe find some closure in whole deal. Miles of Music’s reputation is gonna be soured forever, and it’s probably rightfully so, but it’s not for lack of effort or good intentions.


When Miles closed I didn’t even think about the fact that it had boxes and boxes of cds in inventory that bands had mailed to them, nor did it occur to me that right up until the week the site was shuttered it was taking orders (and, as a result, payments), so there was a lot of money owed artists and labels. What was happening with all of this? I think Evan from The Whipsaws and E.S.P. summed it up pretty well:

“miles of music owes us over $3000.  over the last year they told us they were either sending us checks (that we never received), or that they would be sending us checks soon. Meanwhile, they continued to sell our records, and lots of them.

For me, the kicker is that 2 weeks before miles of music folded, they sold 50+ Easton Stagger phillips records.  I believe that they never intended to pay us for these…”

This was a running theme in emails I was receiving and I started wondering if M.O.M. had settled up with the labels he dealt with prior to closing and was just leaving the solo artists out to dry, so I email Virgil from Suburban Home. Turns out it was a universal abandonment. Nobody, be it artist or label, had gotten paid, nor had they received any indication that the site was closing. In all actuality, in the weeks leading up to the closure it all looked like it was business as usual as the folks over at WeeWerk told me in an email:

“Aside from not paying us one red cent for 3 consignment orders – Jeff had the gall to ask me for a bunch of our new releases for consideration…why would someone do that if they were going out of business?”

That’s a fair question and even though I ultimately got an answer, I do feel that Jeff was a little reckless in this point. A lot of these artists are sinking everything they have into getting these cds pressed.  Losing a couple hundred is gonna sting a lot deeper than finding your cd on SoulSeek, so while I understand the events leading up to the closing, I do think Jeff could have been a little more sensitive in the final months of the site to the bleeding edge some of these artists live on.

The funniest thing about the whole deal was how willing the bulk of the artists are to forgive or forget and move on, they just wanted some form of an explanation. One came in the form of a blog entry from Jeff, but it was quickly deleted (lucky for us Google cached it). This silence was the real source of most of my respondents’ anger. I think Steve Robinson‘s comments summed up the general consensus from the artists stuck in the M.O.M. limbo:

“What gets me about the whole charade is the silence. If I’d have gotten an apology with a simple “we’re busted and can’t pay anyone” I’d be happier. At least then I could’ve put it behind me.”

It was this sentence that prompted me to try and track Jeff down. What follows is an overview of a series of emails we exchanged about the situation.


Why Jeff chose to respond to me instead of any of the (I’ll assume) mountain of emails he was/is getting from confused and angry artists is beyond me. I’d like to think that the power of prompted him to tell his version of the story to me rather than letting me paint him and M.O.M. from the point of view of the jilted artists.  Regardless of why he decided to reply to me, the point is that he did.

When I first reached out to the email address I had tracked down, I just mentioned that I was putting together a story about the M.O.M. closing and its affect on the artists and that I’d like to get his side of the story. About an hour later I got the following in a reply:

“I’ll be glad to tell you my side of the story but, it is little more than a case of a company that lived on thin margins, gave a it everything we had and then failed from a combo of business choices that didn’t work out, an industry segment that has been collapsing for years and, finally, an economy that has been in slow collapse for some time…

…Everyone will be getting official paperwork from our attorney as we sort through the process. That won’t happen until after the first of the year at the earliest.”

Okay! I’d found him and he was responsive! So I sent him the Steve Robinson quote from above and asked him if the artists would be getting their products back. He replied:

“The objective is to send back as much product directly to the bands as possible until I am told by my attorney to knock it off.
Not only did the business go broke, but we personally went broke and will be losing our home as part of the bankruptcy. I tell you this not for sympathy, but more as an explanation as to why my response and efforts have not been totally focused on returning box-lots of CDs to bands.”

This reply kind of got to me. Up until now I felt like Jeff had fucked the bands and deceived me, the customer, but in one sentence I was reminded that there was another side to this. It had not occurred to me that M.O.M. really was a business and as with businesses in the regular world, when they fail there are real costs that have to be paid by the employees and owners of said business. Your home and fiscal solvency are a lot to loseWeight Exercise for a cd shop, but there were still some questions to be answered so I sent him the following:

“1) Could bands pay to have their product shipped back to them?
2) Why did you remove the post you originally put up on blogspot?

I mean, I know paying to have product returned after you paid to have it sent there is a real bummer, but it’s better than losing it, right? Jeff’s reply came about 10 minutes later:

“Bands could certainly pay the freight to get their stuff back. Typically it is not expensive.
I took down the post because I wanted to rewrite it with a more rounded explanation of what was going on. The draft has info for customers who are looking for other places to make purchases. For whatever reason on that day blogspot was giving me an error message about illegal characters in the URLs in the links to other retailers. Had to put it aside for other matters and haven’t gotten back around to it yet.”

Personally, I think this was a gross oversight by Jeff. The artists were/are owed an explanation, and while everyone will be getting official paperwork from the M.O.M. lawyers at some point in 2009, a brief explanation, regardless of how poorly worded, could have gone a long way towards preserving some of the good will M.O.M. had built up over the years.

The only thing that was still nagging at me after these exchanges was, why continue to ask for product? The writing had to have been on the wall. Was it that M.O.M. lived so close to the edge that they just continually expected to find a way to make it another week? So, I asked Jeff:

“There seems to be a reoccurring theme about you asking for product right up to shuttering the site. I would imagine you could see the writing on the wall. Were you just hoping something would break before you had to?”

What I received as a reply was far more than I had asked and in the interest of fairness I am gonna repost it here in its entirety:

“We lived on the edge for a very long time. We started with no capitalization 14 years ago, managed to grow the business from sales, pouring most of the revenue back into the business. Several times over the life of the business I used personal lines of credit to either finance an expansion (moving out of my first house and into a real warehouse, an office network, a new warehouse when the previous landlord sold the building from under us (we had a one year lease because we didn’t know how the business would do after moving from the inexpensive confines of the house to a “real” location), a new network when we took on fulfillment for several large labels etc. I had no clue how to finance debt.

Then the slow decline of the industry started. Business began to contract. Labels we had engaged to do fulfillment began closing or taking the work in-house. I started laying off employees (or not filling vacancies). Things stabilized for awhile.

In 2006 I decided to close the warehouse and move our fulfillment to a company in Illinois. The theory was that even with their fee structure I would save so much by closing the warehouse, laying off the rest of the staff, save one person, and again running the sales and marketing out of my home we would have a real chance to start catching up on debt.

We shipped everything we had to them at the beginning of 2007. The company in Illinois did a dreadful job chasing away dozens of longtime regulars. Despite having a three year deal with them we terminated the contract after 10 months and got back all of our stock.

My remaining employee and I struggled to get thousands of CDs put away (in my garage) so we could go back to work. More customers left. Christmas was, not surprisingly, underwhelming.

I poured yet more of my personal equity into the company to prop it up in an attempt to level.

We spent a good portion of early 2008 making money and sending out chunks to bands. make money, send it out.

Sales began to to stabilize in 2008. I had a sense of what was left of our customer base and what we could reasonably expect in sales. Then the economy went in the tank. Orders, except from the most hard-core, dried up. Incoming revenue plummeted.

To answer Evan’s comments, up until the economy sucked whatever life was left out of the company we had a reasonable expectation that we could make good on debt. It would be a slow recovery but the goal was there.

When the market crashed, vendors tightened credit, including my home equity line. I no longer had any means to prop up the company.

The closing happened in a very short period. I checked my sources for further investment into the company and they were all tapped. We had no cash. We had to close.

Over the years I had always managed to pull some rabbit out of my hat (or find a line of credit to tap), This time there was nothing.

I am sorry anyone lost money on this.”


I hope this serves as some form of closure for the artists who’ve been stuck in limbo wondering what happened and never got a response to any of the emails sent to Jeff. I still don’t understand why he’d elect not to reply to you, but I do think what he told me is true. I also think he put everything he had into M.O.M. and really did shutter the site when there was just nothing left to do. That said, I think he owes y’all your product. I also think there were plenty of errors made and that the blame falls fully on Jeff’s shoulders. I also think he’d say the same thing.

I guess that in the end I see both sides of this and I feel badly for both. In the end, the closing of M.O.M. and the resulting fallout is one big bag of suck for everyone involved. Other than that I have no other answers, nor do I really think there are any.

Drag The River - Death of the Life of the Party     

See y’all on Tuesday.


  1. November 26, 2008    

    Great job getting as close to the bottom of this as likely can be attained.

    Indie CD and record shops are closing all over the country, there really wasnt any reason to think that even an online retailer of phyical cd’s would prosper much longer, regardless of any possible future lines of credit that may have been available to them. It sucks, but it’s true.

  2. November 26, 2008    

    Great job getting as close to the bottom of this as likely can be attained.


    One would think an online outlet would be a little more fluid than their brick and mortar counterparts. Perhaps the ultimate downfall of M.O.M. was the simple fact that the Americana (and all it’s hyphens and alts and dots) genre is just too small of a niche to be catered to exclusively.

  3. November 26, 2008    

    It’s easy for me to sympathize with the situation Jeff is in now, but the bottom line is that if your costs exceed your income, your business is broken.

    This is one of the concerns that received a lot of attention regarding the recent bailouts. If you throw a bunch of borrowed money at the problem (like Jeff did with his personal credit) does that allow the problem to be fixed, or just allow it to linger on a bit longer?

    There’s no doubt that being a CD retailer is getting more and more difficult, but I don’t know that economies of scale really would’ve made a difference for MoM so the selection of genres are likely not relevant.

    I’d be interested to hear from other retailers of similar music how they’re getting along and what’s affecting their businesses.

  4. November 26, 2008    

    I don’t think there are any retailers that focus on the americana scene anymore.

    It’s all a hodgepodge.

  5. Jay Jay
    November 26, 2008    

    I used to be a regular customer of MoM – even by their standards.

    I quit buying from them a couple of years ago, because they simply did not perform, and on the rare occasions when I asked them, nicely, about an order status, I got nothing but attitude in return, and no acknowledgement that any fault whatsoever lay with them.

    When I heard they were going under, my first thought was whether I had any age-old orders still outstanding, that I had simply forgotten about.

    I’m sure tough economic times contributed to their downfall. But I know many people who had abandoned them long before – for the same reason: a lack of basic customer service.

  6. Brandon Brandon
    November 26, 2008    

    I think Jay hit the nail on head talking about Miles customer service issues.. I had given up purchasing anything from them awhile back. However I was one of the 50+ in the ESP CD orders, and they did refund my money pretty quickly before the nosedive (Had to get it through Stagger). Just curious how is Virgil and Suburban Home doing right now? They are A+ all the way in every aspect of the game. Keep it up Virgil

  7. Scott Homewood Scott Homewood
    November 26, 2008    

    Though I never bought from them, I knew quite a few people who tried them out over the years and the stories of poor service and messed up orders are legion. The economy did not fail MOM, as many businesses will survive these times. It is just the simple fact that Jeff et. al. are not the right people to run a business. Getting round to stuff when you feel like it (like fulfilling orders etc.) is not the way to run a business. If you owe somebody some product, you better be there all night getting the product out if you have to. Everybody can acquire and sell the same widgets – your service and delivery is what differentiates A from B. One could say from MOM closing is that the economy is still fine – the ones that can produce will survive and the people that suck ass will fail. As it always has been and should be. And so it goes.

  8. Rod Rod
    November 26, 2008    

    MoM hasn’t been upstanding regarding payment to labels from the very beginning. Long before the decline in the industry and the various troubles Jeff describes, it was only constant badgering and threats of lawsuits that resulted in payment to any of the bands and labels I’ve talked to that dealt with MoM. I’ve done business with many online retailers and haven’t had anywhere near the trouble getting paid with anyone other than MoM. Obfuscation.

  9. RonF. RonF.
    November 27, 2008    

    I was shocked and sad to learn of MoM’s closing, but even more surprised to learn how badly they were treating both customers and artists. My experience with them over the last 12 years was 99% positive. Given the state of the music business, though, I’m not surprised by these developments. The industry we’ve all known is a dying business. Younger listeners have grown up thinking that music is something you should get for free. Except for mega artists, the only performers making money from their CD sales are those selling them at their gigs. With the disappearance of No Depression (in print form anyway) and MoM, it seems we are entering into a new “dark ages” of music distribution. Fewer publications, no label support – hell, no labels- for touring and promotion; it’s a nightmare. What happens next? I don’t have a clue.

  10. November 28, 2008    

    Miles of Music was a good source for those of us looking for new bands (just like this site). Sad to see them go. Good work on gettin’ to the bottom of all of this. Reminds me why I got this site bookmarked.

  11. EVguy EVguy
    November 30, 2008    

    Even when records from my label were on the MOM top ten list and they were selling out of them and re-ordering it was never easy to get paid from MOM.
    They did not abide by their own terms that they spelled out to the artists/labels.

    This is a universal story that you will hear from any label or artist who has dealt with MOM. No one could talk about it while it was happening. I’m lucky that through lawyers and managers I finally got paid for the cd’s that MOM sold for me. A lot of the bands I work with are owed a great deal (for them) from MOM. Some of the other artists I work with stopped selling to MOM a while back.

    I do not accept the rap about the ‘bad economy’. Aside from their promotional e-mail newsletter their buisiness practices have always been
    less than above board. I exceptionally bad for the artists who are getting burned in this deal. I personally directed a lot of artists to the MOM site.

  12. December 1, 2008    

    No one could talk about it while it was happening.

    in hindsight, I wish I would have pursued this angle a little more.

  13. Shawn Shawn
    December 1, 2008    

    I heard the various ups and downs of this company etc second hand for the better part of the last 10 years, both good and bad. Sending out your CD’s is always a gamble… if your distributor closes, you typically don’t get your product or your money. Regardless of the apparent mismanagement of customer service and other issues, I am sad to hear that MOM has declined and ceased to exist. It was a resource to independent artists, and as with all resources there is good and bad, and risk of collapse. Thanks for the investigative journalism. This brings a lot of insight to the current situation in hard copy music sales.

  14. bob bob
    December 1, 2008    

    i got burned for $4200. never once saw a check from M.O.M. even though they kept selling out and re-ordering more stock from my artists. this dates back to late 2005. so the recent economy woes is B.S. fraud is fraud… expect when you do it to bands, i guess. then it’s just business as usual.

  15. December 1, 2008    


    Just out of curiosity. Why did you continue to supply M.O.M. with product even though they weren’t paying?

    Furthermore (and this goes out to everyone)…while I understand it would have been hard to speak out publicly about M.O.M.’s shadiness…wasn’t there at least some private email scuttlebutt about it all?

  16. December 2, 2008    

    Ron F. said: “What happens next?”

    The end of the small label. The power shift has already happened. What can a small label offer a band that the band can not get themsleves with a little elbow grease. Send your own cd into CDBaby, get it up on iTunes, emusic, Amazon MP3 and Amiestreet (are those guys paying artists?)…book small regional tours which expand as you popularity does.

    My guess anyhow.

  17. RonF. RonF.
    December 2, 2008    

    But the big label is endangered, too. Like starving dinosaurs, they can no longer lumber stupidly through the world, wasting their resources and hoping to get lucky. The percentage of gross revenues that were wasted on non-productive endeavours can only occur during periods of enormous sales. Those days ended pre-Napster, and even then they were pulling back on promotion and marketing. They’re not gonna make it through this period, either.

    And maybe its just as well if the record company as we’ve known it becomes extinct. The internet enables every artist to distribute his music, without a middle man. No one’s going to get rich this way, but many will eak out a living. CD Baby, who as I understand it, acts as sales agent without actually holding the inventory, is the model for the future.

    Back to MoM fo a second. Jeff isn’t a thief, just a bad businessman. He loved his company and he loved his work, and he was blind to the moment that Miles of Music ceased to be a viable company. He should have gotten out years ago. Whether because of pride or faith or (sorry, Jeff) stupidity, he never stopped believing that he would ultimately succeed. He was wrong, big time. There is no excuse for the damage he did to his artists and suppliers. But those who complain that they haven’t been paid anything in several years but kept sending MoM more product anyway ended up being Jeff’s enablers, as well as his victims.

  18. December 2, 2008    

    I’ve known Jeff and Corrie for a decade now. I’ve never met 2 more upstanding people. I know they had a passion for the music and the artists. I will gladly give them the benefit of the doubt any time there is a question. They’re great people who have honest hearts who have been important players in the Americana movement.

  19. RonF. RonF.
    December 2, 2008    

    Agreed. I’ve known and liked them as well. As a result, their personal troubles and turmoil as a result of MoM’s closing makes me very sad. And Miles’ closing within months of No Depression’s final print issue seems to mark the end of an era.

    BTW, of you’re Hayseed the recording artist, I’ve enjoyed your music a lot over the years. Purchased, of course, from Miles of Music.

  20. Bernhard (London UK) Bernhard (London UK)
    December 3, 2008    

    Having been a customer of MoM for quite a few years, I was not aware of these bad practises in dealing with the artists, and would I have known, it would have changed by perception of this company (my preference is anyway to buy music directly at concerts, giving me somehow the feeling that this way the artist gets most).
    However, I don’t want to join in just bashing MoM now retrospectively. Yes, I also had service issues for a while, and as consequence stopped buying from them – but Jeff explained the reasons somewhere in his mail above, as well as directly to me back then: The move of the stock to Illinois was the wrong move. No problems with service thereafter. But more importantly I want to mention the role MoM was playing also as information source. I have become to know and like many artists through MoM’s newsletter – and only through that (even more so after the demise of NoDepression). Living in Europe, there was no better way to access many independent artists through one source, and that also at reasonable prices. What options have I left now? I use Internet radio to find out about new artists, check out MySpace on some of the ‘leads’ and then? I have to order them all separately – or not at all.
    I will miss MoM.
    PS Many thanks for all the information provided on this blog and the excellent research

  21. December 3, 2008    

    Thanks for the information, I had e-mailed them twice earlier this year, and received no payment for cds they had sold. I just e-mailed today, got a bounce on the mail, and learned from you (after a google search) that they exist no longer. I understand times are tough, but the idea that you can’t pay me for CDs sold, i.e., for which payment was received, seems silly. You take your cut, I get mine. Simple math. Well, c’est la vie. In any event, thanks for the info, I’ll stop holding my breath . . .

  22. December 3, 2008    

    Village Records is alive and well. I know that we don’t carry everything that Miles did but there is a lot of overlap. We have never, ever, stiffed an artist or a label, big or small and we have zero debt. We have been around since 1982 as a brick and mortar going strictly mail order since 1999.

    Bill Lavery

  23. bob andrews bob andrews
    December 3, 2008    

    i can vouch for Village Records and Bill. I’ve always gotten paid for stuff i sent him.

  24. bob andrews bob andrews
    December 3, 2008    

    in response to Autopsy IV…
    M.O.M always supported artists i worked with. they were buying our artist’s records from their labels and various distributors. i always heard good things about them. a few of my artists started self-releasing stuff so i started selling direct to M.O.M. they sold through our stuff pretty quickly… and it’s pretty normal in the music biz to wait around to get paid… the money comes eventually. i’ve learned to be patient.

    the $4200 in stock they got from me happened in a pretty short amount of time. it’s not like we sent them stuff on consignment and it sat on their shelves. it all sold out. they collected the money from their customers. I eventually stopped sending stuff when they stopped answering my e-mails about getting paid. bummer because i really liked them.

  25. December 4, 2008    

    Add me to the list of people shocked and saddened to hear about how MoM was treating artists. I became a semi-regular customer and never received bad service, at least not anything beyond what I’ve experienced elsewhere. I was wondering why the weekly emails suddenly stopped, though it took me a few weeks after returning from a vacation to realize it. I just really hope that the Whipsaws at least got the money I sent to MoM.

  26. Toni Lavery Toni Lavery
    December 4, 2008    

    If the Harvard School of Business got a hold of M.O.M.’s story, it would be one of their classic Case Studies. Multiply what Jeff has done by millions of people around the world and that explains today’s economic crisis. Jeff’s attitude of entitlement (to credit),ignoring the MP3 effects on recorded music, and most importantly his lack of the ability to build trusting relationships with poor customer service, and slow or no payments to suppliers, is what did him in.

    There are good small businesses out there, like Village Records. They are a credit to the Americana niche market with how they have promoted the music over many years. Their customers and suppliers come first, not their egos. In an effort to turn around this economic crisis, all of us should only deal with, and support businesses that treat us with respect and good service.

  27. December 4, 2008    

    I had never even heard of Village Records until they posted to this thread.

    I look forward to buying something from them.

  28. RonF. RonF.
    December 5, 2008    

    As a customer, I can vouch for Village Records. Great selection and fast service are their standard, and I have never had any problems in the seven years I’ve been ordering. Their selection is great, and they don’t leave you hanging on the endless hook if a title should suddenly be delayed.

    I’m a little concerned, though, that the comment prior to the last one is from someone with the same last name as one of the owners of Village Records, Bill Lavery. Coincidence?

  29. Bill Lavery Bill Lavery
    December 5, 2008    

    No, Ron, that is no coincidence. In the interest of full disclosure Toni is my wife. She was curious about the Miles story just like the rest of us. I sent her the link to this post so she could catch up. She got pretty worked up over the poor decision making and shabby treatment of the artists by Miles and she posted that reply without telling me in advance. I think she was particularly upset that this seemed to go on for so long that you have to consider it their standard operating procedure rather than a series of temporary setbacks. She obviously was not trying to hide anything or she would not have used her last name. She is not involved in the business…which is good since this business does not provide health insurance. But that is another story. Cheers.

  30. RonF. RonF.
    December 5, 2008    

    Thanks for clearing that up, Bill. Now where’s my order!?

    Just kidding. Bill’s the best. He’ll become your friend, not just your music vendor.

  31. December 5, 2008    

    He’ll become your friend, not just your music vendor.

    you’d be hard pressed to find a more ringing endorsement.

  32. JJ JJ
    December 5, 2008    

    I have dealt with MOM for several years. I really never experienced any trouble with my orders. I was not aware they were in trouble,though I was surprised when the e-mails stopped coming. It’s a shame that the artists lost so much money in the deal. Unfortunately, I still have a couple hundred dollars in gift certificates. Brave New World out there folks. I’d rather see MOM get a bailout than Wall street or GM.

  33. December 10, 2008    

    God, this is so sad. I loved Miles of Music and learned about so much great music from them. They will be missed!

  34. December 22, 2008    

    “I’ve known Jeff and Corrie for a decade now. I’ve never met 2 more upstanding people… They’re great people who have honest hearts who have been important players in the Americana movement.”

    Huh? Never? I’m speechless…

  35. December 23, 2008    

    First off, great job digging through the wreckage of this sad story.

    My band American Ambulance sold product through MoM between 2001 and 2006 — first as a DIY thing on our self-released first album, then through our label(s) Rustic and Hayden’s Ferry for the next three releases. Our experience was sporadic. Lots of times we got stiffed on payments and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few boxes of our discs in Jeff’s garage to this day, LOL. Also, I always directed folks to buy from them and we linked to them (not Amazon, BN or CdBaby)) from our Website. And folks OFTEN complained their orders weren’t showing up. I never got made b/c I figured MoM was doing its best and I wanted tosupport small artisanal style capitalists. But I gotta agree, in the end, with Toni. These business practices were incompetent at best, and shady at worst.

    IMO though this is part of a larger story about a rift that developed in the Americana scene over the years, alongside the larger economic problems and changes in the music biz. That story is about a lot of committed artists and fans who didn’t have much means, and a handful of industry insiders who did, and the way the latter used the former. I think the AMA went out of its way to recruit small bands, local scenesters and the like, at its inception, only to abandon any pretense of helping smaller artists make a going concern of their musical careers, in favor of getting themselves their elusive Grammy category and enshrining the admittedly great Mount Rushmore artists of Americana such as Emmylou, Rodney Crowell, Lucinda, Buddy Miller, Alison Krauss, et al.

    As the changes in the music biz started making it harder for the haves and the have nots to band together, MoM tried its level best to wind up on the right side of history, but couldn’t do it without screwing people, basically. That’s sad, and then they lost their biz. No Depression, which IMO started out with great promise and became a self-important brand over the years, held out for a while but in the end they couldn’t make it either. So now more people appreciate the legacy artists of Americana, and that’s a good thing, but those of us who spent our every last die to make music and labor in relative obscurity are more anonymous than ever. I’m not bitter, LOL, even if I sound it. We had a GREAT run and enjoyed every last minute of our time making records and touring. But it’s a lesson some folks might want to think about in terms of community vs. business, if you get my drift. For a minute there, it seemed like we could have both.

  36. January 11, 2009    

    I was a long time customer of MoM, and I’ll admit my last order was about 2 years ago. I never encountered a problem with my orders and received all my ordered CDs in a reasonable timeframe. Over the years, I enjoyed their catalogs and I had recommended MoM to many of my friends as a source of vast alt-country and roots-rock music. It was last week when I typed in and was very surprised to find it had disappeared. Hence my Google search to find this dissertation and commentary on the demise of MoM. Sad to hear… but understandable. Thanks for digging into the story for all of us. Cheers and Twangs to All! Bob C.

  37. corey peterson corey peterson
    February 10, 2009    

    These are sad times indeed. Like many former customers,I too was saddened.when I learned of the demise of MoM.I offer a sincere thank you for the follow up concerning the issues of non payment to the bands. Having been in contact with Jeff recently, I can tell everyone that MoM did everything within their powers to keep their business alive and pay all of their bills. Jeff’s sadness during our communication was evident. As a customer of MoM for many years, Ihave only positive things to say about the entire organization.I refused to order online as I appreciated the opportunity to speak with my friends when I phoned in an order. May the wind take your troubles away…

  38. February 19, 2009    

    I’ve been working with Jeff/Corrie for 10 years and this is sad news indeed. I know indie music biz is bad and I’ve had my bouts of slow-payed checks with them over the years but they were fighting the good fight I think. Anyone have an address/contact where we can pay to get our MOM CD’s back?

  39. small label small label
    March 2, 2009    

    Sorry, no sympathy for these 2. I suspect Jeff and corrie would starve some labels and bands by stalling and lying about making payments, while paying other artists and labels they were attempting to woo for various self-serving reasons. I personally witnessed them driving wedges between labels and their artists to get “product” at a lower price or to get the band to sign to one of their more favored labels…or worse, in an attempt to sign the band to their own label (which apparently never got off the ground–probably because of the ridiculous, lopsided contracts they presented to the artists). As for “razor-thin” margins–they were paying less than many distributors for the cd’s they purchased directly and marking them up as much as 100%.

  40. The Mangling Tree Commissioner The Mangling Tree Commissioner
    March 3, 2009    

    I worked for Jeff for over 9 years, right up until the final day MoM closed shop. Not only did Jeff give his heart and soul to Miles of Music, but he also dedicated his life to it.

    Jeff’s focus, up until the day we folded, was to make sure the artist, and customer, was taken care of. We did our best and the single biggest regret when the end was nigh was that we could not take care of the list of artists who we owed money. I lost the best job a person could ever hope for, Jeffrey is losing his house. Yet the tears wept were for the artists, not for our personal loss.

    I know thst many of the folks who posted above, and who read this won’t believe me, which is unfortunate. However, having been on the “inside” as it was unfolding, I know the truth; Jeff, and Miles of Music, was dedicated to Americana Music and more importantly, the artists who created the music. We did our best and over our 13 years run and dedciated all our resources towards the goal of taking care of the artists.


  41. April 28, 2009    

    I had kinda put this whole thing behind me but I am glad I came across this post. I had received a purchase order for my CD Blurry White Guy and sent it to Miles of Music scant weeks before they folded. I was excited to see the progress of the page for Blurry White Guy come along and to see it had been picked as a “Cracker”. The page never went live however and the next thing I saw on the MOM website was the infamous “Throwing in the Towel” message. I waited a couple of weeks figuring Jeff had a lot to deal with and then sent an email asking what his intentions were as far as the inventory I had sent him (30 cd’s). The day after I sent the email I found my CD’s in the same package I had sent them sitting on my doorstep. Being sent media mail they had probably been in transit awhile. It looks like I was one of the lucky ones. I had read earlier on Jeff’s blog that he simply had no money to send product back to the artist.
    I really wish the best for Jeff and everybody at Miles of Music. He worked hard, risked much and lost a lot in this venture.
    Dave Lykins

  42. Aaron Benolkin Aaron Benolkin
    May 12, 2009    

    Thanks for digging into this, this seems to be the only info out there regarding MoM. We’ve been unable to get a reply even after our lawyer contacted them. The lack of info and refusal to send back our product are the worst part of it. At least it looks like there is a chance we could pay to get our product back. Thanks to everyone who bought a Whipsaws album, I know we directed all of our online customers to MoM first, so hopefully they at least got their orders. Keep up the good work Nine Bullets.
    Aaron Benolkin
    The Whipsaws

  43. May 13, 2009    

    and anyone out there who hasn’t bought the Whipsaws album.
    WTF is wrong with you? Buy it now!

  44. rob rob
    May 13, 2009    

    Buy both, several copies. Evan’s solo and Easton Stagger Phillips. Also, anyone that can fix up Evan and get them back on the road(to Florida), make it so.

  45. May 13, 2009    

    He (Evan) is getting his surgery this week.
    I dunno about you but I think the warm Florida air might do him well.

  46. Tim Tim
    June 23, 2009    

    Funny MoM going, first I noticd was the lack of a newsletter. It didn’t really bother me as I was going through the mill with my business and wasn’t buying music. Anyhow things started to turn around and MoM has gone. As a Limey American music of the ND variety was difficult enough to get hold of but with no MoM it is almost impossible.
    OK so they were welching on their suppliers, a real bad thing to do but I never found them lacking, orders arived quickly and they were always good to talk to.
    For all the bad blood they seem to have spilled.
    RIP MoM.

  47. September 25, 2009    

    hello. some years back you had 2 very special cd’s for sale, im hoping you have some old stock and may have these, the cd’s were a tribute to merle haggard’s guitar player roy nichols who died in 2001, the first cd was called to roy nichols with love vol.1, 1997, the second cd was called to roy nichols with love vol.2 hillbilly down, 2001 the record label was cowgirl records, kathy robertson, I have had no luck in finding these cd’s, im hoping you can help, I have searched the net to hell and back with no luck, gemm, musicstack,, amazon, ebay, and about 30 others, please help! I live in bakersfield, ca, and no luck, thanks, shelby collins, email:
    phone: 661-872-4966
    p.s. in 2001 you did have these cd’s for sale at miles of music.

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