Friday, June 26, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

London DJ's Generate Bogus Royalties in an Elaborate Scheme

A group of popular London deejays used stolen credit cards to buy their own music on iTunes in an elaborate scheme that netted about $650,000 in bogus royalties and sent the musicians skyrocketing up the "indie" charts, The Post has learned.

The deejays recorded 19 compilations of music they spun at nightclubs, uploaded them on iTunes through a Brooklyn-based service and then downloaded them an astonishing 65,000 times on accounts set up with the pilfered cards, law-enforcement sources said. Along with the profits, the performers nearly made a second killing -- they caught the attention of music industry executives curious about their newfound popularity.

Authorities in New York and London unmasked the group of "independent musicians" in recent months, and ring members are expected to be rounded up as early as this morning in Britain. The takedown caps an international Internet manhunt conducted by Brooklyn prosecutors inside DA Charles Hynes' office, NYPD computer crime experts and their counterparts and a London Metropolitan Police unit known as SCD-6. British authorities announced this morning that they had made nine arrests in connection with the scam.

The scam began in August with the DJs paying an annual $30-per-album fee to the Williamsburg company Tunecore, a music distribution service, to get their albums uploaded onto iTunes. The ring then obtained thousands of stolen credit card numbers and painstakingly opened iTunes accounts with them and began downloading their albums at $10 apiece.

In December, Apple, the parent company of iTunes, began to receive stop-payment orders from various credit card companies, saying accounts were established fraudulently. A month later, Apple contacted the NYPD, which enlisted the help of the Brooklyn district attorney.

Investigators scoured the Internet for the origins of the downloads and ultimately determined they were made on London computers. They then matched the identities of IP computer-address owners and musicians. The thieves collected about $389,000 of the loot.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Why Deejay Schools Are Thriving in a Recession

To Koma Gandy, the folks who mix her favorite tunes were always like the Wizard of Oz. "You go out to this party and the deejay is this mysterious entity behind a wall, where all this magic happened," says Gandy, 34, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. "I've always wanted to see how the magic was constructed." Thanks to the recession, Gandy and many others are finally getting a chance to connect with their inner-MC. After she lost her hedge fund job in December, Gandy, a Harvard undergrad who also has an MBA from Georgetown, made a list of the things she's always wanted to do, if a lifetime of work and achievement and climbing up the corporate ladder don't get in the way. Near the top of the list: learn to rock a party with a turntable. "I figured, now is better time than any to do this,' says Gandy. "It might be my last chance. And I don't want to be one of those people, at the end of life, who says, 'I wish I had gone for it." Read the full story here.