You may be wondering why this blog is up. It is here to inform people, most likely up and coming bands on MySpace about Illumina Records. A "records and promotions" company operating out of Beverly, MA. I am a former employee of the company and I'd like to describe to you exactly what I did. Since I no longer work there I won't be able to add anything new to this blog. If you have had experiences with them, though, I encourage you to post so that others may see the true story, whether I am wrong or not.
I was required to bring my own laptop computer and use my own cell phone to even get the job. The office I was in was filled with 25-30 cubicles where every one of the "A & R Representatives" or "Event Coordinators" or "Sales People" or "Promotions and Marketing Coordinators" worked.
For absolutely no pay I was required to be in the office for 8 to 8.5 hours. Depending on what "promotion" was out to "help" local bands gain exposure I would send out a form letter, simply filling in my name and number and changing my position title accordingly. We were given a region, told to pick a letter A-Z in that region and then e-mail or message every band on MySpace with our offer.
Sometimes the offer would be for a festival, where the bands paid to play in it. Now, it could very well be that there would be a large crowd at the events as Illumina promised, but the rest of the "promotion" really amounted to nothing. The "exposure" they promised, while possibly helpful, in some way, went out to people who probably didn't listen to the music of the bands trying to make headway in the industry. We were never informed of who was getting what, etc. or how any distribution of a particular bands' music was determined. Frankly there were just too many for any band to get any real attention.
I do know that the owner of the company, Ron Bellanti, was in no way interested in the bands; I'm not even sure he was really into music. We sought none of them out for talent, only for their money. In "sales meetings" which were usually an excuse for Bellanti to scream and treat everyone in the room less than human, Bellanti said constantly that all he cared about was making money. He referred to this as "motivation" for the salespeople like me since we would only be paid if we made a sale even though we provided our own equipment and were required to work 5-6 days a week. He often referred to interns openly as "slave labor." In truth, we were all slaves. Bellanti would rip things off walls, kick chairs and insult everybody, and then have the audacity to call this "leadership."
"I'm here to lead you" he would say "I don't care about you, all I want to do is win, I don't care if you have a life" and on and on and on.
His advice to us in the sales room was basically to lie and bully potential clients into accepting whatever package was being offered, as he bullied everyone in the company. He
said, for example, that one approach he used to make a sale was simply to talk loudly and excessively over the client until the client simply agreed. I could go on and on.
The main point I wish to get accross here to potential bands or potential future employees (by the way, if you apply don't worry, you will get hired) is that this company doesn't care about its clients or employees, it has no goal, no semblance of quality, no standards, it's just a money-making machine for Bellanti. I'm not sure if maybe he wants the money now so that one day he may be truly legitimate, I suppose that's possible. But all I saw was a masked con-game. This is not a REAL music company or agency that can give you anything more than a weekend gig. For example, if you buy CD's from them they will deliver the product but they won't improve the sound quality or anything. So if you're already recording your own stuff then you know the equipment, just go to Staples, get a CD spindle and burn and distribute them yourself (You'd have to distribute them yourself if Illumina did it anyway). It's not like your stuff is going to be mixed or mastered by these dickheads. That would require Bellanti to spend money rather than rip you off.
The music guide? Not nearly worth $250-300. The magazine? "Cusp" Has anyone ever heard of it? I mean if you're involved in the music biz you should have. I hadn't, I 've got no idea who reads it, or if there is a subscription to it, or how large the subscription really is or anything.
One last thing: Ground Control, the drunk driving prevention campaign. Maybe Bellanti feels strongly about it, I'm not sure but he but he never, ever mentioned it while I was there. Given everything else I witnessed at the place I can't help but wonder if it is in place to give him a non-profit status for tax purposes. Just a thought.