Datz shuts down, but Sainsbury's still sells the music
Nearly three weeks ago, we updated you on our investigation of Datz - heralded at launch by the technology press as a new eat-all-you-want subscription model for the music industry. It involved punters buying Datz Music Lounge - a CD ROM and a USB stick combo - for £99.99, either in-store at Sainsbury's or elsewhere online. This entitled the user to download unlimited music from tens of thousands of artists for a whole year.
Then it all started going wrong. Last month, a reader told us that the major artists promised by Datz had disappeared from the online store; Datz seemed to have lost the rights to libraries from EMI and Warner. We then went digging into the history of Datz and uncovered a spider's web of debt and administration - at the centre of it, the man on the right, Datz MD Michael Richardson. Despite been unable to provide the service as sold, Datz continued to sell the product online for full price, while Sainsbury's continued selling it at a discount.
So three weeks on, where are we? The only update is that the Datz Music Lounge has now shut down altogether. We've made several calls to their offices since our last post and they continue to go unanswered. Their former press representative at XL Communications won't provide any information as he no longer works on behalf of Datz.
What about Sainsbury's? We initially contacted the press office on 20th August and raised our concerns - that the product was unable to satisfy its own claims as sold, and should be removed from stores as to sell it would mislead customers. In total we have now contacted Sainsbury's three times - each time explaining the situation to their press office to determine what action they were taking and to provide a statement, and each time they have failed to return our call. Today we read in the HUKD forums that a branch of Sainsbury's was still selling Datz Music Lounge last Thursday, although it had been discontinued and heavily discounted. Sainsbury's had been aware of the product's misleading claims for a fortnight - the supermarkets had no right selling the product at any price because it didn't work.
Since Datz Music Lounge only launched at the end of last year, everyone who has bought it has lost out on their 12 month subscription. The scandal is that nobody involved in this seems concerned that Datz have probably taken tens of thousands of pounds and ran, least of all Sainsbury's. You could try returning it to the original retailer since it clearly isn't fit for purpose for the duration of use. And keep an eye out for Michael Richardson - he's no doubt keeping a low profile.