I am submitting this RipOff Report based on my experiences with engineer/producer Greg Droman, from Nashville TN, USA. I undertook Droman’s “services” from late 2012 until approx. August 2013. I have waited approx. 12 months from the date of my experience with Droman in order to: 1) Allow Greg Droman sufficient time to resolve the issues (which he hasn’t done, or even attempted to) and; 2) To allow time for emotions to subside and cool over, thereby approaching the issues in a rational manner. Being that Droman hasn’t done anything to resolve matters, I feel it is in the best interests of other prospective clients to file a RipOff Report in order to alert other consumers to my experience with Nashville engineer Greg Droman. I was in Nashville at the start of the year, this year (2014), and offered to meet with Greg Droman in order to talk through the issues. His reply to me seeking to resolve matters face-to-face was: “I really don’t think there’s any reason to have to get together…” A brief summation of my experience with Nashville engineer/producer Greg Droman is as follows: I recorded in Nashville in May 2013 with engineer Greg Droman, whom who I hired to engineer and mix my own original music. The understanding from the start (in writing, via email), was that he would be engineering in the studio (RCA Studio A, Ben Fold’s Studio) for 2 days, and that we would do some overdubs at his home studio (also in Nashville), with him then mixing and mastering it all after-the-fact. Somewhere along the line, Greg Droman got it in his head that he was the “producer” even though all he did was setup microphones and sit behind the recording console. He played no musical parts on the recordings, and did not add to the arrangements in any way, shape or form. Most importantly, Greg Droman was NEVER hired as the “producer.” I directed the musicians and called all of the shots, and paid for EVERYTHING, both in the studio, and after-the-fact. I found out, during the sessions, that Greg Droman didn’t even listen to the music before the sessions were underway (charts and Pro-Tools sessions were sent to him approx. 6 weeks beforehand!) and he was still trying to follow a chart whilst we were doing overdubs, which was frankly, embarassing. Droman also had trouble hearing punch in clicks/pops and is what I describe as “incompetent” in so-far as operating Pro Tools at a professional level. I found all of this out while working with him. In addition, after the initial studio sessions were completed, he then attempted to foist “producer points” on me, and arranged a meeting for me with his attorney to this effect. I bristled at this, because the fee we agreed to, was his own choosing and Greg Droman did not “produce” anything with regards to my music, unless sitting in a chair and moving a microphone is now classed as “production.” Our relationship began to break down after this, and he attempted to get me to wrap the project up (after I had left Nashville, and was back in Australia), even though he promised me (in writing) that he would work on the music, and I quote: “until you are happy,” and further that he would spend (again, a direct quote of his, in writing) “however many days” to get this done. I had paid him half of his fee upfront (see below for specifics), prior to the studio recordings being undertaken with the understanding the other half would be paid after everything was completed. After the relationship broke down, Droman claimed he had consulted with his attorney and that he had “intellectual copyrights” over the sound recordings and in addition, he demanded 60% of his remaining fee and also refused to sign a “work made for hire” agreement, that I had requested. I countered, and offered him 30% of his final fee on the proviso he sign the work made for hire agreement however, he refused outright and again demanded 60% of the final fee. On that basis, I refused to pay him anymore as I could not trust that he would stick to his word. Greg Droman also later claimed he had mixed 90% of the songs after I left Nashville and was back in Australia, however when I asked for proof of this, he then claimed to have deleted the mixing he had undertaken. His words to me were: “I’ve got about 10% of my commitment to finish this project left to do.” Lastly, before the studio sessions were undertaken in Nashville, Greg Droman was paid $450USD (2 payments of $225USD each) for the mixing of 2 compositions via PayPal. To date, no high-definition files have been delivered and as stated above, Greg Droman claims to have deleted these. In his own words: “they’re in digital heaven.” Some points I would like to clarify regarding my experience with engineer Greg Droman: 1 – All songs that were recorded WERE MY OWN original compositions, or arrangements. I provided engineer Greg Droman, the studio and the musicians (Michael Rhodes on bass and Shannon Forrest on drums) with MY OWN transcribed charts, along with Pro Tools session templates containing tempo, section markers and guide tracks. The musicians and Droman were given charts and Pro Tools session files approx. 4-6 weeks before the studio sessions. Despite this, Greg Droman was not familiar with the music and did not even bother to listen to my back catalogue, given to him approx. 6 months beforehand. 2 – I paid FOR ALL studio time, for the assistant at the studio, for the musicians (incl. cartage) and for meals on both days of recording. I also purchased Greg Droman gifts (a $70USD bottle of scotch, and his wife some George R. R. Martin books) and paid for many lunches with him. There are a number of issues I encountered whilst working with Nashville engineer Greg Droman: 1 – Producer Points When I hired engineer Greg Droman, he quoted me a fee of his own choosing ($10,000USD; in addition to the $450USD mentioned above), to engineer, mix and master 11 studio pieces, along with mixing and mastering 11 pieces I had engineered myself. This fee, was what he said (and I quote): “I know I can be comfortable with.” After the studio sessions had been completed in Nashville, Greg Droman raised the issue of “producer points” and in a covert and underhanded manner, using guilt and emotional appeals, attempted to strong-arm me into assigning him royalty fees. I was uncomfortable with the entire thing as he was never hired as the “producer” and importantly, didn’t produce anything on the recordings. He also said nothing about this when quoting me his initial fee that had been agreed to. In short, Greg Droman moved the goal posts to suit himself. His job was to engineer, mix and master the compositions, which was clearly outlined in email communication. Suffice to say, producer points were NEVER a part of the original deal, and Droman acted dishonestly by landing them on me after the studio sessions were completed. He later organised for me to see his attorney, dressing it up as a “networking opportunity.” When I explained to his attorney the nature of the arrangement, his attorney said that Greg Droman should be under a work made for hire agreement. Even though Greg Droman’s attorney promised to get back to me, I NEVER HEARD FROM HIM, despite many repeated phone calls and emails on my behalf. 2 – General Incompetence Although Greg Droman has worked with some “names” in the industry, his Pro Tools skill-set is what I would describe as “amateur.” I have taught undergraduates the use of DAW software at tertiary institutions here in Australia, and have had students who could run rings around Droman on an off-day. As an example, Droman lost my overdubs several times, he took over 40 minutes to perform basic tasks such as inserting silence into a session, he managed to botch the time-code on a song and was overall, extremely slow and docile in his workflow. He also couldn’t hear punch in transients and would argue with me when I pointed them out, saying to me: “No sorry, I can’t see anything.” When I would press the matter, he would zoom in and eventually find the offending glitch but his ears are what I would describe as “lazy.” His excuse for his slowness and general incompetence was that he “doesn’t have an assistant anymore” because the budgets he is working with now don’t allow it. Additionally, when Greg Droman handed over the session files for the studio recordings, they were a total mess. He clearly doesn’t adhere to industry standard conventions as outlined in the “Pro Tools Session Guidelines for Music Production.” Regions and tracks were named poorly and general file management was, in my opinion, non-existent. He also complained about the length of the songs I had written, even though, as mentioned, he was sent Pro Tools templates, notated charts and demo files approx. 6 weeks beforehand, just as they were sent to the musicians. He also failed to listen to my other recorded works, even though these were given to him about 6 months prior to the studio sessions. 3 – Dishonesty Greg Droman claims to be a Christian and his wife (Marilyn Martin) is a so-called gospel artist. While I was in Nashville, Droman (and his wife) tried to get me along to his church. Despite this, I later discovered Greg Droman was a part of a FaceBook group called: “Suck My T*** and F*** My Loose Wet V*****” (see screenshot, here: www.dropbox.com/s/vxwk589kgfmsa6n/Dromans%20Group.png) which appears to be some kind of casual sex or swinger style group. As also mentioned, Greg Droman went back on his word with regards to my project. He told me (in writing) that he would work on the project “until you are happy” and that he would spend “however many days” to accomplish this. These statements were clearly misleading and were said in order to secure the deal. By moving the goal posts after the project had begun, by not sticking to his word, and by engaging himself in what appears to be an online sex/swinger FB group, I feel this undermines Greg Droman’s claims at being honest and “Christian.” 4 – Negativity After working with Greg Droman for around 2 weeks day in, day out, I found him to be an extremely negative and depressed person. When one is engaged in a creative endeavour, the last thing you need is to surround yourself with negative and depressed people, it is a sure fire killer. As an example, Greg Droman bitched about “taking a hit” (financially) all the time, he bagged out former and present clients, other engineers and producers, studio managers, and even one of the musicians on the session. He has (in my opinion) an entitlement mentality and thinks he should be paid top dollar for just turning up. He also became intoxicated one night while we were working on a track and his wife Marilyn had to come down and apologise for his behaviour. I found this extremely unprofessional. Conclusion Based on my experiences with Nashville engineer Greg Droman, I would not recommend his services, and nor would I ever use them again. What was supposed to be an “experience” creatively speaking was soured by the antics and incompetence of Greg Droman. Please note, I have all email correspondence and screenshots which provide validity to these claims.
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