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Sell Tickets, Then You Play

Re: Online articles concerning Breakthru Entertainment published May 16, 2012 and June 6, 2012

To the publisher:

This firm represents Breakthru Entertainment. The purpose of this letter is to demand that your publication retract and/or correct online articles published May 16, 2012 and June 6, 2012 concerning Breakthru Entertainment.

Specifically, Ken Leighton has authored two recent articles concerning Breakthru Entertainment and House of Blues. Both articles contain false, misleading information and libelous statements, which are specifically addressed in the enclosed Retraction/Correction Requests.

Retraction/Correction Request Re: June 6, 2012 Article entitled: “They Aren’t Promoters”

The article has a number of false, misleading and libelous statements, which are hereby demanded to be immediately retracted and/or corrected.

  1. The article states: “Red Wizard’s May 31 show at the House of Blues started off as a pay-to-play event. The metal band ended up paying to not play.” This is false. The band was requested to return the tickets and the band complied.
  2. The article states: “One band that did play May 31 was There for Affair. Because the members are under 18, parents needed to sign the pay-to-play contract with Breakthru.” This is untrue and should be retracted and/or corrected. The band did not sign a pay to play contract. The band did agree to pre sale 50 tickets at $10.00 per ticket in order to ensure there are sufficient patrons to purchase food and beverages to cover overhead costs.

Retraction/Correction Request Re: May 16, 2012 Article entitled: “Rock and roll is about money, publicity, and extortion.”

The article has a number of false, misleading and libelous statements, which are hereby demanded to be immediately retracted and/or corrected.

  1. The title of the article uses the word “extortion.” This is libel per se and must be retracted. House of Blues and/or Breakthru Entertainment are not extorting bands. Bands chose to play at this venue because it is great exposure.
  2. The article states: “All the kids have to do to play the House of Blues main stage that Thursday is pay $750.” If a band were to tender a check for $750.00, it would not be accepted. However, the bands do need to pre sale 75 tickets at $10.00 per ticket in order to ensure that there are sufficient patrons to purchase food and beverages to cover overhead costs.
  3. The article states: “Ricketson says he signed the contract with a guy named Mo. Attempts to reach Mo and Garrett have been unsuccessful.” This is untrue and should be retracted and/or corrected. First, Mo was not present at the time the contract was signed. Second, Mo and the author, Ken Leighton, had two telephone conversations and exchanged several text messages wherein Mo described why it is not a pay to play deal and that Mo’s affiliation with the bands is as a production coordinator between House of Blues and Breakthru Entertainment.

Breakthru Entertainment demands that the above retractions and/or corrections be made immediately.

In addition to the Retraction/Correction Requests, my client demands that the [sic] both articles be pulled from the internet. It is our understanding that the author, Ken Leighton, owns and/or is affiliated with a San Diego bar that provides a venue for bands to play. This makes Mr. Leighton a business competitor with Breakthru and House of Blues and Mr. Leighton is clearly using editorial pen to unfairly compete by deliberating writing libelous, false and misleading information.

If your publication does not comply with my client’s requests within twenty-one (21) days, my client will seek all available remedies under the law.

Moving forward, when referencing Breakthru Entertainment, refrain from associating House of Blues with Breakthru Entertainment as they are two separate entities. Breakthru Entertainment develops its own agreements with bands.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to give me a call.

Very truly yours,
David C. Holt
The Holt Law Firm
2522 Chambers Road, Suite 100
Tustin, CA 92780

The Blurt stories regarding Breakthru Entertainment (“They Aren’t Promoters,” “Rock and Roll Is About Money”) have been pulled from our website due to perceived conflict of interest, as the author of the articles owns and/or is affiliated with a San Diego bar that provides a venue for bands to play. Interviewees provided the language and information contained in the articles. The Reader has no opinion regarding the business practices of Breakthru Entertainment. — Editor

Son Of A Big Gun?

This is in reply to your report by Matt Potter, “Postal Service Audit Blasts San Diego Mail Carriers for Inefficiency” (June 21).

First of all, these were hidden cameras. They don’t even discuss the fact that mail carriers might be texting their supervisors.

Also, the last name of the person who wrote this article is Potter. You might want to ask him if he’s related to the postmaster general because that’s his last name too. I’d like to find out. He might be the postmaster’s son, and that’s no joke.

Lastly, these auditors have never delivered mail. They were only auditors. They have never delivered mail. And if they’ve never delivered mail, they have no idea how to deliver mail.

via voicemail

Shooting Unrelated

It is sad that Robert Ramos had a tough life; sad that he turned to drugs and alcohol to try and quell the demons raging inside (City Lights: “Down, Down, Down for the Locos.” June 21).

It is sad that every effort made to help this young man didn’t work.

To start the article off with the teaser that he was shot in the head, and to then somehow tie that in as “reasoning” for his participation in the senseless murder of Mr. Kenneth Mose is crazy, and in the words of my son, “I call shenanigans.” In my opinion, his part in the murder had nothing to do with being shot, especially since it was never mentioned again anywhere in the article until the end, and it wasn’t mentioned that Ramos gave that as an excuse. Apparently, it was a ploy to gain some type of leniency....and it worked.

Lena Raphael Hampton
via email

Digestion Problems

The Reader and its readers are fortunate to have the gifted Don Bauder, a refugee from the Union-Tribune, as one of the Reader’s most prolific and informative contributors.

I question, however, inclusion of his News Ticker article “Editorial Confinement?” among the formerly titled “Neighborhood News” features, when it offers no pretense of having a San Diego neighborhood connection, flaunting the byline “Outside San Diego.” Much worse, this article appears to contain no original reporting. If it does, the author and the editors have failed to include any evidence that the author did any first-hand reporting at all.

Did Mr. Bauder interview and obtain quotes from the anonymous Register editor or the elusive “Lynch”?

If the Reader is now willing to pay Don Bauder to digest articles about San Diego from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, will it pay the rest of us to do the same? Sign me up!

Ben Cooper
via email

Preposterous Plea Deal

I just read an article in the Reader titled “Down, Down, Down for the Locos” (City Lights, June 21), and I’m really pissed off. I can’t understand why these vicious assailants got a plea deal when the young man who didn’t get a plea deal. He’s dead. They should be in jail for the rest of their lives. It just makes no sense at all.

H. Williams

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Ken Leighton June 27, 2012 @ 9:08 p.m.

Both bands interviewed indicated that they signed an agreement wherein they had to pay to Breakthru Entertainment either $500 or $750. Call it what you want but this is a contractual agreement wherein the promoter provides a 30 minute slot, and in exchange the band must sell and turn in money for those tickets they took out on the night of that show, whether it be $500, $750 or $1,000. When Red Wizard was pulled from the bill, they were allowed to exchange the $10 for the ticket with the friends they sold them to and turn those tickets back in. BUT, for the tickets they couldn't retrieve, they had to pay the promoter for those tickets. So they did pay something and they didn't get to play. It came out of their pocket.

Regarding There For Affair: "The band did agree to pre sale 50 tickets at $10.00 per ticket in order to ensure there are sufficient patrons to purchase food and beverages to cover overhead costs." Again, that says they are on the hook to come up with $500 on the night they are to play. You may not like the name Pay to Play. But that is the industry term.

"Extortion" was deemed to be the wrong word. How about you send the musician who said the word a threatening letter. That word was a quote.

Yes I spoke with "Mo" a couple of times. He requested that instead of answering questions over the phone, I send him a list of questions. Although he would not give me his last name he did provide his email, {[email protected]} and I was happy to cooperate with him on those terms. On May 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm I sent him an email with the following text:

These questions are for an article in the San Diego Reader about the arrival of pay to play in San Diego. -Mo, are you involved with Breakthru Entertainment? -What other venues have you worked with? -Why is pay for play a good business model for bands and for music lovers? -Why is it a good thing for venues? -Mo, what is your last name and what do you do for the House of Blues? Are you a an independent promoter?

I asked him the last question because when I asked him on the phone if he was with Breakthru or House of Blues he said "Both." That is not true. He is not with House of Blues. Not only did he not answer these questions by email, he then told me over the phone he would have nothing to say for this interview. Seems like you left this fact out Mr. Holt. In your letter you said "Mo" told how it wasn't pay to play. Really? Where the email response. He told me everything would be handled via email. It is interesting the attorney would not reveal "Mo's" last name in his letter. I guess Mr. Holt's social skills are so superior that he deals with everyone on a first name basis. Back at ya David dude!

I also contacted House of Blues and they had no comment. They could and should clear this up in my personal opinion.


Ken Leighton June 27, 2012 @ 9:09 p.m.

Part 2

It is important that the House of Blues thrives. It is the only venue that allows both under-21 and over-21 to see music events. HoB has a superior sound system, and it is a great opportunity for local bands to open for nationally touring artists. But the overwhelming consensus of bands I have spoken to, is that they do not share the same enthusiasm for this business model that the industry knows as "pay to play." When House of Blues employees speak of these nights, they make it clear that these nights have nothing to do HoB itself, that they just rent out the room. But at some point I think the venue may want to reverse this trend. Even if it held its outside promoters to a more reasonable ceiling like $200 or $300, is what I'm hearing from bands. Not all venues use pay to play. Maybe HoB feels it needs to. I would hope that it reigns in the upfront money these promoters are demanding.

These are only my personal opinions only.

Edited out of the article was what one local promoter/music venue owner who has used such promoters had to say...that due to particularly unsavory recent experiences, the owner was cutting back on such promoters.

Interesting to note the attorney didn't want some kind of retraction on the "these promoters don't promote anything" phrase. That would seem to me to be pretty hard hitting description. I guess his client had no problem with that.

I would truly hope the House of Blues itself attempts to mend this situation by giving Red Wizard and There For Affair a show at some future date. They are good kids and do not deserve this stress simply because they stood up for what was right.

And I may also suggest that if Breakthru Entertainment wants to do all this business down here, that you tell us who you are, what you are all about, and maybe not tell a band they have to pay $1,000, then cut it back to $750, then settle on $500 because the father saw through it. Hey, and maybe make some posters and flyers.

These are all my own thoughts.


PrivatizedAir July 10, 2012 @ 9:55 p.m.

Breakthru Entertainment can totally suck it. They are not fooling any one with their big FIRM lawyer talk, because that is all they are big and firm. When you print the truth the profiteers seem to get upset.

Why don't you sue me you big loud mouth con man?

We would never get involved in your "not pay to play" scams. If the House of Blues is such great exposure how come you force the bands to each sell 75 tickets? Rhetorical question because we all know the only people the bands get exposed to are their friends! We could all do that at a house party and buy a lot of booze for $750!!!

Seems like hiring a lawyer to bully the reader will get you really far with the local bands and probably some free advertising in the reader! Keep it up you business geniuses!

And of course these are just my opinion, and my name is Shemp.


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