Beyond Oblivion was supposed to save the music industry.
Instead, it lived up to its name, collapsing in dramatic fashion at the end of 2011 when investors lost their patience with a company that kept promising and never delivering. Years of careers and $33.2 million vanished, with two days notice, over the December holiday break.
Here’s how it was supposed to work: Consumers would buy a device that came with the right to listen to unlimited music for the life of the device or seven years. Unlike Nokia’s device-tied “Comes With Music” service, if they bought another Beyond Oblivion-enabled device from another manufacturer, all of their music, preferences, playlists, song ratings, and so on would transfer seamlessly there. Even better, according to what the company’s chief marketing officer Bruce Henderson told Evolver.fm last August, customers would also be able to transfer all of that music to iOS and Android apps to keep their collections alive that way.
Everybody would have won – in theory anyway. Fans would have had unlimited music that felt free and yet was guilt-free. Music labels and publishers would have been paid. Cellphone manufacturers and carriers, which would have footed the bill minus whatever costs they could pass on to customers, would have acquired a powerful new marketing tool with which to differentiate themselves to music fans.
In practice, the S.S. Beyond Oblivion now sits at the bottom of the ocean, though the man who was at the helm, CEO and “Imagineer” Adam Kidron, apparently harbors plans to resurrect it still. According to one former employee, the CEO of the bankrupt company is still being paid $325,000 per year as he seeks more funding to get it afloat.
After speaking with multiple sources from the now-defunct company, Evolver.fm, which agreed to keep those sources anonymous, has come to an understanding of what went wrong with this once-promising startup.
Actually, it was more than one thing. A long list of missteps led to the company’s staff being laid off unceremoniously during the holiday break with two days notice and zero severance pay. Half of them were on vacation when they heard the news.
As one source put it, “The CEO was insane, and that’s why the business failed.”
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