The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed last summer by MoFi customers who accused the company of falsely marketing and promoting LPs as “analog only” even though a Direct Stream Digital (DSD) transfer step was used in the mastering chain. The records under scrutiny bear the label “Original Master Recording” and/or “Ultradisc One-Step” and were sold between March 19, 2007 and July 27, 2022.
In the wake of the accusations, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab president Jim Davis issued an official apology for “using vague language, allowing false narratives to propagate, and for taking for granted the goodwill and trust our customers place in the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab brand.”
The statement went on to say:
“We recognize our conduct has resulted in both anger and confusion in the marketplace. Moving forward, we are adopting a policy of 100% transparency regarding the provenance of our audio products. We are immediately working on updating our websites, future printed materials, and packaging — as well as providing our sales and customer service representatives with these details. We will also provide clear, specific definitions when it comes to Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab marketing branding such as Original Master Recording (OMR) and UltraDisc One-Step (UD1S). We will backfill source information on previous releases so Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab customers can feel as confident in owning their products as we are in making them.
We thank you for your past support and hope you allow us to continue to provide you the best-sounding records possible — an aim we’ve achieved and continue to pursue with pride.
In a press release issued last week, Kroll Settlement Administration, LLC, the company appointed by the court to handle the settlement process, outlined the process for submitting a claim.
Step 1: Determine if you meet the definition of a “Class Member, which is as follows: “All original retail consumers in the United States who, from March 19, 2007, through July 27, 2022 purchased, either directly from a Defendant or other retail merchants, new and unused Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Inc. (“MoFi”) vinyl recordings which were marketed by Defendants using the series labeling descriptors ‘Original Master Recording’ and/or ‘Ultradisc One-Step,’ that were sourced from original analog master tapes and which utilized a direct stream digital transfer step in the mastering chain, and provided that said purchasers still own said recordings (the “Applicable Records”). Excluded from the Class are persons who obtained subject Applicable Records from other sources.”
Step 2: Visit the AudiophileSettlement.com to submit a Claim Form with “proof of purchase and ownership.” Claims must be postmarked by September 21, 2023. An overview of the settlement with relevant documents are provided, including a list of the applicable LPs with suggested retail prices. The list specifically identifies the following titles:
Billy Joel – Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2 (MFSL3-418, $74.99-$84.99)
Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde (MFSL3-45009, $74.99-$94.99)
Bob Dylan – Desire (MFSL2-416SV, $74.99)
Electric Light Orchestra – Eldorado (MFSV1-001, $59.99)
Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach – Painted from Memory (MFSL1-475SV, $49.99)
Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (MFSL1-368SV, $59.99)
The site also provides an email address (MoFi_Settlement@badgleymullins.com) and two phone numbers to call for more information: 833-630-6697 and 206-621-6566.
Step 3: Choose how you want to be compensated: You can return the applicable record(s) in its original cover or box and receive a “return refund” of the purchase price plus tax and shipping or keep the record(s) and receive either a 5% refund payment of the purchase price or a Music Direct coupon for 10% of the purchase price. All payments will be “based on the purchase price, not to exceed 110% of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at the time of purchase,” and you can elect to receive payment by check or electronic transfer, such as PayPal or Venmo.
Qualifying members of the class-action suit who don’t want to be legally bound by the settlement, can choose to “opt out” but must do so by August 22, 2023.
A final hearing to consider whether to approve the settlement, including attorney’s fees and costs up to $290,000 and “incentive awards for Class Representatives up to $10,000,” is scheduled for October 20, 2023 at 9 a.m. PT.
Watch the video that led to the class-action lawsuit against Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab: