Elite reissue label Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab was mired in scandal in recent weeks after the company admitted to revelations that it was no longer using entirely analog practices in its vinyl pressings. In a Washington Post feature, the company confirmed that it has been using Direct Stream Digital (DSD) technology since 2011. It’s this situation that’s resulted in a new proposed class action lawsuit seeking damages and restitution, Billboard reports and documents viewed by Pitchfork confirm.
The lawsuit, which includes diagrams outlining the vinyl production chain and MoFi’s specific branding, focuses on records labeled “Original Master Recordings” and “Ultradisc One Step” by MoFi. It argues that the company misrepresented products to consumers by using digital mastering in its production chain.
The complaint was brought by Charlotte, North Carolina resident Adam Stiles, who says he purchased multiple MoFi albums over the years. The lawsuit’s specific anecdote is a February 2022 purchase of the Pretenders’ self-titled album, which cost him $40 and he purchased due to its “original master recording” designation. “Had Mr. Stiles been aware that the record used digital remastering or DSD technology, he would not have purchased the record, or would have paid significantly less for it,” the lawsuit notes. It claims that other members of the potential class action lawsuit were similarly impacted by paying a higher price for records with that label.
Stiles, on behalf of himself and the proposed class, seeks restitution and damage. The lawsuit alleges fraud, unjust enrichment, deceptive trade practices, breach of warranty (express and implied), and more.
“We cannot comment on pending litigation matters at this time,” Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab’s attorney Joseph J. Madonia of Chicago said in a statement.
Earlier this summer, MoFi announced its involvement in opening a new vinyl pressing plant in Oxnard, California. The company referred to the new plant as America’s “premier vinyl production facility.”