Gerry Kearby -- co-founder of Liquid Audio, drummer, equipment designer for the Grateful Dead and others, and a man who turned down an offer from Steve Jobs to buy his company -- died last week when his truck crashed into a tree in a rural area south of San Jose, California. He was 65. Details of his death can be found on the San Mateo County Times, and many friends' memories can be seen in this memorial website, but here, Kearby is remembered in the following post by his friend and former coworker Dick Wingate, principal of DEV Advisors and Liquid Audio's former SVP of Content Development and Label Relations.
I was deeply saddened by the death of Gerry Kearby, one of the true pioneers in digital music. Tragically, after surviving brain cancer he died in an automobile accident on August 6th when his truck veered off a rural road near his home in Pescadero, California, ending a life and career that stretched from teaching award-winning drum line performers to designing custom equipment for the Grateful Dead, founding pioneering online music company Liquid Audio and more recently, Neurotone, which specializes in audio therapy aimed at helping people with damaged hearing, such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Gerry founded Liquid Audio in Redwood City, CA in 1996. Although bandwidth was still at a crawl, Gerry and co-founders Phil Wiser and Robert Flynn devised a complete end-to-end solution for streaming, downloading and securely selling music over the internet. Liquid Audio quickly became one of the emerging online audio standards of the late '90s. I joined Liquid as an advisor in 1997 and full time in 1998, and over the next four years we acquired the catalogs of thousands of labels, including Warner, EMI, BMG and Universal. For most of the labels it was their first complete catalog licensing deal. We spent many years convincing labels, artists, investors and partners that consumers would actually collect and listen to music on a PC.