PledgeMusic

Last updated
PledgeMusic
PM-NewLogo.png
Type of site
Direct-to-fan music platform
Available in
Founder(s) Benjie Rogers
IndustryCrowdsourcing for musicians
URL pledgemusic.com
CommercialYes
Registrationviewing - no, selling/buying - yes [lower-alpha 1]
LaunchedAugust 2009;11 years ago (2009-08)
Current statusBankrupt [1]

PledgeMusic was an online direct-to-fan music platform, launched in August 2009. It was started to facilitate musicians looking to pre-sell, market, and distribute projects; such as recordings and concerts. It bore similarities to other artist payment platforms as ArtistShare, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, RocketHub and Sellaband.

Contents

The company announced it was facing bankruptcy in May 2019, after a year of artists reporting slow payment problems. [1] The company was granted permission to wind up on August 19, 2019. [2]

History

Formation

PledgeMusic was formed in the UK and registered with Companies House on October 1, 2008 by Benji Rogers, Jann Tosatto, Jayce Varden and Rupert Selby who were all named as directors of the company in the company's incorporation document. [3]

In the next few years, a number of complementary companies were also formed under the PledgeMusic banner. They were: PledgeMusic Retail Ltd [4] on June 18, 2009; PledgeMusic Recordings Limited [5] on August 18, 2010 (originally named PledgeMusic 2.0 Limited); and PledgeMusic Publishing [6] on November 11, 2010. Benji Rogers was a director of all of the additional companies together with others in various combinations, some of whom went on to also become PledgeMusic.com directors.

Early successes

Ginger Wildheart was awarded the 2012 Classic Rock Awards 'Event Of The Year' award for his PledgeMusic campaign. [7]

By 2013, roughly thirty artists that used the site had subsequently signed label recording contracts. [8]

In 2014, PledgeMusic reported a 90% campaign success rate (higher than Kickstarter or Indiegogo), with most artists raising an average 140% of their goal. [9] PledgeMusic and Lynda.com teamed up to produce a documentary about 'super fans' and their role in the future of the music industry. The documentary features footage and interviews from SXSW and interviews with artists such as Nicole Atkins and San Fermin.

Directorial changes

By the last quarter of 2015, all of the founding directors, with the exception of Benji Rogers, had left PledgeMusic. Rusell Rieger and Joshua Sason joined as directors in 2015 with Donald Ienner, Daniel Rowe and David Walsh joining in June 2017. Benji Rogers eventually left the company on February 18, 2018.

Payment issues since 2018

In early 2019, reports emerged of artists not being paid in accordance with their agreements with PledgeMusic. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] Also at that time, PledgeMusic's accounts for 2017 had not been filed with Companies House in the UK and by then were 4 months overdue. [15] On 24 January 2019, PledgeMusic issued a statement via its blog page that claimed the company was having “discussions with several strategic players in the industry who have an interest in the PledgeMusic platform” and that it expects "payments will be brought current within the next 90 days." [16]

On January 29, PledgeMusic founder Benji Rogers issued a statement saying he was returning to the company as "a volunteer strategic advisor and observer to the board." While the company was still working to "sort the back payments issue", Rogers claimed that "all funds coming into the company from now on will be managed by an independent third party (to be named soon)." [17]

In February 2019, a company charge was placed on PledgeMusic by Sword, Rowe & Company LLC. [18]

On May 3, a report was published in Digital Music News in which a leaked email was quoted, apparently sent from Robbie Wirdnam, an assistant manager at FRP Advisory LLP, who, according to the email, were due to be appointed as administrators for the winding up of PledgeMusic.com. [19] The email was attempting to find potential buyers for all or part of the PledgeMusic business prior to selling off the company's assets.

Administration and liquidation: May to July 2019

Benji Rogers, the company's co-founder, stated in a blog dated May 8 that efforts to sell the company had failed and that "PledgeMusic will shortly be heading into administration". [1] [20] Rogers said that the crowdfunding platform had used money that was pledged for use by musical artists to pay off the company's debts instead. [21] Many artists who were pledged money through the website will most likely not receive the money that was promised to them. [22] John Zorn is among the artists affected, who is owed $197,559, money which was pledged to help him finish his 25-year-long project, The Book Beriah. [23]

On 9 May, Kevin Brennan Labour MP raised the question of musician and consumer protection in light of PledgeMusic's collapse, in Parliament. [24]

By June 5, a number of trade bodies in the United Kingdom, including UK Music, had launched a survey to investigate the impact PledgeMusic's failure would have on the industry. [25]

Sometime between July 13 and July 25, the PledgeMusic.com website became unavailable. The latest archived copy held by web.archive.org was dated July 13. [26]

On July 31, a petition to wind up PledgeMusic.com was heard in the High Court of London. [27] [28] The petition was presented by Russell Rieger on behalf of the directors of PledgeMusic.com, who at that time were Russell Rieger, Joshua Sason, Donald Ienner, Daniel Rowe and David Walsh, [29] and was granted on August 19. [2]

Aftermath of insolvency and liquidation

PledgeMusic went bankrupt before John Zorn and hundreds of other artists were paid money owed via campaign pledges. [30] [31] In November 2019, Failure frontman Ken Andrews alleged PledgeMusic owed them $75,000 from their 2018 album campaign. Andrews further claimed that former CEO Dominic Pandiscia changed the company's policy of ring-fencing artists' money in 2016. Pandiscia denied the claims and mentioned considering legal action against Andrews. [32]

In March 2020, the BBC reported that the band CC Smugglers lost £20,000 when PledgeMusic went bankrupt. It also stated The Insolvency Service was still investigating the company's insolvency. [33]

Business model

PledgeMusic considered itself a direct-to-fan platform as opposed to a crowdfunding website. Features that the site claimed distinguished it from similar competitors: [34]

PledgeMusic had two distinct types of campaigns: direct-to-fan and preorder. In direct-to-fan campaigns, fans were not charged until the project target was reached. If a target was not reached, fans were not charged. In preorder campaigns, fans were charged immediately, and the artist was paid directly upon project completion. [35]

Charity

PledgeMusic artists had the option of donating a percentage of their total or post-goal revenue to a charity of their choice. As of 2014, 67% of projects had been linked with a charity. [9] Artists without a cause in mind were able to meet with the company's charity outreach specialist to pair them up with charities.

Critique

In 2010, while discussing the Digital Economy Bill Lord Errol, in the UK House of Lords, described PledgeMusic as a "rather clever idea" in the context of developing proportionate legal structures to protect copyright within the creative industry. [36]

In June 2019, Musically reported that Kickstarter decided against launching a similar service due to being unable to find a sustainable business model that would support a high number of lower-volume creators. [37]

Campaigns

List of artists that used the site to raise money:

Release/End dateArtistTypeProject TitleLabelRefNote
June 2019 Delphia AlbumMoonlightDel-Fi [38] Money withheld by PledgeMusic
January 2019 Ohgr Album Tricks Independent [39]
January 2019 Utopia AlbumUtopia : The Complete Bearsville Singles 1977-1982Rhino/Bearsville/Warner Bros. [40]
2018 Failure AlbumIn The Future Your Body Will Be The Furthest Thing From Your Mind [32] $75,000 allegedly withheld by PledgeMusic
2018 Neil Innes AlbumNearly ReallyInnes Music [41] £23,000 withheld by PledgeMusic
2018 John Zorn Album (11 cds)The Book Beri'ahTzadik [30] Money withheld by PledgeMusic
2018 Men at Work Album Men at Work: You Better Take Cover (A tribute to Greg Ham)PledgeMusic [42]
July 2018 Willie Nile Album Children of Paradise River House Records [43]
May 2017 Toploader Album Seeing StarsBig Lake Music
April 2017 While She Sleeps Album You Are We Sleeps Brothers Records - Self Released
January 2017 Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker Album"New World Alphabet"Independent [44]
2017 "Weird Al" Yankovic Other Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of "Weird Al" Yankovic Legacy Recordings [45]
2017 Aly & AJ EP Ten Years Aly & AJ Music, LLC [46]
October 2016 Justin Guarini EPJGPledgeMusic [47]
2017 Erasure Album World Be Gone Mute [48]
2016 Demon Hunter Album Outlive Solid State Records
2016 Marillion Album Fuck Everyone and Run Intact/EarMusic [49] [50]
Unreleased Culture Club AlbumTribesDifferent Man/Kobalt [51] [52] The album was shelved in 2016 and refunds given.
October 2016 Sum 41 Album 13 Voices Hopeless Records [53] [54]
- Esmee Denters AlbumNew EPPledgeMusic [55] "Project was closed before goal was reached."
2015 Failure Album The Heart Is a Monster INgrooves [32]
2015 Christian Death AlbumThe Root of All EvilutionPledgeMusic [56]
- Dweezil Zappa AlbumPledgeMusic [57]
May 2015 Ash Album"Kablammo!"Atomic Heart Records [58]
- Shayne Ward Album"Closer"PledgeMusic [59]
- Macy Gray AlbumThe WayPledgeMusic [60]
- Plain White T's AlbumAmerican NightsPledgeMusic [61]
- Guster Live Album Nettwerk [62]
- Black Veil Brides Album"Black Veil Brides IV" Universal/Republic [63]
- Unlocking the Truth Debut EPRED Associated Labels [64]
- RX Bandits Album"Gemini, Her Majesty" INgrooves [65]
October 2015 The Zombies Album"Still Got That Hunger" The End Records [66]
September 2015 David Cook Album"Digital Vein"Analog Heart Music / INgrooves [67]
September 2015 Silversun Pickups Album"Better Nature"New Machine Records [68]
2014 Erasure Album (vinyl) The Violet Flame Mute [69]
June 2014 Echo & the Bunnymen Album"Meteorites" 429 [70]
- Rufus Wainwright Album"Prima Donna"Independent [71]
- Matt Pond Album"State of Gold"BMG Rights Management [72]
- The Birthday Massacre Album"Superstition" Metropolis [73]
- Chali 2na EP"Against The Current"Independent [74]
December 2014 Dexys Album"Nowhere Is Home"Absolute Marketing and Distribution [75]
December 2014 The Enemy Album"Dancing All Night" Cooking Vinyl [76]
November 2014 The Vines Album"Wicked Nature"Wicked Nature [77]
November 2014 Terri Clark AlbumBaretrack Records / EMI [78]
November 2014 Weezer Album"Everything Will Be Alright in the End" Universal/Republic [79]
November 2014 Interpol Album"El Pintor" PIAS Entertainment Group [80]
October 2014 Mobb Deep Album"The Infamous Mobb Deep"Infamous Records [81]
October 2014 Antigone Rising Album"Whiskey & Wine (vol. 1 & 2)"Independent [82]
October 2014 Jack Strify Album"ILLUSION"Independent [83]
June 2014 Sponge TourEndless Summer TourIndependent [84]
June 2014 Sevendust Album"Time Travelers & Bonfires"7Bros Records [85]
June 2014 Peter Murphy Album"Mr. Moonlight Tour:
35 Years of Bauhaus
"
Nettwerk [86]
June 2014 K.Flay Album"Life As A Dog"Independent [87]
June 2014 Klaxons Album"Love Frequency" RED [88]
May 2014 The Clarks Album"Feathers & Bones"Independent [89]
May 2014 Lindsey Stirling Album"Shatter Me"Lindseystomp [90]
May 2014 Buzzcocks Album"The Way" Cooking Vinyl [91]
May 2014 Devin Townsend Album"Casualties of Cool" [92]
May 2014 Peter Andre Album"Big Night"Independent [93]
April 2014 Blake Lewis Album"Portrait of a Chameleon" INgrooves [94]
April 2014 Steel Panther Album"All You Can Eat" Kobalt [95]
April 2014 The Babys Album"I'll Have Some Of That!"All In Time Records [96]
April 2014 Joan Osborne Album"Love and Hate"Membran [97]
April 2014 Dan Wilson Album"Love Without Fear" Kobalt [98]
March 2014 311 Album"Stereolithic" INgrooves [99]
March 2014 Natives Album"Indoor War" Transmission Recordings [100]
March 2014 Kate Miller-Heidke Album"O Vertigo!" Cooking Vinyl [101]
March 2014 Tokyo Police Club Album"Forcefield" Mom + Pop [102]
March 2014 Stiff Little Fingers Album"No Going Back"Rigid Digits [103]
February 2014 The Presidents of the USA Album"Kudos to You!" PUSA Inc. [104]
February 2014 Reverend and The Makers Album"ThirtyTwo" Cooking Vinyl [105]
February 2014 Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker EP"Advanced Basics"Independent [106]
January 2014 The Hold Steady EP"The Unified Scene" Razor & Tie [107]
January 2014 The Rifles Album"None the Wiser" Cooking Vinyl [108]
January 2014 Hard-Fi Album"Hard-Fi: Best of 2004 – 2014" Warner [109]
December 2013 Flyleaf Album"Between The Stars"Loud and Proud Records [110]
November 2013 Mike Doughty Album"Circles, Super Bon Bon, and
The Very Best Of Soul Coughing"
Independent [111]
November 2013 Apocalyptica Album"Wagner Reloaded" RCA [112]
November 2013 Umphrey's McGee Live Album"Hall of Fame: Class of 2012"Nothing Too Fancy Music [113]
October 2013 Slash Album"Nothing Left to Fear
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)"
[114]
September 2013 Katatonia Album"Dethroned & Uncrowned" Burning Shed [115]
September 2013 Lissie Album"Back to Forever" Columbia (UK/EUR)
Fat Possum (US)
[116]
August 2013 Juliana Hatfield Album"Wild Animals" Ye Olde Records [117]
June 2013 Sam Duckworth (GCWCF) Album"Amazing Grace"Independent [118]
June 2013David RhodesAlbum"Rhodes"Independent https://david-rhodes.uk/the-david-rhodes-band-album.html
May 2013 Donots Live DVD/Album"Wake the States" Solitary Man [119]
April 2013 Bring Me the Horizon Album"Sempiternal" RCA [120]
April 2013 The Whybirds Album"A Little Blood" The Little Red Recording Company [121]
March 2013 IAMX Album"The Unified Field"61seconds Records [122]
March 2013 Kate Nash Album Girl Talk" INgrooves [123]
December 2012 Ian McCulloch Album"Pro Patria Mori"Independent [124]
November 2012 Kissy Sell Out Album"San City High ALL STARS"San City High Records [125]
October 2012 LCD Soundsystem DVD"Shut Up and Play the Hits" DFA [126]
August 2012 Kill It Kid EP"Rarities"Independent [127]
July 2012 Ginger Wildheart Album"Hey! Hello!" Round Records [128]
July 2012 Ginger Wildheart Album"Mutations/Mutations 2" Round Records [128]
April 2012 The Libertines DVD"There Are No Innocent Bystanders"Absolute [129]
March 2012 The Infamous Stringdusters Album"Silver Sky"High Country Recordings [130]
October 2011 The Lumineers Other Dualtone [131]
September 2011 Crystal Fighters Deluxe Album"Star of Love"Independent [132]
September 2011 The Subways Album"Money and Celebrity"Independent [133]
September 2011 Art Brut Album"Brilliant! Tragic!" Cooking Vinyl (UK/EUR)
Downtown (US)
[134]
December 2010 Madina Lake EP"The Dresden Codex"Independent [135]
July 2010 Ginger Wildheart Album"555% (aka 100%)" Round Records [136]
May 2010 Kopecky Family Band Album"The Disaster"ATO Records [137]
2016 Blind Pilot Album"And Then Like Lions" ATO Records [138]
May 2010 Princess Superstar Album"The New Evolution" Independent

In 2021, Kevin Godley's album Muscle Memory was completed and released by The state51 Conspiracy after the project stalled as a PledgeMusic campaign. [139]

Charts

Some albums backed via PledgeMusic have charted, including:

Partnerships

PledgeMusic Recordings [140] and PledgeMusic Publishing [141] had partnerships with the following companies:

PledgeMusic has partnered with the Hotel Cafe for SXSW 2011 [150] and 2012. [151]

PledgeMusic has hosted showcases with CMJ. [152]

Awards

PledgeMusic was nominated for the 2010 BT Digital Music Awards in the category "Best Innovation or Gadget". [153]

PledgeMusic was nominated for the 2011 Music Week Awards in the category "Consumer-Facing Digital Music Service of the Year". [154]

PledgeMusic was nominated for the 2011 BT Digital Music Awards in the category "Best Innovation or Gadget". [155]

PledgeMusic was noted as one of Billboard's "Five digital startups to watch in 2013". [156]

PledgeMusic won the Grammy Music Technology Lab in 2013. [157]

PledgeMusic was nominated for SoundCtrl's 2013 Best in Artist Support award. [158]

PledgeMusic was nominated for the American Association of Independent Music 2013 Annual Libera Awards (The "LIBBYs") 21st Century Award – celebrating the service provider or platform that was most beneficial to Independent labels and artists. [159]

Co-founders Benji Rogers and Malcolm Dunbar were named to The Hospital Club 100 list in 2013 in the category of Music. [160]

Benji Rogers, founder and president of PledgeMusic, won A&R Worldwide's International Music Industry Awards' Distinguished Digital Executive of the Year, 2014

See also

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References

Notes

  1. You are not required to sign up to view projects or browse, but you are required to for purchasing and making projects.

Citations

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