PledgeMusic, the popular crowdfunding platform for musicians, has drawn a lot of criticism in recent weeks.
Numerous reports emerged that the service was not paying money it owed to some artists. This included notable acts like Jesus Jones and Fastball (who were owed $20k, yet couldn’t get a response from anyone at the company). PledgeMusic has since responded with a public apology, stating that it expects to bring all payments current within 90 days.
Crowdfunding your next project? Proceed with caution.
CD Baby’s relationship with PledgeMusic concluded years ago, but of course we’re sad to see a former partner struggling in a way that affects so many artists. I’ve used and recommended PledgeMusic in the past, and it’s just a bummer to watch the company’s financial troubles hurt the musicians and fans it once served so well.
Founder Benji Rogers — who stepped down as PledgeMusic’s CEO in 2016 — has offered to return to the company in an attempt to right the ship, restore the broken trust, and get artists paid. We’ll see.
Artists deserve to get paid what they’re owed, and promptly. Through this period of uncertainty, you MAY want to explore alternative crowdfunding options to PledgeMusic.
Why hasn’t PledgeMusic been able to pay everything it owes to musicians?
An article in Billboard provides more details about the company’s woes:
According to an anonymous former employee who wished to remain anonymous, the root of these problems is improper money management where PledgeMusic failed to hold artists’ campaign funds separately and securely and instead invested it back into the company. If true, this would directly conflict with PledgeMusic’s terms and conditions, which state “monies collected by PledgeMusic for a Campaign will be held on account for the Artist.” The idiom “robbing Peter to pay Paul” came up in many conversations describing PledgeMusic’s actions and as the company’s growth slowed the situation worsened.
That doesn’t sound promising. The company has done great things in the past though, so hopefully it’s possible to get everyone paid, fix these issues, and move forward.