PledgeMusic filing for bankruptcy — artists set to lose millions
PledgeMusic, the direct-to-fan music platform that was under fire for not paying the artists who use it, is headed toward bankruptcy. Co-founder Benji Rogers, who returned to the company to "help the board and team turn around and sell the company," wrote a post on Medium.com, saying, "I am sad to report that this effort has not met with success and that PledgeMusic will shortly be heading into administration." (PledgeMusic is a UK based company; "administration" is the British equivalent of bankruptcy.) In a letter to the artists who use PledgeMusic, obtained by Variety, Rogers goes into more detail:
I am truly sorry.
I promised to let you know as soon as I had news either way and I received final confirmation of this just now at the board meeting. The company will go into administration at some point this week or early next which means that any funds received for the assets of Pledge will be distributed to all of the creditors involved. This will include all of the artists who are owed money.
This was the last thing I wanted, and I am holding out hope of a decent recovery for all of you.
It is not yet certain that the company mentioned in the articles will be the appointed administrator, as it might be someone else, but either way I will let you know as soon as I know, should there be anything specific that you need to do to register as creditors.”
Sources for Variety estimate that PledgeMusic owes artists, in total, between $1 million and $3 million which artists will likely never see. Mike Edwards of '90s-era band Jesus Jones, who used PledgeMusic, wrote in a series of posts on Twitter:
Ever since they promised that we'd be repaid what they stole, within 90 days, I knew they were lying. Not only that, but I realised I'd been lied to in the past, as well. This was never going to end up in anything other than disaster. It's high time it was exposed for the crime it was. And I don't want to downplay that word, either: it's time that people were made to face the legal consequences of the fraud they perpetrated.
It's not just artists - it's our fans, it's a huge amount of suppliers, and firms, within an extended network. This network has been built by the hard work of so many, and it was illegally destroyed by the criminal actions of a few members of the pledge board. As artists, It's now also time for all of us to stand as one, and demand action from the industry bodies who are there to support us.
It's time for them to forcefully pursue Pledge, to ensure that criminal actions can not go unpunished, and that those responsible for malicious, damaging, and heartless fraud on a massive scale are never allowed to do it again.