I was initially going to call this article "Crowdfunding to make music to crowdfund to," but Dabitch put her foot down as that was too much music geekery even for her. In retrospect, explaining it was a reference to Spacemen 3's "Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to," didn't exactly help my case, but you know.
Back in April, we reported that PledgeMusic was having trouble paying the musicians who were using its crowdfunding platform to raise funds to make music. Turns out that "having trouble," is a nice euphemism for "cheating musicians out of cash."
In May, the UK-based crowdfunding platform's co-founder Benji Rogers dropped an "oh by the way we're headed into bankruptcy," note on Medium, leaving in its wake a lot of questions. Like 'Where's my money?" "How do I fulfill the pledges to my loyal fans who supported me?"
The news probably came as less of a shock to the artists as it did the musicians who had been dealing with this for a while. According to Billboard:
"PledgeMusic acknowledged its issues paying artists earlier this year and asked for a three-month grace period when Rogers returned to the company to help correct the issues. No details have been given about causes leading to PledgeMusic's financial insolvency, but a former employee told Billboard in January that artists' crowdfunded money had gone to fund ongoing operations instead of holding it “on account.” Last month, the company's subsidiary NoiseTrade was acquired by Paste Media."
Those who hadn't heard the news and visited the website recently were greeted with this bit of legalese:
"A winding-up order was made against Pledgemusic.com Limited in the High Court of Justice on 31 July 2019. As a result of the making of the order, the Official Receiver becomes liquidator of the company. Any enquiries should be forwarded to LondonB.OR@insolvency.gov.uk, quoting reference LQD5671373".
A few days ago, Hypebot, which has been doggedly investigating this matter has tracked down a form you need to fill out in case you believe you are owed money by PledgeMusic.
"While lacking a firm deadline, the form is fairly straightforward. Any artist, label or fan affected should fill out the form and send it in with any receipts or proof asap. Download it here."
You can then email it back to Sultana.Begum@insolvency.gov.uk
Meanwhile, the ever-wry Trichordist points out that Pledge didn't bother to make this information known. Still, they continue, "...this is good for fans who pledged but believe their money never got to the artist, the artists who are owed money by Pledge and of course the vendors who are owed money for goods they made or services rendered for Pledge campaigns (like Bandwear that is apparently owned $200,000)."
They certainly aren't the only ones. As of last month, the band Failure was owed $70,000. Who knows how much money bands are owed when all is said and done. One can only hope that despite the time it'll take to recover the funds, the process can begin now that the musicians have the info.
Perhaps there's light at the end of the tunnel. Let's all hope it isn't a train, to paraphrase a song written by the Trichordist's founder. Sorry, Dabs. Had to.