A British crowdfunding platform, PledgeMusic, was meant to change up the music funding game by sending funds directly from fans to the artists. The platform claimed it would shift the flow of funding from a top-down hierarchy to one funded “by the people, for the artists,” but things haven’t worked out in their favor.
Now, it looks like backers and artists won’t receive their money or be refunded what they’ve donated, and legal issues could potentially be looming for anyone involved with the organization.
PledgeMusic’s Bankruptcy Declaration
PledgeMusic’s co-founder, Benji Rogers, announced in mid-May that the company would be filing bankruptcy (in the UK, ‘administration’). This disappointed a number of artists and fans who had become involved with the platform, either by creating music specifically for backers or by donating to a favorite musical artist.
The company’s co-founders attempted to secure a pre-liquidation last-minute fire sale buyer, but none surfaced, making the situation even direr. And while Rogers is still making vague claims that artists might eventually receive their money, it’s looking more unlikely every day.
While his initial statements included a clear promise that artists would receive their money, that section has been replaced by more vague gestures towards a hope that the situation will eventually be resolved.
How Artists Might Fight Back
Artists and fans alike might begin to file civil lawsuits against PledgeMusic as it becomes increasingly unlikely that they will receive the funds they’re owed. Currently, PledgeMusic’s founders owe independent musical artists between $1 million and $3 million in total. But lawsuits against PledgeMusic could backfire due to the bankruptcy declaration, say experts.
The British Musicians Union is urging artists to contact legal union representatives, as well as to reach out to PledgeMusic directly, in order to reach some kind of resolution if possible. Earlier this year, MU representatives met with members of PledgeMusic about the situation and received a promise that payment would be issued within 90 days, but that promise was never honored.
Whether PledgeMusic’s leaders will face criminal charges is unclear at this time, but it’s not entirely out of the question. Civil lawsuits will almost certainly be on the horizon for Rogers and his colleagues.