PledgeMusic, the beleaguered crowdfunding and e-commerce platform, is going under.
Those comparisons about the firm being “the Fyre Fest of crowdfunding” do not seem too far off today.
The UK-based company has failed to find a buyer following three months of searching, and is now headed into administration.
The administration process will see Pledge’s assets sold to the highest bidder. Estimates suggest that Pledge currently owes artists who have used its platform over $1m – and hopes remain that at least some of these creditors will be paid via the proceeds of the administration fire sale.
Pledge co-founder Benji Rogers officially left the company in 2016, but recently returned on a consultancy basis to try and find a rescue buyer.
In an open letter posted last night (May 8), he wrote: “I went back into PledgeMusic just over three months ago as a volunteer to try and help the board and team turn around and sell the company, but I am sad to report that this effort has not met with success and that PledgeMusic will shortly be heading into administration.
“I cannot begin to appreciate how all of you affected artists are feeling about this and I am deeply sorry for what you have been through.”
He added: “I ask all of the fans to please understand the awful and near impossible situation that this has put the artists that you love and supported in, and as such I ask you to bear with them as they do their best to make any obligations to you right.
“I am sad to report that this effort has not met with success and that PledgeMusic will shortly be heading into administration.”
Benji Rogers, PledgeMusic
“I am also sorry for all of the labels, fulfillment companies and other vendors affected.
“I feel for all the PledgeMusic team members who did their very best to resolve these issues and have been badly let down while enduring broken promises and physical threats that they did not deserve.”
These were softer words than those offered by indie band Jesus Jones, a PledgeMusic customer.
“Ever since [Pledge] promised that we’d be repaid what they stole, within 90 days, I knew they were lying,” they wrote on social media yesterday.
“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.”
The band added: “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.”Music Business Worldwide