PledgeMusic has taken their website offline amid bankruptcy (administration) proceedings in the UK. In a saga all year that has left artists incensed and ready to take the company to court, this is the latest step in the cataclysmic downfall of a once important music company.
Their website now just reads a short statement, which doesn’t explain much and is a plea to be given more time.
“As many of you know, PledgeMusic suspended operations a number of months ago and the site is now offline. The company continues to work with outside counsel on the most appropriate next steps, and we will update you with those specifics as we get more information.,” explains the PledgeMusic Board. “All data has been preserved and a notice with next steps will be posted on here shortly.”
According to Variety, artists can become creditors with PledgeMusic to try and get their money back, though it isn’t clear how that can be done since they aren’t being very communicative. Pledge is an estimated $1 to $3 million in debt, which is bad for artists that were relying on that money for various projects and fans that gave their money thinking it would go to the artists. Some of that money is owed to artists and they may never see it again.
American grunge-punk band L7 is one of the latest to speak out about losing money with Pledge, saying in a statement, “The only time we will speak of this again will be in a courtroom.” They claim that Pledge took $20,000 and the band will likely not get it back. There are plenty more artists who say the company owes them money like The Dandy Warhold, Jesus Jones and Fastball, who all told Pitchfork that the company owes them thousands of dollars.
Where do artists go from here to try and get their money back? They can use their contact at Pledge (if they are replying) to try and become a creditor in the administration proceedings. This would be a good way to try and get themselves in line to be paid back. It isn’t clear how a judge will prioritize giving money back – investors or artists?
Artists should immediately request their data from PledgeMusic before something goes wrong. It may also take some time for the request to be processed. If artists get their data, they can reach out to the right fans with updates on what is happening.
The company says that they will post next steps shortly, but given how messy this will get, that may not be as quickly as one might want. This fiasco has led to canceled projects and artists being held in limbo for money they desperately need. No matter the outcome, it doesn't seem likely that Pledge will be trusted again and legal battles could continue for years to come.
UPDATE: Benji Rodgers got in touch with me on Twitter to give a clearer picture on what is going on with artist data.