PledgeMusic on L7’s Shitlist!
PledgeMusic was set up a decade ago to help both established bands and new names make it in the music business, by bypassing the traditional music labels and accessing money direct from their fans.
Under the model, fans pledge money to a band for a particular purpose – for instance, making a new album – and when the project is completed the musicians get the funds. Fans are happy. Band is happy. Everyone’s happy!
But as it stands right now, no one’s happy. No one is getting their money pledged to them by their fanbase. Fans and artists are in limbo and no one really knows what is going on!
PledgeMusic has not explained why it can’t pay artists the money it owes them, asking in a statement for “patience” and some “breathing space” as it explores potential partnerships or acquisitions that it says would help bring accounts current by the end of April.
But a former employee who asked to remain anonymous says the company doesn’t hold funds “on account for the artist,” as the website’s terms and conditions say. Instead, the ex-employee alleges, PledgeMusic uses that money for ongoing operations and invests it in growing the company.
On Jan. 29, PledgeMusic co-founder Benji Rogers announced that he has returned on a short-term basis, and PledgeMusic has said it plans to bring in a third-party company to manage all artist funds going forward — something leading competitors Kickstarter and Indiegogo already offer through online payment company Stripe. This week, PledgeMusic announced it would suspend accepting contributions to its active crowdfunding and presale campaigns until further notice.
Of interest to me, I had pledged funds for the forthcoming L7 album and was eagerly awaiting this forthcoming release. But it looks as if my money is lost in the PledgeMusic ether.
L7 too, were left in the lurch and have issued the following statement whilst battling to get their promised funds…
Hello L7 Fans-
We can’t in good conscience call anybody Pledgers anymore, sadly. Regardless, it seems a few of you have either missed the news on the Pledge scandal or have missed our last few updates.
To that end, we are going to bullet point exactly where things stand with L7 and Pledge:
1) L7 on its own accord has hired an attorney to seek the money that you fans gave to the campaign.
2) Pledge attorneys have remained silent to our request for the immediate accounting and release of all funds.
3) L7 lawyers consider Pledge to be now in breach of contract.
3) L7 is one of many bands across all genres of music that have become victims of Pledge’s misappropriation of funds.
4) The band successfully received only the first of what should be three installments. This first installment allowed the band to record the record.
5) Without access to the second and third installments and shipping monies held by Pledge, and legally due to the band, the band is unable to manufacture or ship much of what has been ordered.
5) L7 did seek out the help of Joan Jett’s Blackheart label to make sure everyone gets the music.
6) If you have ordered more than just the digital, CD or vinyl, we have heard through various sources that people have had success in obtaining a refund through their credit card company. Explaining to your credit card company that you never received your product may initiate an investigation. Once the fraud department is notified they will reach out to Pledge and upon being ignored may issue a refund in your favor. We suggest you look into this.
This is where we stand. Thanks to Joan and Blackheart, the record is now in the process of being manufactured. The lead time to make vinyl is 3-4 months, due to a backlog at record plants nationwide. In addition, the band is no longer in complete control if its marketing, distribution, and timeline to market.
What we can say is that Blackheart intends to release digital and CDs on May 3rd so those who have ordered these items will start seeing shipments in mid-May.
Blackheart will not have vinyl ready for shipment until the end of May, so please look for vinyl items mid-June.
Lastly, we are also committed to getting the personally signed items that were ordered shipped out along with the music. Drum skins, pedals, guitars and other memorabilia in the band’s possession will be shipped out, again at the personal cost to the band.
Blackheart is not making these records for free but allowing the band to pay over time, which in turn allows you all to get your items and the record to get out to the world. It’s a big win and were are eternally grateful!
We worked really hard on this album and are super proud of it. At a time we should all be celebrating, we instead are dealing with this scam, together, as victims of one of the biggest swindles in rock and roll history.
L7 is committed to paying for all of this out of money it hopes to receive on tour this May and June. Please wish us success and positive vibes on tour. We need it.
Dee, Donita, Jennifer and Suzi
sources: L7, Billboard Magazine