Dominic Pandiscia has stepped down as CEO of PledgeMusic, sources close to the company confirmed to Variety.
The company, which is designed as a marketplace where serious music fans can help artists to fund their recordings and other projects — and in return receive everything from vinyl to personal visits — has faced challenges in paying artists in recent months, as revealed by Variety in June, falling behind in amounts “in the middle five figures.” While sources tell Variety that some of those artists have been paid — particularly the ones who spoke with the press or complained on social media — reports have emerged that others still haven’t been paid.
While Pandiscia declined Variety’s request for comment, his LinkedIn page indicates that he stepped down last month and is now focusing on his consulting business, Sunday Artist LLC. Comment. Two reps for Pledge did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
In June, Pandiscia acknowledged that the company had fallen behind in payments but stressed that the company was addressing the issue: “It’s understood that certain customers may have been unhappy over the last six months. The company has had some difficulty dealing with a larger volume of campaigns. The intention is to add value in every situation, and there is some work ahead to achieve that. With respect to payments, there have certainly been payment delays, but the company has always paid artists and should be completely caught up in the near future. The team has been strengthened and is addressing any concerns as the company grows.”
Pledge essentially aims to be a cross between a traditional crowdfunding site and a label-services company: Fans can contribute to recording costs (“crowdfunding”) as well as “pre-order” recorded product, merchandise (T-shirts, caps, etc.) and experiences (ranging from personalized phone calls to performances at fans’ homes), and are then updated on the artist’s progress via photos, videos, blog posts and ultimately the finished products, ideally building a community of superfan/small-business investor hybrids in the process. For this, Pledge takes a flat 15% fee of the money raised for crowdfunding campaigns (but only if the artist reaches their financial goal) and for pre-orders, and promises a fair revenue split and quick payment.
While the service has worked well for some artists — Melissa Etheridge, the Flaming Lips, Lindsey Stirling and Bring Me the Horizon are featured on its website — it has faced challenges in the past few months.
Variety will have more on this story as it develops.