×

PledgeMusic Cofounder Benji Rogers Returns as an Advisor

UPDATED: After several tumultuous months at PledgeMusic that have seen many artists going unpaid, cofounder Benji Rogers announced on Tuesday that he will be returning to the company temporarily “on a voluntary basis, as an unremunerated strategic advisor and board observer,” he told Variety.

Last week Rogers, who left the company in 2016 to focus on his role at Dot Blockchain Media, wrote a blog post in which he apologized to the affected artists, and he announced his return in another blog post. Rogers founded the company with Jayce Varden in 2009 as a platform in which artists can sell everything from music to personal concerts directly to fans.

“I would like to pick up from where I left off in my previous post,” he wrote. “I have agreed, on a short-term basis, to return to PledgeMusic as a volunteer strategic advisor and observer to the board. I will remain as full time CSO to Dot Blockchain Media and I am grateful to my amazing DotBC team for their understanding and patience.

“I have been in discussions with the management team and board of Pledge over the last few days and I am convinced that they are committed to fixing the artists payments situation as their first priority. I have seen first hand how tirelessly the team, management and board have been working to right the ship and that is why I have agreed to help where I can.

“The first priority for the company is to sort the back payments issue as every penny that is owed to artists needs to get to them in the fastest possible time. A more detailed plan will be shared with the community shortly. Secondly all funds coming into the company from now on will be managed by an independent third party (to be named soon) so as to ensure that all campaigns that launch going forward, will be paid upon their campaign milestones being reached. The specifics of this will be detailed in the aforementioned forthcoming announcement.

“Thirdly I will work with the team to ensure that there is a go forward plan that includes and listens to the incredible community of artists and fans that we created. Once we are through our first two priorities we will work on the third.”

In June of last year, Variety spoke with multiple prominent artists who were owed thousands of dollars by the PledgeMusic. The company’s CEO and another executive who chose to remain anonymous attributed many of the problems to an unexpected change in the company’s payment fulfillment system, restated their commitment to the company and its crowdfunding model, and insisted the company was “working through” the problems. In October that CEO, Dominic Pandiscia, stepped down, but the company reshuffled its senior management and pointed to new investors, and several of the artists Variety spoke with — particularly the “squeaky wheels” who spoke with the press or complained on social media — said they had received at least some of the money they were due (sources close to the situation tell Variety that PledgeMusic has a prioritized list of artists who will be paid first).

However, it appears the situation grew worse over the past few months, as around 25 artists or their representatives responded to a post in the Lefsetz Letter, in which blogger Bob Lefsetz reported the service was behind in its payments to the band Fastball (who told Variety on Friday that they had just received around half of the money Pledge owes them). While a few of the posts could be characterized as common complaints, more than half of them spoke first-hand of late or inadequate payments and a lack of response from company executives. Variety also spoke with several additional artists who had problems with the service in recent months.

The company issued a statement Thursday in response to those reports, saying, “It is our expectation that payments will be brought current within the next 90 days.” (Read their full statement here.)

While Pledge has not commented on Rogers’ return, it was met enthusiastically by many people on social media.

“I will do all in my power to help the team bring this to a successful conclusion for the artists and fans as quickly as is possible,” his post concludes. “I am deeply sorry to those of you who have been affected by this.”

 

More Music

  • Sirius Logo

    SiriusXM Unveils $8 Essential Plan for Consumers Without Cars

    SiriusXM wants to cater consumers without cars, or cars without compatible stereos, with a new $8 plan for mobile and in-home listening. Dubbed SiriusXM Essential, the plan offers access to 200+ channels featuring the network’s entire music programming, as well comedy, news and select sports channels. Consumers will be able to test the new plan [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. This Sunday, Lambert comes full circle [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

  • Synthplex

    Synthplex Conference Draws 2,500 Electronic Music Enthusiasts to Burbank

    The inaugural SYNTHPLEX Music Conference, held in Burbank on March 28 through 31, drew more than 2,500 electronic music enthusiasts. The confab included performances, lectures and, most importantly, hands-on time with instrument manufacturers — from marquee names like Roland and Elektron down to smaller, more boutique modular companies. Among the highlights was a standing-room-only keynote [...]

  • A-chan, Kashiyuka, Nocchi. A-chan, from left,

    J-Pop Stars Perfume Talk Coachella, Influences and Sourdough Bread

    One of Japan’s most popular groups, Perfume became the first J-Pop act to ever take the stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with a performance last weekend. Formed in 2000, the electro-pop trio will do another set at the fest’s Gobi Tent on Sunday. That concert will conclude Perfume’s U.S. tour to promote their album, “Future Pop.” Nocchi [...]

  • Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Joins Nick

    Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Joins Nick Mason at 'Heart of the Sun' in Surprise Reunion

    Fifty years after the release of the Pink Floyd classic “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” Roger Waters and Nick Mason reteamed to perform the mini-epic Thursday night at Mason’s show with his band Saucerful of Secrets at the Beacon in New York. And to replace the question “Which one’s Pink?” with [...]

  • Texas Tech Virginia NCAA Basketball Final

    Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj to Tour Together This Fall (EXCLUSIVE)

    A day after Variety broke the news that Nicki Minaj has parted company with her longtime managers, sources close to the situation confirm that she will tour this fall with with Chris Brown. This week the pair released a collaborative single with G-Eazy called “Wobble Up.” While no itinerary was immediately available and it was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content