PledgeMusic, the direct-to-fan marketplace that has faced serious financial troubles in recent months, is down to a “skeleton staff” and payroll in the U.S. office ceased within the last month, sources close to the situation tell Variety, although a potential buyer is “very interested” in the company and has been in due diligence for several weeks. The identity of the buyer was unclear at press time.
A rep for PledgeMusic declined Variety‘s request for comment.
While the company — a direct-to-fan platform where artists worked directly with their audiences to fund their albums, tours and merchandise, with fans able to purchase everything from custom guitar picks to private concerts — operated successfully for several years, last June Variety broke the news that the company is struggling to pay artists. Its problems have snowballed in recent weeks, with hundreds if not more artists owed thousands of dollars, many in five figures. On Jan. 24, the company issued a statement saying, “It is our expectation that payments will be brought current within the next 90 days,” yet as that deadline approaches, few artists say they have been paid. In February, Variety published a brief overview of what several artists are owed, but that seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Judging by conversations and social media posts from affected artists, the situation has not improved in recent weeks, with calls to the company from many artists going unanswered. However, the company’s last post on its website referred artists to its helpdesk to help resolve problems, noting that “Any communication outside of this channel will not be tracked and therefore issues will take longer to get to and be harder to resolve.”
In January, cofounder Benji Rogers, who left the company in 2016, returned on a temporary, unpaid basis in an effort to stabilize the situation. While his return was greeted with relief by many in the artist community, the company advised all artists to suspend their campaigns shortly after his arrival (many already had). Beyond the recommendation to suspend artist campaigns, the company has not commented on its recent challenges beyond the above statement.