×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists Are Owed by PledgeMusic

For eight years, PledgeMusic was a success story: A direct-to-fan platform where artists worked directly with their audiences to fund their albums, tours and all stripes of merchandise, with fans able to purchase everything from custom guitar picks to private concerts.

Yet last June, Variety broke the news that the company is struggling to pay artists, and its problems have snowballed in recent weeks, with hundreds if not more artists unpaid. The company is in triage mode: Founder Benji Rogers, who left the company in 2016, returned on a temporary, unpaid basis last month 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 a statement late in January, in which it said, “It is our expectation that payments will be brought current within the next 90 days.”

However, as the figures below demonstrate — which artists have shared, showing how much money they are owed by PledgeMusic — the situation has left artists in a dire situation. One artist’s manager said, “He is currently borrowing money from friends and family to stay afloat. This sh– is real.”

Artists from Queensryche to Blacktop Mojo have posted apologies on social media to their fans for PledgeMusic-related issues; all of the figures below except for Bernie Torme’s were provided directly to Variety from the artist or their representatives. This list is not comprehensive or complete; these are artists we happened to reach out to, and several others declined to reveal figures or comment. A rep for PledgeMusic had no comment when contacted by Variety on Friday.

David Archuleta: $22,000

Seth Walker: $21,257

Emily Kinney: $21,000

Bernie Torme: The guitarist is currently in intensive care suffering from virulent pneumonia; a statement on his social media accounts reads: “Bernie remains in intensive care and asked for the following statement to be released: PledgeMusic owe Bernie Torme almost £16,000 which was due last December on completion of his recent ‘Shadowland’ Pledgemusic campaign.”

Fastball: $11,130.75 (“Keep in mind they had to pay for all the CD’s, vinyl and T-shirts for the fans who pledged money,” their manager Ron Stone tells Variety. “That was more than $10,000 in costs.”)

Jennifer Thomas: “just under $11,000”

Jesus Jones: “more than $5k, less than 10,” says rep Iain

Charlie Faye: $5,538

Seth Walker: “We’re owed $19,157, which is after Pledge’s 15%. In total, we raised $23,538. Additionally, we’re on the hook for $2,100 in shipping charges that Pledge collected but never paid out to their fulfillment company Bandwear.”

While Melissa Otero is not in as dire a situation financially as some of the other artists, she had the following to say: “My issue with Pledge isn’t that they still owe me money, per-se — I cancelled my campaign 20 days before its deadline. However, the issue is the following: 1. They launched my campaign in December well after they knew they had problems with payments; 2. I lost a lot of fans because of this. They left my newsletter and/or haven’t return to pledge over at my GoFundMe account which to me means they may not trust me or the platforms I use; 3. The total I had in pledges was $800, almost the full amount for my producer to be paid and lost all of that. It may not seem like much but for any project, every little bit counts. I believe that this is important because they were still launching campaigns and accepting money from people well into their financial woes and I believe other artists achieved 100% of their goals and haven’t gotten paid.”

L7 declined to provide Variety with a figure they are owed — but indicated the amount is many times more than the highest amount listed for any other artist in this article — and made the following statement via their attorney, Joseph J. Madonia:

“L7 is still owed a major amount of their Campaign funds by Pledge Music. They’re unable to complete and fulfill the Campaign without it. By law, Pledge is to keep all of this money in trust and on account for L7, and in separate accounts for each artist. We’ve issued a formal demand to Pledge Music for an accounting and the release of all monies due L7, so far with no reply. We still expect Pledge to follow through on their legal and ethical obligations to both L7 and the fans, and to stop evading the question on everyone’s mind, still unanswered in their spin and many public statements, ‘Where did the money go?’”

At press time, reps for PledgeMusic had not responded to Variety’s request for comment.

More Music

  • Sam Hunt Country and Pop Hitmakers

    Sam Hunt Apologizes for ‘Selfish’ Decision to Drive Under the Influence

    Country singer-songwriter Sam Hunt, who was arrested in Nashville on charges of driving under the influence and possession of an open container early Thursday morning, tweeted an apology for the incident Friday afternoon. “Thursday night I decided to drive myself home after drinking at a friend’s show in downtown Nashville,” he wrote. “It was a [...]

  • Queen and Slim soundtrack

    Album Review: 'Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack'

    “Queen & Slim,” the film, traffics in sudden tragedy and symbolic terror as it portrays the violence of self-defense and self-awareness in stark, painful terms. It deserves an equally audacious score and soundtrack, a job that has gone to another Devonté Hynes, the British singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and director in his guise of Blood [...]

  • Michael Jackson in concert in Milton

    Michael Jackson Music Biopic in the Works From 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King has struck a deal with the Michael Jackson estate for the pop star’s life and music rights, with plans to make a feature film based on both. King has tapped “Gladiator” and “The Aviator” screenwriter John Logan for the project. The film currently has no studio or distributor attached. The [...]

  • Beck

    Album Review: Beck's 'Hyperspace'

    Veering dangerously close to the atom heart of the mainstream does something to an artist of adventure. It can make a superman weak in its presence, like Kryptonite (it took years and Tin Machine for Bowie to recover from “Let’s Dance”), or build a stronger artist by moving ever more consistently into success’s center square, [...]

  • The Edge, Adam Clayton and Bono

    U2 Tops Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran as Highest-Grossing Touring Artist of the Decade

    U2 topped the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift as the top-grossing touring artist of the 2010s, according to data from Pollstar. U2 grossed more than a billion dollars — $1,038,104,132, to be exact — although that number is likely to grow, as the group is currently on its “Joshua Tree 2019” tour in Australia, New [...]

  • Def Jam Logo

    Layoffs Hit Def Jam Records

    Def Jam Records laid off several employees this week, including executive VP of brand strategy and content Noah Callahan-Bever and OJ Lima, senior VP in that department, a source close to the situation has confirmed to Variety. A total of seven employees let go, a number that includes regional promotion staffers not based in New [...]

  • Marriage Story

    Randy Newman on Hitting the Romantic Notes of 'Marriage Story' (Exclusive Featurette)

    Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” opens with a seven-minute montage. “I wanted a big, warm romantic score for the movie,” Baumbach says, of the music for his film about a couple whose marriage starts to unravel and their struggle through divorce. “The picture begins with a seven-minute montage. It introduces themes that are such used throughout [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content