Veteran rock band L7 is one of the thousands of musicians left financially stranded by PledgeMusic, the direct-to-fan marketplace that filed for the British equivalent of bankruptcy earlier this year — and today the band issued a statement about PledgeMusic and the status of “Scatter the Rats,” the album that was left in the lurch by the company’s collapse. The album was released in May on Joan Jett’s label, Blackheart Records, but those who pre-ordered it via PledgeMusic have yet to receive their copies; the group also dropped a video for “Holding Pattern,” a song from the album (watch it below), and announced a guitar giveaway as part of the album’s forthcoming pre-order fulfillment campaign.
“To give a brief summary for those not familiar with the PledgeMusic scam, in a nutshell, the funds that many bands and their supporters raised through the crowdfunding platform were absconded by the company with zero accountability and unreturned legal appeals,” the statement reads in part. “Their site is no longer live and they are filing for bankruptcy protection in the U.K.
“As bad as it is, the band nonetheless has made the financial decision to honor our fans who pre-ordered the album through Pledge Music, and which they have yet to receive. Thanks to Joan Jett and Blackheart Records, L7 was able to manufacture and ship what would have been utterly impossible without their support. Pledge Music has held over $20,000 in shipping costs alone that we have no access to and will likely never see. However, L7 has made the financial commitment to honor these mailings. From the Borough of Brooklyn to the shores of Peru, every Pledger who paid for the record please take note, the music is on its way!
“We do not wish to further comment on this situation as we do not want to be the face of being screwed over. L7 are bigger and mightier than this mess. The only time we will speak of this again will be in a courtroom. So with the graciousness and empathy of our fans, we are turning this unfortunate page in an otherwise amazing chapter in our career.”
Variety broke the news about Pledge’s financial troubles in May of last year, which have left countless musicians on the hook for recording, merchandise and other expenses the company had guaranteed it would reimburse. Once the company goes into administration (i.e. bankruptcy), its assets presumably will be sold off to the highest bidders, but it seems unlikely that there will be enough money to cover the entire amount owed to artists, which sources estimate is between $1 million and $3 million — in short, many artists probably never will receive the money that is owed to them.
In addition to mailing the records to backers, L7 has announced a special “Willy Wonka” style giveaway: Assisted by Blackheart Records and Gibson Guitars, one backer will find a golden ticket in their envelope, which means they will receive a Gibson Flying V guitar, signed by L7 guitarist Donita Sparks and played onstage during the ‘Scatter the Rats’ tour.
Regarding the video, the group said: “Although our song “Holding Pattern” is not about this lousy experience with PledgeMusic, we believe that we can all relate to its inspiration of being caught in a disheartening loop of stagnation in one way or another.”
“Scatter the Rats” is the band’s first album in 20 years. L7 formed in 1985, enjoyed their biggest commercial success with their “Bricks Are Heavy” album and its lead single “Pretend We’re Dead” in 1992, split in 2001 and reunited in 2015.