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PledgeMusic was an online direct-to-fan music platform, launched in August 2009, that was started to facilitate musicians reaching out to their fanbase (termed Pledgers) to pre-sell, market, and distribute music projects including recordings, music videos, and concerts. Broadly speaking it bore some similarities to other artist payment platforms as ArtistShare, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, RocketHub and Sellaband. The company announced it was facing bankruptcy in May 2019, after a year of artists reporting slow payment problems[1] and was wound up on July 31.[2]

Type of site
Direct-to-fan music platform
Available in
Founder(s)Benjie Rogers
IndustryCrowdsourcing for musicians
Alexa rankIncrease 35,359 (Global, April 2017)
Registrationviewing - no, selling/buying - yes[a]
LaunchedAugust 2009; 10 years ago (2009-08)
Current statusBankrupt[1]

Business modelEdit

PledgeMusic considered itself a direct-to-fan platform as opposed to a crowdfunding website. Features that the site claimed distinguished it from similar competitors:[3]

  • Sole focus on raising funds for musicians
  • Not retaining any ownership or rights to any music created through the platform
  • Encourages artists to include contributions to charity
  • Absorbs all transaction processing costs involved in pledging on a project
  • Encourages artists to offer a wide range of incentives and exclusive content to fans
  • No processing of any fund transactions until the fund target reached
  • International, accepting artists, projects and pledges from all over the world
  • Pledger refunds

PledgeMusic had two distinct types of campaigns: direct-to-fan and preorder. In direct-to-fan campaigns, fans are not charged until the project target is reached. If a target is not reached, fans are not charged. In preorder campaigns, fans are charged immediately, and the artist is paid directly upon project completion.[4]


PledgeMusic artists have the option of donating a percentage of their total or post-goal revenue to a charity of their choice. Currently, 67% of projects are linked with a charity.[5][when?] Artists without a cause in mind are able to meet with the company's charity outreach specialist to pair them up with charities.


In 2010, While discussing the Digital Economy Bill Lord Errol, in the UK House of Lords, has described PledgeMusic as a "rather clever idea" in the context of new ways of releasing music.[6]

In June 2019, Musically reported that Kickstarter decided against launching a similar service due to being unable to find a sustainable business model that would support a high number of lower-volume creators.[7]



PledgeMusic was formed in the UK and registered with Companies House on October 1, 2008 by Benji Rogers, Jann Tosatto, Jayce Varden and Rupert Selby who were all directors of the company.

In the next few years, a number of complementary companies were also formed under the PledgeMusic banner. They were: PledgeMusic Retail Ltd[8] on June 18, 2009; PledgeMusic Recordings Limited[9] on August 18, 2010 (originally named PledgeMusic 2.0 Limited); and PledgeMusic Publishing[10] on November 11, 2010. Benji Rogers was a director of all of the additional companies together with others in various combinations, some of whom went on to also become directors.

Early successesEdit

Ginger Wildheart was awarded the 2012 Classic Rock Awards 'Event Of The Year' award for his PledgeMusic campaign.[11]

By 2013, roughly thirty artists that used the site had subsequently signed label recording contracts.[12]

In 2014, PledgeMusic reported a 90% campaign success rate (higher than Kickstarter or Indiegogo), with most artists raising an average 140% of their goal.[5] PledgeMusic and teamed up to produce a documentary about 'super fans' and their role in the future of the music industry. The documentary features footage and interviews from SXSW and interviews with artists such as Nicole Atkins and San Fermin.

Directorial changesEdit

By the last quarter of 2015, all of the founding directors, with the exception of Benji Rogers, had left PledgeMusic. Rusell Rieger and Joshua Sason joined as directors in 2015 with Donald Ienner, Daniel Rowe and David Walsh joining in June 2017. Benji Rogers eventually left the company on February 18, 2018.

Payment issues since 2018Edit

In early 2019, reports emerged of artists not being paid in accordance with their agreements with PledgeMusic.[13][14][15][16][17] Also at that time, PledgeMusic's accounts for 2017 had not been filed with Companies House in the UK and by then were 4 months overdue.[18] On 24 January 2019, PledgeMusic issued a statement via its blog page that claimed the company was having “discussions with several strategic players in the industry who have an interest in the PledgeMusic platform” and that it expects "payments will be brought current within the next 90 days."[19]

On January 29, PledgeMusic founder Benji Rogers issued a statement saying he was returning to the company as "a volunteer strategic advisor and observer to the board." While the company was still working to "sort the back payments issue", Rogers claimed that "all funds coming into the company from now on will be managed by an independent third party (to be named soon)."[20]

In February 2019, a company charge was placed on PledgeMusic by Sword, Rowe & Company LLC.[21]

On May 3, a report was published in Digital Music News in which a leaked email was quoted, apparently sent from Robbie Wirdnam, an assistant manager at FRP Advisory LLP, who, according to the email, are due to be appointed as administrators for the winding up of[22] The email was attempting to find potential buyers for all or part of the PledgeMusic business prior to selling off the company's assets.

Administration: May 2019 to presentEdit

Benji Rogers, the company's co-founder, stated in a blog dated May 8 that efforts to sell the company had failed and that "PledgeMusic will shortly be heading into administration".[1][23] Rogers said that the crowdfunding platform had used money that was pledged for use by musical artists to pay off the company's debts instead.[24] Many artists who were pledged money through the website will most likely not receive the money that was promised to them.[25] John Zorn is among the artists affected, who is owed $197,559, money which was pledged to help him finish his 25-year-long project, The Book Beriah.[26]

By June 5, a number of trade bodies in the United Kingdom, including UK Music, had launched a survey to investigate the impact PledgeMusic's failure would have on the industry.[27]

Sometime between July 13 and July 25, the website became unavailable. The latest archived copy held by was dated July 13.[28]

On July 31, a petition to wind up was heard in the High Court of London.[2] The petition was presented by Russell Rieger on behalf of the directors of, who at that time were Russell Rieger, Joshua Sason, Donald Ienner, Daniel Rowe and David Walsh,[29] and was granted on August 19.[30]

Artists with campaigns on the siteEdit

Campaign End Date Artist Project Type Project Title Label References
PledgeMusic went bankrupt before Zorn, along with hundreds of other artists, was paid John Zorn Album The Book Beriah Tzadik [31]
January 2019 Ohgr Album Tricks Independent [32]
January 2019 Utopia Album Utopia : The Complete Bearsville Singles 1977-1982 Rhino/Bearsville/Warner Bros. [33]
2018 Men at Work Album Men at Work: You Better Take Cover (A tribute to Greg Ham) PledgeMusic [34]
July 2018 Willie Nile Album Children of Paradise River House Records [35]
2017 "Weird Al" Yankovic Other Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of "Weird Al" Yankovic Legacy Recordings [36]
Ongoing Aly & AJ EP Ten Years Aly & AJ Music, LLC [37]
October 2016 Justin Guarini EP JG PledgeMusic [38]
Ongoing Erasure Album World Be Gone Mute [39]
March 2016? Demon Hunter Album Outlive Solid State Records
Ongoing Marillion Album Fuck Everyone and Run Intact/EarMusic [40][41]
Ongoing Culture Club Album Tribes Different Man/Kobalt [42][43]
October 2016 Sum 41 Album "13 Voices" Hopeless Records [44][45]
Ongoing Esmee Denters Album New EP PledgeMusic [46]
Ongoing Christian Death Album The Root of All Evolution PledgeMusic [47]
Ongoing Dweezil Zappa Album PledgeMusic [48]
May 2015 Ash Album "Kablammo!" Atomic Heart Records [49]
Ongoing Shayne Ward Album "Closer" PledgeMusic [50]
Ongoing Macy Gray Album The Way PledgeMusic [51]
Ongoing Plain White T's Album American Nights PledgeMusic [52]
Ongoing Guster Live Album Nettwerk [53]
Ongoing Black Veil Brides Album "Black Veil Brides IV" Universal/Republic [54]
Ongoing Unlocking the Truth Debut EP RED Associated Labels [55]
Done Erasure Album The Violet Flame Mute [56]
Ongoing RX Bandits Album "Gemini, Her Majesty" INgrooves [57]
Ongoing Echo & the Bunnymen Album "Meteorites" 429 [58]
Ongoing Rufus Wainwright Album "Prima Donna" Independent [59]
Ongoing Matt Pond Album "State of Gold" BMG Rights Management [60]
Ongoing The Birthday Massacre Album "Superstition" Metropolis [61]
Ongoing Chali 2na EP "Against The Current" Independent [62]
October 2015 The Zombies Album "Still Got That Hunger" The End Records [63]
September 2015 David Cook Album "Digital Vein" Analog Heart Music / INgrooves [64]
September 2015 Silversun Pickups Album "Better Nature" New Machine Records [65]
December 2014 Dexys Album "Nowhere Is Home" Absolute Marketing and Distribution [66]
December 2014 The Enemy Album "Dancing All Night" Cooking Vinyl [67]
November 2014 The Vines Album "Wicked Nature" Wicked Nature [68]
November 2014 Terri Clark Album Baretrack Records / EMI [69]
November 2014 Weezer Album "Everything Will Be Alright in the End" Universal/Republic [70]
November 2014 Interpol Album "El Pintor" PIAS Entertainment Group [71]
October 2014 Mobb Deep Album "The Infamous Mobb Deep" Infamous Records [72]
October 2014 Antigone Rising Album "Whiskey & Wine (vol. 1 & 2)" Independent [73]
October 2014 Jack Strify Album "ILLUSION" Independent [74]
June 2014 SPONGE Tour Endless Summer Tour Independent [75]
June 2014 Sevendust Album "Time Travelers & Bonfires" 7Bros Records [76]
June 2014 Peter Murphy Album "Mr. Moonlight Tour:
35 Years of Bauhaus
Nettwerk [77]
June 2014 K.Flay Album "Life As A Dog" Independent [78]
June 2014 Klaxons Album "Love Frequency" RED [79]
May 2014 The Clarks Album "Feathers & Bones" Independent [80]
May 2014 Lindsey Stirling Album "Shatter Me" Lindseystomp [81]
May 2014 Buzzcocks Album "The Way" Cooking Vinyl [82]
May 2014 Devin Townsend Album "Casualties of Cool" [83]
May 2014 Peter Andre Album "Big Night" Independent [84]
April 2014 Blake Lewis Album "Portrait of a Chameleon" INgrooves [85]
April 2014 Steel Panther Album "All You Can Eat" Kobalt [86]
April 2014 The Babys Album "I'll Have Some Of That!" All In Time Records [87]
April 2014 Joan Osborne Album "Love and Hate" Membran [88]
April 2014 Dan Wilson Album "Love Without Fear" Kobalt [89]
March 2014 311 Album "Stereolithic" INgrooves [90]
March 2014 Natives Album "Indoor War" Transmission Recordings [91]
March 2014 Kate Miller-Heidke Album "O Vertigo!" Cooking Vinyl [92]
March 2014 Tokyo Police Club Album "Forcefield" Mom + Pop [93]
March 2014 Stiff Little Fingers Album "No Going Back" Rigid Digits [94]
February 2014 The Presidents of the USA Album "Kudos to You!" PUSA Inc. [95]
February 2014 Reverend and The Makers Album "ThirtyTwo" Cooking Vinyl [96]
January 2014 The Hold Steady EP "The Unified Scene" Razor & Tie [97]
January 2014 The Rifles Album "None the Wiser" Cooking Vinyl [98]
January 2014 Hard-Fi Album "Hard-Fi: Best of 2004 – 2014" Warner [99]
December 2013 Flyleaf Album "Between The Stars" Loud and Proud Records [100]
November 2013 Mike Doughty Album "Circles, Super Bon Bon, and
The Very Best Of Soul Coughing"
Independent [101]
November 2013 Apocalyptica Album "Wagner Reloaded" RCA [102]
November 2013 Umphrey's McGee Live Album "Hall of Fame: Class of 2012" Nothing Too Fancy Music [103]
October 2013 Slash Album "Nothing Left to Fear
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)"
September 2013 Katatonia Album "Dethroned & Uncrowned" Burning Shed [105]
September 2013 Lissie Album "Back to Forever" Columbia (UK/EUR)
Fat Possum (US)
August 2013 Juliana Hatfield Album "Wild Animals" Ye Olde Records [107]
June 2013 Sam Duckworth (GCWCF) Album "Amazing Grace" Independent [108]
May 2013 Donots Live DVD/Album "Wake the States" Solitary Man [109]
April 2013 Bring Me the Horizon Album "Sempiternal" RCA [110]
April 2013 The Whybirds Album "A Little Blood" The Little Red Recording Company [111]
March 2013 IAMX Album "The Unified Field" 61seconds Records [112]
March 2013 Kate Nash Album Girl Talk" INgrooves [113]
December 2012 Ian McCulloch Album "Pro Patria Mori" Independent [114]
November 2012 Kissy Sell Out Album "San City High ALL STARS" San City High Records [115]
October 2012 LCD Soundsystem DVD "Shut Up and Play the Hits" DFA [116]
August 2012 Kill It Kid EP "Rarities" Independent [117]
July 2012 Ginger Wildheart Album "Hey! Hello!" Round Records [118]
July 2012 Ginger Wildheart Album "Mutations/Mutations 2" Round Records [118]
April 2012 The Libertines DVD "There Are No Innocent Bystanders" Absolute [119]
March 2012 The Infamous Stringdusters Album "Silver Sky" High Country Recordings [120]
October 2011 The Lumineers Other Dualtone [121]
September 2011 Crystal Fighters Deluxe Album "Star of Love" Independent [122]
September 2011 The Subways Album "Money and Celebrity" Independent [123]
September 2011 Art Brut Album "Brilliant! Tragic!" Cooking Vinyl (UK/EUR)
Downtown (US)
July 2010 Ginger Wildheart Album "555% (aka 100%)" Round Records [125]
May 2010 Kopecky Family Band Album "The Disaster" ATO Records [126]
On Going Blind Pilot Album "And Then Like Lions" ATO Records [127]
May 2010 Princess Superstar Album "The New Evolution" Independent

In the ChartsEdit

Various PledgeMusic albums have had chart success, including:

  • Stiff Little Fingers - No Going Back - #1 in UK Rock Album Charts - #28 in UK Album Charts
  • Ginger Wildheart - 100% - #27 in the UK
  • Charlie Simpson - When We Were Lions - #6 in the UK
  • Ben Folds Five - The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind - #10 on the Billboard Top 200
  • The Subways - Money and Celebrity - #16 in Germany, #43 in the UK
  • Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal - #3 in the UK, #1 in Australia
  • Lindsey Stirling - Shatter Me - #2 on the Billboard Top 200, #1 in both Classical and EDM
  • Sevendust - Time Travelers and Bonfires - #19 in the US
  • Kate Miller-Heidke - O Vertigo! - #3 in Australia
  • 311 - STEREOLITHIC - #6 on the Billboard Top 200
  • Mindi Abair - #1 on the Billboard Jazz chart
  • Casey Crescenzo - #2 on the Billboard Classical chart
  • The Puppini Sisters - The High Life - #1 debut on the UK iTunes Jazz Chart, #3 debut US iTunes Jazz Chart
  • The String Cheese Incident — #1 Billboard Heatseekers, #4 Vinyl
  • Thomas Rhett - #1 Billboard 200
  • Gary Numan — #2 in the UK
  • Rhydian - One Day Like This - #19 in UK Album Charts

Affiliated companies and partnershipsEdit

PledgeMusic Recordings[128] and PledgeMusic Publishing[129] are both affiliated companies providing the traditional services of a record label and a publishing company to select Artists.

PledgeMusic and the following companies have entered into commercial partnerships to provide more integrated services to Artists:

PledgeMusic has partnered with the Hotel Cafe for SXSW 2011[138] and 2012.[139]

PledgeMusic has hosted showcases with CMJ.[140]


PledgeMusic was nominated for the 2010 BT Digital Music Awards in the category "Best Innovation or Gadget".[141]

PledgeMusic was nominated for the 2011 Music Week Awards in the category "Consumer-Facing Digital Music Service of the Year".[142]

PledgeMusic was nominated for the 2011 BT Digital Music Awards in the category "Best Innovation or Gadget".[143]

PledgeMusic was noted as one of Billboard's "Five digital startups to watch in 2013".[144]

PledgeMusic won the Grammy Music Technology Lab in 2013.[145]

PledgeMusic was nominated for SoundCtrl's 2013 Best in Artist Support award.[146]

PledgeMusic was nominated for the American Association of Independent Music 2013 Annual Libera Awards (The "LIBBYs") 21st Century Award – celebrating the service provider or platform that was most beneficial to Independent labels and artists.[147]

Co-founders Benji Rogers and Malcolm Dunbar were named to The Hospital Club 100 list in 2013 in the category of Music.[148]

Benji Rogers, founder and president of PledgeMusic, won A&R Worldwide's International Music Industry Awards' Distinguished Digital Executive of the Year, 2014

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ You are not required to sign up to view projects or browse, but you are required to for purchasing and making projects.


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  71. ^ "Interpol: El Pintor".
  72. ^ "Mobb Deep: The Infamous on PledgeMusic".
  73. ^ "Antigone Rising: Whiskey and Wine on PledgeMusic".
  74. ^ "Jack Strify: ILLUSION".
  75. ^ "SPONGE: Summer Tour 2014".
  76. ^ "Sevendust: New Acoustic Album on PledgeMusic".
  77. ^ "Peter Murphy: Mr. Moonlight Tour: 35 Years of Bauhaus on PledgeMusic".
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  97. ^ "The Hold Steady: The Unified Scene".
  98. ^ "The Rifles: New Album on PledgeMusic".
  99. ^ "Hard-Fi: Best of 2004 - 2014 on PledgeMusic".
  100. ^ "Flyleaf: Between The Stars".
  101. ^ "Mike Doughty: Soul Coughing Songs: Reimagined".
  102. ^ "Apocalyptica: Wagner Reloaded on PledgeMusic".
  103. ^ "Umphrey's Mcgee: Hall of Fame: Class of 2012".
  104. ^ "Slash: Nothing Left to Fear Soundtrack".
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  145. ^ (Press Release) Wins Grammy Music Technology Lab. PledgeMusic (2013-02-27). Retrieved on 2013-09-21.
  146. ^ (Press Release) Thanks to SoundCtrl for Nominating Us for a 2013 FlashFWD Award!. PledgeMusic (2013-04-16). Retrieved on 2013-09-21.
  147. ^ American Association of Independent Music — Blog — A2IM LIBBY Awards Final Nominees Announced. A2IM (2013-04-24). Retrieved on 2013-09-21.
  148. ^ "The Hospital Club 100 list 2013 | Culture professionals network | Guardian Professional". 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2014-06-01.