5 Questions with PledgeMusic's Benji Rogers at SXSW

Direct-to-fan business models are a major theme of this year's SXSW and companies like PledgeMusic are starting to get significant industry attention. PledgeMusic took part in a Nielsen study of music fans that found consumers of all types -- whether they were SXSW attendees or casual fans -- would pay extra for exclusive content during the recording of an artist's album. The message suggests that new platforms can help artists and labels generate new revenue by re-thinking how and when they sell goods.
 
Billboard caught up with PledgeMusic co-founder and CEO Benji Rogers while walking from Progress Coffee, past a long line at the Fader Fort and under I-35 to Austin's Convention Center.
 
Glenn Peoples: You were part of the Nielsen study that was presented this week at SXSW. What was the biggest surprise of that study?
The surprise to me to find that 8% of [PledgeMusic users] are big box consumers. I thought we weren't going to touch anything those guys wanted. Seeing that there's a significant segment of people who would normally go to Best Buy turning into pledgers because they wanted the experiences that pledging offered, that was the biggest surprise I saw from the study -- or one of them. The other was, of course, the billions of dollars left on the table, which is something I suspected for a long time but it was great to have an outside party find that out.
 
How many years have you come to SXSW?
This is my fourth year. It's been really good. I haven't seen a band yet. But I'm intending to do so tonight.
 
Did you ever come here as a musician?
No. My band [Marwood] was invited once and we couldn't make it happen. I wanted to, but I didn't want to play 9 shows in 4 days at 10 in the morning, either. Any band that gets here and is playing deserves a medal of some kind, let's put it that way.
 
What band are you looking forward to seeing?
I'm looking forward to seeing Josh Rouse. He's been one of my favorites for a long time, since the album "1972," really. We got to work with him and he's playing so that's really cool. There's a great band called Star and Micey that I love. They're epic. And this band Shel. I found them at the Memphis Folk Alliance Festival last year. And Hawk Eyes for some rock.
 
And eating. Are you restaurants or food trucks?
Restaurants. I've pretty much had every meal at the Driskill [Hotel], just because that's where I have all my meetings. I like to keep it simple and I order the same thing every time. But I will probably have a barbeque extravaganza at some point. No, that's not true. I went to a great place called -- on South Congress. I also go to Guero's.

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