Paste Media Group Acquires NoiseTrade From Embattled Crowdfunding Platform PledgeMusic

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PledgeMusic has withheld payment from dozens of artists and bands who crowdfunded on the platform.

NoiseTrade, the music and book discovery platform owned by embattled crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic, has been purchased for an undisclosed amount by Paste Media Group, the company announced Thursday (April 25).   

“Today begins a new era of NoiseTrade with its acquisition by Paste,” said the company in a statement posted on the Paste Magazine website. “We’ve long been fans of the site’s ability to connect artists with new fans and music fans with their new favorite bands.”   

 

NoiseTrade allows its 1.3 million users to download and stream hundreds of thousands of songs and books, while also connecting musicians and authors to their followers over e-mail. The service is completely free for both artists and fans.

Paste, which in 2017 joined forces with Daytrotter -- the Iowa recording studio that free-streams thousands of their in-studio performances online -- notes that the entire Daytrotter library will also be added to NoiseTrade in the coming weeks.

“NoiseTrade has officially joined the Paste Magazine family!” said NoiseTrade in a post on their official Facebook page. “We’ll continue to bring you the best music and books content, including exclusive performances from the Paste Music and Daytrotter studios, along with interviews, reviews and more. The goal to connect artists and fans won’t change; we’ll just be doing it a whole lot more!”

To celebrate the purchase, Paste is offering free downloads of a number of Daytrotter sessions from artists including Bon Iver, The Avett Brothers, Lizzo, Mumford & Sons (and Friends), Wilco, Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr., Haim, The National and Kamasi Washington.

NoiseTrade was purchased by PledgeMusic in 2016, but the latter company eventually became embroiled in scandal after withholding payments from dozens of artists who had crowdfunded on their platform, leaving musicians unable to deliver on promised merchandise to fans. PledgeMusic initially blamed a “transition in payment platforms” and asked for “patience” and “breathing space” as it explored potential partnerships or acquisitions to bring accounts current, but have yet to pay the artists what they’re owed.

In a recent Billboard investigative piece, a former PledgeMusic employee alleged that the company does not hold money “on account for the artist,” as their terms and conditions state, but rather use it to fund ongoing operations and grow the company. Artists have been bailing from the platform since the scandal broke. The company recently brought in previously-departed co-founder Benji Rogers to help turn things around. In February, Christopher Moon, who helped launch NoiseTrade, announced his resignation from the company.

It's unclear what the deal means for the dozens of artists who have yet to be paid by PledgeMusic.