UK Music Biz Unites to Support Artists Affected by PledgeMusic Collapse

Music trade bodies and charities from across the U.K. have joined forces to access the impact of PledgeMusic's collapse and support the large number of British artists and businesses affected. 

Reports about PledgeMusic withholding payments to artists first started circulating last year. The direct-to-fan music crowdfunding platform has not publicly revealed how many musicians, labels and vendors it owes money to, but the number is believed to be in the thousands, with outstanding sums ranging from $50 to more than $200,000. 

The U.K.-based company suspended operations earlier this year and last month co-founder Benji Rogers announced that plans to sell PledgeMusic had fallen through, meaning that it would go into administration (similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy). 

In a letter to artists, Rogers apologized to all those affected. He said any funds received for the platform's assets would be distributed to its creditors, including "all of the artists who are owed money."

To try and establish how many U.K. artists have been affected by the demise of PledgeMusic and to what extent, British music industry organizations have now launched a survey to access its impact and how best to support those affected. 

UK Music, Music Managers Forum, Musicians' Union, the Association of Independent Music, Help Musicians UK, PRS Foundation, the Music Producers Guild, The Ivor's Academy, Featured Artists Coalition and labels trade body BPI are among the organizations backing the initiative. 

"The failure of PledgeMusic to appropriately ring-fence artist and fan money has the potential to damage artists' careers and their relationships with fans and fellow creators if they can't deliver on stalled campaigns," read a joint statement from the trade groups. 

The survey, which closes on June 25, has also received the support of British band Jesus Jones, who used PledgeMusic to fund release of their forthcoming album Voyages

"As a band who've been affected by the collapse of PledgeMusic, it's really gratifying to see a strong industry-wide response taking place," said Jesus Jones in a statement. "As artists, as fans, as people who've come to realise the potential strength of crowdfunding, it's vital that we all stand together, and rebuild confidence - and also seek to ensure that Pledge are held accountable for betraying such a vital bond of trust," the group went on to say.  

"Since the announcement of the PledgeMusic bankruptcy, we have had numerous calls from members whose artists have been impacted," explained Music Managers Forum's Nicky Carder. She urged U.K. artists affected to fill out the survey, "so the industry can work collectively to assess what next steps can be taken."

In the meantime, umbrella organization UK Music is calling on the British government to investigate the collapse of PledgeMusic and refer it to the Competition and Markets Authority. 

The Association of Independent Music has additionally published general guidance for artists affected by the closure of PledgeMusic.