Interview: Benji Rogers Of PledgeMusic
Here's a video of the full interview. Excerpts are below:
Benji Rogers from Pledge Music @ Austin Tech Talk SXSW 2013
"99% of PledgeMusic artists launch with a charitable component. As an artist, when you go into making an album, knowing that it's already been pre-sold, you go into it in a different headspace. Many artists say it is freeing, because rather than them focusing on whether this album is going to sell, they see that they're already making a profit and can give part of that to a charity. The whole concept of our company was based on this kind of win-win for everybody."
"The problem with typical crowd-funding is that it focuses too much on the money. If you ask too little, you look desperate. If you ask too much, you look greedy. At PledgeMusic, we show only a percentage. We show how far the artist is in making the album, and what the fans are getting for their money."
"Another problem with typical crowd-funding is the fixed length of the campaign. An album is not made in 30 days, it can take 6 months. What if the crowd-funding campaign ends after 30 days? We run funding into pre-sales, so our campaign runs from the minute of launch until the album comes out on iTunes. We estimate that 37% of an artist's income is left on the table by closing the campaign in 30 days. We did a campaign with Ben Folds Five, and we were able to deliver their first Top 10. This was based on Pledgers being involved from May until September."
"The average Pledger spends 55 dollars per transaction, 11% Pledge on more than one campaign, 5% on more than 3. Pledgers want to have their moments with the artists, which they cannot have anywhere else. And if you put funding in the way, you confuse that dialog. The entire Pledge Music platform is wired to say: "You have your super-fan experience here, share it outwards from here". The process becomes an interactive presale, and everybody who signs up wins."
"With the typical model, most albums don't have any fan components other than buy on iTunes or stream it. It's a consumer experience. Probably 60% of the music buying population do not want that. With the other 40%, the untapped demand is absolutely huge. The job of anyone releasing music is to make sure the fans get what they want. If you send me, superfan, to iTunes, the most I can spend is $9.99 on an album. On Spotify, at the most I can pay to Spotify is $9.99 per month. If you send me to PledgeMusic, I can spend a thousand dollars if I want to. Why shouldn't that be a part of the musical economy?"
"The single biggest problem in music industry is unmet demand. People stream music all day long, some of them buy music, but there is this massive unmet demand. People want to spend money on live streams, signed CDs and vinyls, etc. With PledgeMusic, the artist can offer what the fans want."