PledgeMusic Debacle Update [Iain Baker of Jesus Jones]

UpdateIain Baker of Jesus Jones provides an update on his battle with troubled Pledge Music; a debacle which has grown into a full on financial crisis for both artists and fans, with no yet in sight.


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Guest post by Iain Baker from Music Technology Policy

[We’re pleased to provide a platform for Iain Baker of Jesus Jones to update MTP readers on the slow motion train wreck called Pledge Music.  This has turned into a real financial crisis for artists and their vendors as well as the fans.]

We are still no nearer a resolution, it would seem. And it feels like they’re running down the clock. Artists are told to dial back any criticism of Pledge, in order to make it easier to sell the company. The inference here is that it’s our fault if this process doesn’t progress smoothly.

"the longer this all goes on,

and the more urgent it becomes for artists"

Well, the longer this all goes on, and the more urgent it becomes for artists to pay bills and replace money that PLEDGE took from them, the more I just feel like saying: Well, was it my fault that the company seems to have been basically insolvent in 2016? Was it my fault the company never told anyone about that?  Was it artists that oversaw a culture of financial mismanagement? Did artists offer huge wages for people to come in and try and turn Pledge into an “industry leader”?

I can’t help feeling we’re being kept in the dark, and fed horseshit. And we’re not the ones who caused any of the problems–the only thing we’re responsible for is helping the company thrive. Pledge has a beautiful set of offices in a prime central London location, and it feels like they’re sitting around a conference table, trying to save their careers, while the artists are stood outside in the rain with our noses pressed up against the windows, hoping they’ll help us out [with the artists’ own money].

None of these problems were caused by us, yet we’re the ones being made to wait, made to pay, made to struggle. If nothing else, this situation is profoundly unfair.

"continued lack of transparency"

Pledge’s continued lack of transparency makes it even harder for the artistic community. We’re more than stakeholders in this – the company thrived on the backs of all the hard work that artists put in

And of course, it’s a slap in the face for all of the fans that engaged with the artists and provided the cold hard cash to make this thing fly.

Business is an equation – a system that should be in a state of balance. Pledge allowed this to spin out of control, and they forgot about the people that made it all work. That’s you, and it’s me.

Now, as they try to make it all work – shouldn’t they be trying to balance the equation? To ensure everyone feels like a valued part of the business? Well, hands up anyone who thinks that’s the case, right now.

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  1. This has been going on a very long time now. Why hasn’t anything prosecutorial been done? It’s crime. And victims have been dealing with it for years.

  2. This is a big hit for the crowdfunding scene once again, but I am not too shocked tbh. Being an independent artist, for a while now I’ve been looking for any viable “direct-to-consumer” alternatives. I always look for more consumer friendly practices like: low commissions, third-party processors, low prices or risks.
    I don’t want to be biased, so i won’t point out any specific ones, you can just google “concert crowdfunding”. But I can safely say that there are more of such music interaction networks than meets the eye.

  3. I started to see issues with Pledgemusic in 2015, so this film flam stuff has been going on for several years. Hope you all get your money back

  4. Having been involved in selling a company before I understand Pledgemusic’s position – even it was their fault they got into this situation. Selling a company is complicated and even has been guys like Baker can make the situation more difficult. My guess is that there’s no money to be given out and if a sale doesn’t happen there’s no chance of getting any money out. So these articles are more therapy than helping anyone.

  5. My credit card company in Sweden said that I should file a police report just in case. I’ll also have to fill out a reclamation form, and hopefully I’ll get my money back. The artist I’m supporting, though, they’re out by quite a lot.

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