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Court Allows PledgeMusic To Sell Off Assets, UK Music Industry Demands Investigation

PledgeMusic NewPledgeMusic was in a UK courtroom yesterday to begin the process of "winding up" the company, the UK equivalent of liquidation of remaining assets. A UK judge has approved the process.

Investigation Called For

At the hearing, trade group UK Music called for an investigation, pointing out that the court action does little to guarantee that the artists will be made whole,

In a letter to Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, UK Music head Tom Kiehl said, “Many musicians across the UK relied on crowdfunding website PledgeMusic to deliver payments from patrons, to pay for album recordings and other costs. The winding up of this company represents an entirely unsatisfactory development for the many music fans and creators who have invested so much into projects through this scheme."

Originally filed by PledgeMusic in June, the court-approved "winding up" also drew fire from some who see it as contradictory to the public statements by the shuttered crowdfunder in recent months that it would file for Administration, the UK equivalent of bankruptcy.

"any statements the company or its representatives have made since that date must be looked at anew"

"It appears that PledgeMusic has not planned on going into administration (like reorganization bankruptcy), at least not since June 13, 2019," said US music attorney Chris Castle.  "Therefore, any statements the company or its representatives have made since that date must be looked at anew.

"Because the company had guided all of its potential creditors toward administration, everyone was looking the wrong direction," he continued. "I only discovered this petition today by searching The Gazette, which is the official paper of record of the UK government and is used pretty much exclusively for legal notices."

"it breaks my heart"

PledgeMusic co-founder Benji Rogers, who had exited but reluctantly became the public face of the company, wrote in an open letter that he had learned that administration was no longer an option via text on the evening of July 28th. 

"I would have given anything to have found the company a home, and it breaks my heart that you artists and your fans, who did not deserve to be put in this situation in the first place, have been left without what should rightfully be yours," continued Rogers, "I will forever wonder if I could have done more in my limited role as a volunteer, and I wish that the company would have been more forthcoming with information. The vacuum created wild speculation and misinformation which ultimately, I believe hurt this process. We will never know."

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