Queensryche are Latest Victims of PledgeMusic’s Inability to Pay Bands Money Owed
Queensryche are the latest victims of the crowdfunding and music fulfillment platform PledgeMusic, who have come under intense fire in recent months for the company’s inability to pay bands money collected on their behalf.
Queensryche had utilized PledgeMusic to serve as the storefront for their new album The Verdict, offering various packages at differing price levels ranging from CDs to clothing to having one’s name appear in the album’s liner notes to personal excursions with band members, all standard fare for these types of campaigns. All told, Queensryche claim fans sent a total $70,000 to PledgeMusic on the campaign… but the band has yet to see a single dollar of it.
Queensryche are not the first band to experience problems with PledgeMusic, nor is the issue new: a January article at Billboard reveals that artists have been complaining about slow or non-existent payouts from the service since 2017, often resulting in blown release deadlines and entire touring cycles ruined due to the lack of promised funds. Independent acts and high-profile artists alike have all been duped by PledgeMusic, with some better-known musicians affected including Skinny Puppy vocalist Nivek Ogre’s new project ohGr, rock band Fastball, folk rock duo HuDost and Canadian rapper illvibe.
The band posted on their Facebook page yesterday announcing that they would not be able to meet the promised ship date for backers of March 1st because they had yet to receive any money from PledgeMusic, money that was collected by the service on their behalf and was needed to manufacture and ship physical product. That post reads in full:
“It is with collective heavy hearts that we are writing to inform you that we have all been bamboozled by the people at Pledge Music. The platform informed some people that they were having money troubles, but we have now also been informed that they do NOT have the monies that were pledged to Queensryche. This means that manufacturing nor shipments can be fulfilled.
“We have been lied to for months and months by various people at Pledge and have now turned this entire mess over to our attorneys. As a Pledger, please get to your credit card company NOW and DEMAND a refund.
“We are not alone in this matter, as it has been publicly made aware that many other artists have been affected as well.
“We are truly sorry for this and any inconvenience this causes, but please do understand this is all out of our control, and as we said before, the Pledge folks lied and lied while they mismanaged the monies of the company.”
The band followed that up with another post yesterday afternoon offering some clarifications, including that the album will still be released on time through other outlets, and that the band has contracted a lawyer to handle the case:
“There seems to be some confusion about our post this morning regarding Pledge Music. Nothing that was ordered will be fulfilled. Pledge does not have the money that was pledged to them, thus there is no money for manufacturing costs and we are out $70,000.00. Pledge is no longer taking any campaign pledges for any band whatsoever and they are not responding to us. Apparently they have money problems. PLEASE REQUEST A REFUND FROM YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY. If you are having problems with your credit card company you can contact Pledge Music lawyer Bob Lapowsky at Stevens & Lee. His email is [email protected] and his phone is 215-751-2866.
“*PLEASE NOTE* THE VERDICT WILL STILL BE RELEASED ON MARCH 1ST VIA ALL OTHER OUTLETS, INCLUDING OUR LABEL CENTURY MEDIA, AMAZON, FYE, ITUNES, YOUR LOCAL RECORD SHOPS, ETC. ONLY PRE-ORDERS THROUGH PLEDGE WILL BE AFFECTED!”
At the root of the problem is severe mismanagement of money, an issue the company has owned up to in recent statements. A new management team was brought on in mid-2017 to help the company right the ship, but it clearly hasn’t been enough. Despite a clause in PledgeMusic’s terms and conditions that specifies money collected on artists’ behalf is to be held separately and shall not to be used for any purpose other than that artist’s affairs, it appears the company has been using that money to fund its daily operations. The company has said it expects all payments to artists to be brought current within 90 days of its statement, which was issued on January 24th.
PledgeMusic’s statement (issued January 24th, not related directly to Queensryche) reads in full:
“PledgeMusic has always been committed to serving artist and fan communities. It was established by artists and was born of a need to change the way in which the traditional music industry operated. It was designed to help artists and their teams at every level, and we believe that PledgeMusic has become an essential part of the evolving landscape of the music industry.
“That said, we deeply regret that recently we have not lived up to the high standards to which PledgeMusic has always held itself. We acknowledge that many artists have and continue to experience payment delays. These delays to artists are unacceptable–not only to them, but to us.
“Since its beginning, PledgeMusic has successfully serviced over 45K artists from emerging acts to some of the biggest names in the industry. We’ve supported 60 Grammy-nominated artists and helped springboard 100s of unsigned bands to successful careers. Our efforts have assisted over 375 artists with chart position on the Billboard Top 200. Our platform has provided close to $100m of revenue to its artist community.
“Mid 2017, new investors came into PledgeMusic with the goal of strengthening the company and improving the value proposition for artists and fans. After substantial investments in the business over the past 18 months, we believe we have made good progress to that end, but it hasn’t been enough. That said, the company has cut its operating expenses nearly in half over the past year. We’ve overhauled key parts of our financial and operating systems, while adding talent to our roster and making enhancements to the platform like our Vinyl Store, D2C artist store-fronting and our data analytics.
“While the company has made progress, we still haven’t reached our goals. PledgeMusic has been in discussions with several strategic players in the industry who have interest in the PledgeMusic platform. We are evaluating a number of transactions with those potential partners, and we plan to announce details of this in the next 60 days. It is our expectation that payments will be brought current within the next 90 days.
“We accept responsibility for the fact that we have been late on payments over the past year. PledgeMusic is working tirelessly on this issue, and we are asking our community for their continued support and patience.”
We’ll keep you updated on this story as it relates to Queensryche.