PledgeMusic, a crowdfunding site designed to allow fans to back projects from artists, has gone offline, according to Variety. The company closed down its operations earlier this year as it went into bankruptcy proceedings, and the site’s closure means that artists won’t be able to retrieve information on their profiles and fans.
In place of the site, the company’s board left a message, saying that it “continues to work with outside counsel on the most appropriate next steps, and we will update you with those specifics as we get more information,” and that “all data has been preserved and a notice with next steps will be posted on here shortly.”
Founded in 2009, the site was designed as a way for bands to crowdfund albums, allowing fans to pitch in to preorder CDs and band merchandise, and as a distribution platform for the artists. The site would collect money from fans, and hold it for artists to use, collecting a fee along the way. In the last decade, the platform helped numerous artists connect directly with their fans, allowing them to bypass the traditional music business infrastructure that many found didn’t serve them well.
But that usefulness began to vanish in the last year. In January, reports surfaced that said that the site owed artists hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments, preventing them from fulfilling pledges to fans. Former employees say that the company used those funds to help cover operating expenses. The company issued a statement, apologizing for the situation, and said that it was looking into partnering with another company or for someone to acquire them. It also said that it was working to get a third party to oversee artist funds. Bands such as Jesus Jones, Fastball, and The Dandy Warhols told Pitchfork that the company owes them thousands of dollars.
In May, it confirmed that it was going into administration (the UK equivalent of bankruptcy proceedings), and said that artists would be able to download their data. At the time, Variety reported that the company had as much as $3 million in debt, some of which was money owed to the artists who used the platform.
By Andrew Liptak