Tom's Website of the Week: Pledge Music
Our new Website Of The Week is the new fan funded investment platform that's just raised 60,000 Euros for Tina Dico to record her new album. Just as the American site Kickstarter allows small investors to fund artists, designers, filmmakers, journalists and inventors, the UK's Pledge Music offers a service tailored specifically to recording artists.
Pledge Music is the brainchild of Benji Rodgers from the band Marwood who became tired of playing great shows, selling a good amount of CDs and having no money.
Surely, he thought, there must be a way that people can just make music and get it out to their audience without accumulating huge debts.
Benji's best mate, Rupert, came on board with the technical coding know-how, other friends got the financial and legal angles covered while A&R veteran Malcolm Dunbar joined the team to bring musicbiz acumen to the party. Their aim was to create a funding system for musicians in which nobody loses.
Bands agree their fundiing target with the company, and decide on a range of benefits to offer their fans, according to how much money they're willing to pledge. For five pounds you might get a pre-release download of the album. For five hundred they'd probably come and play the songs live in your living room. All through the making of the record, the investors get exclusive updates, rough mixes and studio footage that no-one else will ever see. And unless the financial target gets reached and the project goes ahead, your credit card doesn't even get charged; everyone walks away as if nothing had happened.
Best of all, from the musician's viewpoint, it's a music company run by music people. At the end of the deal, the artist retains 100% of their publishing and recording rights, which is where it scores over platforms such as Sellaband, SliceThePie and Bandstocks. Pledge Music takes a flat 15% of the capital raised, and also encourages performers to factor a charity donation into their margins.
Practising what he preaches, Benji's own band Marwood has just released its 5th album, donating a quarter of the proceeds to Amnesty International. All of which is why Pledge Music is my new BBC Introducing Website Of The Week.
You can hear Tom's interview with Benji from Pledge Music by listening again to last Sunday's show.