Pledgemusic Launches “Record Label” and “Signs” First Artist


Pledgemusic has easily become one of my favorite fan funding companies in the space. The platform they provide for artists and fans to connect is incredible, and allows musicians and music lovers to interact and support each other without it feeling cheesy or gimmicky like some other fan funding platforms out there.

Pledgemusic’s CEO Benji Rogers has a great head on his shoulders (read this incredible interview with him), and the company recently decided to start its own “record label” and “sign” their first artist, The Damnwells.

The reasons I put “record label” and “sign” in quotes is because I’m not so sure that they’ve done either of those things, despite what others have been claiming.

Over at hypebot, Kyle Bylin (@kbylin) writes:

“…the band will retain all rights, ownership, and publishing. In turn, Pledgemusic Recordings will provide the group with the guidance and expertise that they may have traditionally looked to a label for.”

Traditionally, that sounds a lot like a management/marketing/PR hybrid-type company to me, not record label. Most big record labels are basically banks that give loans to artists to record music, in exchange for some kind of equity like part of their publishing rights. Pledgemusic approaches that aspect of the business similarly with their funding projects, but the underlying motivations to fund an artist on Pledgemusic are much different than the motivations of a traditional record label giving an artist an advance.

the damnwells

The Damnwells

Some people expressed similar thoughts in the comments section on the hypebot post, including Benji himself who provided some further insight on the matter:

“It means that Pledgemusic are paying for the marketing and promotion of the record and have set up distribution, time lined a release schedule and are doing all that we need to to make sure that this amazing album gets heard by the most amount of people that it possibly can. We have set up the deal so that both parties can make a living from the recordings and in keeping with PledgeMusic’s overall philosophy, to insure that all parties involved can win.”

This is an interesting position that Pledgemusic is placing itself in the music industry. They have already proven that their model works for 77% artists that try to fund a project, which is a very impressive number. Now, they are offerring some of those artists additional services like management, marketing, and promotion. Yet, they do not take any rights away from the artist.

Do you think a company operating with this kind of business model can survive in today’s music industry? It definitely won’t be an easy task, that’s for sure, but I commend Benji for trying something new and different, because that’s what today’s music industry is about – experimenting and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

  • stephen carmichael

    do you think pledge music is the best fan funding site? i’ve been looking into this for a bit but I’m still not sure…what’s your opinion Chris?


  • Bob

    Do I think a company like this can survive? I think a company like this has come about because record labels have proven they can’t anymore. They spend too much, push presidents and a&r out of those places faster than they can develop a project. Companies like this ARE the future.

  • Chris B.

    I really like Pledgemusic. I also like Kickstarter. They help you give your fans a special experience in exchange for their help funding your next project, as opposed to just a promise that the album will be “good” or whatever. The people running those companies are highly intelligent and truly want to help artists succeed.

  • Chris B. haha, nice one mystery Bob. Thanks for the comment!

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  • viinyl

    Thank you. is very happy :)

  • Chris B.

    Haha, I love happy readers! Thanks for creating such a kick-ass and unique service for artists.

  • Mokerman

    I know that they are the best way to go with for several reasons. Benji and Jayce(my eldest son) met at Berkeley School of Music in the early 90,s and they have, you might say, seen it all. PledgeMusic was born from, not only, their formal education but more importantly their real life experiences and along with this the fact that their unselfish dedication to making it work is the esential ingredient to success.

  • Mikeborgia

    I commend Benji for working so hard with something he believes in and that is admirable enough. However I can’t understand why bands need Pledge Music to raise money for their project? Is pledge providing them with investors? and why not do it yourself? it’s not difficult to set up your own fan funding platform and list incentives, so why give the money to fan funding companies? I truly do not understand this model. If you have a large viral fanbase who are very supportive, then why would you need to give money to someone else?

  • How to get a record deal

    I don’t think so a company operating with this kind of business model can survive in today’s music industry.