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PledgeMusic: The day when the music died?

Jesus jonesImage copyright
Ian Baker

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Jesus Jones was great in the 90s and wanted to continue playing music

"We have not been paid for three months."

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, Jesus Jones was a successful indie band with hits such as International Bright Young Thing and Right Here, Right Now.

Now older, the group has other jobs, but still strives to continue playing in front of a legion of fans who remain loyal to the group.

Step into the crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic. It was created ten years ago to help both established groups and new names to enter the music business, bypassing traditional music labels and receiving money directly from their fans.

In accordance with this model, fans promise the group money for a specific purpose, for example, to create a new album, and when the project is completed, the musicians will receive funds.

Thanks to Pledge, a new album, Jesus Jones – Voyages – is ready for release.

But things are not going as well as the band members had hoped, and this has nothing to do with creative disagreements or the inability to finish the album.

It seems that in PledgeMusic run out of money.

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Who is Jesus Jones?

  • The group was formed in 1988 from the small town of Bradford-upon-Avon in Wiltshire.
  • They were one of the first bands that popularized the indie dance scene, mixing guitars with synthesizers and hip hop beats.
  • They received the top 40 hits and album number one "Doubt".
  • The international hit "Right here, right now" was later used in campaigns by Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.
  • The group received the title of "Best New Gong Singer" at the MTV Awards in 1991.
  • Their 1993 album "Perverse" was one of the first to be fully digitized on computers. Tracks were stored on floppy disks.

Read more on the page of Jesus Jones BBC Music

Voyages were completed in October, and after that the group hoped to get money quickly.

“I talked to Pledge, and they told me that the payment was expected to be not quite true,” said BBC, Ian Baker, the keyboard player of the band.

"We have worked hard on this, and we deserve to have something to do with us."

After Mr. Baker did not receive replies from Pledge, he turned to Twitter.

“It's sad to say, but don't promise anything on PledgeMusic. Remove any funds you may have sent them. ”

He told the BBC: "This tweet has become viral, it is probably the most viral we were."

PledgeMusic published its own statement through Twitter, which states that there are problems that say: “We deeply regret that lately we have not met the high standards that PledgeMusic has always adhered to.

“We recognize that many artists experience and continue to experience delays in payment. These delays are unacceptable for artists – not only for them, but also for us.

“Although the company has made progress, we still have not achieved our goals. PledgeMusic is in talks with several strategic players in the industry who are interested in the PledgeMusic platform. ”

“We are evaluating a number of transactions with these potential partners and plan to report details of this over the next 60 days. We expect payments to be made within the next 90 days. ”

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CC Smugglers

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PledgeMusic has provided groups like CC Smugglers with direct access to fans and their money.

Fans seemed not impressed. One of them commented: “In fact, you spent the money that belonged to the artists I supported. You used my money … while allowing artists to go to the wall. You must be ashamed".

Co-founder Benji Rogers, who left the company in 2016, later announced that he would briefly return as a consultant to help deal with the problems.

In a statement posted on Twitter, he said that the team was “tirelessly” working on solving problems, saying that the primary task was to deal with late payments.

“All funds entering the company from now on will be managed by an independent third party (which will be announced shortly) to ensure that all campaigns that are launched in the future will be paid after reaching their main stages,” he added.

  • How does crowdfunding work?

Since its launch ten years ago, more than 45,000 artists have served from novice actors to some of the biggest names in the industry, including U2, Erasure, Rod Stewart, The Dandy Warhols, Razorlight and The Killers Dave Keuning.

Mr. Baker is not convinced by the explanation of the Pledge: "Reading between the lines, it seems that they are put up for sale and hope that someone will buy them, and if they agree to take our debt, you will get your money."

He is comforted by the fact that artists affected by the news form a new Twitter community, giving them the opportunity to "speak louder in a collective voice."

“Artists are beginning to arm this community spirit and use it as a shield against the negative behavior of the Pledge,” he said.

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CC Smugglers

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CC Smugglers made their name through innovative fan relations

Mr. Baker acknowledges that for Jesus Jones, non-payment is not the end of the world.

“We do what we do as a hobby, we get together several times a year, and this will not make us deprived, but there are other groups on the platform that do not have other incomes for which this money is crucial,” he said.

“I heard people talking on the phone with Pledge on the phone. Parents call and say: "This is my son's livelihood."

Street musician

The new group, CC Smugglers, made its name by “stealing” fans from other better-known groups.

“We started as street musicians and followed much larger groups and worked with their fans. At some point, we followed the American band throughout the tour and were on the stage, playing three numbers, ”said vocalist Richie Prinn. BBC.

With such an innovative approach to attracting fans, it became obvious that the band would turn to crowdfunding when they wanted to release an EP with six tracks.

Mr Prynne remains loyal to PledgeMusic.

“It revolutionized the way music came out. You do not need to rely on a huge corporate monster. Anyone I ever dealt with was very passionate about music. They were with us at every turn. ”

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Getty images

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Crowdfunding can help struggling musicians gain a foothold in a complex industry.

For their latest project, the album, which will be released in March, CC Smugglers collected £ 17,000. This is not a payday, but Mr. Prynn is well aware of the problems.

“I don’t know what happened, but it seems that serious mistakes were made, and Pledge did not control its finances poorly,” he said

“I hope that we will return the money. It’s not just my money, it’s every musician in the band’s money and the fans’s money. ”

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