By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the news that the once-great music-centric crowdfunding platform, PledgeMusic, has filed for bankruptcy, concluding some tumultuous and complicated financial events. The company is accused of using artist-raised campaign funds to make corporate payments and top up operating costs, among other unsound (potentially fraudulent) business practices that have many, many artists and fans pointing fingers and scratching heads, wondering where their earned and owed money is.
That’s the bad news.
Soundfly started scraping our own free course, Crowdfunding for Musicians, of as many mentions of PledgeMusic as possible. We were beginning to think the incredibly hopeful era of crowdfunding and its implied economic utopia — fans funding artists directly and becoming stakeholders in their success — was coming to an end. But then we heard the good news.
Our friends over at Bandzoogle had similar fears and a wholly constructive epiphany as to how they could use their platform to both fill the crowdfunding void that PledgeMusic left behind and learn from their tragic mistakes in the process. Bandzoogle has created a new preset page template that automatically populates websites with specific tools for musicians to run a crowdfunding campaign without taking any commissions on sales, or even inserting themselves into the payment transaction chain at all.
They’ve essentially leveraged and reoriented a ton of the built-in features that their website-building service already provided to give musicians a way to design project campaigns and incentivize their backers with rewards. Here’s how it works.
What makes this service different? Many things:
- Campaigns are all done through an artist’s website that they own and control. This enables artists to drive fans to their own site rather than a profile somewhere else that they don’t control. This is especially important given what happened with Pledge, and also news like this.
- Pledges are commission free (as far as we know, Bandzoogle is the only service where this is the case).
- Artists get paid directly and immediately (Bandzoogle doesn’t even touch the financial transaction).
- Music sales are reported to SoundScan on the day of the release (only PledgeMusic offered that before). So if sales data and analytics are important to an artist and/or their label, they’ll be registered immediately.
- Bandzoogle’s Music feature can bundle digital music with CDs and vinyl (and again, those sales can be reported to SoundScan).
- Artists can use the built-in Mailing List feature to keep in touch with fans who have contributed to their campaign.
“The situation with PledgeMusic is incredibly heartbreaking for musicians and their fans,” says Bandzoogle’s Director of Artist & Industry Outreach, Dave Cool. “And it’s yet another reminder that as an industry, we need to do much better by the musicians we’re trying to help. With Bandzoogle, artists can be assured that any money their fans pledge to their campaigns is reaching them directly, and immediately.”