PledgeMusic’s Board Breaks Its Silence as Criminal Charges Loom

The company’s board had previously remained silent during PledgeMusic’s slide into bankruptcy.

Now, that’s changing as the company faces potentially serious investigations for financial fraud, embezzlement, and other criminal activities.

On the PledgeMusic site, a giant pop-up message from the board now appears.

To the Artists and Fans of PledgeMusic.

As many of you know, PledgeMusic suspended operations a number of months ago. The company 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.

For you artists, we have prepared a link for you to download your data from the platform here. Click “Download All”

(Please note that due to volume these might be slower than usual to process.)

For you Pledgers, you can download your past releases archive from here.

PledgeMusic Board

Ultimately, it was Benji Rogers, an original cofounder who tried to resuscitate the company, who announced the company’s bankruptcy.  Rogers’ initial post promised that artists would be paid back as part of the proceedings, though that section was quickly deleted from the update.

We’re guessing that the ‘outside counsel’ referenced above nixed that section of the post.  Rogers posted the bad news on May 8th.

Since that point, a raft of information has leaked about the company.

One source, who claimed to be an ex-employee, told Digital Music News that the crowdfunding company didn’t even maintain a proper escrow account for funds.  Additionally, employees were allegedly ordered to lie to artists about their funds, even though the company knew they’d never be paid.

It’s now estimated that more than a million dollars in funds were never paid to artists — and never refunded to donors.  Sadly, the result is that many artists who trusted the platform were left high-and-dry, oftentimes fronting money to finish productions while waiting for PledgeMusic funds to arrive.

The ex-employee was careful not to blame Benji Rogers for the meltdown.  Instead, he/she solidly pinned the blame on ex-executives like former CEO Dominic Pandiscia and former President Scott Graves.  Both declined to comment, though Graves did note that he never served as CFO, as originally claimed.

But Graves was a ‘Supervisory Board’ member, at least until the company went under.  In the past few days, Graves has erased his position with the board from his LinkedIn profile.

At this stage, it’s difficult to determine who’s to blame, however.  A separate source to DMN has claimed that board members routinely promised that funding was arriving, even though it never materialized.  The empty promises ultimately encouraged staffers to continue making promises of upcoming payments to artists — payments that ultimately never arrived.

According to the source, Pandiscia and staffers were routinely left in the dark by the board, and led to believe that financing would ease the payout issues.

Here’s the board’s announcement, which appears to have surfaced on pledgemusic.com site over the weekend.

(click to enlarge)

12 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Anonymous

    So you were wrongfully posting Benji’s photo all over your Pledge coverage when he clearly wasn’t at the helm when this all happened. you owe, at the very least, him and us an apology

    • Avatar
      King Shlomo

      why do you think Benji left? Cause he knew everything was on the right trajectory? Maybe he jumped that sinking ship because he knew what we all now know. DMN hasn’t been a reputable publication in a while. So posting Benji picture is par for the DMN course.

  2. Avatar
    GET REAL

    Benji Rogers is equally guilty even if his only crime is haveing turned over the keys to the kingdom without safeguards in place to protect the artists.

    I’m sure he never planned on artists getting robbed when he started the company. However, I was told by a reliable source that this borrow from Peter to pay Paul business model was in play fromday one. As the article says, there was never a proper escrow set up.

    He might be the nicest guy in the world, but he is the creator of unethical business model. If he was not doing business this way he can prove it. If he really cares about the artists, and did nothing wrong, he can hire a lawyer, and lead the suit against the board to get the artists paid.

    It’s interesting how these people show up to slag on the only mah that’s axtually digging inti the shit. Lol

    • Avatar
      Esq

      Benji Rogers is guilty of caring for others; No good deed goes unpunished.

      Benji will pay with cash for a lawyer, with time and travel to proceedings and with countless nights of lost sleep, debts he is no doubt already incurring.

  3. Avatar
    Set the record straight.

    I want to believe you ESQ.
    Let me help Mr. Rogers with A statement that will set the record straight.

    Free of charge!

    “When I started pledge music, I had all of the necessary safeguards in place to protect the artist funds from being spent on pledge business. All artist funds were held in an escrow account , and Pledge Music only had access to spend the 15 percent commission as defined in the user agreement.

    When I left the company, the new board of directors discarded this policy, and began accessing artist funds to grow the business. I find this practice fraudulent and unacceptable. I will happily provide any documentation that helps to show when this fraudulent change in procedure happened, and who made the decision. “

  4. Avatar
    Pledger

    One has to wonder how much money Benji got when he left the company, and if he was still owed money I’m sure it’s all pretty horrible for him, but I hardly see him as a victim

  5. Avatar
    Henry

    I can’t prove whether Benji is at fault here, but I can say that having known him from afar for the last six years, he’s been one of the most stand-up, nicest, and good-intentioned people I’ve met in our industry.

    His efforts in the work he’s doing always has seemed to be in the right place to help improve artists’ livelihood. My guess is that it had become out of his control when he left the Pledge board. Seeing this happen to artists is as a result of something wonderful he initially built and not being able to do more directly right now is probably one of the worst things he experienced in his life.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I’m going to give Benji the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

  6. Avatar
    Timm

    Somebody can be doing something wrong, like borrowing from unknowing artist, but be somewhat responsible, so they never get bit in the ass, beciase they a back up plan. They may even be using that money for the greater good of artists.

    My fear for him would be that irresponsible people took this borrowing to an extreme, and will take him down with them. That would be sad.

  7. Avatar
    Mike

    So many that profess the faith, perjure the faith. The Pledge Music executives claimed they supported musicians, at the same time they stole from them. Heartbreaking to watch and read the testimonials of the musicians that were relying on recieving their fundraised money – mostly they apologized to their fans for trusting and promoting Pledge Music.

    The Executives should be criminally investigated. I worked with one of the executives, Scott Graves for 1/2 a year and witnessed his downward spiral – I’m not surprised he is involved with this catastrophe. Greed is insidious.

  8. Avatar
    K

    So shady of the president Scott Graves to remove Pledge Music from his work history on LinkedIn. I guess he is trying to distance himself, to what end? Disappointing to see a company scam musicians and fans. The president of the company should be so ashamed of himself. The president should be investigated, how many people he has hurt and changed their lives in a negative way?