If you read my last Blog update in which I went through a few albums I’m looking forward to in 2012, you may have noticed that I mentioned Pledge Music. If you didn’t read it then I’ve just mentioned it again, so you are up to speed!
It is an interesting concept in terms of how music may be released in the future. With the continual downward trend in record sales, that once so meaty royalty cheque received by artists is getting smaller and smaller by the month. Some artists have already given up recording albums all together. The whole way in which a once stagnant music business works is changing and will continue to change for the foreseeable future.
One way in which the industry has changed recently is through the invention of Pledge Music. While it’s not completely unique (there have been similar projects and no doubt there will be a few more in the coming years) it is a refreshed way for both artists and fans to interact.
The basic idea behind Pledge Music is that it allows artists to fund their records directly through fans. This cuts out the record company and the debts accrued from recording and promotion costs. Essentially the album is made and funded through pre-orders but Pledge Music encourages the experience to be more interactive between fans and artists; rather than simply ordering the album and then receiving it when its done 6 months later, artists can offer a whole load of added bonuses to keep the process rewarding including video updates on the progress.
Artists set a target amount of money needed to make a record, when that target is reached the money is taken from your bank account and the project is go! If the target is not made in the set timeframe, then no money is taken and the campaign may be scrapped. For example, I first came across the concept through the Pledge campaign for the upcoming Ginger Wildheart triple album. Advertised solely through social networks and his website the project has become the fastest in Pledge Music history to reach its original target. Ginger’s campaign target was met in just 6 hours (60 days were allowed to achieve it) and it currently stands at nearly 450% of the original money asked for.
The album is available in a number of formats including triple CD and signed editions, triple vinyl, triple vinyl with a thank you in the liner notes, a making of DVD or just a £10 download. As a pledger I also qualified for a meet and greet with the man himself on the summer acoustic tour. Other artists with a campaign on the site at the moment include Reef, who are offering a retrospective Collectors Box Set but also added goodies to help fund the project such a gig tickets, signed drumskins and exclusive t shirts.The Subways have also completed a campaign on the site and offered all manner of rarities such as signed posters, lyric sheets and CDs.
Pledge Music also encourages artists to donate a percentage of their takings to charity which again makes the old concept of paying for music a little bit more attractive and worthwhile. £3000 of Gingers Pledge money will go to Save the Children, but the artist chooses the charity so for each artist this will differ.
The site has been going for a couple of years now and there are all manner of different artists on there. Some struggling to reach their targets and some are way over. It’s certainly interesting to see who crops up from time to time. Have a look for yourself at www.pledgemusic.com