American vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Danny Vaughn has pleaded with music fans to stop giving money to PledgeMusic.
Vaughn, who’s played with bands including Waysted and Tyketto, started his first PledgeMusic campaign in 2018 to help fund the production of his new solo album Myths, Legends & Lies.
The campaign was a success, with Vaughn exceeding his initial goal of £17,000, with fans pledging a final total of £26,702.
But in a new video, he’s asked music fans to refrain from handing over their hard-earned cash, as he claims he’s only received a fraction of the total amount he’s due from the company.
Vaughn says that upon hitting 100% of the goal, PledgeMusic have a two week window in which to send the artist 60% of the cash raised. He says his campaign reached its target on October 26, but that he didn’t receive any money until December 13 “after a lot of begging and pleading.”
Even when the cash did arrive, it was only £3000, which was followed by two individual payments of £1000 – far short of the £10,200 he’s owed.
He says: “Do not send PledgeMusic one more penny. They are not taking your money and paying the artists with it.
“I can’t speak for every artist, but I know there are hundreds of us that are either receiving next to nothing or nothing at all – and that includes no emails of explanation, no contact from the company. There’s been a total shutdown.”
Despite the finical difficulties he's facing, Vaughn is adamant that he will create the record, adding: “I’ve wanted to make this album for 10 years. I’ve put the last eight months of hard work into demoing this thing, booking the players, talking to the art director. Will find a way to pay for this album and make it.”
He's also urged fans to put pressure on PledgeMusic in attempt to get them to take notice of the problems he's faced since completing the campaign.
In a statement, PledgeMusic say, "PledgeMusic has always been committed to serving artist and fan communities. It was established by artists and was born of a need to change the way in which the traditional music industry operated. It was designed to help artists and their teams at every level, and we believe that PledgeMusic has become an essential part of the evolving landscape of the music industry.
"That said, we deeply regret that recently we have not lived up to the high standards to which PledgeMusic has always held itself. We acknowledge that many artists have and continue to experience payment delays. These delays to artists are unacceptable--not only to them, but to us.
"Since its beginning, PledgeMusic has successfully serviced over 45K artists from emerging acts to some of the biggest names in the industry. We've supported 60 Grammy-nominated artists and helped springboard 100s of unsigned bands to successful careers. Our efforts have assisted over 375 artists with chart position on the Billboard Top 200. Our platform has provided close to $100m of revenue to its artist community.
"Mid 2017, new investors came into PledgeMusic with the goal of strengthening the company and improving the value proposition for artists and fans. After substantial investments in the business over the past 18 months, we believe we have made good progress to that end, but it hasn’t been enough. That said, the company has cut its operating expenses nearly in half over the past year. We've overhauled key parts of our financial and operating systems, while adding talent to our roster and making enhancements to the platform like our Vinyl Store, D2C artist store-fronting and our data analytics.
"While the company has made progress, we still haven't reached our goals. PledgeMusic has been in discussions with several strategic players in the industry who have interest in the PledgeMusic platform. We are evaluating a number of transactions with those potential partners, and we plan to announce details of this in the next 60 days. It is our expectation that payments will be brought current within the next 90 days.
"We accept responsibility for the fact that we have been late on payments over the past year. PledgeMusic is working tirelessly on this issue, and we are asking our community for their continued support and patience."
Other artists have taken to social media to express their support for Vaughn, with Neil Innes writing, "Danny is telling it how it is - very eloquently. He is not alone. I have yet to work out what options I have to limit the damage. Meanwhile, take Danny's advice regarding Credit Cards and know that I share ALL his sentiments."
Meanwhile, fans of Danny Vaughn have set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the recording of his album. At the time of writing, £3,520 of the campaign's £5,000 goal has been raised.
Danny is telling it how it is - very eloquently. He is not alone. I have yet to work out what options I have to limit the damage. Meanwhile, take Danny's advice regarding Credit Cards and know that I share ALL his sentiments. xx N https://t.co/oFa4qmSUXGJanuary 24, 2019
Here is a letter from us to you about the current issues with @PledgeMusic 1/6 #TLKPledge pic.twitter.com/3iNQk7Fom3January 25, 2019
FYI, this morning, we instructed @PledgeMusic to close all of our stores associated with February & March releases and instructed them to refund customers' credit cards ASAP. They have informed us that the stores are closed and refunds will be issued "imminently". 1/2January 24, 2019
Sad to say - but don't pledge for ANYTHING on @PledgeMusic, as of now. Remove any funds you may have sent them. Please RT, so no-one else gets stiffed for their money.January 24, 2019