PledgeMusic makes Canadian debut at CMW
He wanted to bring the live fan and band experience to the online realm.
Martyr had a chance to catch up with Rogers at the PledgeMusic Coffee House that took place on March 22 at Tequila Bookworm in Toronto.
“After touring for years and making a few albums, I remember thinking to myself that the traditional industry couldn’t continue on the trajectory it was going on,” explained Rogers. “People didn’t want what they were selling, they wanted participation.”
Take a quick look at the music distribution and access methods of our generation.
You can buy albums from local retailers, online from musicians’ sites, or from other third party sites.
You can download albums for a moderate fee from iTunes, or Zune, or whatever brand you may frequent for your online downloads.
You can buy them at your favourite band’s merchandise table when you see them live, this last example being the most interactive between the musicians and fans.
PledgeMusic, simply stated, is a network of artists who can reach out to fans, called “Pledgers,” for financial contributions towards the recording process and other musical “Projects.”
In return, the pledging fan gets up to date exclusive content, along with other incentives varying by band and pledges. This concept is what fuelled the initial project, Rogers said.“I thought, what if the artist said to their fans, to pledge here towards our new album, and part of the profits go to charity. The reward for that pledge, is you get to see in real time, updates from the studio or the tour as they roll out.”
“Instead of just selling the product, now they’re selling the entire experience.”
Just under four years after its launch in the U.K., the brand has made its mark internationally, from Australia to the U.S – where its largest market stems from, garnering hundreds of artists to date.
Now, it’s finally branching into Canada as a permanent resident.
Canadian artists have had access to the platform before and used it thusly, like The Balconies from Toronto, but now with this expansion they will have limitless access and full use of the PledgeMusic service.“When we launched previous campaigns from Canada, we realized one thing, they were very successful,” Rogers explained.
“Canada has strong communities, and artists get a lot of support within these communities. Artists wanted to leave Canada to gain exposure, but the problem is, what were they bringing back?”
Canadian independent artists have always had heart to push their music to new heights, and the fans, well, they’ve always been the enablers.
Recent statistics have shown that on average the Canadian fan spends more towards pledges and their music than Americans.
What separates PledgeMusic from the other fan-funding networks, is that the fans get no stock ownership or rights to the music produced, all focus is on participation in what the artist is doing, and the artists are also encouraged to branch the cash flow into local charities of their choice.
“I wasn’t crazy about the idea of the reward being money from the investment,” Rogers said. “It’s about refining the message of pledging to be a part of the making of the music, you then in turn get it before everybody else, in any format you want it.”
It creates a fuller music and band experience for the fans, and facilitates the necessities for the artists to give the fans what they want sans delay.