5 questions with BandMark | Benji Rogers (Pledge Music)
Foxylee on Crowdfunding: (BandMark’s editor)
Pledgemusic is like a cross between crowd funding and direct-to-fan space, am I correct?
Benji Rogers (Pledge Music founder)
Sort of! I see PledgeMusic as a community of super fans who want to experience a better way to make, enjoy, and buy music and experiences through direct interaction with the artists — for example, while an album or a body of work is actually being made. Whereas crowdfunding is more about a direct ask of fans to fund something in a set amount of time for a set amount of money in a very public way, our campaigns really start in the studio and end at release. Fans are invited to pre-order the product, be it an album, EP, tour, collection of songs etc and experience the process of it coming to life directly from the artist who is making it.
Foxylee on emerging artists: Can an emerging artist benefit from Pledge, even if their social media equity is not as high as other more well known artists with dedicated fan traction?
Absolutely! A lot of artists have unrealistic expectations about fan reach. They think that they need to reach wide and far when the Pledge system is about the hardcore, super fans who want something a little more personal. Your first few fans are the most important ones! If you give them something to share, carry, and participate in, then their enthusiasm becomes infectious. You can’t expect 3,000 pre-sales if you can’t reach 3,000 people directly, but you can reach the first and more dedicated few.
Foxylee on the birth of PledgeMusic: How did you first come up with the idea of PledgeMusic? I read in your bio that it was on an air mattress!
[Laughs] Yes, I was lying on an air mattress at 3:00 a.m. in my mother’s spare bedroom. I was a musician before PledgeMusic began, and I had this idea for a full-service music company that connects artists and fans from the minute they step into the studio to the release of a project to the end of a tour and back again. This idea morphed from that bedroom to a four-person bootstrapped team in a basement in London to what we are today! It has been an amazing ride.
Foxylee on deserted islands: You are trapped on a deserted island and someone has promised they will bring you 1 song, 1 meal and 1 item of clothing. What are those must-haves?
I’d need an American Giant hoodie, extra-large, medium-weave. I’m allergic to dairy, but since it’s hypothetical, I’d say sharp cheddar macaroni and cheese. For my song, I’d go with “Skin and Bones” by The Sundays.
Foxylee On traveling back in time with good advice: If you could travel back in time to before PledgeMusic took off and give yourself some advice that would have been invaluable to know then, what would it be?
I’d say, ‘Benji, it’s going to take longer than you think. For every great and visionary artist, manager and label that you meet, there will be three to five times that number who just want things to be the way that they were — who view more data, more money and more sales as a bad thing. This will seem crazy to you, but each win that you and the team have for each artist that you work with will be worth it. Hang in there.’