A British rock band is among dozens of pop artists left out of pocket after the collapse of an online music company set up to by-pass traditional record labels.
Jesus Jones, who had an international hit with Right Here, Right Now, are estimated to have lost thousands of pounds following the collapse of PledgeMusic, after it went into administration with significant debts.
Other artists owed payments by the British-founded digital label include the US band Dandy Warhols – who are said to be owed £40,000 – and L7 – who have outstanding payments of “at least” £60,000.
Jesus Jones, who were formed in Bradford-on Avon, in Wiltshire in the late Eighties, described the collapse of PledgeMusic as a significant setback for many fledgling artists.
In a Tweet the band said: “Hopefully, all artists managed to download their data first? This was expected, I suppose, but it’s still a real blow.”
The total amount owed to artists by PledgeMusic is estimated at anywhere from $1 to $3 million, with some owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sadie Jemmett, an award-winning British singer-songwriter who is not herself affected by the collapse, said some musicians “have lost everything in this sorry mess”.
Artists such as Jesus Jones said they turned to PledgeMusic as a way of cutting out the traditional middlemen of the industry, avoiding exploitative contracts and gaining more control over their own fortunes.
The collapse has prompted anger in the music world over the treatment of musicians who placed their trust in the label, for which fans pledged money for projects by artists.
Richard Patrick, frontman with the Ohio band Filter, told Pitchfork music magazine: “I’ve had all kinds of trials and tribulations with business managers and people stealing from me constantly. And now finally, I find this great little site that puts me in touch directly with people who want to hang out online, and lo and behold, someone’s gonna fuck that up too.”
Following the collapse of PledgeMusic, its original founder Benji Rogers announced he was returning to the label as part of a rescue bid.
When he failed to find a buyer for the label he said he would concentrate his efforts on paying everyone who was owed money.
But some of PledgeMusic’s former acts say they have yet to receive any of the payments they say are owed to them.
In a statement on his online blog Mr Rogers said: “I have been in discussions with the management team and board of Pledge over the last few days and I am convinced that they are committed to fixing the artists payments situation as their first priority. I have seen first hand how tirelessly the team, management and board have been working to right the ship and that is why I have agreed to help where I can.
The first priority for the company is to sort the back payments issue as every penny that is owed to artists needs to get to them in the fastest possible time. A more detailed plan will be shared with the community shortly.”