A New York investment company has taken on a major role with PledgeMusic, a direct-to-fan music service. The move from Magna Entertainment follows an investment of $3 million it made in the platform in 2014. Magna Vice President Russell Rieger is now a director for PledgeMusic, joining fellow Magna exec Joshua Sason and original founder Benji Rogers in that role. Several of PledgeMusic’s former directors stepped down to make room for this shuffle in 2015, although some have remained employees of the service.
PledgeMusic’s platform is a combination of crowdfunding and direct-to-fan concepts. A performer presents a project with specific rewards or goods that fans can purchase. For instance, songstress Judy Collins is performing a Stephen Sondheim tribute concert, and fans can buy everything from a signed DVD to a VIP backstage experience for the event. It doesn’t appear that most of the artists are using these sales as a way to explicitly bankroll their projects, but rewards-based approach does harken to the engagements happening on Kickstarter. The model actually seems most akin to that of the video game business, with several projects offering pre-orders of albums with the carrot of exclusive merchandise or fan experiences.