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Crowdfunding for emerging artists following the demise of PledgeMusic

With the ability to create a fundraiser with the click of a button on Facebook, GoFundMe and any other crowdfunding website – the means to reach your financial goal – has become easier in today’s age.

According to The Balance Small Business, the root of crowdfunding is in supporting the arts.

“Some of the oldest and best known crowdfunding sites began as a way for fans to engage with the artists they love,” an article written by Zack Miller for The Balance Small Business states. “That hasn’t changed and rewards-based crowdfunding sites to support musical projects are alive and well.”

Rewards-based crowdfunding sites promise patrons who contribute will be rewarded for  their donation. These items include unique content, merchandise or opportunities for more personalized interactions with the artist (meet and greets, autographs, etc.)

“Crowdfunding is a proven effective way for artists to generate interest and excitement for an upcoming release, as well as raise income for the project,” says Jim Cocke, co-founder of Bandwear, a full service merchandising company that helps artists design and sell merchandise with ease and professionalism.

One of the most popular crowdfunding platforms, PledgeMusic, has allowed emerging artists to do just that. The company launched in 2009 and was used by many until it announced bankruptcy in 2019. This action left artists without money to fulfill promises made to donating fans.

After the demise of the company, Bandwear stepped in to help those artists affected by donating time and helping artists get back on their feet after the setback.

The fall of PledgeMusic leaves a lack of trust in the industry. How can you trust a crowdsourcing platform and know that it won’t misplace your funding?

“We understand many in the industry are nervous about crowdfunding in light of the PledgeMusic issues,” Cocke explains. “We understand the uneasiness in the industry at the moment. In light of this, in addition to our 20 year history of ensuring payment to artists, Bandwear is currently exploring and working toward implementing additional levels of accountability and insurance to provide added assurance for our customers and the industry as a whole.”

Cocke assures that there are many steps that artists can take when looking at where to start their crowdfunding. He lists the following as questions that one should ask:

  • Do you have to hassle with creating the campaign yourself, or will the Crowdfunding service do it for you?


  • Can you actually get a real human on the phone to answer questions and walk you thru the process and help you make decisions on what products to offer, pricing, strategies for success, etc – or are all items “automated” on a website?


  • Does the Crowdfunding service force you to meet a certain level of contributions before you will get paid, or are you free to raise any level of funds you choose?


  • Once a campaign is complete, an artists will of course need to make items and ship items to fans. Does the Crowdfunding service offer manufacturing of CD, Vinyl, and Merch items, and can they help ship items to your fans – or are you left to hassle with figuring out how to do this yourself? (Bandwear is the only Crowdfunding/PreSale Platform to offer  CD, Vinyl, and Merch Manufacturing, and Fulfillment to fans all under one convenient umbrella.)


  • Does the Crowdfunding service help with any customer service issues on orders (Returns, Exchanges, etc), or are you left to hassle with this on your own.


  • There is of course no reason to stop selling to fans just because the Crowdfunding campaign is over! So can you keep your Crowdfunding service transition your campaign to an ongoing online store to continue to sell the artists’ music and merch to fans day to day after the campaign?


For more information on how to get involved with Bandwear, visit their website.




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