Queensryche Say They’ve Been ‘Bamboozled’ by PledgeMusic
Musicians now don't have access to money – sometimes thousands of dollars – directly donated by their fans. Bernie Torme, the ailing former guitarist with Ozzy Osbourne, is among the many impacted, as well.
"It is with collective heavy hearts that we are writing to inform you that we have all been bamboozled by the people at PledgeMusic," Queensryche said on Facebook. "The platform informed some people that they were having money troubles, but we have now also been informed that they do not have the monies that were pledged to Queensryche. This means that [neither] manufacturing nor shipments can be fulfilled."
In a separate post, Queensryche estimate their costs in this failed project to be $70,000. They say PledgeMusic has stopped responding to their requests for more information, and that fans should go directly to their credit-card companies to seek refunds. They added that the new album, which will be called The Verdict, is still set for release on March 1 via other online outlets and at local record stores. Only pre-orders through PledgeMusic are affected.
Company co-founder Benji Rogers recently returned to PledgeMusic in an attempt to right things. But that move came too late for Torme, who is also out thousands of dollars. The guitarist released Shadowland, his latest studio effort, last November but reportedly never got a PledgeMusic payment that was due a month later.
"Bernie has paid for all recordings, merchandise, CDs and all postage costs to send Pledge items out to his fans out of his own pocket," Torme's family said in an official statement. "He has as yet been unable to pay his musicians, drummer Mik Gaffney and bass player Simon Morton, for their work on the album. This has been a very stressful situation for Bernie, exacerbated by the lack of communication coming from Pledge – and, despite their promises, [there's] no sign of coming through with any solution to clear up the mess they have created."
PledgeMusic isn't accepting new contributions from fans either. Instead, they see a pop-up on the site that says, "Unfortunately, PledgeMusic has suspended pledges on all active campaigns and will look to resume them shortly. Thanks for your patience."
How they got in this mess remains a mystery. One former employee told Billboard that PledgeMusic has been misappropriating campaign funds, which were supposed to be held separately. Instead, the employee said that money was being used to prop up the company. PledgeMusic is now apparently hoping for a cash infusion by seeking out "new partnerships and acquisitions."
"We are not alone in this matter, as it has been publicly made aware that many other artists have been affected as well," Queensryche added. "We are truly sorry for this and any inconvenience this causes, but please do understand this is all out of our control – and as we said before, the Pledge folks lied and lied while they mismanaged the monies of the company."