An Interview With Dominic Pandiscia – CEO of PledgeMusic on SonicMag.com

Pledge Music CEO Dominic Pandiscia took time to sit with SonicMag to discuss the efforts of Pledge Music as the brand moves forward in to 2018, offering options for artists to fund their works, and for fans to know the deep inner workings behind the releases fans will cherish for years to come. Have a look below.

PledgeMusic is the most popular with “crowdfunding” – direct-to-fan platform as you guys are best known. Can you tell us a little about why PledgeMusic is so popular, not only with fans, but with the artists as well?

Dominic: While “crowdfunding” is still an important piece of our business, we’ve really evolved the platform over the last year to be a marketplace for the passionate music fan. That’s really the secret-sauce in why we are popular with both fans and artists. As a music fan, where do you go once you’ve transitioned from a “casual” fan clicking-play to hear music on a streaming service to truly understanding and engaging the artist more deeply? PledgeMusic is the place you can go to truly understand the artist’s creative vision and connect with them more deeply. For artists, it’s a place where they can truly express themselves three-dimensionally…far-beyond the fan seeing little more than a postage stamp-sized image on a phone screen when their music is heard. Both the artist and fan can better understand each other through PledgeMusic and that can be career-long bond.

PledgeMusic works with unsigned artists as well as major international names. What is the consistent draw to PledgeMusic is for these artists?

Dominic: For unsigned artists, they can get their music and creative vision exposed to millions of passionate music fans across our community. These are fans that truly LOVE music…love music discovery, and are generally the tastemakers in their communities when it comes to new artists. They act as advocates when they discover and truly understand new artists through PledgeMusic. For established artists, PledgeMusic is a place where they can continuously find new fans and present unique items and experiences that their core-fans truly value and that can’t be found through any other outlet. We make every project feel “important” to our community whether it be from an established, or brand-new artist.

What is it that makes PledgeMusic is such a powerful community of fans and artists alike?

Dominic: PledgeMusic is unique in that while streaming is incredibly important…it inherently can leave the fan unsatisfied when they transition from a “casual” to a “passionate” fan of any given artist. The explosion of vinyl in recent years is at the bleeding-edge of this connection as purchasing vinyl is a natural extension to connect with an artist more deeply following discovering or exploring them via streaming. Much of the vinyl that gets purchased never gets played but may be framed and hung on a wall or displayed on a coffee table as a “badge of fandom”. PledgeMusic explodes this idea into a multitude of ways for fans and artists to connect via unique products and experiences such as access to hand-written lyric sheets, Skype guitar lessons, memorabilia, private house concerts and countless other ways. Every item or experience that may be included in a campaign reflects the creative vision of the artist creating the 2nd and 3rd dimension beyond “clicking play” for that fan to connect.

Some of the items you offer in the campaigns are pretty amazing – like Little Steven’s guitar or a personal house concert at Tommy Lee’s home. PledgeMusic is only campaign site offering items like these. Where did the ideas for these incentives come together?

Dominic: To work at PledgeMusic, you have come in everyday and think like a fan. What would I want from my favorite artist? The opportunity for artists to put some very personal items up for sale such as used instruments, jewelry, and yes, Tommy Lee’s house, is both fun, and exciting for fans. Where else would they have the opportunity to have such access and even if they may not be in the position to buy a house through PledgeMusic, it’s a place they can dream a little bit and have some fun along the way.

Have you ever attended one of the house concerts?

Dominic: I have attended a private house concert and it is a truly amazing experience. The intimacy of the performance and energy between the fan and artist in an unorthodox setting such as someone’s home is truly incredible. Often times, fans will have their friends contribute to the price of a private house concert so at the end of the day, having an artist perform at your house might cost little more than buying a ticket, having to drive, park, buy dinner, drinks, etc. – (but your house becomes the club!)

Options for artists to reach their fans on a personal level has evolved with the advances of technology. How do you feel PledgeMusic has changed or improved the way artists release their records – compared to 10 or 20 years ago?

Dominic: With the advent of the digital marketplace and the evolution to streaming, it’s become harder and harder for artists to truly “be artists” and present their creative vision 3 dimensionally. Artists put their heart and soul into a body of work and for a number of years now, it’s largely been delivered to the world through a small phone screen with a postage-stamp sized cover image to look at when clicking “play”. With PledgeMusic, artists can truly present their full creative vision whether it be through creating a unique lithograph image for each song on the record, traveling the world with disposable cameras that fans can have access to, having miniature lyric books created, and more. Artists can help fans understand who they are as people as well as creatives 3-dimensionally and that has increasing value in an ever accelerating digital-marketplace.

PledgeMusic has seen several artists chart with their releases right out of the gate. Do you think the fact that they worked with PledgeMusic has anything to do with this?

Dominic: PledgeMusic helps create excitement and make every release feel “important” whether it be to an artists’ existing or legacy fan base or to potential new fans. It’s increasingly difficult for artists to have their music “cut through the clutter” of a very crowded marketplace where music is ubiquitous and free if you want it to be. PledgeMusic positions each release in a unique way so fans can better understand the creative vision of the artist while giving them access to unique products and experiences they then tell their friends about and share via social media through our “Access Pass” artist updates. So yes, the role PledgeMusic plays is extremely important in positioning an artists’ creative output as important and worth investing in which surely helps impact chart positioning.

As an industry professional, what do you feel makes PledgeMusic a success in the direct-to-fan platform, and what makes PledgeMusic stand apart from other crowdfunding companies?

Dominic: There are other platforms that may uniquely market releases for an artist, sell their music, provide crowdfunding support, or help harvest fan data…but there is NO other company that combines all of these dimensions into one cohesive approach. We are a VERY active partner with every artist that works with us and are deeply engaged in understanding their creative vision, marketing their music, helping new fans discover them, harvesting that fan data, and driving a lot of sales on their behalf. It’s what drew me to come to the company. I believe PledgeMusic changes the way fans and artists can connect and there is an increasing appetite for what we do as evidenced by our growth.

How do you feel PledgeMusic helped the music industry from a business aspect?

Dominic: PledgeMusic transacts at very high level for each purchase and on average 34% of the revenue comes from our community which means “found” revenue for any rights holder. We’ve driven north of 50%+ of the overall revenue for any given artist in their first week of sales based on the level at which we transact coupled with how we market aggressively to our community of passionate music fans. For an artist or a rights holder, PledgeMusic is a place where they can reach passionate fans who are willing to transact at a high level around their favorite artists or artists they discover so why leave that business on the table by purely defaulting to just streaming, download or physical CD or vinyl sales alone?

Dominic, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. One more for you – Do you ever pledge to any campaigns?

Dominic: The best and the worst part of my job is that I spend money on PledgeMusic almost every day! As a passionate music fan, there are so many great artists and unique products and experiences available through PledgeMusic I pretty much know I am going to be reaching for my wallet every time I start browsing what we have available!

For artists, what we were able to discuss with Dominic is a taste of the icing that covers the cake. The program is so much larger than we can describe in an interview, or a page article here at SonicMag. While you don’t have to invest your time to learn more in an effort to reach your goals; it will not hurt your potential to read up and help define your expectations in crowd funding by visiting the PledgeMusic website and getting informed of your options through the service. You can start that journey on PledgeMusic by visiting www.pledgemusic.com.