Iâ€™ve said it before and Iâ€™ll say it again. SF Music Tech is a word class conference and an indispensable stop for anyone crazy enough to be in the music biz in 2010. On Monday I met one such crazy individual: Benji Rodgers of London, England. From his office in Covent Garden he has built a bustling venture called Pledge Music, a platform that enables unsigned artists to tap their fans for the dosh needed to make records. They are doing something right because 70% of the artists on Pledge make or exceed their financial goal. And while there are several like-minded platforms on the web today Pledge goes them one further by giving part of their proceeds to a charity of the artistsâ€™ choosing. Itâ€™s a nifty package that has attracted more than a few big artists currently out of a recording contract, namely post-punk legends Gang of Four and Funeral for a Friend, who will be featured on this summerâ€™s Mayhem Tour (Warped Tour for the metal set).
While the overall pie is shrinking there is an astounding amount of innovation and energy in the music ecosystem right now â€” not just complaining and browbeating either. Iâ€™m talking genuine ideas. The good old days, when the road to Gold and Platinum was paved with compact discs, are gone and probably for the better. Iâ€™m glad folks like Benji Rodgers and Brian Zisk, who tirelessly produces SF Music Tech twice a year, are alive and well.