Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Benji Rogers, founder and president of PledgeMusic

Benji Rogers
Ever wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, publicists (and even positions you may not have known about) make the music you love come alive! PledgeMusic recently announced the highly anticipated relaunch of their site, which included a series of design and tech updates to further enhance users’ experience. To learn more about the direct-to-fan platform, A Music Blog, Yea? was given the opportunity to speak with PledgeMusic founder and president Benji Rogers. Read our new interview below, as we discuss his favourite campaigns, life-changing albums, and being part of an incredible movement of artists!

AMBY: Hey Benji, welcome to AMBY and thanks for speaking with us. How did you first get into your industry?

Benji Rogers: I actually got into the music industry as an independent musician. I grew up on the road as the son of band managers, so I got to witness the whole thing throughout my childhood, and then I studied at Berklee College of Music. I spent 13 years as the frontman of the indie band Marwood, and though we were gigging a good bit and releasing records, we weren’t really making enough to live on. As a newlywed crashing in my mom’s London flat, I realized there had to be a better way to let fans into the recording and release process, and that’s when the idea for PledgeMusic first materialized. That was in 2008. In 2009 we officially launched the company and since then it’s been an unbelievable ride.

AMBY: Please explain to our readers what you do.

Benji Rogers: Sure, I’m the founder and president of PledgeMusic, which is a direct-to-fan platform that gives artists a way to engage their fans in the process of making and releasing new music. My actual role within the company has continued to change as we’ve experienced such rapid growth in the past five years, but my main goal has always been to spread the message of what we’re doing, to get people excited about it and to, essentially, give musicians a viable way to make new music whilst also giving fans exactly what they want – direct access to their favourite bands and opportunities they can’t get anywhere else.

More specifically, I spend a good deal of my time traveling and speaking at conferences and festivals and meeting with industry execs all over the world to talk about what PledgeMusic can do for artists. I don’t sleep much.

AMBY: What’s been one of the highlights you’ve had while working at PledgeMusic?

Benji Rogers: There have been so many. The first time a band hit their goal was an amazing night. The first time we saw an artist that we didn’t personally know just sign up and use the site successfully. Our 100th record, our 1000th record. Seeing the idea become a company has been an amazing experience and we’re still only really at the beginning. There have been too many to single any one out. I am blessed to be able to do what I do!

AMBY: The direct-to-fan platform was created to deeply engage fans with their favorite artists’ music. Which campaigns are you most excited about at the moment?

Benji Rogers: I am loving the Mike Doughty second campaign. His first was amazing, his second even better. I love the Rufus Wainwright campaign too as it’s such an ambitious project. K-Flay is awesome too! Again, there’s too much to choose from!

AMBY: What is the best and worst thing about your gig?

Benji Rogers: Oh man, I mean I think the best part is just getting to be a part of this incredible movement of artists inviting their fans into the entire process of creating new music. It’s truly remarkable to witness musicians treating their fans as friends and co-creators rather than just third-party observers, and our team gets to see this happening every single day. It’s an amazing view to have of an industry that is in flux. There is no worst thing.

AMBY: Having attracted artists such as Stars, The Lumineers, Ben Folds Five, and LCD Soundsystem, what’s been one of your favourite PledgeMusic campaigns?

Benji Rogers: As I mentioned before the Mike Doughty campaign has been incredible to watch unfold and I loves the Ben Fold Five campaign too. I also loved Birdie Bush and the Greatest Night too! Ari Hest, Deer Tick, Lindsey Stirling!

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

Benji Rogers: The Sundays – Reading Writing and Arithmetic, Donny Hathaway – Live, Little Feat – Dixie Chicken

AMBY: Who have you been listening to lately?

Benji Rogers: Dawes, Tony Bennet, Chvrches, Big Star, Donny Hathaway (new reissue), Exile On Main Street, Louis Armstrong.

AMBY: Your Twitter page has you described as musician, watcher of hockey, and coffee drinker. What’s your favourite pastime?

Benji Rogers: All of the above, but add in spending time with my daughter Izzy! Best time ever! Oh and “LET’S GO RANGERS.”

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

Benji Rogers: I use an inversion table on a daily basis. (You did ask!)

***

Thank you Benji, for giving us your answers!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek3KNSF-6Pk

Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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