For well over a decade, I watched an industry I love—and friends and colleagues I admire and respect—become increasingly marginalized particularly with the arrival of the MP3, which upended nearly everything about how music is distributed, consumed, and stored. It’s a story known by many, but only fully grasped by those who understand the implications of millions of fans copying music for their own pleasure and distributing it freely among friends.
It was that naïveté and unassuming consumer behavior jeopardizing the industry that I sought to change and so, for years, I cultivated and garnered the support of industry giants such as John Paul DeJoria; VH1 Classic founder, Eric Sherman; Aerosmith lead singer, Steven Tyler; The Who lead singer, Roger Daltrey; Queen drummer, Roger Taylor; and powerhouses like Universal, Capitol Records, Def Jam and Geffen—all of whom shared my mission to reinvent how music is heard, viewed and shared. Launched in April 2016, Edge Music Network (EMN), an interactive digital music network that provides live and on-demand content through an advanced, gamified video syndication platform, was launched to create a fair compensation structure to ensure artists get the royalties they deserve, fans get uninterrupted access to the music they love, and charities benefit through a new and genuinely unique revenue stream.
Like most art, music hits people at a personal level, but few take their appreciation to where it can truly affect and influence others. Since I was a child, music has been the primary driving force in my life, inspiring me to explore new avenues and new experiences. After studying jazz vocal and music theory at Cornish College of the Arts and attending Bellevue University to study international business and media technology, I decided to combine my passions and pursue a career in the music industry. Through rare and enriching encounters, and decades of experience architecting and brokering digital rights agreements between content creators and publishers to ensure equitable revenue share and royalty distribution, I became quite an outspoken voice, working with industry leaders to keep the music industry alive. Focusing on the big picture, I tried to become as well versed and well educated in as many aspects of the industry as possible, including intellectual property issues, publishing rights, consumer trends and the most advanced digital applications. With strong industry partnerships and deep relationships intact, I was able to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring my dream to life.
Undeniably, music has been an easy commodity to download, copy and pass along to friends for free—and artists as well as record labels have paid a high price. Yet despite attempts—or rather promises—to level the playing field for all stakeholders, no sharing platform has changed that backward momentum, until now. Tapping into my desire to engage people and organizations in meaningful ways, my supporters and I have been able to bring artists and music lovers together on a truly intimate level. On behalf of curious fans, we connect them to even the most guarded music celebrities, who offer responses to questions that reach beyond the surface. For example, when one fan wanted to ask Dee Snider, the front man of the heavy metal band Twisted Sister, if he had always aspired to be a musician, he revealed that he wanted to be a football player for the New York Jets. And, when music legend Sammy Hagar was asked about his deepest concerns, he reluctantly revealed that he makes a sizable donation to food banks in every city on his tours. He doesn’t do it for the publicity – he does it from the heart because he cares. In fact, that’s a big part our mission with EMN. Driven by compassion and a commitment to do good in the world, we wanted to go over and above sharing music and information by providing a new revenue stream that allows fans and artists to contribute to charitable causes. Through the network, a percentage of every subscription gets earmarked for nonprofits that feed the hungry, aid victims of natural disasters, support homeless veterans, and much more. With philanthropy at our core, we are proud that we’ve built a technologically advanced platform to revolutionize one of the world’s most valuable industries and unleash the universal and transformative power of music.
By Elizabeth Vargas, Founder, Edge Music Network
ABOUT ELIZABETH VARGAS:
Elizabeth Vargas is the founder and CEO of Edge Music Network, an interactive digital music network providing live and on-demand content through a gamified video syndication platform that gives artists the royalties and respect they deserve while giving fans access to the music they love—while helping charitable causes in a meaningful way. For more info, please visit: www.EdgeMusic.com