CommonEdits Creates Digital Library to Protect Artists’ Rights

Dallas startup wants to remove the legal wall remix musicians face with a drag-along license that gives credit to original artists

Matthew Lewis


Today’s independent artists don’t need record deals to get millions of downloads online. The problem comes when musicians remix copyrighted music and then sell it online.

This piracy has resulted in plenty of lawsuits against other music platforms and budding artists. It is a huge stumbling block to the independent music scene.

Dallas startup CommonEdits wants to shatter that wall and shift the paradigm in music back to the artists.

The one-year-old company has created a drag-along license that stays with a song so the original artists still get a cut for every download. That makes the process legal and legitimate.

“The goal is to create a library of music that remix artists can utilize, so they can sell the end product.” Matthew Lewis

“The goal is to create a library of music that remix artists can utilize, so they can sell the end product,” said Matthew Lewis, president of CommonEdits.


It starts with an instrumental track from an original artist that gets posted on CommonEdits. Remix artists can take that track and turn it into anything they want by sampling, mixing, and looping the track.  

“Typically, a remix, once it’s gone through the process, it’s a completely different track,” Lewis said.

Then, the remix artist uploads the song and gets 30 percent of the proceeds from the download. One original instrumental track could be remixed 100 times, making money for the original artist each time.

“If any one of those takes off he’s increased his odds of making money off his original composition,” Lewis said. “That makes the whole flow of money within music very transparent. Every transaction is shown online.” 

For Lewis, this removes the so-called “gatekeeper” in the music industry, making it a “more beautiful and organic thing.” It’s something he’s passionate about because remixing is how many artists and producers get their start and it’s become a huge part of the music industry.

Unlike some of their competitors, CommonEdits will use U.S. dollars, not Bitcoin or other online currency, for its transactions.


CommonEdits started in 2015 and made a splash at South by Southwest this year in Austin by winning the SXSW Music Hackathon competition. The company was underfunded at the time so Lewis made the strategic decision not to buy his way into SXSW, but rather to enter the competition. 

“We’ve dedicated ourselves to providing as much value as we can to the music community.”
Matthew Lewis

The win got CommonEdits access to the SXSW Music Incubator, which included interactions with high-level mentors, a $4,000 value. They also secured $89,000 in funding from Seed Sumo, an accelerator in Bryan, Texas, and Code Authority in Frisco.

“We jumped at the opportunity to invest in CommonEdits outside of the CodeLaunch annual competition cycle because the concept, the space, and Matthew were that intriguing,” said Jason Taylor, president of Code Authority.

Currently, the company has three employees and three interns.

For now, CommonEdits is focused on independent artists but hopes to scale up quickly to get major record label artists to load their music onto the site.

“We’ve dedicated ourselves to providing as much value as we can to the music community,” Lewis said.

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