Planet Verge is an all-female run music network that has established a reputation since 2002 for bringing its audience What's Hot & What's Important through various forms of media (zines, blogs, Internet-TV episodes). The girls are playful and conscientious media professionals (publicists, editors, video producers, etc), some straight-edge, some vegetarian/vegan, and all living it up with regular doses of rock 'n’ roll. Planet Verge has teamed up with digital network ambush.tv to produce the Internet-TV show, On The Verge. The PV girls create up-close and-personal content with acclaimed national touring acts and on-the-rise indie bands and trendsetters, in addition to raising awareness to causes (Save the tigers! Adopt a shelter dog! Go vegan!) and encouraging viewers to take action.
WATCH us on On The Verge, our digital shorts.
READ our constantly-updated blog.
Interview w/ Joelle Caputa, President
Nina: What first sparked the idea for Planet Verge, and what were your initial plans for it?
Joelle: This all stems back from my high school journalism teacher. She ate peanut butter straight from the jar and never let us write about anything fun. I was naturally jealous (about the peanut butter) and determined to start my own publishing revolution. As soon as I entered college, I worked my way up to music editor and later launched an environmental section in the campus paper. In between semesters, I missed writing about music. So I devoted my life to working part-time jobs (a movie theater and later, Starbucks) to save up enough cash to print my own quarterly ‘zine, Planet Verge. I conned friends not only into writing, but trekking up and down the streets and soliciting local businesses for ads. We got a lot of doors slammed in our faces at first, but what didn’t kill us made us stronger. And here we are now, an Internet-TV show, On The Verge!
My initial plans were to build up newsstand distribution, which we did at a few local book and music stores, but our readership was mostly on-location (handed out at shows) and subscription-based.
Nina: Are all of the contributors for Planet Verge founding members?
Joelle: Nope, just me! However, Jessica (Editor-in-Chief of PlanetVerge.com) joined the staff within our first year as a ‘zine and Jordana (Creative Director/Sponsorship Coordinator for On The Verge) came along around issue 6, so we’re the original crew. The three of us launched On The Verge, which started filming in late 2008 and debuted in 2009. Without them, Planet Verge wouldn’t be what it is today.
We’ve had a lot of writers world-wide, too which is awesome. Right now, we have dedicated staffers in Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Nina: How do you decide “What's Hot? and “What's Important?”
Joelle: It’s all what we love. We’re not going to blog about Lady Gaga or some American Idol guy because the rest of the world considers them “hot.” But, we’re totally going to cover the indie band you may have never heard before, whose playing a secret underground venue, because we think they deserve to be recognized. The “What’s Important” part comes with our own personal passions and causes we support. Jordana is a vegan and I’m a rice milk-drinking, vegetarian, so you’ll see a lot of our content is animal-rights based. I’m also a mega-huge dog lover and save the tigers activist, hence our episodes on abused puppies and tiger preserves. Those are our “Start Something” segments. Things to which we want to raise awareness.
Nina: What's the greatest accomplishment you've achieved with this company?
Joelle: The other day, I was going through a bunch of old stuff and found a box filled with letters of fan mail. Having someone write you and say they love what you’re doing or that you inspired them to start a ‘zine or something, really means the world. So I’d say knowing that we’re changing people’s lives, and our own.
Nina: Is Planet Verge more than just a Web site?
Joelle: It’s our life! Haha. Yes. We teamed up with digital network, ambush.tv to produce our Internet-TV show. Episodes are posted on our site and also custom-created for sponsors (including Peta2 and NJUnderground), who repost on their sites. We have also teamed up with No One You Know Productions to produce live events in the New York area. That’s a lot of the Angels and Kings footage you see on our site.
Jessica and I also run Audio Crush PR and work with awesome bands like Cash Cash, The Matches and Those Mockingbirds.
Nina: What have been some of the most challenging and most rewarding moments since you began?
Joelle: When we were a print zine, the biggest struggle was financially.
Here’s a recent great example of stress city. Jordana road tripped to SXSW as a challenge to see if she could rough it on the road. (I definitely got phone calls of her sleepless and searching for a shower, which makes for a great story, but not so much while you’re in that situation!) Meanwhile, back over here, we were filming a six-hour event in New York City, running around like crazy coordinating interviews and performance taping for seven bands. The next day, we had to be up early for a morning shoot and then rush to film the Jerseylicious premiere party. This was Saturday and Sunday. It’s Wednesday and Rosina and I have not left our computers since then. With all that filming comes days-even weeks- worth of editing footage into episodes. Our goal is to release footage as soon as possible. Who wants to be watching SXSW recaps in June? So I’d say a huge challenge for us right now is keeping up with our filming to editing ratio. I’m not gonna lie, there are some episodes filmed last year that have yet to see the light of day. It’s hard for many of the girls to juggle it all in-between working full-time 9-5’s, too.
The most rewarding thing is seeing the end product and interviewing artists that we love.
Nina: Do you have any funny stories you can share that have occurred with the staff at Planet Verge?
Joelle: We have PV Girls nights out a lot. Whenever I drive, we tend to get very lost, so that is always an adventure. But I got my GPS working now! Oh, here’s one: Jordana, Alisha and I were at the W hotel in Hoboken and got hit on by 18 year-old boys who were vacationing with their dad. Jordana all whipped out this lie that she was from California and I went to Rutgers, etc and so Alisha and I just went along with it. It was really funny and I felt bad lying to them cause they were soo nervous. As we were leaving, one of the boys asked Jordana for her number and she said she’d give him her Twitter, because- I quote her- “What do you need to say to me that you can’t say in 140 words or less?” Then, I wrote down our site for them, so I’m sure they realized we played them. Boys, if you are reading this, sorry!
Nina: Where do you see this company going? Do you have any ultimate goals?
Joelle: I see us staying focused on the show and reaching as many viewers as possible.
My ultimate goal is for everyone on staff – myself included- to be able to work at Planet Verge full-time and get paid for it. Right now, we work overtime, fueled on passion.
Nina: Sum up in one sentence what Planet Verge is/means/does/represents.
Joelle: This is on our Facebook page. I think Jessica sums it up pretty well: Planet Verge brings Buddha-like enlightenment on good music, good causes, and even good food--except our staff are better looking than most Siddhartha statues.
Nina: What does it take for a band to get recognized by the girls at Planet Verge?
Joelle: We have to believe in the music. And the bands have to be original. No Boys Like Girls rip-offs, because we don’t even like Boys Like Girls. It helps to let us know way in advance that you’re coming to the NYC area, so we can coordinate with our film crew. Also, when pitching your band, sell yourself- give us a reason why you would make a good story and tell us why you stand out. Don’t just send us to a MySpace page.