EXCLUSIVE ADVANCE LOOK: Emily White has deep first hand knowledge of how to build a sustainable music career from her years an an artist manager, consultant and more. She's shared some of that knowledge from the stages of countless conferences including MIDEM and SXSW and in a Billboard cover story. Her new book, How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams, brings all of that knowledge together in a single volume.
"The modern music industry is, in theory, great for artists. However, there are very few who know how to build a long-term career, as well as where their money is coming from."
Like her first publication, Interning 101, this book was born out of necessity, and Emily White is thrilled to share this crucial knowledge with all who want it.
“I’ve had the privilege of speaking at countless music conferences around the globe," writes White. "Yet I’ve never seen the modern music industry put IN ORDER, from creation to execution, for artists. Considering the industry was initially set up decades ago to confuse artists, that would be as difficult as trying to teach a child multiplication and division before they understand addition and subtraction. The goal of this book is to give artists a straightforward guide on how to build a sustainable music career. Similarly, I continue to work with too many national acts whom I’m constantly finding old and new revenue streams for. The modern music industry is, in theory, great for artists. However, there are very few who know how to build a long-term career, as well as where their money is coming from and when."
An Advance Look
How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams will be published later this year by George Howard's 9GiantStepsBooks, but we're excited to share an advance look at what is likely to become must reading for anyone launching a career in music or the music industry. You can (and should) pre-order a copy here.
How to Build a Sustainable Music Career
and Collect All Revenue Streams
By Emily White
The music industry was set up decades ago to confuse artists. What’s exciting about the modern music industry - and by modern I mean the evolution of music from physical to digital - is that artists can now not only create and distribute music on their own, but they in theory have transparent access to all of their revenue streams.
However, I very rarely meet artists that have all of their revenue streams organized in one place that they can access to know how much money they have coming in, as well as what they can anticipate financially based on those revenue streams moving forward. And, I get it. I’m an entrepreneur too. I know what it’s like to get a chunk of money and be happy with that because it means I can go back to doing what I love, which is creating things I want to see in the world. But, that’s not any way to run or build a long-term and sustainable career as an entrepreneur and/or an artist.
I have a deep understanding of how to build a sustainable career in the modern music industry. And, to be clear, this information is out there. I’ve had the absolute privilege of speaking at countless music business conferences around the globe. I see artists at SXSW, Midem and beyond that are in the audience furiously taking notes, grasping at nuggets of information. i.e. “This is what publishing is. This is what SoundExchange is.” Yet, I’ve never seen a conference put all of the information that artists need to build a sustainable career and collect on all of their revenue streams IN ORDER, from say steps 1-10. I’ve expressed this concern to conferences and the response is understandable. i.e. “We only had access to so many rooms, so we had to set up competing panels.” Or “x person couldn’t arrive until the last day of the conference, so they had to speak then.”
What this results in is educating artists on their own careers in a convoluted order. Explaining how to build a career and collect on all revenue streams based on a business that was initially set up to confuse artists is a feat similar to teaching a child multiplication and division before they learn addition and subtraction. Obtaining knowledge in this way would be super confusing for anyone trying and walk away fully
informed after being presented with what they’re trying to learn in a completely arbitrary order.
Similarly, almost every artist that I meet that I don’t represent wants me to explain all of this to them. I’ve hesitated on writing this book for a long time, only out of concern that the information can get outdated quickly. However, my last straw was when a successful retired Olympic swimmer asked me if I wouldn’t mind talking to his college-aged musician daughter about her career. I didn’t mind. But you shouldn’t have to be an Olympian’s daughter, or know me personally, to have access to this information.
Thus, my second book was born.
In this book, I will explain how to build a sustainable career in the modern music industry and ensure you’re not missing a single revenue stream. We’ll go from start to finish (then repeat!), from A to Z, 1-10, however you want to want to describe a methodical order. This book isn’t designed to “choose your own adventure” or to be skipped around. Read it in order, follow the instructions and you will learn the best ways to build a long-term and sustainable music career.
Let me add - the music industry is not evil. When I opened this introduction to say, “The music industry was set up decades ago to confuse artists,” I’m talking about the pre-digital business structures that were created to make anyone’s head spin. The actual industry HAD to exist in the physical era as labels essentially controlled access to recording because studios were far too expensive for anyone who wasn’t a 1%-er to hire. Similarly, labels controlled access to the distribution of music when it was a physical object.
The digital era has cracked this all wide open, both for artists and for those who work in the music industry. I feel that many of the industry folks who remain in the digital era are the ones who are truly in the music business for the right reasons. That doesn’t mean we haven’t lost some great people to other fields along the way! But those in the music industry who are currently in it for the long-haul, for the most part, can’t imagine doing anything else and truly want to help artists succeed. At the same time, there isn’t a single manager, agent, label, or any industry person that is a miracle worker. Generally speaking, we’re here to help you. But if scoring one or all of these folks meant instant success, then the countless artists who have attained teams would all be successful. That obviously isn’t the case. I’m explaining my thoughts on modern industry
professionals so you understand that this book isn’t pro or anti-music industry. As falling into cut and dry camps like that isn’t the point.
I’m here to teach you how to build a long-term career whether you have a team or not. And if you do have a team or obtain team members along the way, you should still follow the fundamental guidelines I lay out, as team members may come and go, which is often the artist’s choice. Yet no matter who is on your team, isn’t the goal to have a long-term career and collect all of the revenue you are owed forever? That’s exactly the point of this book. I’ve taken the disparate bits of information and put it together to explain building a sustainable career as a musical artist to you in a simple and straightforward manner.
I’ve been at the forefront of the evolution of the modern / digital music industry as an artist manager and entrepreneur. Yet, the revolution that many saw happening has left a bit of a mess, despite many great intentions. So yes, educate yourself, read my colleagues’ books, go to conferences if you want a deep dive. But all of that is incredibly overwhelming, time consuming, and the costs can add up. The only reason I know how to do all of this is because I’ve dug in and tried just about every and all new services for the artists I’ve worked with over the past fifteen years. I’ve navigated these waters and have put the information that I deeply believe is best for artists’ careers in order for you.
Thus, If you want to learn how to build a career from day one, this book is for you. If this isn’t the dawn of your career, I’ll teach you how to get things organized moving forward and also ensure that all of your past revenue streams are being collected on and paid to you regularly moving forward.
Here we go!
© 2019 9GiantStepsBooks
photo above by Adrian Buckmaster