Ariel Hyatt interviews Emily White on her #1 music business podcast ‘How to Build a Sustainable Music Career & Collect All Revenue Streams’

Two independent music veterans, Emily White and Ariel Hyatt, discuss White’s top-rated podcast, its move to livestreaming music platform Volume.com, and how it is helping musicians build sustainable careers.

by Ariel Hyatt of CyberPr

Emily White is well known, and I’m thrilled to call her a friend and even more excited to have been presented with the opportunity to bring her podcast to the new live-streaming music platform Volume.com. 

Her Podcast How to Build a Sustainable Music Career & Collect All Revenue Streams is the #1 Music Business podcast globally, charting on six continents with listeners in 140+ countries. And, the best-selling author, industry veteran and #iVoted Festival founder kicked off her podcast via live stream this Tuesday with special guest Vernon Reid. 

Emily will continue to cover the modern music industry in full and solve musicians’ problems in real time via livestream on Volume.com in front of a live audience at Academy Award winner John Ridley’s Nō Studios through February.

Episodes 2 & 6 are available to stream for free.  Claim tickets here.

Ariel Hyatt: For those who don’t know, tell us: Who are you?

Emily White: My name is Emily White. I’m a longtime entrepreneur in the music industry & the Founder of #iVoted Festival.

AH: What prompted you to make your book, How to Build a Sustainable Music Career & Collect All Revenue Streams, a podcast?

EW: I didn’t set out to be an author. Musicians kept asking to get coffee or set up a Zoom to “pick my brain” and I found myself having the same conversations repeatedly. Similarly, we were finding money left and right for the last few artists I took on for management. Although that’s no doubt part of a manager’s job, I realized that if this was happening to national and international acts then what about everyone else? I felt that artists shouldn’t have to know me personally to have access to this info and if I wrote it all down that the information could help even more musicians. I’ve spent decades navigating the modern music industry and trying every platform that arises to determine if it benefits artists. The book covers the industry in full from recording to release while ensuring artists aren’t missing a single revenue stream along the way. It was self-released in March 2020 and instantly became an Amazon #1 best-seller. What’s been most rewarding is seeing artists post about and push the book onto other artists. 

AH: The podcast ended up blowing up and is the #1 Music Business podcast globally. What’s the secret? Why do you think it’s so important for industry people today?

EW: Authenticity. Which is no different than what I preach to artists in Chapter and Episode 1 of “Get Your Art Together.” Are you making music that you think will be huge or what is true to your heart, soul and spirit? I had a clear vision to bring each chapter to life through hand-picked guests. A student asked me if I just got the “biggest” people I know and I told him, “No, I got the ‘right’ people to breathe life into each topic along the steps of an artist’s process and career. For example, I polled my NYU students on their dream guest speaker, with the criteria of someone they feel is doing something innovative in the industry. Bon Iver topped our poll and we were fortunate to visit Justin Vernon at The King’s Theatre while he was on tour. I recorded the conversation via voice memo for my own critique. When listening back to the conversation, I realized he perfectly brought Chapter 1 of “Get Your Art Together” to life. His management kindly let me release the conversation as a podcast episode that was also picked up by Stereogum. Therefore that episode didn’t happen because I thought, “I’m going to get Justin Vernon and media outlets will write about it!” The entire process was genuine, authentic and I have no doubt that is why audiences have connected with the material. Additionally, the info in this book and podcast is out there. I’ve had the privilege of speaking at countless industry conferences over the years. But I’ve never seen the modern music industry put In order – from creation to execution or recording to release. So I think presenting this material in a methodical and simple manner has really appealed to artists and industry folks that otherwise understandably feel overwhelmed grasping for nuggets of information all over the place.

AH: Season 2 of the podcast will be recorded in front of a live studio audience and live-streamed from the renowned Nō Studios. What’s it like recording a podcast there and how does it feel? Do you have any expectations?

EW: When I realized there isn’t an industry conference that presents the modern industry in order, I realized, why don’t I run my own workshop that does just that? Then I thought, where do I want to do this? I live in Brooklyn and of course could do it there, Nashville, L.A., etc. But as I’m originally from Wisconsin I realized I wanted to do it in Milwaukee and help artists there in a manner that is applicable to musicians in all markets. Partnering with Academy Award winner John Ridley’s Nō Studios in Milwaukee has been a dream and an honor. As both John and his sister Lisa Caesar are from Wisconsin and have had national / international success but built Nō Studios in Milwaukee with the intention of supporting the community and showing that you can build a world class career from anywhere. Which is exactly the point of this podcast. My intention for the IRL audience is to illuminate opportunities that I wasn’t necessarily aware of growing up in Wisconsin. And in reality, these opportunities didn’t exist yet, as I grew up in the early days of the internet. But again, looking at someone like Justin Vernon of Bon Iver building an empire from rural Northern Wisconsin only highlights that when you create great art, you can do it too – if you have the knowledge and right tools to do so.

AH: What are you most excited about for season 2?

EW: I’m really looking forward to solving musicians’ problems and answering industry folks’ questions in real time. Season one was very much recorded at home during the pandemic. Thanks to Volume’s live-streaming platform, we’ve created an interactive workshop that anyone can access. 

AH: What can listeners/viewers/industry professionals expect from season 2 that differs from season 1?

EW: Season Two is through a Milwaukee lens that is intended to be applicable in all markets. As how you pitch Radio Milwaukee or the music writer at The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is no different than how you do just that in Nashville, Albuquerque, Baltimore or anywhere. From there I’ll be sharing how to grow and build a career regionally, nationally and internationally.

AH: What’s the most obvious revenue stream artists overlook?

EW: Music publishing! This is the number one missing revenue stream I see from songwriters of all ages and it breaks my heart, but is also understandable. First, an artist needs to sign up for their country’s performing rights organization. In the U.S. that’s ASCAP or BMI, whom I highlight since they are open to all songwriters. Though I’ve been shocked to meet a lot of young people over the past few years who aren’t even signed up for their P.R.O.! When I ask why, they tell me they “don’t want to sign their publishing away,” which of course isn’t at all what a P.R.O. does. A P.R.O. will collect your public performance royalties for you and if you don’t claim them within 2.5 years of a song being released – you will never get that money! However, many songwriters are signed up with ASCAP or BMI, which is great. But if you are just signed up for your P.R.O. and aren’t collecting on your publishing any other way and your music is being covered, streamed, sold and beyond – you are missing money! And therefore not collecting on your music publishing in full. Thus, when I meet songwriters and ask how they’re collecting on their publishing, more often than not they say ,”Oh I’m with ASCAP” or BMI and think they’re all set. Which is totally understandable because when a songwriter signs up with a P.R.O. they are encouraged to create a “publishing designee.” So if I’m Emily White the songwriter, it’s going to encourage me to create a publishing designee of say, “Emily White Music.” Therefore I totally get why this is confusing. In the pre-digital era, songwriters needed to have a music publishing administrator collect their publishing royalties on their behalf. Songtrust cracked this wide open and now any songwriter can sign up with Songtrust to ensure they’re not missing this revenue, while owning their rights with the option to leave if they so choose.

AH: What’s the simplest advice you can give an artist who doesn’t know where to start with revenue collection?

EW: It might not be simple, but if you’re recording and have a clear vision for your project – launch a pre-order! And if you’re recording and don’t have a clear vision for your release, which is totally ok – launch a Patreon so fans can join your journey and support you along the way. Give your fans the opportunity to support you in a single, tens or hundreds of dollars instead of just waiting to push out your streaming link when the time comes, which generates fractions of a pennies. Your fans and community want to support you in the way that’s best for you, but don’t know how if you don’t tell or let them.

How to Build a Sustainable Music Career & Collect All Revenue Streams – Season Two

Livestream Tickets: $5 per Episode / $35 for the course/ 3 Episodes are Free: LINK 

  • E1: Get Your Art Together with Vernon Reid – Tuesday, January 10 at 6:30 PM CT
  • E2: Pre-Recording Marketing Foundation w/ Kennita Hickman – Saturday, January 14 at 12:30 PM CT
  • E3: Get Your Business Affairs Together & Fair Compensation w/ Karl Fowlkes, Esq. – Tuesday January 17 at 6:30 PM CT 
  • E4: How to Record with or without a Budget w/ Ana Ochoa – Saturday, January 21 at 12:30 PM CT
  • E5: Music Publishing Isn’t Scary or Confusing w/ Songtrust + How to Land a Sync Placement w/ Julia Pernicone of Songtrust – Tuesday, January 24 at 6:30 PM CT
  • E6: Setting up Your Release & Distribution Plan w/ Christine Barnum: Chief Revenue Officer @ CD Baby – Saturday January  28 at 12:30p PM CT; Presented by Bandzoogle
  • E7: How to Market with or without a Budget w/ Evan Rytlewski of Pitchfork & NPR – Tuesday, January 31 at 6:30 PM CT; Presented by Bandzoogle
  • E8: Your Live Strategy & Efficient Touring w/ Matt Beringer of The Pabst Theater Group – Saturday, February 4 at 12:30 PM CT
  • E9: Merch Re-Con w/ Christopher Moon of Ambient Inks Monday, February 6 @ 6:30 PM CT
  • E10: Revenue Stream Checklist w/ Lachi – Saturday, February 11 at 12:30 PM CT; Presented by Bandzoogle
  • E11: Repeat & Grow! w/ John Ridley Monday, February 13 at 6:30 PM CT 
  • E12: When Do I Need an Attorney, a Business Manager, and/or a Manager? Defining an Artist’s Traditional Team w/ Erinn Knight – Saturday, February 18 at 2:30 PM CT; In partnership with Music Managers Forum-US

About Volume

Volume.com is a 24/7 free live stream platform that allows engagement between artists and their fans to help artists build and monetize their craft, from ticket sales, subscriptions, merch purchases, or by using Volume’s unique online tip system. 

Volume differentiates itself by connecting all viewers and performers with first-class sound and visual quality. Their multi-layered audio effects, plugins, and soundcheck create a unique and seamless experience for both performers and audience members. They celebrate all artistic expression, be that in music, podcasts, comedy, or even sports and provide a fun, welcoming and vibrant community for all.

About Nō Studios

Nō Studios derives from the wordplay between a rejection artists often hear, nō 能, the Sino-Japanese root word for “skill” or “talent”. Founded by Oscar winner and Milwaukee native, John Ridley, the desire behind the 40,000 square-foot headquarters is to create a collaborative workspace, hybrid experience platform, and social community that offers an environment for artists and activists to come together. The historic building features a state-of-the-art screening room, performance stage, café bar, gallery, offices, co-working space and rooftop lounge and deck.

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