Emily White has a wide array of experience as an artist manager, entrepreneur, and author. She’s excited to begin teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven this fall, and she’s looking forward to educating and inspiring the next generation of leaders.
July 28, 2022
When Emily White was an eighth-grader in Wisconsin, she was at the mall when she discovered a book that would guide her future aspirations and, eventually, the trajectory of her career. She’d always loved music and had been fascinated by the business and creation of it – from shows to recording. But it was when she found All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman that she realized her passion could become a profession.
Since then, White has gone on to build quite a career in the music industry. An entrepreneur and educator, she has worked as an artist manager, building businesses around artists and taking care of fans. She’s passionate about sharing her vast knowledge of the industry in a variety of ways, including through the very book that inspired her and by joining the University of New Haven’s Music Industry Department as an adjunct professor.
“It still blows my mind that I now contribute to Don Passman’s most recent book editions to update readers on modern marketing,” she said. “I also love working with students, as I learn as much from them as, hopefully, they do from me. It’s important to give back to the next generation of industry leaders, and I feel I can empathize with the students. I was a music industry major as an undergrad, and I viscerally remember a variety of feelings, hopes, and fears. I can hopefully support the former for the students and dispel the latter.”
Beginning this fall, White will be teaching “Artist Management” at the University. Committed to promoting mental health and well-being, she believes self-care is critical for any musician or industry professional. She wants her students to be prepared to address any challenges they may encounter in the industry – such as substance abuse or sexual harassment.
“I want students to have resources and know where to turn, should any of these issues ever arise for them or their friends and colleagues in the industry,” she explains. “Also, if an artist manager, artist, or any industry professional isn’t taking care of themselves, then they’re not going to be able to take care of others, create, or put out the best art possible.”
‘Voting has always been crucial’
White, who has been running management and consulting firms since 2008, also brings her years of industry experience to the classroom. Founder and partner of Collective Entertainment, a New York- and Los Angeles-based firm that specializes in music, sports, content creation, and activism, White says she grew the business out of her previous firm, Whitesmith Entertainment, which focused on music, comedy, and sports.
White also helped found #iVoted, an initiative that aims to increase voter turnout. On Election Day in 2018, #iVoted activated more than 150 venues to admit fans who showed a selfie taken outside their polling place. The initiative hosted a digital concert on Election Day in 2020, featuring more than 450 artists. Fans gained access to the stream with a selfie taken at home with their unmarked ballot or outside their polling place. Underage fans RSVPed for the event by stating why they are excited to vote.
“Voting is how we make tangible change for us all to move forward in every issue that we feel is important,” said White. “I founded #iVoted Festival after realizing many electoral margins are often decided by the size of a venue.
“Similarly, per billboard on our work, young people in the US are more likely to attend live music events than vote,” she continued. “Voting has always been crucial, but in an era of misinformation, voter suppression, and the fact that many fundamental rights are now being taken away, it feels like a more critical time than ever to not only vote, but to ensure others in your life are doing the same.”
‘I like to tailor my teaching to each student’s specific goals’
White’s path to becoming an author and podcast host was more organic. Musicians often asked her out for coffee so they could “pick her brain,” and she realized she was often having the same conversation with them. She decided to write it down – that way, she could share her knowledge with even more people.
White’s first book, Internship 101, was also developed into a podcast. Now the author of How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams, she hosts a podcast with the same name, reaching listeners in more than 100 countries. She says she was able to apply what she learned from hosting her first podcast, enabling her to have a clear plan, strategy, and vision when creating the second.
“I take this exact approach to teaching by encouraging students to get out there and get going,” she said. “I also remind them to rely on each other as they’re building their networks with their classmates, which is easy to otherwise overlook and take for granted.”
White is excited to help prepare the next leaders in the music industry at the University. She will share with them real-world examples from her own experience as well as those of her teammates and firms, discussing successes as well as challenges and how to work through them. She hopes students will gain an understanding of what will be expected of them at internships and when they begin their careers.
“I like to tailor my teaching to each student’s specific goals,” she said. “I try to get the students involved in work that puts them on the path to their specific goals. The opportunities in the industry are really quite endless, and that can feel daunting. I’ll be looking to shine a light to show them not only that they can do it too, but also to give them concrete steps so they know how to do so.”