midemblog: What are the best things about your job, and what have been your career highlights to date?
Emily White: Even though I’m a workaholic, the best thing about my job is control over my schedule. Although that schedule is usually packed, ultimately it is me making the decisions of where I am and what I’m doing. That freedom is something I hope to never give up! Career highlights for me can be as simple as the feeling one gets when an artist achieves a goal or I’m at an event that I came up with and executed on. It’s really about the daily satisfaction to me more than tangible goals. That said, my favorite artist in the world – Noel Gallagher – dedicated “Don’t Look Back in Anger” to me at a festival. I mean, is there anything better than that? 🙂 Also our sports client Anthony Ervin winning the 2016 gold medal in the 50 Freestyle is an experience that is difficult to put into words. I know how talented Anthony is, but I set out to work with him because he’s the “rock star” of Olympic swimming and manage him like a band. So winning on the world’s largest stage was a treat that was just incredible to go through and that I still enjoy thinking about!
> What advice would you give to people looking to start working in the music industry today?
Say yes to everything you’ve invited to, do everything that you are asked to do (within ethical reason of course) as well as possible and with a positive attitude, and stay in touch with folks via Twitter and LinkedIn. As opposed to emailing industry folks constantly – as we get plenty of emails :). Social is a great way to stay in touch and inform your network on what you’re up to, yet in a passive manner for the audience, as opposed to the daily deluge of emails that we all get.
> What do you predict will be the key trends for music consumption and marketing in 2017?
Streaming will of course continue to rise. That said, artists as always MUST know their rights. Just like with iTunes, CD’s, and other formats that have come before, know who is doing your deals with streaming companies. If you can go direct or have a strong indie deal and have a growing fanbase, you can and will generate income from streaming. Otherwise it’ll be fascinating to see where A.I. takes us. It can be as simple as a bot from an artist’s account replying (which I read in The New York Times this morning that fans love, which I get – engagement is engagement). Similarly, I personally love the idea of hologram live shows. I used to wonder how TV would evolve and it could be just that. It’s one thing to have The Beatles play on Ed Sullivan in your living room; it’s another to feel like The Beatles are actually playing in your living room!
> What is the one innovation that we should be the most excited about?
Ironically (as it’s been around for a while), it’s still streaming for me. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but I was a teenager when Napster came out and always wished that had been monetised. Almost 20 years later, it finally is! I think streaming can still expand to offer live material and maybe that’s where we open up additional revenue streams that artists and rights holders can also control.
> And what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the music industry this year?
Competition from itself. People often muse on all of the other mediums music is competing against. I argue that I could never know every artist even within the genres I work in! Which is way different than 15-year-old me, who knew every artist in ever genre because music was limited due to its finite format in the pre-digital era. Now with recording and distribution in the hands of artists, there is more music than ever! And also that much more to sort through to break through.
This is the latest in a series of posts from key industry influencers from the world over, whom you’ll be able to meet at Midem 2017. More soon!
Top photo © Adrian Buckmaster