This episode about music revenue streams was previously published on the Profitable Musician Show.

Emily is trained in piano and guitar. She has always been interested in the music industry on the business side. She studied Music Business program at Northeastern University and did a lot of internships. Her first book is called Interning 101. She earned a lot of experience by interning at different companies through the years — including Powderfinger Promotions, WBCN, Q Division, Live Nation Artists, MTV, and VH1. She then met a band called The Dresden Dolls and became their day-to-day and tour manager. They eventually took on management with a guy named Mike Luba, who hired Emily to work at his company, Madison House. She toured and managed the band. Eventually, she worked full-time at Madison House where she got her management shops and worked with a lot of great artists.

Around that time, she came up with a name-your-own-price business plan for Amanda Palmer, the singer of The Dresden Dolls. The bosses thought it will never work but when they heard Radiohead have the same idea, they considered it. Luba passed along Emily’s business plan to Bob Ezrin, who produced Pink Floyd’s The Wall, amongst many other things.

She worked on the Zac Brown Band using her business plan. They were all working hard but were all laid off one day, seven months into being there.

That’s when Emily started her first management firm called Whitesmith Entertainment, managing musicians and comedians. Being from a family of coaches and being on an athletic scholarship in college, she expanded to include sports in 2012. She did that with her partner for a decade. When her partner left management, she partnered with a few proteges to launch Collective Entertainment in 2018. That was also when she launched the #iVoted Festival. They started by activating over 150 concert venues in 37 states to let fans in for the 2018 midterm elections. Some amazing artists like Playboi Carti, Jim James, My Morning Jacket, and Maggie Rogers participated in that first year. They were planning big in 2020 but had to pivot due to the pandemic and produced the largest digital concert in history. Over 450 artists participated and they also had Billie Eilish, Living Colour, and Trey Anastasio.

Her background in artist management allowed her to deeply understand the economics behind the concert industry, which allowed her to apply that to voter turnout.

For people who want to do music but don’t know which part of the industry, Emily advises this “If someone is building their career as a musician, they should focus on that and put themselves out there as far as a pandemic or not, attending conferences, Zoom seminars, getting out to shows, especially in your community, and starting to get to know other artists. There are plenty of successful industry people that are talented musicians as well. There is a lot of great musicians that work at publishing companies. If a certain part of the industry interests you, you might want to try that because it’s something you might be interested in later in life. It depends on what your interests are. People should listen to their intuition on that.”

Emily wrote her book because she was having the same conversation over and over with musicians. She wrote it as a straightforward guide. It takes artists through the modern music industry from recording to release or creation.

She thinks that the number one missing revenue stream is music publishing. She loves Songtrust because they have democratized music publishing. That has revolutionized music publishing the way that TuneCore, DistroKid, and CD Baby have on the music distribution end. If you’re signed up for your PRO, please sign up for Songtrust or some music publishing equivalent so that you can get your music publishing fully collected.

Artists are missing out on a lot of direct-to-consumer funds as well as the data that comes along with it. To Emily, the A-plus version is to start with a pre-order or Patreon and start monetizing your music while you’re making it. When it’s out, push your websites. To Emily, that’s the A-plus version where you’re going to collect the most money and the most data.

Artists can promote on Bandcamp, then Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, and other streaming platforms.

Emily shares her advice in her book and also on her podcast, How To Build A Sustainable Music Career And Collect All Revenue Streams.

Links mentioned in this episode: