Emily White has always been tuned in to politics, born and raised in Wisconsin, a swing state, Emily has always recognized the importance of voting, and how easy it is to take that right for granted. I got the chance to interview Emily a few months back, and pick her brain about how she got to where she is, and why every election is important.
Emily White is an accomplished music industry executive, author, and founder of the iVoted initiative. The #iVoted Initiative is a way for musicians and industry executives to use their platforms to increase voter turnout. The backstory of the initiative is one that many of us can relate to; in 2016, Emily met a couple who claimed they forgot to vote. After seeing that 22,000 votes in Wisconsin decided the election, she decided to do something about it. And thus, iVoted was born. 2018 was their first activation year, and the iVoted team activated in over 150 venues across 37 states in order to encourage people to vote in the midterm elections. And now, 2 years later, iVoted is at it again for the 2020 presidential election.
Emily White herself is extremely inspiring, and a go-getter. Her music industry journey started when she went to Northeastern University in Boston. She worked a few internships through the years, but everything changed when she met a band, the Dresden Dolls. According to Emily, she “grew up with them professionally.” She made herself indispensable to them, catering to any and every need they had, and because of this dedication she landed her first job working in management for the band. White also wrote the “name-your-own-price” business model that Radiohead would later use for their album In Rainbows. This led to Emily working for Live Nation Artists. In 2008, she started her own company with Keri Smith called Whitesmith Entertainment that focused on music and comedy touring. And, as mentioned before, she is the founder of the #iVoted initiative and festival, which is set to break world records for the largest single-night concert in history with over 500 acts confirmed.
The #iVoted festival will be taking place on election night, November 3rd. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all artists will be performing via webcast. Fans can gain access to the festival by RSVP-ing with a selfie showing off their absentee ballot or at their polling place. iVoted is non-partisan, and mostly women-run. Emily has led the team with a data-driven strategy, which is exemplified in their partnership with Chartmetric. Through this collaboration, the iVoted team strategically selects acts that are the most streamed in certain states, to get a more geologically diverse viewership and encourage more voting across the country. Emily also said that COVID has actually allowed the team to expand their reach into more than music; they have started exploring partnerships with gamers, the NBA, and more. She emphasized that all elections are important, and we should not only focus on the looming presidential election (although that is obviously the top priority right now). “Voting is how you make tangible change… we hope our viewers vote at the end of the day, but just getting them thinking about voting is important too,” said Emily. She added that she wants people to celebrate voting, which the festival does in an amazing, fun way. Lastly, when asked what advice she has for aspiring entrepreneurs, Emily said, “We can all do something. It’s just about making an idea that is simple and impactful.” We can all learn from Emily’s passion and tenacity, she is truly a rockstar in the music industry and is actively inspiring change in our country through her iVoted initiative.
If there is one thing you take away from this interview, it should be to GET OUT AND VOTE!
More information about iVoted can be found here.
Emily White is also the author of two amazing books, Interning 101, which is a how-to guide for interns in modern business, and How to Build a Sustainable Music Career & Collect All Revenue Streams, which is a #1 Amazon Best Seller. Check them out!