Q’s With A Pollstar Live Panelist: Emily White of #iVoted

Emily White
– Emily White

Drive-By Truckers, Jim James, Dawes, Good Charlotte, Jessie Reyez, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Underoath, and Playboi Carti are just a few of the artists who participated in the #iVoted voter turnout initiative in 2018 to reward voters who take selfies outside their polling place.

The initiative was the brainchild of Emily White of Collective Entertainment, who is sharing some of the experience gained by moderating a panel Feb. 12 at Pollstar Live! titled “Voting In Concert: How Promoters, Artists, and You Can Make Political & Social Change.”

Other panelists joining her include Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Margaret Galton of C3 Presents, Andy Bernstein of Head Count and Marika Anthony-Shaw of Arcade Fire and PLUS1. 

Ahead of Pollstar Live! White answered a few questions about the panel and talked about her favorite live show.

What are most looking forward to about your panel? 

I’m very much looking forward to sharing the work we did at #iVoted in 2018, which was activating over 130 venues to let fans in on Election night who showed a selfie from outside of their polling place, to everyone who is interested in joining the movement for 2020. Our goal was to galvanize voter turnout and I know that we can get even more venues and promoters on board for the 2020 election. Similarly, for any venue not working with HeadCount to register fans to vote, we want to ensure everyone is in the loop on their great work, as #iVoted is nothing without fans already being registered to vote. 

Additionally, I’m psyched to share PLUS1 with everyone, as ticket add-ons are such a simple way for artists to fund social causes they believe in. We’ll also of course have Jim James of My Morning Jacket on the panel, who went above and beyond for the 2018 Election, sharing all of the great work he does to activate his fanbase. And Margaret Galton at C3, who was one of our first promoters to come on board and join the #iVoted movement. My goal is to inform the audience of all of this great work for those who are interested to get involved and truly make tangible change moving forward. 

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What are your thoughts on the impact artists/promoters made during the 2018 election? 
Obviously, historically, artists have been at the forefront of political change. Yet, at the same time, in the modern era I think artists are sometimes told to lay low with their opinions. That certainly changed following the 2016 election with pop artists such as Taylor Swift literally spiking voter registration in her home state of Tennessee by speaking publicly on the 2018 Election. As mentioned, Jim James went far above and beyond last year by touring college campuses and bringing candidates from all parties to speak with students. Whether it’s artists, promoters, or other types of industry folks, we all have a platform. Those who are willing to speak up and use it can have major impact on audiences and communities alike. At the same time, I often think of what Andy Bernstein told me a HeadCount board member said after Obama was elected, which was “So are we done now?” No matter your political leanings, I think the last few years have shown that the work is never done and I’m so proud to work with such great panelists who have incredible impact on our industry and all whom it reaches.
What aspect are you most looking forward to at this year’s Pollstar Live! Conference and why?
I used to tour manage years ago, so it will be great to re-connect with old friends that I haven’t seen for awhile. Similarly, we worked with so many promoters last year who were involved with #iVoted, that it’ll be great to connect with folks in person and make email addresses come to life in human form! And I of course can’t wait to engage with anyone who wants to activate their venues and communities for #iVoted 2020 and beyond.

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What were some of your biggest professional accomplishments in the past year?    
The launch of Collective Entertainment has been fantastic. I couldn’t be more proud of our clients and incredible team. Additionally, I just finished writing my second book, which has a working title of How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams. We’ve been blown away by the pre-orders for it, so I’m glad that the knowledge I’m sharing will hopefully help artists at all levels. We have a lot more to announce across the board, so stay tuned! It should be a great 2019.
Finally, just for fun – what was the live show or shows that most changed your life and why?
Noel Gallagher dedicating “Don’t Look Back in Anger” to me at Germany’s Hurricane Festival in 2005 (which can be viewed @ 14:53 here!). They say don’t meet your heroes, but the fact that Noel is always so kind to me would never be believed by my teenaged self. It was truly a “full circle” moment in my career and of course incredibly moving on a personal level.

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