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Inspiring Conversations with Ash Stahl of Flighthouse

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ash Stahl.

Hi Ash, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
So I actually wanted to be an MTV VJ when I was younger! My first internship was working for a local TV station in upstate New York the summer before my senior year of high school – I was completely unprepared. I ended up going to the University of North Florida to study broadcast journalism but realized halfway through my degree that I didn’t want to be in front of the camera after all, so I transferred my focus from Broadcast Journalism to Public Relations. While I was at school, I interned for the Alzheimer’s Association running their social media and doing digital marketing.

In college, I became a huge fan of electronic music, and shortly after working for the Alzheimer’s Association, I started working as the social media manager for EDM.com. Later, EDM.com brought me on as a publicist for their in-house record label. Around that time, a friend of mine was interested in starting an artist management company catering to electronic musicians and asked if I wanted to help with PR and social media for his clients. I joined up with him, and from there, I landed my first management client, Said The Sky, who I still manage today.

After college, I moved to Los Angeles to continue my work with EDM.com and Said The Sky. While I was there, I became connected with Create Music Group, who we were using to monetize Said The Sky’s YouTube channel. At the time, there were only ten people working at Create, and there was no real job opening when I was hired. I started out at Create in 2016 doing project management for some of the artists and influencers they were working with. When Create Music Group acquired Flighthouse, a creative content studio catering to Musical.ly creators, I had already become familiar with Musical.ly through my project management work, and I saw an opportunity in that space. Myself and a coworker told Create’s CEO Jonathan Strauss that we wanted to start focusing our energy on building the Flighthouse brand and take a chance on the Musical.ly space (which of course later became TikTok).

I started working full-time on Flighthouse in 2017. We tested out lots of different types of content and involved a broad range of influencers in what we were working on. By 2019, Flighthouse had become what it is today: premium gamified content on TikTok. Now, Flighthouse is the most-followed brand on TikTok, and we’ve expanded our capabilities to offer music strategy for labels and brands, creative influencer strategy for brands, and more.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Over the years, I’ve learned to trust my gut and only work with partners that will allow my team and me to do what we do best. When Flighthouse first got started 3-4 years ago, even before TikTok, we were out pitching record labels to work with us. The people who we started working with early are the people who were willing to experiment with their marketing budgets.

There can be a lot of red tape around what we do, especially when we’re working with big global brands. We like to work with partners who can be flexible with us and trust us. If our partners only want us to execute what they think is going to work, then the partnership won’t be successful.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no to certain projects that we can’t deliver on, don’t believe in, or just aren’t the right fit for us. This has been a really positive lesson and has helped us to work more effectively on behalf of our partners. At this point, most of our clients are repeat clients that come back to us because they know we’re the best at what we do.

We’ve been impressed with Flighthouse, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Flighthouse has a few different pieces to its business. We are the #1 non-influencer content publisher on TikTok, offering premium gamified influencer content to over 30 million followers across our platforms.

Behind the scenes, we have an agency under which we develop creative influencer and marketing strategy for music and brands. We work with record labels and artists to build out and execute TikTok strategy and influencer campaigns, and we’ve worked with big names like Lil Nas X, Saweetie, Doja Cat, and Surfaces. Recently, we started offering our creative strategy services to brands, whether we’re ideating a campaign for a specific product that they’re launching or developing influencer strategy for the overall brand. We also do white label content creation, and we’ve partnered with brands like e.l.f. Cosmetics and Hollister to build content for their owned and operated channels. And we can create branded content that fits into the Flighthouse landscape. When we’re working with brands, we can offer all of these things together, or they can pick and choose which services they need us for.

Nobody else has the platform that Flighthouse has on TikTok, and it’s impossible for any other business to do exactly what we’re doing.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I got through college (and my early artist management days) working at Hooters! Unsurprisingly, there isn’t much money in being an independent manager of baby artists who aren’t playing shows yet, so I needed a gig that was flexible with my schedule and paid decently. Being a Hooters Girl fit the bill. Balancing school, Hooters and artist management was challenging, but without that job, I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am today. There is no shame in having a side hustle while trying to make it in your dream industry.

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