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Picking Partners

Lesson 5 from: Dream it, Do it: Breaking Into The Music Industry

Steve Rennie

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Lesson Info

5. Picking Partners

Next Lesson: Make it Personal

Lesson Info

Picking Partners

Let's talk about an important, really important concept, whether you're a professional or whether you're an artist and this is notion of picking your partners, right? Um, it's been my observation that if you want to do something big an important and meaningful in your life, that is typically bigger than the energy or the skill set of any one single person, right? It's one thing for me to stand up and do videos and all this stuff, but it takes me a team tio took incubus, you know, a team of people to help them execute their stuff, whether it was producer, whether it was guys on the road, whether it was record label people, publicist, there was a whole gang of people that helped in that effort, right? So this notion of picking your partners okay is a critical one for everybody, right? If you're a band member, right? Or you're starting a band, you have you been in bands before? Anthony, I've been in yeah, I've been in like two bands and, uh, the solo act now so many asking why it is so lo...

w act I don't have tio don't have tio answer to anybody basically pick partners, right? Why do some of those guys let you down? I would say consistently, like consistently led video didn't have the same skill the same talent, same energy level to certain degrees. Yeah, I think it's ultimately comes down tio expectation as well. You know, my expectation that I hold for myself of a creative product may not have been and where where they wanted to be in their eyes and so you know, what was good enough for me may have been too good for them or vice versa, and it becomes unmanageable. So that notion of picking your partner's in a band percent I've only ever worked with bands, right? Crazy as it is and god unbelievably lucky with my friends and incubus who have been in that band, the three of them brandon, mike and jose there were fourteen years old. Same is true of you two same is true of rush, more less van halen, you know, kind of thing. So and all those air, very successful bands who managed that process. But we've all heard about all the little fractures and stuff that come along with it, right? So those issues about whether they have the same skill, whether they have the same manner that whether they have the same commitment, these are the things that break bands up. So for artists particularly one that's being in a band picking your partners is a crucial one and here's what I'll tell you is that having great musical skill in a ban isn't enough is it more important that they have great musical skill michael or that they have adequate music skill and be able to live with him handling those stress fractures? You know, managing tension giving your vision and perspective to longevity is key I mean if if you're able to just you know approach each day just being that band it's almost guaranteed you could make it because if you can get a following and you can support that following and be true to it no matter you know whether your band mate you know cause you shit or you know steals your girlfriend then you're going to make it it's like a marriage or our friendship long term friendship ah for family it's like you know as long as you can do that but it's tough it's tough it's like I used to kid around that you know people ask me what's like managing a bit and I said it's like having five wives or five difficult sons you know and pick your wife and pick your band again pick because but it's it's difficult it's tricky and it's why so many bands break up for it professionals I'll tell you an interesting or a young gal who work with me matter through the web show you know you know really smart she's an attorney you know came like canada she took a job working with a company and so the other day your employers aren't watching she came and talked to me and she said, steve, I think I'm with the wrong people I think you know, I've gone into meetings and I'm feeling that I'm being judged by the company I've kept and I said what you are okay, so whether you're a professional and you're like going into a company, you have to assess if you're here and this is where I want to go, there are steps along the way and some of more steps up some of more step sideways and some of for steps back, but getting with the right people important, I'll put it in the context of my own career I was a young promoter I wouldn't hire me willie morris got needed have my degree, I said f you, I'm going to do this and I talked these for freaking guys and giving me one hundred thousand dollars to book concert god knows what they were thinking and and I did ok with it and I did just well enough to attract the attention of the big promoters in town I and I want that joining those promoters and it was a life changing because all the skills that I had developed that were being spotlighted on a playing field this big but those skills that should have been playing on a much bigger plane feel that I'm not talking. He going try that. It actually worked out. Um, I got to a group of people where it was, like all said now said having to worry about people picking up michael, they were picking up my call, and I was like, oh, shit, why do some damage now? Right? Because people are picking up my call and all of sudden I had a big baseball bat and there were listening. So all those great things that I did were there, I met those mentors there that took an interest in me that would allow me to feel bring me in the office. Go, kid, you know, we screwed up here, okay? Renny, fiction don't make that mistake in and get out there and make me some money. And it was like those moments where you got to the right partners, right? So this notion of picking your partners is a hugely important when we do talked about the musical partners if you don't get it right. Ok, you heard these stories about the band that hires the horrible manager. If you want to watch a great story, go on to google and type flow in atty. Which was a group that was part of a band called the turtles, who wrote some big hits or back of sixty love all that going to do believe in magic, all that stuff, right? They have the greatest video in the world where they talked about it was all a true story, but when you watch it to look like a comedy skit of them hiring managers, and it started with you had this manager helped us get really big, and we had all these big hits, and then we decided he wasn't the guys and they go through about five generations of this, and it all ends with them getting sued in the middle of it all in, and then we went back to our original man because it turns out he was actually a pretty good guy, and then we broke up, okay, so the impact of not getting your partners right issues so you've got to spend some time at it, and if you have picked the wrong partners, is what I'm leading tio acknowledge, plan your escape. Do what I told my friend much better to get your next job if you already have. When people in the music business want to feel like they stole you, they're not looking to do somebody is solid by taking you off the street, because so may I ask him why did you hire that person much better sale I've stolen from company x, y or z from band wires and make sense any questions member of partners are easier to get in business with and get rid of ok, next one be a manager there it is magically I'm a manager so I'm not suggesting that you go out and become a manager right with I'm talking about in this segment here is this idea of making things happen if somebody asked me what do managers dio I could give him a long list of stuff and qualifications and character traits and all that stuff and if your interest that we did a whole long run manu segment our they have two hours on management in an ultimate detail, right? But I say this to you because making something happen is at the core of taking that art and making turning it into something and the fact of the matter is for the indy artists they're out there today they're gonna wind up doing all of the things that a great manager would d'oh in the early stages, right? And I've often kid, but I'm not kidding in every band I've ever managed ok, there was one person in that band that could have been the manager right? And in most cases that person showed themselves and many times it was the drummer right but it could be anybody in the band and so that they started to have that that knack for doing the stuff so they were the guys or the gal that went out and book the show they were the guys that found my I got this guy brad over the studio who said that, you know, if we come in at three o'clock in the freakin morning and we clean up and we fix one of his machines, he'll let us use the studio at three o'clock ok, I made it happen that's the manager mentality makes something happen, it's not about necessarily about being settled, it doesn't mean you can't be so just been brought to my attention that I'm not very subtle, but it's about making stuff happened, right? And you're gonna have to do all that stuff make those calls, get through that first level of gatekeepers because what all the rial managers want to see before they take you on there's not gonna wanna handle you from day one. They want to see that you've exhibited some of the signs and done some of their work, so that would be getting gigs, making great music, finding a way to great make a great video not for one hundred thousand but by getting some college kid and, you know, borrowing steve's five d cameron, you know, basically scam and everything they can to make something happen and that's what they do I can tell you have a question you just chomping at the bit I see a lot of baby bands like bands they're just getting started they get really hung up on we need a man did you see that is being their first step and what are some indicators that a band is ready for a man I'll tell you first give me that this business is tough you guys wake all right their sleep and take a break right there. Okay. Um the first indicators there's a great video on our website from a general by the name of pat magna rally has been the manager for the goo goo dolls and a bunch of bands but most you know, most notable green day right? And he does a great bit on what it is that attracted his attention. Okay, they booked three hundred shows on their own they booked the tour in europe they did forty dates in germany don't ask me how ok they did all this without tour sport that did all of that stuff on their own they managed to make records great records for ten grand they managed to build an audience around san francisco where but then took it across the country. They managed to get themselves on some bigger punk shows all without a manager all without an agent right and in the process of doing that kept getting better is a band okay, but more importantly, see they were developing this f t g k mentality they were going to make it happen because I just have to do this right, and they went from just dreaming to do it. So that's, what managers look for today managers might look a youtube views they might look a twitter followers, but everybody's getting hip to the fact that those numbers are manipulated or can be manipulated in some legit ways. You buy youtube advertising, I do this for my side, you know, lots of these networks do it the same way tv shows advertising other teo, get more people to your to your site so if somebody comes and clicks your youtube, are they really a fan? Don't know are they really have fan on twitter? Fire don't know, but if they come to a show and you can see him, I'm all the eyeball see that part of the music business hasn't changed that's, where anonymity with your audience goes away you're looking at him right now, so if you look at in that room, folks and there's, nobody there and you got two hundred thousand youtube fans, I'll leave the arithmetic to you okay, and that's how you have a lot of those youtube stars out there um the big youtube stars are ones that got a record deal justin bieber, carly rae jepsen whoever got a big time manager scooter braun, right, had big hit records on the radio big tours, so youtube was part of that, so to your question, they want to see activity, they want to see that you've done it on your own because what it demonstrates is what we talked about early on this burning desire, this relentless need to get over and talent undeniable talent, but they kind of start working together the further up the food chain you go, he's not I love having you here, do you? Can you come on the road with me? All right, that's being a manager on the sea without only talk about another thing about management, this idea we have, then one of my great the hot buttons what I call the professional problem identify irs never met one of those people that can tell you everything you're doing wrong. We'll see if I would have done that. You know, I saw your show today, but, you know, I think you shouldn't cause I think you should have warned, you know, different pants or, you know, man, you should be more organized, I think when I did the first creative live sessions, you know, some person in the building is well, I don't know if I like that guys tell you he doesn't seem very organized, you know, because I wasn't sitting behind there with my power point clicking three here's, my new slide you knows, but that's not who I am is not my true north. So anyway, the point I'm making is it it's easy to identify problems. Anybody can do that. Okay, being a problem. Identify wr and a problem solver equals manager in my experience, right? There was an article I did or I did an interview for some kid the other day. And we're talking about what the different kinds of means and so there's. Two types of manners. There's, real managers. Ok, that's. Fine problems solved. Problems that have an idea that will pull the triggers. We were talking about the break on the right idea in the band still debating and you'd already pulled the trigger. Those air really managers. And then there's what I call the waiter waitresses manager. Right, which is goes to label. Go. What should we d'oh that goes with van? What should we dio? What should we dio if you're a manager? Don't be a poll taker as from people's a penny but understand you got the final call and so what I've gone through this a million times I ask people with their opinion I'll see if I gave you my opinion and you did what you wanted I said I was looking for input but don't forget to do the captain is on the one up on the white horse I'm the first one taking bullets so I got your opinion but I'm pulling the trigger here so be a problem identify wre be a problem solver that's the mentality to get okay um next big picture lessen any questions in the chat room there we do have one question when starting out and trying to build your following do you find a strong management team or how do you find a strong management team? So when you're ready for a management team, how do you locate a good one and not a bad one? That's just going to waste your time? I guess I'm going to tell you the deep dark secret of it, okay? You know and don't take my word for go on that fine website ren man and be go click on that guest list every time you see manager okay, I want you to click on a pat magna, rollie jordan, brilliant jim garino, richard griffis, troy carter big managers, right? They all say the same thing more likely they'll find you. Why are they going to find you? Because not because you're in your room hoping and dreaming because you're out there doing your solving problems, you're identifying solving, you're showing on bridal determination. Okay, you're selling out the club's. If you're in a little town in wichita and you sell out, then you moved to kansas city. When you're knocking down kansas city, you go to des moines and all of a sudden, the buyers at those club that hey, this bin happened. How did you know? I think it's really I incubus one of our and our guys came into hatred and there's a band, you should see their playing at this club, I go into the club and I go there with a friend of mine was in a former client of band dramarama, and we're watching the show and I walk in there and there's three hundred kids, I'm looking around going, we'll check these guys, they got a lot of friends in this looks really right, and they were playing this little club, but they're also playing the trooper, so I knew the man's you're the booker, the trooper, thomas a lance. We're taking a look at this ban antipasto they would give me some real do their these kids sell tickets? They're great. They're freaking unbelievable that you out there promote for real citizen just bullshit this they know these guys are for real so I was doing my homework so incubates in contact may they were doing what they were doing so that's the sides that managers look for right? Because they know that the top core of managers that once it really know what they're doing, all of them have big acts would take up a lot of their time they're not interested in they're not doing this for benevolence that's not the game. They're looking to make money, right? So they want to know that a band it is dangerous to be the equivalent of you. Go buy an orange tree one orange is green and one's orange. Which one are you going to teach us? The orange one. Yeah, yeah, I was in there this morning. I wanted to have a banana. Please don't take this wrong, caitlin, but it was green. I don't eat green bananas. I want yellow bananas. I'm not going to wait around for three days for that thing in the right I'll be heading out to here tonight, okay, so then answer the question the best idea is your idea, okay? All right, here's, another lesson I've learned. Never read it in a book, just experience to the million times when I was younger. Long time ago. I just wanted everybody know how smart I was, right? I wanted him to know what genius laid between these ears, right? And so it's, very important to me that the idea be mine. Thirty six years in the music. This has taught me some lessons that the best idea is your idea. The most important thing is finding the right idea it the right time. That is the most key thing that no matter what business you're in, right? And too often people get vested in this idea myself included, of whose idea it isthe rather than is it the right idea at the right time? So, here's, what I learned when I had an idea that I wanted to get across to the band, ok? And I hope that we're watching today, but they already know. I learned that if I said it, dad rennie said it had got a certain reception. Seems true with my my sons. Ok, I say it it's to be questioned in all of that stuff, right? So at some point when I was thirty five, thirty six years old, after managing some bands that you know what life's too short, I get my validation on the check I'm not going to be the singer in the band that's worried about the one rock critic and overlooks the seventeen after I just need these ideas are so I started becoming the greatest lobbyist in the world. I would figure out what part of that posse which one of their network of people could get in their ear and say what needed to be said so that the message got across, I got over being the messenger and taking review, why don't they let stop? Steve, you're getting off weaken weird about just get the idea across so I would sell those ideas to different people, and it was a running gag in our organization that when the crew or the other manager like building company would hear the band's conga around replay one button went on today and I would tell you, don't you see it a word to anybody because I'd have converse, I'd be working the crew guys I hate you need to get them a bone, but by and I said, expect the guys knew, right? But the point of it was, is that if I make the idea yours, michael, or or jess or anthony or brad or zan drone practising your name, you know you'll do something about it, you'll become vested in that idea ok, so now let's put it in the practical terms you're trying to get signed to a label you're assigned to let you want them to promote your single right if you go around telling all the people the label, you want to be your idea, you're missing the point that when you work in a label, they all want to be part of every good idea and they want to get as far away from any bad ideas possible. So your mission is to convince the promotion person this is the greatest idea in the world and sometimes you did an insidious wasting. I was talking to the president telling how smart you are not told I think that you were in agreement on this single what did he say? He liked the idea I well, I love the idea to steven go that's what I'm talking about, right? So you get in sync and people that we have many you are you're the most insidious, you know you scare me man would scare me well, it's time to sit with we have the we could agree agree, right? So there is an art to making those ideas you're on now you laugh but it's true, right? And so when you think about how many times in the music business you're in a situation where you're trying to make a case for somebody to do what you need him to dio and there's good reasons to do it, but there might be fifteen other acts, ok, that have the same case to be made, and I'll make the case that the person that can make the the best ideas, somebody else's idea if I presented making your idea versus somebody else in these down, you might pull the trigger. I'm going to do it rennie's way because at least they may even know your plan and they go he's at least taken the time to make me look good to the boston and this other guy's trying to ram it up my thing, and I'm not going to play ball with you, right? And by the way, I've been on the receiving end of that were sometimes I get a little edgy and a little bit impatient and want to run over people, and I've had some people do sit there and go ok, tough guy, I I host you because you didn't do it the right way, so I've learned the hard way is to s o that idea is important because throughout your music business, career band members you know, doesn't now you're in the studio and the drummer is not quite playing it right. You can beat him up over it, right? Or you can kind of gently massage in there and get it toe happen the right way. You guys ever see that video? The making of pump by aerosmith should be required viewing. Go on hams and you got to see there's a great scene in there were steven tyler, who kind of plays drums a little bit. I don't need to tell you, steven tyler's, the wind up about loudmouthed event, and joey the drummer, you know, is struggling with steve time. Come on, joey, playing god dance on telly until he's getting on were you nervous? Says so they cut away in this documentary to joey kramer, the drummer who's got this twitch going he's got like, this facial tic because you see this that steven tyler that I saw, I thought, steve, somebody if I was his manager, steve let's not wind joey up, but spend a little freaking time trying to just, you know, massage and get another don't make the time because if you don't make the time now, we're gonna be spending the time undoing this freaking mass make it his idea, ok, makes sense

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Hands down the best music course I've ever seen. I couldn't have asked for a better "realistic" explanation of how the music industry really works. The analogies and stories were awesome! Thank you to Steve Rennie and the CreativeLive team for an awesome production, straight teamwork! -SkyPoint

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Awesome, hope to see more in the future.

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