Incubus’ Manager Steve Rennie Aims To Be The Dr. Phil Of Music With School Of Rock Web Series
Steve Rennie was a record executive and artist manager for more than a decade before he decided enough was enough. He wouldn’t take on clients– no new bands. That was before he found Incubus.
Several years and millions of albums later, Rennie manages just one band, Incubus.
Despite the band’s success Incubus now faces the same challenges as any other trying to find an audience. The playing field has never been more level. Bands, labels, managers, agents, publicists; everyone is forced to rethink the game. This is where Rennie’s gregarious nature comes in.
Rennie is arguably one of the most forward-thinking managers in the business. He understands which old school promotions methods still work and which don’t. He has opinions on which digital strategies produce measurable results and which are wastes of time and money. And he wants to share this knowledge with you free of charge with no strings attached. Steve Rennie pulls no punches. No topic is off-limits, ever.
With the kick-off of his web series and community-driven website, Rennie aims to be the Dr. Phil of the music business. His series is designed to help musicians and industry hopefuls get their heads in the right place to do something great in the music business. He intends to answer every question with no sugar-coating, as “Renman” says, “absolutely no bullsh*t.”
In an interview with CBS Local, Rennie explained what inspired him to launch the website and series as well as how he aims to help every band that wants to help themselves.
“For about thirty years I’ve had people coming in and saying ‘hey man, can I ask you about this, can I ask you about that?’ My wife’s saying so-and-so’s son wants to get into the music business, can you sit down and break it down to him? So, the light just came on and I just said, ‘you should just do this. Stop talking about it and start doing.’”
You’ve had a very successful run with Incubus. How much credit do you owe Incubus for your success?
“At the end of the day there’s no manager that was better than the band they were working with. There’s no jockey that was better than the horse they were riding. And that’s certainly the case here. But I’ll also say that from my experience from working with not just Incubus but working with other bands who I believe had an equal level of talent and were getting play on radio, that what happens after you make the music, the decisions you make, have a huge impact on whether a band gets to the level of that they can get to. Like a good basketball couch, you gotta have players, but I think there’s something to be said for a manager or coach getting their players in the right head-space to make the kinds of decisions that they need to make.”
“The things that I’m going to talk about in this series can apply in any business, simply, they’re life things. Inspiration.”
Touch on old school management vs new school.
“In the old days, if you didn’t get radio, if you didn’t get press, if you didn’t get TV, you were 100% f**king dead, period, end of story, lights out. And you still need all of those elements in the mix but when you’re talking about square one, just starting off, you’ve got a band, you’ve written a song and you’re starting to play some gigs and you want to get your story in front of people, there has never been a time in my lifetime where you have the ability to tell the story on your own terms and have an opportunity to put your best face forward to people that might help you get to those other levels.”
“What was amazing over the last couple years as technology has ramped up to the point where you can do TV-level webcasts, you can touch people around the world where in the past it was all about one market at a time and you had to have somebody in the market all the time. The Internet has made all those borders disappear.”"
So, on this webcast, you’ll have guests?
“First we’re launching the website, and a few weeks afterwards, we’ll begin our web series. We’re gonna have a weekly webcast where I have a few friends of mine, musicians, people working in a place where they could actually help somebody, and I’m gonna get them to share and take calls from real people in the real world. And now all of sudden bands have a chance to get some real advice from people that have actually been in there and that have some track record of success as opposed to Snoop’s bro who just might just be rollin’ splifs, part of the posse and doesn’t really add anything to the equation”
“There could be a thousand bands and five decent managers and that’s never changed since I’ve been in the business.”
Why have you chosen to only manage one band?
“I think If I were like some of my contemporaries, I’d have 25 bands and I’d be an emotional wreck and I wouldn’t have time to do something like this.”
The Renman Music and Business website officially launches June 15th, 2012 with the web series following by a few weeks.
-Jay Tilles / CBS Local