He has ended his 16-year management relationship with Incubus because, as he puts it, “the car just ran out of gas.”
What he is doing, and will be doing at Pollstar Live! on Friday, is putting gas in a new car – his Renman Music & Business Project.
For the last year or so, Rennie’s been producing a web series called “Renman Live,” in which he interviews industry figures from record exec Jason Flom to industry gadfly Bob Lefsetz in a free-for-all format that is wildly entertaining, and informative, too.
He’ll do a “Renman Live” webcast from Pollstar Live! Friday at 11 a.m., with guest Paul Tollett of Goldenvoice, in his “Renman Music & Business Project” session in Cumberland 3&4 at the Omni Hotel in Nashville.
“So I’m gonna do my Renman show and hope I reach some kid out in Podunk that couldn’t ever talk to Paul Tollett and say, ‘You ever wanna bitch at Paul Tollet? Here he is!’” Rennie told Pollstar in a bit of preview.
No print preview can do justice – Renman says he excels at “throwing meat to the lions” and, of that, there is no doubt. And those in the audience when he does his live show can expect to be drawn in, too.
But what’s driving Rennie to produce sometimes up to three Renman Live shows per week is his desire to mentor young people wanting to get into the business, using up-to-the-second tech tools that break all of the old models.
He’s not looking in the rear-view mirror at his management career to find his next gig.
He’s almost giddy that he’s able to get up every day and start something new – “Now, I’m the band” is the way he puts it.
“It’s important for me to get up and have a mission; to have a war,” Rennie explained. “We’re going to build a business in the online media space where nobody’s making any money. Where nobody’s got any answers. And I couldn’t be more jacked up for that! I don’t know the answers! “But I know how to throw the meat to the lions, where it comes out entertaining and fun and instructive and informative.”
Renman Live has given him enough source material to start Renman U – literally, an online university of the music business, where anyone who wants to learn from the top people in the industry can register for free and learn.
“I pieced these Renman Live sessions back together after the fact into little lessons, and did this Renman U thing,” Rennie said. “I have all this great content now, but what it takes for some of these young people is that they don’t know enough to put it in context. So that’s me now. “Say, we’re going to talk about managers – who they are and what they do. And then I can take bits and pieces of that content and say, here’s the plan, let’s let you hear it from, say, Doc McGhee about managing. Or we can talk about promoting and have Paul Tollett, and so on,” he continued.
He’s got Tollett now, and the sparks are ready to fly.
“Renman Live focuses on big people that have a story, or there’s an angle I might come up with, that is relevant to people who are trying to get in the business. They can watch and say, ‘I love this Rennie guy. He gets all his buddies and they tell stories with a moral, a punchline, a lesson. They are entertaining and funny.’”
And if it sounds like Renman Music & Business Project is not going to be a typical conference panel, it’s because it most certainly isn’t.
“We’ve been to these conferences and the panels that are lively are the ones that people talk about. There’s no part of me that’s presiding over a panel. What I want to do is bring up a nice couch, a table, a microphone, and just sit down and have a conversation about the music business that will have some value for some folks.
“This has all been a labor of love which I’m trying to rationalize more as a business. Renman U is my first attempt to put together a proper curriculum. If I was going to learn the music business, I’d rather talk to a Troy Carter, a Steve Rennie, a Jim Guerinot, and so on – even if it’s talking to them by extension. That’s my preset.
“This is my attempt to organize all the stuff I have banging around in my head that’s got some form. ‘Here’s where you start. You gotta get your team.’ Instead of worrying about who’s going to be your manager, learn what the qualities are of a good manager. Understand why record companies do what they do. Understand the difference between indie and major.
“Not at some philosophical, artsy, romantic level but understand at the level it gets played out at.”
He’ll have the opportunity to show the rest of the industry how it’s done Friday.
Rennie pulls no punches – he’s going to get as much bang for his buck from the session as his audience will. So be prepared for anything – including becoming part of the curriculum.
“If you’re in my line of sight, I’m liable to put you on the show,” he said, laughing.