Rene Merideth

Rene Merideth Interview Transcript: HOW METALLICA CHANGED THE INDUSTRY

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Listen Here: Rene Merideth Interview

Craig Garber (00:02.85)
All right, of course my mic wasn’t working. Hey everybody. Welcome to Everyone Loves Guitar. And let me start that over, right? I’m not used to saying music licensing profits. How embarrassing. Hey everybody, welcome to Everyone Loves Guitar and Music Licensing Profits I’ve got an amazing guest, a super talented lady who has accomplished so much. And I got a feeling she’s kind of just getting started with Rene Merideth.

Rene (00:07.092)
Ha ha ha.

Rene (00:12.72)

Craig Garber (00:26.946)
Give you the Cliff Notes version on Rene. She is the co-founder and COO of a company called Exploration. They are a copyright administration and digital rights management company for songwriters, music publishers, artists, and small labels, and they’re out of LA, and we’ll explain exactly what Rene does and how she helps artists and musicians. She graduated from Belmont University in Nashville with a degree in music business, and you can find her company online at And I gotta tell you,

She has one of the most thorough pages. Like if you want to learn in detail how this business works and what can be done, I’m not throwing smoke, blowing smoke. Your page, the forward slash learn. There’s like great videos there. They’re short. I mean, it’s everything that you want to know on there. So if you’re interested, check out that page. Anyway, thanks for your time. I appreciate you coming on the show. And I’ll.

Rene (01:16.336)
Mm-hmm. Thank you.

Rene (01:22.112)
Thank you, it’s great. It’s great, I’m glad to be here.

Craig Garber (01:25.518)
Oh yeah. And I want to thank John DeFar and my partner, Music Licensing Prophets for hooking us up. Alrighty. John is amazing. Let’s get into this. Your first involvement with music, Rene, you were a roadie for your grandfather’s gospel music band, traveling through country churches throughout Southern Missouri. I was curious how

Rene (01:30.548)
John is amazing.

Rene (01:36.896)
Mm hmm. Yes.

Rene (01:42.161)

Rene (01:46.584)
and a few little hole in the wall honky-tonks, I guess you could call them, maybe. Not really a honky-tonk. It wasn’t much dancing, but maybe, you know, it was a, it was a gospel band at the church revivals and it was a blues band at the, at the places between the revivals, I guess you could say. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:51.994)
Oh, honky tonks. Yeah, that’s kind of contrary to gospel.

Craig Garber (02:03.842)
Ha ha ha!

Craig Garber (02:07.478)
That’s awesome. I had a guy on the show musician. One time he goes, uh, Hey, daddy’s got to pay the rent or something like that. And that’s it. Uh, how old were you when you started doing this and what was the most important thing you took away from that experience?

Rene (02:15.288)
This is true.

Rene (02:26.928)
I was six when I started. I was six years old and my grandfather was just amazing and wonderful and he recognized that there was something else, there was something more. I had declared in front of God and everybody that I wanted to be Joe Perry when I grew up.

Craig Garber (02:30.094)

Rene (02:54.256)
You know, I was six, I didn’t know what that meant. You know, and so I, but I just, I loved, there was just something about the way Joe Perry played and seeing him perform was the first time I’d ever seen electric guitar live. And I just, I was like, I was in love with guitars. I wanted to know everything I could know.

And my grandfather saw something within me that was about wanting to learn and wanting to know and wanting to grow into music and everything. So he…

He just nurtured that as best he could and helped me to learn. And the thing that I took away, there’s so many lessons, so many life lessons to take away from that whole experience. That was from the time I was six until he died when I was 18. And it’s just so many things. But I think.

The first thing I learned and the thing that has served me best is that guitars are heavy. That was the very first thing I learned was like, you know, it doesn’t look like they’re heavy, but you’ve got to, you know, don’t let, don’t let the guitar case drag the ground. And so he let me struggle and figure out how to carry

Craig Garber (04:09.897)

Rene (04:29.896)
this thing when you know it’s as big as me or bigger and he let me struggle and carry it with only the caveat of don’t let it drag on the ground and that lesson really taught me that like just you can do it and you can do it any way you want don’t let it drag on the ground and so that’s that really helped me to understand how capable I was and how

Craig Garber (04:34.219)

Craig Garber (04:58.112)

Rene (04:58.76)
to figure things out. I mean, I didn’t know that’s the lesson I was learning in the moment, but there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t tear down or put together or load in or load out. There wasn’t anything that I couldn’t work on in that respect, as long as it didn’t drag the ground. And that’s something that has stuck with me through the years. Yeah, that I could do it. And maybe I don’t do it like…

Craig Garber (05:03.21)

Craig Garber (05:23.426)
That you could do it. Yeah, yeah.

Rene (05:28.424)
Like the other guys do it, you know, maybe I don’t pick it up and carry it, you know, like this at my side because I was too small, but maybe I pick it up and put it over my head or maybe I, you know, maybe I figure out something. Um, it was a glorious day when I was like around 10 and I figured out what carts were, you know, that kind of thing. Um, then I could throw it on top of a case and let it hitch a ride and it wouldn’t

Craig Garber (05:49.12)

Rene (05:58.536)
But yeah, I think that was the first really big lesson that has stayed with me.

Craig Garber (06:04.942)
I think that’s so important and like parents don’t really, I worked on stuff like that with my kids, but it’s a, I was in the minority. It was like walking up, you know, up a mountain, everybody’s like, Oh, let me make it easy for you. I’m like, well what are you going to do? And they go out and get a job. You know, if you can’t, if they’re not confident enough to carry that case, they’re going to be miserable on their job. Yeah.

Rene (06:24.036)

Rene (06:29.096)
Yeah, this is true. This is true. And it’s the same as true for teaching kids about music. Like if they’re, if you’re carrying, if they decide they want to play the cello, but dad’s always carrying the cello for them, how are they ever going to learn that like, this is a part, this, if you want this to be a part of your life, carrying it is going to be a part of your life. Carrying the amp is going to be a part of your life. All of those things. And also the problem solving.

Craig Garber (06:41.964)

Craig Garber (06:51.915)

Rene (06:59.032)
or a lot of times it’s not just that they make it easier, but sometimes I see, and it’s not just parents, it’s grandparents or even myself. I’m guilty as an auntie of trying to say, do it this way or do it the way we’ve always done it. I even sometimes do that as a boss and you can limit somebody’s creativity and their potential if you were just hard line like, do it this specific way or

Craig Garber (06:59.2)

Craig Garber (07:28.078)

Rene (07:28.852)
do everything the way I tell you to, or, you know. And I think that, you know, whenever you’re a teacher or you’re a person in authority, be it a parent or a boss or a band leader or a road manager, it’s okay to let people muck it up. It’s okay to let people trip up the stairs. It’s okay.

What they need is the confidence to have their back. That’s what they really need.

Craig Garber (08:00.382)
Yeah, I agree with you on that. Yeah. Were you playing guitar with him as well in that band or like at all?

Rene (08:09.592)
I had a little bit of duties depending on who was in or who was out at a particular show. And over time, as you know, my grandfather had cancer at the end of his life. And so once I started to get to a place where I could play and find that confidence, he was starting to phase out.

Craig Garber (08:17.681)

Craig Garber (08:29.331)
Oh, sorry.

Rene (08:39.176)
his career. So we never really had the big jam session that you would that you would like to see that story finale with. But there most of the time when I would get involved in play was in practice sessions. There was an old gas station in the town that was closed. And so the guys would just sort of like if we didn’t have something to do on a weekend, they would

Craig Garber (08:48.269)

Craig Garber (08:56.223)

Rene (09:07.016)
go to that gas station, everybody would sit around the old gas pumps in folding chairs and just play and jam and like, oh, hey, I heard this song and I’m trying it out or, hey, let’s play this song. And it was just people sitting around playing and no big deal. And nobody was trying to make any money on those weekends and it wasn’t a formal practice.

And I remember I brought the song hang main jury by Aerosmith to the circle because I thought it was cool song. I, yeah. And I was like, I want to, I, this would be great. This would be great for when we know. Absolutely not. Yeah. And, and I remember, um, it just, me sitting there singing it and trying to break it down for them to teach it to them.

Craig Garber (09:39.434)
That’s so funny. I know that song. It’s a great song.

Craig Garber (09:46.634)
Not an easy song to play either. Very syncopated rhythms. If I remember in the beginning of that too. Yeah.

Rene (10:02.816)
none of them had heard it. I mean, we’re talking about guys, the average age of that band was, you know, 75. There’s a bunch of old guys sitting around, which is all, no, there’s no, there’s no banjo here. And, you know, so it’s, you know, there, it was really, you know, this generational speak and everything. And they thought it was some, you know, old blues song.

Craig Garber (10:12.558)
No, there’s no banjo in this one.

Rene (10:31.828)
from the 40s or the 30s that they hadn’t heard before. They thought, wow, how did she find this? And I was like, it’s Aerosmith. And they are suddenly, they were like, well, we don’t, well, now we don’t wanna learn it, but the song is intriguing. Maybe we do. And, you know, I kind of introduced Aerosmith to this, to this group of guys that were like, wait. And the next thing I know, a few years later, they’re talking about, you know, these same guys are talking about Slash.

Craig Garber (10:44.43)
Ha ha!

Craig Garber (11:01.751)
That’s so funny.

Rene (11:02.12)
or they’re talking about, you know, they’re talking, they’ve never, they, this kind of opened a door for them to go, oh, all new music isn’t crap, you know? You know, maybe, you know, this Eddie Van Halen guy that my kid listens to or my grandkid listens to, maybe I oughta listen and holy, holy cow, he’s a great guitar player, you know? And so that was kind of a revelation to me about how much distance there can be in generations.

Craig Garber (11:11.02)

Craig Garber (11:21.495)

Rene (11:30.448)
when you’re talking about music and how much you can miss if you don’t. Just listen. Just listen and see what’s out there.

Craig Garber (11:32.557)

Craig Garber (11:38.583)
You know what?

funny when I said there’s no banjo. I actually think there is a banjo in the beginning of that intro as a matter of fact. Well, after I said that I said, no, I think there is there in the very beginning. Yeah, I think there is. I agree with you though, Joe Perry is one of the most unique, I mean, like the most unique players ever. He doesn’t, you know, he kind of plays in the blues realm, but he doesn’t play any kind of standard.

Rene (11:46.972)
No. Maybe. I think it could be a banjo. It could be played on banjo.

Rene (11:59.349)

Craig Garber (12:09.562)
He’s phenomenal. He really is just phenomenal.

Rene (12:11.848)
I don’t think he gets recognized for how much he moved the needle for rock, for guitar in general. I think he’s an unsung hero for a lot of the way rock music has developed from the 70s into the 80s and what we know now. I don’t think we would have Slash. I don’t think we would have Dave Grohl.

Craig Garber (12:19.99)
I agree.

Rene (12:39.728)
I don’t think we would have some of these big guys had it not been for the influence of Joe Perry and also Brad Whitford. I think those two guys are just sort of out there and they get overlooked. And I’m always raising that banner for Joe and for Brad to say, hey guys, listen to this, these guys are here.

Craig Garber (12:39.988)

Craig Garber (12:46.988)

Craig Garber (12:50.63)
Absolutely. Yeah. He doesn’t get recognized anywhere near enough. Yeah.

Craig Garber (13:03.875)

Craig Garber (13:08.214)

Rene (13:08.668)
You know, and it kicks me in the butt every single time a list of like top 100 guitarists comes out and Joe’s not even like in the top 25 or something. And I’m like, who is making this list? Like where are you? What planet are you on? Yeah. Probably. Yeah. A lot of it. That and Sister Rosetta Tharp.

Craig Garber (13:26.72)
people that look at social media currency. That’s probably what it is nowadays.

Craig Garber (13:36.607)
She was awesome. She played an SD. She played that white SD you got right behind you didn’t see

Rene (13:40.248)
And she did. That is the replica that came out a few years ago. She, you know, that’s my grandfather was the person that introduced me to Sister Rosetta Tharp’s music. And he told me he was like, this is the woman that invented rock and roll. You know, Chuck Berry is from Missouri. And so everybody would talk about Chuck Berry in that area, or they would, you know, talk about

Craig Garber (13:44.734)
Yeah, that’s cool.

Craig Garber (13:59.51)
That’s pretty cool.

Rene (14:07.048)
all this kind of stuff. And my grandfather, who had no way to show me video or, you know, thing, he had an old record and he was like, this is the person that invented rock and roll. And, um, I preach that gospel every chance I get, like every time I see somebody like he did, he turned me on to just like all, he didn’t have, he didn’t discriminate upon genre. He did until I, until I

Craig Garber (14:23.842)
That’s cool that your grandfather turned you onto all this music. Yeah, that’s really good.

Rene (14:36.08)
had presented that example of why you should listen to what’s on the radio now. He did sort of discriminate based on like when it came out on timeframe. But once he started to realize that like these are the these are the people that were influenced by the music I loved. And I can hear that in what they’re playing. That was something I figured out was. If you feel like you’re

Craig Garber (14:47.17)
Sure. Yeah.

Rene (15:05.908)
stuck listening to a particular artist or you feel like you’re stuck in a genre or whatever, go backward. Listen to the influencers of the person you’re listening to and then listen to the who influenced them and who influenced them. Go all the way back and then come forward again in another direction. You know, most inevitably you’re going to end up at Sister Rosetta Tharp. So instead of going to that she influenced Chuck Berry, go to she influenced someone else.

Craig Garber (15:27.211)
Yeah, I agree with that.

Rene (15:35.632)
and follow who they influenced and work your way back to the current times. And you will find that you love a lot more genres and a lot more styles than you think you do.

Craig Garber (15:40.735)

Craig Garber (15:49.598)
And it’s so much fun to go and learn all that stuff. Yeah, so cool.

Rene (15:52.206)
Oh, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. Yeah.

Craig Garber (15:56.17)
So 18, your grandfather passes musically, like was it at that point you felt you wanted a career in music or what did you want to do with this music thing at that point?

Rene (15:59.808)

Rene (16:09.348)
I wanted a career in music the moment I heard Joe Perry play live. I knew I wanted, I’m going to be involved in music.

Craig Garber (16:18.48)
So he was your Ed Sullivan Beatles story. Yeah, that’s so cool.

Rene (16:21.216)
Yes, he was six years old. I am going, I am going to, I don’t know what, but I am going to be involved in music. Music is going to be a part of my life, subconsciously that’s going on, you know, and I always gravitated towards it being a big part of my life. Um, but I didn’t understand fully. I knew there was a business around it.

Craig Garber (16:34.049)

Rene (16:51.128)
I understood that there was a business. As I grew up, I understood, okay, there are executives and there are producers and there are engineers. I was a big reader of liner notes. I had a notebook that I kept in between my mattresses that I would write down everything. I’d write down that Jack Douglas was a producer on this album. And then when I would be out in the world, I would look for like…

was this produced by Jack Douglas? Was this produced by Jack Douglas? Oh, and then I would start to make connect dots of different session musicians, different songwriters. That was fun for me. It was a puzzle for me, a distraction for me when I was 12, 13, 14 years old. And that was, it was fun. I didn’t always get to buy that music. Rarely did I get to buy music, but

Craig Garber (17:30.103)

Rene (17:50.268)
when I would be out and about, you know, at a store or something, I could see the liner notes, the credits on the back of most albums, and connect the dots, and then I could listen for it on the radio. And, you know, most of my music that I had that was recordings was where I had recorded it off of the radio with my tape player, with the tape player smashed against the radio. Yeah.

Craig Garber (18:04.544)

Craig Garber (18:15.838)
Yeah, I remember they should do that. Yeah. A little Radio Shack.

Rene (18:19.556)
Yeah, so that was the bulk of my music library. And so I’d be listening to the radio and I would go, okay, that’s that artist. And that was also produced by the same guy that produced this other person and all this kind of stuff. Yeah. I wish we had better credits today.

Craig Garber (18:40.578)
What did you, oh, when records went to, when vinyl switched to CD, that was my biggest regret because I’m like you. And I think probably most people listening to this are similar, you know, I used to be mesmerized and, you know, and then you had to, all of a sudden, it boiled down to, it was just not the same engagement that an album vinyl provided you.

Rene (18:48.764)
Mm hmm. Yeah.

Rene (19:05.468)
Yeah. When CDs came out, you were lucky if you got executive producer on the outside where you could read it. You were lucky if you got that. And yeah, it was frustrating. It was really frustrating. Yeah.

Craig Garber (19:16.349)
It just wasn’t fun. Yeah. It was really frustrating. It was this little sheet of paper. You had to like, you know, look for it. It was just not cool. Like, like vinyl was.

Rene (19:24.972)
Oh, and even as in my early 20s, I needed like a magnifying glass to read them inside of most CDs. Yeah. I don’t know if that’s ever gonna happen. Yeah.

Craig Garber (19:31.706)
Oh, now forget it. I know. So, okay. So at that time, I want to ask you about one thing you said, because this is unusual. You said I understood there was a business. How did that get in your head?

Rene (19:51.816)
Well, I always, I always tried to figure things out. Like I said, a lot of this was a puzzle to me to figure out. And I was like, well, if I never see, I’ll go back to Jack Douglas. I never see Jack Douglas as a producer, as, as an artist. So he must do something. What does a producer do? Um, what does an engineer do? And these people have to have.

places where they go to do their jobs. You know, my uncle, Bob Merideth, you can, hopefully someday you’ll be able to find a Bob Merideth treato on Spotify, if I can ever get it released. And it’s just this, he would go into the studio and I was fortunate enough to go in the studio and I was like,

Craig Garber (20:23.308)

Rene (20:47.856)
I don’t know why. I don’t know how I knew that like, this is a place of business. Like this is, and it may have been because of where it was located. It wasn’t in somebody’s house. It was actually in a building somewhere. And so I think I just got this impression that, you know.

Craig Garber (20:53.078)
Yeah, that’s really unusual.

Rene (21:10.364)
there is a business to it. Now, the extent of my knowledge of that business was as far as like, okay, there’s a studio and you’ve gotta go there and you’ve gotta rent this time and you’ve gotta pay for it and you take your tapes when you go and all those kinds of things. And for some reason, I was hardwired to understand that was what business is, a commodity that’s bought and sold.

And then I started to see, you know, I would see songwriters names and then I would see publishing names, but they would, you know, Universal, Warner Chapel, BMG, Sony, EMI. And I knew that those were businesses. And they would be specific, you know, Universal Music Publishing, Warner Brothers Music versus Warner Chapel Music. What does that mean?

And those were all things that I would try to investigate and try to understand and ask questions, because I was like, these are companies and companies have employees and one of those employees do. And I didn’t always get the answers. I didn’t really get the answers to all of that until I went to Belmont. But, you know, I even understood that radio stations were a business, you know. So, you know.

Craig Garber (22:12.258)
Wow, that’s pretty insightful. Yeah.

Craig Garber (22:28.023)

Craig Garber (22:34.67)
That’s pretty amazing. I mean, it’s like a gift of sorts, to tell you the truth.

Rene (22:40.5)
Probably it’s, you know, it was the gift. I didn’t get the gift of being able to play like Joe Perry, but I got the business head. Not anyone I know.

Craig Garber (22:47.574)
Who has that gift? Not many people.

Craig Garber (22:55.862)
So you went to Belmont and studied music, right? Music business.

Rene (23:00.628)
Music business, not music. Two different departments entirely. One of the first programs in the world that distinguished itself as music business. And it’s why I chose it.

Craig Garber (23:02.892)

Craig Garber (23:12.49)
And you were probably one of the early grads of that program, no?

Rene (23:16.156)
That program, I think, you know, it was coming into its own in the early 90s, mid 90s when I was there in Nashville. And I mean, there had already been, I mean, Trisha Yearwood had graduated and had become successful. She was an early graduate. Shelby Kennedy songwriter in Nashville. Amazing songwriter.

um, had graduated. Um, so I think, uh, I think we were probably. At least 10 or 15 years in to the program. Uh, when I got there, um, still growing and what it’s grown into now is just unbelievable. It’s huge. And yeah, the number of music business programs in general has grown and, and the identifying of it. Yeah.

Craig Garber (23:53.652)

Craig Garber (24:03.248)
Is Belmont, is it, yeah.

Craig Garber (24:09.218)
Well, that better because these people nowadays, they’re not gonna get a record company to handle anything for them. So they better learn it on.

Rene (24:16.836)
No, and you have to understand, you know, this is the thing that I try to instill into every songwriter or every musician I meet is that nothing is set it and forget it. Just because you sign a publishing contract or an admin agreement or a record label deal, they’re going to throw money at you. They’re going to, they’re going to, it’s going to, you know, if you, if you allow it, they will pat you on the head.

but you have to inquire, that communication has to be there. You have to communicate with them. You have to tell your administrator or your publisher when you’ve written new songs and who you’ve written them with so that they can have your back and do their job on your behalf. You have to communicate with your label, you know, and if you wanna have a featured artist, there’s, I remember talking to an artist in Nashville and…

And he was like, yeah, I signed my deal and I, um, you know, I want to be, I want to be in the room with, with this list of songwriters and, and write with them and learn with them. And I’m like, okay, well, have you talked to your label? Have you told anybody? Have you had those discussions with them about who would be good and how to work up to, I mean, cause you’re talking about like Jeffrey steel and stuff, and I don’t think you’re going to get that meeting today.

Craig Garber (25:31.722)
tell anybody.

Craig Garber (25:45.186)
today, yeah.

Rene (25:46.036)
but you can work your way up and like, have you talked to them? Yeah, but they, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know who to call over there. And I’m like, you should find out, find out who to call, find out who to talk to. And as much as you fight to learn how to play, as much as you struggle as much as in day, in the early days when you got blisters and calluses on your fingertips, you got to carry that fight.

Craig Garber (25:54.731)

Rene (26:13.632)
that fight through those calluses and that fight through understanding tuning and all of that, you gotta carry that all the way through to other parts of your career. It’s within you to do it because you’ve done it with this thing. Carry that forward. And the successful, the really successful artists and songwriters I’ve seen understand how to carry that forward, how to carry that fight through it.

and that passion for it.

Craig Garber (26:42.926)
I gotta tell you that, this probably one of the best, some of the best advice I’ve had a guest give because you’re so right. And unfortunately, I’m a business person. I’m direct opposite. I’m very fortunate. I sort of have left and right brains and gaze. I have no clue how, and I have no clue how long it’s gonna last either at this point. But…

Rene (26:58.984)

Craig Garber (27:10.882)
most creative people are allergic to this stuff. And instead of, which is fine, but you still need to pursue exactly what you said. How does the, how do we make this happen? You know, and then you got to get answers and you know, are people going to get angry? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. It’s your right. You know,

Rene (27:24.132)
Right. How did we get there?

Rene (27:31.304)
Listen, I’ll say the most controversial thing I think that I say out there, and that is you as an artist or as a songwriter, you don’t work for the label. You don’t work for the publisher. They work for you. You are their boss.

Craig Garber (27:52.77)
Which way is the cash flowing? Exactly.

Rene (27:54.804)
And exactly. And, and that requires you to, to communicate with them. You have that power and that responsibility. I’m not going to quote the movie, but you have both of those things. Um, and, and I think that, you know, we, I was talking about traditions with someone and traditionally there is this vibe.

in the music industry that songwriters work for publishers. And there are cases in our history of our industry where that was very true. You were a songwriter that worked for a publisher. And there are some times when that is still true in some respects, in certain deals, but in general, I firmly 100% believe that our clients are my boss.

Craig Garber (28:54.497)
Of course.

Rene (28:55.208)
and I work for them. It is my job to go get and find those pennies out there, everywhere and get them for you. And that’s not a sales pitch. I’m not saying that a sales pitch for exploration. I’m saying that that’s the way I believe the industry should work. And a lot of other independents think that way.

I’ve had a lot of people in the industry look at me and go, well, yeah, that’s the way it works. Yeah. And I’m like, so go clean your own house and make it that way. Because your house isn’t clean that way. Person who’s trying to scold me. And I see a lot of messy houses that, yeah, I, yeah, but I’ve genuinely sat in front of room and said that to a crowd of people.

Craig Garber (29:29.676)

Craig Garber (29:34.336)

Craig Garber (29:38.05)
person who’s trying to scold me. I like that.

Rene (29:49.648)
and on a panel and have executives from big companies come and be like, no, that’s the way we are. You don’t understand who we are. That’s the way we are. And I look at them and I go, how much money did your investors give you in that last round of stuff? And how many people did you lay off? And all those things. You need those humans to do the work. You need those humans to be able to talk to your writers.

Craig Garber (30:06.066)

Rene (30:19.68)
And it’s one of the reasons that exploration didn’t take any investment money. I didn’t want any investment money. The only people I want to be my boss are my songwriters. I get really passionate about this, so I feel like I’m getting like fiery.

Craig Garber (30:34.07)
No, but I think it’s a very valid thing. And I think this whole thing, like my daughter’s 23 and she had to hire a lawyer for something recently. And she was like, well, I don’t wanna, I feel awkward. I don’t wanna call him too many times. I’m like, why? I was like, I said, he works for you. Which way did cash flow here? And she goes, you know, dad, you’re right. I never looked at it like, I’m like, yeah, don’t let this asshole intimidate you because he’s got a, you know, he’s, you know, he thinks he’s better than everybody. That’s his problem, not yours.

Rene (30:36.906)

Rene (30:47.54)
He works for you.

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Craig Garber (31:03.934)
I said, he’s working for you. You’re paying his bills and he, if he don’t be, if he’s not appreciative and grateful, you got to fire him and get another one. I’m, I’m a firm believer of that. Yeah. I agree with you there.

Rene (31:10.688)
That’s true. That’s true. If they, yeah, yeah. Don’t let the fact, don’t let the fact that you get royalty checks or that you get a 10 99 at the end of the year for those royalty payments. Don’t let that, uh, confuse the fact that you are actually paying your administrator a commission.

Craig Garber (31:34.766)
Correct. Yeah.

Rene (31:36.968)
And I think that sometimes when you see the money flow on the surface, you see, oh, they pay me royalties. Oh, I get a 1099. When the reality is, is that’s just the mechanics of how it works. The core of it is, yeah, the core of it is you’re paying them a commission. Yeah.

Craig Garber (31:53.027)
Yeah, you’re paying them this much and they’re giving you… yeah.

Craig Garber (31:59.246)
sure you’re paying him for a service to be a third party administrator. Yeah, I mean, it’s, yeah. I’m so happy you mentioned that because again, when I talk with so many musicians and like, you know, I’ll even have people come on the show, I’m like, hey, do you have anything to promote? And they’re like, no. And I’m like, well, didn’t you come out with a new album? They’re like, yeah, but I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna be like pushing it. I’m like, hey man, it is not gonna sell itself. You know, you are here.

Rene (32:21.6)
Push it, push it, push it. Yeah.

Craig Garber (32:24.77)
let me push it then. You know, I mean, like, it’s almost like there’s an awkwardness about or like, I feel dirty if I try to sell something. Why if you’re selling something that was based on the sweat of your brow, you I hope you feel good about selling that. Yeah, it’s your art. Yeah, I agree with you.

Rene (32:39.251)
I shouldn’t. Yeah. It’s your art. It’s your passion. It’s your, it’s your creative output. And, you know, I don’t, you know, God, Buddha, whoever is out there, the universe in general, all the good juju, whatever it is out there.

You have that creative spirit in you. And you have that creativity in you. You have that gift. And you choose to do something with it and to express it. And there’s a part of you that wants people to listen to it, wants people to hear it, wants to go play in front of people. You’re not selling out.

You shouldn’t feel dirty about promoting yourself or promoting your album or promoting your, your songwriting because that’s why you’re here. That’s why you’re here. And that, that fear of selling out that imposter syndrome, I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome, I struggled with it. I’m going to be just totally like.

Craig Garber (33:36.127)

Craig Garber (33:39.682)

Craig Garber (33:46.67)

Rene (33:57.888)
rip off the bandaid. I was having imposter syndrome this morning, getting dressed and getting ready to do this interview because I’m looking and thinking about the list of people that you’ve met. I don’t fit into that. Oh my God, this is going to be embarrassing. This is going to be, you know, and then I just kind of had to like whack, whack myself and go, listen, you’ve been in this business for over 40 years, missy. You know, this business, you know what you’re doing.

Craig Garber (34:13.274)
Oh, not at all. Are you kidding me?

Craig Garber (34:22.91)
Yeah, of course you do. Yeah, yeah.

Rene (34:28.159)
Even myself, it takes a minute. And you gotta remember that. Even Beyonce has a moment where she’s like, has to look in the mirror and go, look bitch, you’re Beyonce, you know? Like everybody has that moment. Everybody has those feelings. And you were put here and you choose to use your gift to express something, to fight for something, to speak for something.

Craig Garber (34:38.43)

Craig Garber (34:44.29)
That’s great.

Ha ha!

Rene (34:59.904)
Do it.

Craig Garber (35:02.598)
That was great. I might use that as the thumbnail for you. Look, bitch, you’re Beyonce. Because everybody, talk about clickbait. Who’s not gonna wanna hear that? All right. Thank you, that was really good. Thanks for sharing that too about your own fears sometimes. Hey, I think everybody has, look, we all have moments of highs and lows.

Rene (35:08.672)

I’m just not gonna look at that.

Rene (35:19.904)
Mm-hmm. I’m a good shoe leader for my songwriters. Ha ha ha.

Craig Garber (35:30.05)
You know, and that’s just the reality of being a human being.

Okay, so you go to Belmont after Belmont, you worked in a few different aspects of the music business and you found artist management and publishing were two niches you particularly enjoyed. What about those areas of business appealed to you most at that particular time? And as a part two to that, what aspects of your personality, what skillsets did you have made you such a good fit to perform well in those areas?

Rene (35:39.712)

Rene (35:44.928)

Rene (36:02.816)
Um, yeah, I went into artist management because I was delusional and thought I knew how to do it. That’s literally it. That’s literally it. I, it was total delulu. I, I, look, I had worked for, you know, over a decade with some guys who were very mature adults. And

Craig Garber (36:12.553)
It was a moment of delusion. That’s great.

Craig Garber (36:30.346)
You mean these, your grandfather’s band members, yeah.

Rene (36:31.776)
Yeah, with my grandfather’s band and those musicians. And some of them were younger and some of them had some issues and speed bumps. But in general, I’m dealing with adults who had jobs, who had families, who had responsibilities, who knew how to do their own laundry, pick up after themselves, be at places on time, had a valid driver’s license.

Craig Garber (36:56.591)
This is so funny that details you’re breaking. They did their own logic. I don’t think my kid does that yet.

Rene (37:01.632)
Well, you know, listen, and, and, and then you go into, then you go to Nashville and you think, oh, I’ve, I’ve done tour management stuff. I was tour manager by the time that all ended, I was a tour manager and that was great. And I worked the soundboard at that little shit hole in, in the middle of the woods. I know what I’m doing. I know how to load, load in, load out. I know how to do these things.

Craig Garber (37:04.875)

Craig Garber (37:14.552)

Craig Garber (37:25.011)
Yeah, yeah, right.

Rene (37:30.784)
except the biggest variable was everybody was under the age of 25.

Craig Garber (37:38.49)

Rene (37:39.584)
And now I’m like, I’m not dealing with scheduling and planning and working with people who have been adults for a while and have a common goal. I’m dealing with my fellow college students or some that aren’t in college. And some of them have real serious problems and some of them can’t keep a valid driver’s license. Some of them.

Craig Garber (37:50.897)

Rene (38:07.68)
can’t keep clean clothes on their bodies, not for a lack of everybody pointing it out to them. Some of them have finals that overlap with the schedule. Sometimes the lead person in the band can’t decide if they’re a rock band or a Christian band. There’s all these challenges and it was really hurting cats. Hurting, and it wasn’t just, management is about hurting cats.

Craig Garber (38:32.214)
Yeah, right, I could see that.

Rene (38:37.248)
But this was like hurting feral monsters.

Craig Garber (38:46.196)
There you go right there.

Rene (38:47.264)
Yeah, it’s about herding feral, feral cats born to wolves and, you know, in the wild. And even having a band that could come together as a unit with a common goal. Five, five band members come to you together with a common goal was a struggle. For me, anyway.

Craig Garber (38:54.029)

Rene (39:14.496)
Look, sometimes you fall into it. I know managers that are like tripping over people who are talented and together and all these things, that was not my experience. And thank God it wasn’t because I wouldn’t have went down the road of music publishing. And so I found that math was really good. I was really great at math. I always was. Which will help you in any career you go into.

Craig Garber (39:24.686)
Sure. Yeah.

Craig Garber (39:43.527)
God, yeah.

Rene (39:44.128)
Um, and I found that I liked to, I was really great at bringing order to chaos. So how can I do that and not run out of my own money? Yeah. And not, not run out of money and feed myself and, and how, how can I have a good life and bring order out of chaos? And, and.

Craig Garber (39:57.551)
You’re in the right business, that’s for sure.

Rene (40:12.352)
work with math and spreadsheets and things that I’m really good at. And I, um, I was, uh, I had gone back to work for the dean at Belmont at the music business program, Dr. Pamela Brown, who’s an amazing attorney. I love her with all my heart. She, um, she took me in when I was struggling to be a manager and gave me a paycheck. And, um,

Craig Garber (40:37.442)

Rene (40:39.456)
And Leticia Alvarez, who’s now at Wyze Music, had come in to visit her. And she lived in Los Angeles. She had been a senior at Belmont when I was an incoming freshman. And I didn’t know her at that time. But she came in and she visited with Dr. Brown for a while. And then she, I don’t know what came over me, but as she started to leave, I printed out my resume.

And I handed it to her and I shook her hand and I said, if you have any job openings in Los Angeles, let me know. I’ll move. Just, I don’t know. I don’t know what came over me. I was like, what is happening right now? And I knew that she worked in publishing and for an independent publisher. And I knew enough from what I knew at Belmont and everything I had learned that that was an indie publisher and that I probably wanted to be in an indie publishing place. I didn’t really wanna…

Craig Garber (41:14.19)
Just like spur the moment like that?

Craig Garber (41:20.694)

Rene (41:36.736)
go corporate. And so, yeah, just like some wave of delusional confidence came over me in the moment. And turns out it wasn’t delusional because Leticia was going to throw it away, but woke up late for her flight the next day and just threw everything including my resume into her suitcase. Came back to Los Angeles, goes into a meeting with her boss.

Craig Garber (41:37.986)

Rene (42:04.768)
and her boss, Karen, at Windswept says, you know, hey, we’ve got this project and we probably need to hire somebody temporary to like deal with this thing. And Letizia is like, I might know somebody. And she goes home, rips my resume out from this suitcase where she’s crammed it and calls me and says, basically, if you move to LA, I’ll give you this job.

Craig Garber (42:15.402)
Holy smoke.

Craig Garber (42:32.886)
Holy crap.

Rene (42:33.984)
So a few weeks later, I loaded up everything I owned. I hopped across the country in a U-Haul with a friend of mine who wanted to make the same journey and called Leticia and said, hey, so I moved, do I get that job? And she was like, no shit, I didn’t think you were gonna do it. Like, I didn’t think you were gonna do it.

Craig Garber (42:56.754)
So you moved like you didn’t even say to her, Hey, uh, you know what? Thanks for letting me know. I’m leaving next Thursday. You didn’t, you just like left and

Rene (43:05.024)
I kind of did, but I don’t think she, I don’t think Leticia, like, I don’t think the communication didn’t register that it was real. And I did, you know, have in the back of my mind that like the job could not, might not be real, or it might be not a livable wage, or it might be for like two months. Like I knew that like, it was gonna be, I was gonna, this was gonna be rebuilding a new life.

Craig Garber (43:10.434)
Didn’t register that it was real. Yeah.

Rene (43:34.368)
for myself, which I was ready for the challenge of. And because I was confident that I could go back to Nashville and get a gig. So, I mean, I had that confidence, whether it was confidence or whether it was delusion, that part I don’t know. I’m gonna go with confidence on that one. And…

Craig Garber (43:47.243)

Craig Garber (43:55.434)
Yeah, I think it was confidence, yeah.

Rene (43:58.496)
And so I go in and she, it took her a few weeks to like actually get her budget and actually get everything straight and ready to go. But I started at windswept and, um, and when that cleanup project was ended, I, um, she asked me, she was like, I am going to have a job as a copyright assistant.

but I have to do all of the company things. I have to do all the managerial things and get my budget and show them that I have the work for a body and all these kinds of things. Will you please stay and just file things in the mailroom, keep the mailroom clean, do some odds and ends? Will you stay for that? I will pay you until I can get this job description together and get this push through.

and I didn’t have anything else to do, so I said yes. And so there was this tenuous, about a month of like, okay, am I gonna have a job tomorrow or not? But it was such a great opportunity. There’s something about that that sounds deflating and like tedious and boring about going to the file room.

Craig Garber (44:56.814)

Craig Garber (45:06.144)

Craig Garber (45:15.778)
What’s that?

Rene (45:19.936)
after doing this big project for the UK office. There’s something that might sound deflating or might sound like, oh crap about it, but it wasn’t. It was.

Craig Garber (45:28.97)
doesn’t sound deflating. No, it sounds exciting. It sounds like a little scary. But you know, listen, people think people think and I want to point this out because, you know, Pat on your back because people are afraid to do things. And nothing happens if you’re afraid. And, and, yeah, and they’re like, well,

Rene (45:34.72)
Petrifying, yeah.

Rene (45:39.264)

Rene (45:46.176)
Yes, they really are.

Rene (45:52.128)
If you don’t move, it’s okay.

Craig Garber (45:56.498)
If I wasn’t afraid, I would do it. But that’s not how life works. You do it. And then you get the courage. Courage comes from like movement, you know, and then you’re like, holy shit, I did this now I’m more courageous for the next time. It’s not the other way around. Like I’ll do it when I’m more confident.

Rene (46:03.52)
Right. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Rene (46:09.76)
Yeah, yeah, and it’s really not about the thing. It’s really not about the thing because you can figure it out. You know, I want to I want to go from the parking lot at the top of the Grand Canyon to the bottom. It’s not about having the courage to jump off of there to land at the bottom. It’s about having the courage to move and figure out and work your way down to the river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Same thing coming back up to the top.

Craig Garber (46:16.51)
Yeah, absolutely.

Craig Garber (46:32.887)

Craig Garber (46:36.652)

Rene (46:40.512)
It’s not about, it’s the same thing as we talked about at the very beginning. What did I, the biggest lesson take away from my grandfather was he let me figure it out. As long as that case didn’t drag the ground, he didn’t care how I accomplished it. And I had the, I didn’t have the courage to carry the guitar. I had the courage to not let it drag the ground.

Craig Garber (46:52.16)

Craig Garber (46:56.826)

Craig Garber (47:03.538)
Yeah, right. Wow, that’s awesome. Let me ask you something else. When things like that happen, because this was, you know, you basically did some, and we all do this at some level of every day, getting in a car and making a left instead of a right. There’s some free will involved in your destiny, right? But you did something that really changed your life. I mean, completely changed your life, right?

Rene (47:17.856)



Rene (47:27.68)

Craig Garber (47:31.226)
How do you look at stuff like that? Are you like a spiritual person or do you just look at, hey, I was in the right place, right time or a combination of, or you don’t even think about it and you just say, Hey, I’m happy it happened. You know, what is your thought process about things like that?

Rene (47:46.464)
I tend to think that we have some guidance, but I definitely, definitely believe that free will is the primary thing we have. I’ve seen too many people with the skills and the drive get disheartened and make different choices.

Craig Garber (48:02.431)

Rene (48:15.808)
took that skewed them. And so I believe that like

you were you were put here we’re put here to do something and i think we’re put here to make this world better than the way we found it and how the skills we are given are ours to choose to use or not to use um i think there are plenty of people on the earth who have not risen to that who just sort of like

Craig Garber (48:36.279)

Craig Garber (48:54.594)
gave up.

Rene (48:55.68)
that gave up or maybe they didn’t try or didn’t use those skills. But I think, you know, I had this drive and ambition to be a great guitar player and that was not the plan. That wasn’t the plan at all. The plan was to get me so hooked with a passion and a love for music and for songwriters that I would become a fighter.

Craig Garber (48:58.73)
Yeah, I didn’t try often.

Craig Garber (49:13.442)

Craig Garber (49:25.527)

Rene (49:26.208)
And I never saw that coming. I never saw that coming until I was in the thick of it. And it was too late to turn back. And there were plenty of times when I could have turned back. There were plenty of times when I could have given up. There were plenty of times when I probably should have died. But I didn’t. I fought. And that was one of those moments.

Craig Garber (49:48.689)

Rene (49:56.128)
a lot of pivotal moments you don’t recognize are pivotal.

Craig Garber (50:00.126)
Oh, until, yeah, I always say you can’t connect the dots moving forward, yeah.

Rene (50:01.152)
until a lot of times later, it seemed so natural and mundane to just be like, okay, well, I’m going to, it’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m going to pack all my shit and move to Los Angeles.

Craig Garber (50:15.726)
Was there any cultural adjustments coming from, I mean, you’ve been in Nashville, which is okay, tell me about them. What was like some of the funny things that like, holy shit.

Rene (50:18.912)
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, Nashville has grown tremendously since I left. It’s brilliant, it’s beautiful as it always has been. I think the biggest thing was day one and you’re, look.

Craig Garber (50:26.796)

Rene (50:38.912)
Los Angeles as itself, as a city, was not designed for U-Hauls. Towing a car behind them. And, you know, I mean, we’re talking about somebody that never driven a U-Haul before taking, you know, hooking their car to the back of it, going across the country. Um, but Los Angeles was, um, was not really built for that. And so I think the first time that, uh, that there wasn’t a lane on the right.

Craig Garber (50:46.052)
Haha, yeah.

Yeah, for sure.

Craig Garber (50:56.214)

Rene (51:08.64)
and somebody just squeezed in between the U-Haul and me and their little car to make the right turn kind of freaked me out. I was like, what are they doing? What are they doing? Don’t scratch the U-Haul. I will have a lot of money to pay if you scratch my U-Haul. That was like the first incident that I remember that I was like, oh, oh shit. There were things that my friends had told me to expect. I had friends that had moved to Los Angeles.

Craig Garber (51:11.606)
Ha ha

Craig Garber (51:18.332)

Craig Garber (51:22.498)
Oh, I…

Rene (51:38.56)
and they had told me to expect certain things. And so I expected certain things. Like I had a friend of mine tell me, there’s an individual store for everything. And I’m like, yeah. And it’s like a general store or it’s a Walmart or it’s something. And I get here and I’m like, there’s a Target. What are you talking about?

Craig Garber (51:53.53)
Oh, like in small towns, it’s a general store for everything. Yeah, right. Right. Yeah.

Rene (52:05.728)
There’s an end of it like what are you talking about? the grocery store has cleaning product like It’s the same. There are so many things that were the same and I had been prepped to believe the world was it was so different I was excited to get really good. My sister-in-law is Vietnamese. And so I was excited to get really good Vietnamese food When I got here and oh my god

Craig Garber (52:29.47)
Right, yeah. Not a lot of that in Southern Missouri, I guess, right? Ha ha ha.

Rene (52:34.4)
Not a lot of that in southern Missouri or in Nashville, although I hear there’s some, you know, Nashville has expanded. Nowadays, yes, but in the mid-90s, not so much. I’m sure there was a hole in the wall that I never found, but yeah.

Craig Garber (52:40.618)
Nowadays, yeah, it’s pretty contemporary. Yeah. Not much.

Craig Garber (52:49.278)
Yeah, but I hear you. I feel you on that. Okay, so how did you, you’re at windswept, right? What did that company do? And then how’d you wind up becoming head of West Coast licensing at BMG? And hang on one second, I just got to turn that fan off now. I got cool in here. Hang on.

Rene (53:00.864)

Rene (53:11.648)
Sure, yeah.

Craig Garber (53:22.158)
All right, sorry about that. Okay, so yeah. Oh, you can take a picture whenever you want.

Rene (53:23.84)
I know where it’s giving time to take a big drink.

Craig Garber (53:30.066)
Okay. So yeah. What did windswept do and how’d you wind up becoming head of West Coast licensing at PMG?

Rene (53:37.6)
uh dumb luck and hard work um and and leticia alvarez being the best boss i could ever have asked for and mentor still consider her uh an ally and a mentor to me even now um leticia fought for us she fought for the writers and we watched her we watched her fight

Craig Garber (53:56.398)
That’s great.

Rene (54:06.944)
for the songwriters. They’d sign a new deal, she would get their catalog and break it down, like we gotta get the LODs out right now. We gotta get the LODs out, we need this money to come here, we need to fix these databases, letters of direction. So when you purchase a catalog or a catalog changes administrators, most of the time you should have a letter of direction.

Craig Garber (54:22.589)


Rene (54:33.728)
which tells all the sources of money, hey, this is my administrator now, not this person. This is the person who should collect my money now, not that one. And.

Craig Garber (54:40.93)


So when you hear all these big sales that are going on nowadays, everybody gets a letter of, a letter of direction for this. Okay.

Rene (54:51.808)
there should be letters of direction that go out. And the timings are different depending on, the MLC has its own timeline of payout. A sub-publishing might have a post-term collection period because it takes a long time to get the money from some territories to back all the way routed back to a place. So there’ll be different collection periods that have to time out.

But the letter of direction will tell you money as of this date, money as of this period, should now go to this place. Case in point, the MLC, when they pay out, they pay out money that they, Mechanical Licensing Collective was started as a part of the MMA. It makes the most headlines right now in terms of

Craig Garber (55:21.217)

Craig Garber (55:31.903)

Craig Garber (55:37.878)
Who’s the MLC?

Craig Garber (55:42.379)

Rene (55:49.248)
paying out mechanicals to songwriters and publishing from the various DSPs for interactive streaming like Spotify. And so they pay out, we get money from them in April, that’s for the January period that was reported to them. So Spotify reports their January earnings.

Craig Garber (55:58.751)

Rene (56:17.728)
to the MLC and that money comes to us in April. So if we send a letter of direction that says as of April 1, the money comes to exploration.

Craig Garber (56:22.58)

Rene (56:32.928)
That means the April period of money starts coming to exploration. So the MLC is probably not going to start to pay us until July because that’s when April money hits them. So that’s, you know, these different time frames. But if you delay in getting that paperwork moving, then you’re not going to get that money at the time you’re supposed to or expect it.

Craig Garber (56:36.319)

Craig Garber (56:42.926)
July or August or something. Yeah.

Craig Garber (56:58.839)
Oh yeah, then you gotta scramble. Yeah.

Rene (57:02.24)
You’re scrambling. So it’s best to like hit the ground running. And Leticia started me in mechanical licensing for country music, which was a great place to learn because it was, you know, most of the time, very simple in terms of, well, simpler in terms of like four writers on a song, 25% each, you know, things like that. So it was a great learning ground.

Craig Garber (57:06.507)

Rene (57:31.264)
Country music is a great place to learn the basics, especially older catalogs that worked in that Nashville songwriting style. And then over time, I began to take on other genres. And Leticia was great because sometimes I would even completely muck it up and she would…

Craig Garber (57:41.442)

Rene (58:00.416)
sit me down and explain what I did wrong or what wasn’t actually wrong or what I did right. Case in point.

Not sure how this story is going to go over. I hope Carole King knows I love her dearly, even though this happened. Um, so Carole King’s daughter released a kid’s album. Beautiful. Um, and one of the songs she wrote was with one of our co-writers, where it was co-written with one of our windswept writers. And they wanted a reduced rate in terms of mechanicals.

Craig Garber (58:17.206)
Ha ha ha!

Craig Garber (58:38.778)
Who’s they?

Rene (58:41.696)
Okay, this is the part we’re gonna have to edit out because I can’t remember her name.

Craig Garber (58:45.878)
I don’t mean the person saying what capacity was that, but you mean the songwriter wanted to read?

Rene (58:48.768)
Oh, it was the actual, the artist, the artist and the label.

Craig Garber (58:55.263)
Why did they want a reduced rate?

Rene (58:57.28)
Well, the artist had a reduced rate, a controlled composition clause in their artist agreement with the label. Now, they’re antiquated now, but controlled composition clauses in record contracts were basically saying, the record label saying, we’re only going to pay.

10 songs worth of mechanical royalties out to the songwriters.

So if you have 12 songs on your album, we’re gonna take the mechanical rate per song, multiply it by 10, and that’s the pool of mechanicals that we’re going to agree to pay out.

Craig Garber (59:41.666)
So this was just like a lopsided contract or that was just how it worked back then. It was the standard, yeah. Okay.

Rene (59:46.432)
It was the norm, especially for artist songwriters, because labels didn’t see the value in paying their artist who was also a songwriter a full mechanical rate, because that artist was getting an advance, or that artist was getting points as an artist on their label, on their sales. And you can look at it as right or wrong. I think that…

in some cases there could be a good case made for a controlled composition clause or the use of it, but the abuse of a controlled composition clause is what we dealt with most of the time. And as we moved into digital and we shifted the responsibility of mechanical royalties from the record labels to the DSPs,

Craig Garber (01:00:27.96)

Rene (01:00:44.032)
Controlled composition clause have virtually disappeared over the last 20 years. Because, you know, yeah.

Craig Garber (01:00:47.476)

Craig Garber (01:00:51.426)
Well, let me, but let me ask you this, even though those clauses have disappeared, right? The rates have shrunk so much that you probably would have still made out better with a control composition clause and with a DSP, no?

Rene (01:00:56.672)

Rene (01:01:05.536)
Mmm, no, no. We, look, I mean, I think that as music publishers, we tripped ourselves up.

Craig Garber (01:01:08.262)
Oh, OK. Good. That’s great.

Craig Garber (01:01:18.367)
In what way?

Rene (01:01:19.52)
because several years ago, a copyright law, mechanical rates were adjusted to fit certain circumstances. We went from one mechanical rates to maybe if you include mechanical rate for ringtones. So we had one or two mechanical rates and we went to like 12 based on certain circumstances.

and in some cases based on percentages. So a percentage of what the label is paid becomes the mechanical amount paid to the publishing side, depending on whether or not it was a locker service, a download service, or just streaming. And it became really, it became calculus.

Craig Garber (01:02:13.632)

Rene (01:02:13.888)
to calculate what a mechanical rate would be based on is it a bundle, is it a family bundle, is it an individual plan, is it a trial plan, is it this, is it that. That all became factors. Whereas prior to that it was straight up 9.1 cents per song per unit sold.

Craig Garber (01:02:35.062)

Rene (01:02:36.416)
10 songs on an album means 91 cents is getting paid out in total mechanicals.

Craig Garber (01:02:45.011)
And just for people listening who don’t know mechanicals, explain what mechanicals are.

Rene (01:02:46.272)
You know? So mechanicals are traditionally tied to physical product in some way. So if I record an album, then whoever distributes that album, the record label who owns that album, that the person making the money off the album is responsible to pay the mechanical right fees to…

the publishers and songwriters. And when I was getting started, it was seven something cents per song per unit. And eventually it got to 9.1 cents per song per unit. And to me that was always shitty, right? Why couldn’t we ever break the 10 cent mark?

Craig Garber (01:03:35.598)
Right. So if you had 90. So if you had 91 cents on an album, and you sold, you know, 100, it would be $91 100,000 would be, you know, 900 10,000. I guess. Yeah.

Rene (01:03:41.632)

Rene (01:03:45.088)

Yeah, you could kinda calculate if a song went platinum, you could kinda guesstimate as a publisher or a songwriter about how much money you could reasonably expect to get paid. Right, you can’t anymore. You go on Spotify, yeah.

Craig Garber (01:04:00.867)
Which is cool. Yeah. Because of all these little rates, like you said, if it’s a trial, if it’s a this, if it’s a that, if it’s a family bundle, yeah.

Rene (01:04:12.032)
Mm-hmm. If it’s a that, if it’s a family bundle, you know, is it ad-based, you know, YouTube, is it ad-based, is it subscription-based? Um, you know, and so like, also where were the views? So you go on Spotify and you go, oh my God, I got a hundred million streams. I promise you that half of those might’ve been in Europe. So your mechanicals are going to get

Craig Garber (01:04:22.526)
Right, right.

Craig Garber (01:04:39.038)
where they don’t pay mechanicals, do they?

Rene (01:04:41.344)
They do. Your mechanicals are gonna get collected by the societies in those territories, and then they’re gonna come through to your society or to your publisher, and then they’re gonna get to you. So they take more time. I have challenges in breaking down sometimes for some writers, like, I got 100 million streams. That means I’m gonna make, you know what?

Craig Garber (01:04:57.645)

Rene (01:05:09.952)
$100,000? No. Number one, those streams are going to be, you know, we have to figure out how many of those are US streams so we can time out when you’re going to get paid. Some of those streams might be in territories where you’re never going to get paid. That’s truth.

Craig Garber (01:05:35.732)
What, when you say never get paid, why is that?

Rene (01:05:39.968)
If you’ve got, you can have people generating streams, you know, via a VPN in a territory that doesn’t have any agreements, doesn’t have any copyright laws. You can have, you know.

Craig Garber (01:05:48.046)

Craig Garber (01:05:51.71)
Yeah, so they could have something in Vanuatu or something, a VPN running out of there. Yeah, right. Okay.

Rene (01:05:55.232)
Right. Yeah. And so, or they’re just, you know, maybe there’s streams that just don’t, maybe there’s not enough streams in that territory to add up to a decent amount. But calculating how much per thousand streams you should make becomes a huge challenge because there are, you know, like 12 different rates potentially that could be there.

Craig Garber (01:06:06.976)

Craig Garber (01:06:18.747)
Oh my god.

Rene (01:06:27.136)
Um, and that’s, you know, now it’s hard to estimate. It’s hard to estimate. I can’t look at YouTube and go, oh, there’s a video that got a million views.

I can’t give an accurate estimation. I can, we can, we can, we can come to a general range, a conservative range of where we think the money will fall, the amount of money will fall, but anybody that tells you, they can precisely tell you how much money a video that has a million views on YouTube is worth, they can’t, they can’t, because, yeah.

Craig Garber (01:06:49.696)

Craig Garber (01:07:04.518)
Yeah, because of all these different rates involved with depending upon.

Rene (01:07:07.648)
Where’s the territory? What was it ad V where territory where the views was it ad views or subscriber views? Was it, um, was it on a Wednesday at two in the morning or was it, uh, or was, or, or was it a pre-roll ad? You know, was it Friday or, or was it, um, you know, Sunday and there was a snow storm.

Craig Garber (01:07:15.426)

Rene (01:07:35.072)
in most of the United States, so everybody’s inside watching YouTube. Ad rates are higher.

Craig Garber (01:07:38.743)

Rene (01:07:42.112)
And so, yeah.

Craig Garber (01:07:42.206)
Wow. So this is, this is so to some extent, it’s not voodoo on your end, because you’re calculating what you get, but like from an artist standpoint or a song, yeah, it’s like, you know, well, when they say how much you make, I’m like, I don’t know, between here and here. That’s like the only industry where that probably happens. You know, everybody else, you get, yeah.

Rene (01:07:52.416)
Feels like voodoo.

Rene (01:08:03.712)
Yeah, yeah, the most important people, the most important people to the industry cannot generally calculate how much they are due.

Craig Garber (01:08:17.002)
Now, do you think this was set up on purpose? Not to like intentionally steal, but to intentionally make it difficult. Well, I mean, yeah, it’s intentionally stealing basically. I’m not, you know, I’m not trying to impute like morals to people, but like these things don’t have, why else would they happen from a practical standpoint?

Rene (01:08:17.792)
That’s the fight.

Rene (01:08:43.488)
I think the people who were in the middle of those discussions that represented songwriters had their hearts in the right place. But at some point, you have to compromise. You have to get money to them. You have to get money in people’s pockets. And you have to compromise. At some point, you have to find some common ground with the people across the table.

Craig Garber (01:08:53.291)

Craig Garber (01:08:58.196)

Rene (01:09:12.832)
whoever those people were, however many sides there were. I don’t think it was a two-sided table. I don’t think it was an us-them. I think it was a committee. I think it was a lot of different things represented, entities and sides represented at that table. And at some point, you have to move the needle somewhere. You have to make progress. And I think that some really good ideas

Craig Garber (01:09:20.492)
Oh yeah.

Craig Garber (01:09:33.589)

Rene (01:09:41.536)
got pushed forward. And I think, look, I also think I can armchair quarterback with the best of them looking backward in time.

Craig Garber (01:09:52.447)
Of course, yeah.

Rene (01:09:53.663)
And I don’t want to do that because I know, yeah, nobody truly knows. And you didn’t know which way the industry was going to go. We didn’t know that YouTube was going to be what it was when those decisions were made or what it is or how it would grow and change. It’s not the same as it was when it, in 2012, when licensing started with publishers and YouTube, it’s changed vastly. And

Craig Garber (01:09:56.278)
Cause nobody truly knows. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:10:06.431)

Rene (01:10:22.88)
you can’t, nobody had a crystal ball to pre-cog where the industry was going to go. So I think that the best decisions were made with the knowledge that they had and that they needed and the spirit that something needed to happen.

Craig Garber (01:10:40.364)

Rene (01:10:41.984)
The continuing fight for us isn’t to bitch and moan about what they did or didn’t do. It’s nice to vent every once in a while about it. But the fight is to make improvements. The fight is to work towards more change that makes it better. And if you look at that they, if you look at that they were trying to cross a river together.

Craig Garber (01:10:56.899)

Rene (01:11:11.712)
in this new version of the music industry that was happening with the emergence of streaming and downloading. If you look at the fact that maybe they threw the first big rock in and everybody could safely get to that rock and now it’s our job to figure out what’s the next rock, where can we throw the next stone in this river that we can all move to to keep getting across that river. And you don’t know what’s in that water.

You know, how do you do it? And I give a lot of credit. I give a lot of credit to, you know, I give a lot of credit to that. A lot of people don’t is Metallica. You know what? A lot of people are like they’re jerks or they, you know, they’re mean or they’re this or they’re that or whatever. And you get that from both sides, but Metallica stood up and said, somebody has got to do something and we’re going to have the cojones to do it.

And if they hadn’t have, I don’t know that we would be even where we are right now. And I give them credit. Well, Napster became a thing. Napster was really the catalyst for where technology could potentially go. Like this Napster was created by a guy in college in his dorm room. And it was this place where you could go and you could.

Craig Garber (01:12:16.406)
Now explain what they did for people who aren’t familiar with that.

Craig Garber (01:12:32.643)

Rene (01:12:37.344)
upload your stuff and you could download other people’s stuff. You could digitally share your music, film, TV, media. It was innovative. But he created it like, you know, it didn’t create it with 50 million investors and 100 engineers in a room building software. Yeah, he’s just like, I can’t, he’s like, I’m in college, I can’t afford shit and I want this new album.

Craig Garber (01:12:58.21)
No, he’s just thinking about getting free music. Ha ha.

Craig Garber (01:13:06.359)

Rene (01:13:06.72)
Or I want to be able to, you know, watch this movie and I can’t afford to go to Blockbuster because that’s the reality of being in college sometimes, you know? And, and he created this thing and it resonated with so many people. And for the industry, it came out of nowhere, but for those of us who were in college at that time and lived through it, it resonated and it hit the consumers.

Craig Garber (01:13:33.726)
Oh, it was, it was like.

Rene (01:13:35.968)
And it wasn’t, you know, we’ve spent decades with this smoke and mirrors of the music industry from the general public and sometimes even from artists and songwriters. And now, you know, the band aid’s getting

Craig Garber (01:13:56.03)
And Metallica was the first ones to go after an Abster.

Rene (01:13:56.032)
And all of a sudden, yeah, Metallica sued Napster, and they were the first artists, the first guys to stand up and say, somebody has to do something. And maybe this is the right idea, maybe it’s a bad idea, I don’t know, but somebody’s gotta do something so we can start the conversation, so we can start to move the needle, so we can start to do something and start to understand this problem. And

Craig Garber (01:14:16.075)

Craig Garber (01:14:24.93)

Rene (01:14:25.088)
And I don’t think it was just them being jerks. We have to start the thing that they really exposed that I think was important for the music industry was we have to start educating the consumers.

Craig Garber (01:14:35.358)
Yes. Yeah.

Rene (01:14:36.992)
Their fans turned on them. They took all the hits for everybody. They got kicked in the nuts by everybody and they took it all alone as artists out there. And that wasn’t fair. And they don’t get enough credit for doing that because now we have educated, we have more education to our consumers of music, more education to songwriters, more education to artists.

to lawyers, to publishers, to mailroom people. The key to all of this and improving it is education. And it started because Metallica had the nerve to stand up and say, okay, somebody’s gotta do something.

Craig Garber (01:15:12.717)

Craig Garber (01:15:22.326)
That’s a very great point that you made. It really is. Because if they hadn’t, you know, why? From who?

Rene (01:15:26.336)
I get heat for that. I get heat for that point of view. I don’t know why. I don’t know, just people that don’t like Metallica and you know, they’re rough around the edges, but what else do you expect from some hardcore metal guys, you know?

Craig Garber (01:15:38.43)
But this is a business. This is a business. I mean, yeah, but that’s irrelevant. That’s, you know, what kind of music they play and what their personalities are is irrelevant. Yeah.

Rene (01:15:46.432)
What they play who they are as individuals it doesn’t take away from the fact that they were the ones who raised their hand to do it and Nobody nobody in the industry had their back. They took all the lumps for that all the lumps themselves Yeah

Craig Garber (01:15:50.922)

Craig Garber (01:15:55.118)
They had to put a stop to this.

Craig Garber (01:16:03.246)

Craig Garber (01:16:06.774)
Rene, I want to talk about exploration because you provide a wide range of services. And if you can, in layman’s terms, explain the primary service that you guys provide and as well, who would be your ideal clients you can serve that would benefit most from working with you?

Rene (01:16:31.552)
Yeah, so exploration is basically copyright administration. And what that means is if you are the creator of, or the owner of, or the inheritor of copyrighted material such as music, or video content, or film or TV content.

We can offer you support to make sure that you are getting paid from various sources within the industry that are generating money that belongs to you. That’s about as basic as I can put it. Example. Yeah. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:17:17.49)
Example. So, so like you said, video content, like I’m a video content creator. So would a guy like me, I mean, I’m, you know, a small drop in the bucket.

Rene (01:17:30.752)
Potentially, potentially, if you wanted some support, we do one of our services is channel management on YouTube because that can be arduous in terms of dealing with if you’ve got a channel that starts to go big or you’re a music artist with a channel and you know, you’re just like, I post my music videos when I create them. You know, if you want that channel to grow,

and to be a source of income at some level of real money. A lot of times people need support. The best YouTubers in the world who make a lot of money have an editor, they have an assistant, an uploader, a producer sometimes, researchers, those types of things. And so we can provide some support in managing the channel on YouTube’s system, managing the back end.

Craig Garber (01:18:13.185)

Craig Garber (01:18:28.162)

Rene (01:18:28.224)
Most creators have a good handle on the front, how to upload their video, how to tag it, those types of things. We do offer tips and tricks because YouTube is a fast-paced growing world and it makes tweaks and changes to those things all the time. But where we offer, I think the most value is in the backend because you’re even in posting this video to YouTube, you’re creating an asset within YouTube’s content ID system.

Craig Garber (01:18:39.502)
sure is.

Rene (01:18:56.256)
And that asset is going to have metadata and a digital fingerprint. And that digital fingerprint that is created when you upload this video is, is going to get compared to every other fingerprint of sound recording, film, TV, everything that’s out there. Um, and if there is a match made between your video and one of those digital finger trips.

Craig Garber (01:19:16.93)

Rene (01:19:23.328)
fingerprints, a claim is going to get made by that asset, which is an entry in the database onto your video. 99.999 to infinity times out of 10. It’s okay. It’s just going to be a copyright claim and the claim, the asset that claim made the claim on your video is going to get paid instead of you.

Craig Garber (01:19:48.789)

Rene (01:19:53.312)
things going on with Queen right now that seem a little weird, but occasionally there will be a miscommunication maybe between label or a distributor or something maybe publishing changes hands and somebody forgets to take care of YouTube or something like that and you will find something might get issued a takedown or a block.

Craig Garber (01:20:20.331)

Rene (01:20:22.048)
In those situations, if someone has a video that’s been taken down or a block, simply communicate with the asset owner that’s made a claim.

because most of the time we want your video to stay up. We want your cover version to stay up.

Craig Garber (01:20:43.376)
And so you will communicate with the person who’s made the claim. That’s what you guys do.

Rene (01:20:46.976)
We don’t always have the bandwidth because of the volume of claims that happen. We don’t always have the bandwidth to reach out. But if someone lets us know, hey, I don’t understand why this was a takedown. We usually have a reason from the client that it’s a takedown, and we can explain that to the channel owner. Like, this is the reason. You got a hold of something that was leaked or.

Craig Garber (01:21:09.41)

Rene (01:21:15.616)
You know, or this artist was like, that was a, you know, you loved that concert that you went to and took the video with your iPhone, but the artist was really struggling that day and does not like their performance. And so we, that’s why we’re blocking your video. You know, and, and things like that, things like that have happened. That’s actually a case, a real world scenario that happened. And, um, once we explained it to the channel uploader, they were like,

But she was great! She sounded great! She sounded amazing! And we take that feedback back to the artist and she was like, no, I was, I messed up and I looked terrible and I was having a horrific day and we’re like, but your fans didn’t see it. This is what your fans saw. This is what this fan experienced. And she was like, okay, maybe don’t block it. Like, you know, maybe, maybe I was seeing something internally that I…

Craig Garber (01:22:10.805)

Rene (01:22:15.52)
that wasn’t really out there to be seen. And so once those communication lines are open, you really find it’s easy to resolve these issues. And do we run up against people that don’t understand why we’re not going to let your maybe controversial content be paired with our clients music? Yes, there are some people that don’t understand that, but.

We try to always be kind and polite about it and try to explain the why to somebody that has a question. But I encourage people to reach out if they don’t understand, either through disputing the claim or an email and just to say, you know, hey, I don’t understand why this exists, can we talk about it? And I promise you, my people will be like, of course we can talk about it. Thank you for asking, you know?

Yeah. Most places are not like that. If you get a claim from somebody else, they’re not gonna be that open to it.

Craig Garber (01:23:11.981)
So you best

Craig Garber (01:23:19.042)
to trying to help you and work it out. Yeah. So you best serve content creators in the music arena who need to wanna make sure they’re getting paid on everything and who, yeah, okay, I get you.

Rene (01:23:26.368)

Rene (01:23:33.024)
from all the sources, not just YouTube. But your content was primarily where we could probably help. Maybe help you if you were looking for support would be YouTube, would be a place where we could help you.

Craig Garber (01:23:36.093)

Craig Garber (01:23:44.247)

So let’s say, question for you mentioned someone recording a concert, how does that work now if someone’s recording somebody else’s material that they created that they own and now you’re displaying it on your video? How does YouTube or wherever they take that money and funnel it to the license holder or the owner? Because I’ve had situations where a guest will be

Rene (01:24:01.984)

Craig Garber (01:24:16.714)
He or she will pick up their guitar and they’ll play like an exercise. Like, you know, GBD or some exercise and YouTube will then flag that and say, this is a cop that matches to something. It was literally an exercise. And I’ll be like, what? And you know, it’s not worth my time and effort. And we’re not talking about big dollars involved here. So I like, okay, whatever.

Rene (01:24:30.08)
and matches to something, right?

Rene (01:24:44.032)
It’s worth noting that Oh, sweet child of mine is a fingering exercise that that opening intro. Did you know that I was just slash was just playing slash was just, I think it’s sweet child of mine. Slash was just playing an exercise on the guitar and Axel heard him. It was like, I love that intro. And I, and slash was like, I’m just, dude, I’m warming up. So.

Craig Garber (01:24:50.087)
Is it? No, I didn’t. I didn’t.

Craig Garber (01:25:07.286)
That’s so funny. So what happened in that situation since you brought that up?

Rene (01:25:12.736)
Well, they wrote the song and released it. It was a mega hit. It was amazing. But.

Craig Garber (01:25:17.718)
But did they get, did they have to share some of that with the person who owned the copyright to that exercise?

Rene (01:25:27.808)
Well, I don’t think anybody owned the copyright to that particular exercise. I think it was just practicing scales or something. You know, this is kind of very, very much a gray area on, you know, scales and stuff. Nobody’s gonna own the scales per se. If you do a particular arrangement of a set of scales in a particular fashion that is unique, you potentially could copyright it, but…

Craig Garber (01:25:31.654)
Okay. Interesting.

Craig Garber (01:25:44.327)

Rene (01:25:57.152)
I think in that instance, it was just basically some scales practicing. It wasn’t like an exercise out of a copyrighted manual or book. Yeah. But in the case of your video that got claimed, I would look at who the claim it was. And I would see like, is it the person that appears, is their publisher that made the claim?

Craig Garber (01:26:01.474)

Craig Garber (01:26:06.791)
Okay, I understand what you’re saying.

Rene (01:26:24.928)
That’s happened to us before, where our writer’s gone and done something like this. And then we make a claim and somebody’s like, oh, you made a claim, it was an interview that gave me permission. Again, communicating with your publisher or your label to be like, I’m doing this thing and it’s important and we’re gonna gratis it. And having that communication. Or maybe it’s an error.

Craig Garber (01:26:44.942)
Gotcha. Okay.

Craig Garber (01:26:50.774)
When does somebody know, I’m sorry, when does someone know when they need you? Like when, you know, for people listening to this, when does somebody know, hey, you know, I need to reach out to Rene, I need to, I’m having, like what is the trigger that typically, yeah.

Rene (01:27:09.472)
Some support. Yeah, I would say when you start to feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do administratively. Does that make sense? So not only is there YouTube’s music database that we have to maintain for our clients and all their songs and all their sound recordings, but there’s also

the MLC database to get paid for mechanicals. There is your PRO database, ASCAP, BMIC, SOC, GMR, wherever you are. There is also a Harry Fox database because that’s how you get paid for Meta and Facebook and all Instagram. There’s also the Music Reports database where you get paid for TikTok and certain other DSPs, Peloton out there.

Craig Garber (01:27:56.174)

Craig Garber (01:28:07.648)

Rene (01:28:08.512)
So there’s all of these databases and there’s more than just that. When you start to feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you’re doing, that’s when you should reach out to start looking for an administrator.

Craig Garber (01:28:29.47)
Okay, so if you’re putting a lot of content out on all these, all these media, DSPs, every place, if you’re putting loads of content out, that’s when they should and you it’s not I mean, realistically, if you’ve got 50 songs out there even, and they’re getting active play, that’s a lot right. I mean, that’s a lot. Even 25 is a lot.

Rene (01:28:29.568)
And yeah.


Rene (01:28:50.624)
Yeah, if you feel overwhelmed or your significant other is feeling overwhelmed by managing the databases. Look, if you’ve got 25 songs you wrote 10 years ago and that’s the 25 songs you have, you can get them uploaded in the databases. Take your time. Go get your accounts at each one. Get them ingested. Get the metadata all updated. And that’s pretty much easy to monitor and manage.

right? Because you’re not making a lot of new songs. But when you start to look at, at say an active artist that’s out there touring, or getting sync placements, or, or, or is writing, you know, a lot of maybe you’re, maybe you’re a person that’s only a songwriter, and you’re writing with a lot of different people who have big hits, who are writing potential more big hits.

Craig Garber (01:29:33.804)

Craig Garber (01:29:45.079)

Rene (01:29:49.664)
They’re gonna get paid if somebody’s not minding the store for you. So when you, when it, when minding the store, when minding your own store becomes too much, you hire an employee to help you mind the store. That’s it. That’s when you need to start looking.

Craig Garber (01:30:04.422)
Okay. And then you guys charge a third party administrative fee to manage all this and make sure they’re and getting make sure they’re getting paid what they should be getting paid. Yeah. Okay.

Rene (01:30:10.29)

Rene (01:30:14.512)
Yeah. And our biggest, the biggest, two biggest differences between exploration and every other publishing administrator out there. Number one, number one, we have a lot more human interaction with our clients. We are not an automated, fully automated type of world. You’re going to communicate with humans over here.

Craig Garber (01:30:24.402)
Yeah, right on. Tell me this.

Rene (01:30:43.204)
And if you have real problems, you’re gonna be able to get a hold of me.

Rene (01:30:49.728)
try that at some other publishing administrators, you’re gonna find something, you’re gonna struggle sometimes to get ahold of a human.

Craig Garber (01:30:56.108)

So you’re hands on with service basically. Yeah, that’s how. And just for the listeners, this is something that Rene told me when I first spoke to her like four or five months ago, I think whenever we set this appointment up. So this is like the real deal that was, you know, it’s, and from a work ethic standpoint, that’s the people you wanna work with, man. You know, the, cause someone’s gonna go to bat for you. You know, you know, a bot is,

Rene (01:31:00.452)
Mm-hmm. We’re very hands-on. The second thing is… Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:31:28.322)
but an automatic email isn’t always gonna do the job and probably will rarely do the job.

Rene (01:31:33.224)
But let’s be real about companies using software to move big data.

I think that there are incredible software tools and we as a company at Exploration have built some incredible software tools to help us get the job done. But anybody that builds software is going to tell you number one rule, garbage in, garbage out. Somehow that data has got to get into that software to get moved around. And if that metadata that goes in is not cleaned up, doesn’t have…

good songwriter names, first and last name, not AKAs, and doesn’t have, you know, the percentages are all agreed to, everybody agrees on the percentage. The IPI numbers are all there so that the PRO registration goes through right. If that data is not clean, when it goes into whatever software, you could use the greatest software ever created for music publishing.

And if your data is not clean going in, it’s still going to be garbage when it gets delivered wherever it’s going.

Craig Garber (01:32:46.796)

Great point.

Rene (01:32:49.116)
And that’s the thing that I struggle to get people to understand when they talk about big data, the big publishers are sending are pushing big data. And that’s great because you need to handle big volumes of data to get the job done at that level. The challenge becomes, how do you make sure the data is clean? That goes into that software and that’s, and how do you make sure it’s clean in your own database?

Craig Garber (01:33:10.75)

Rene (01:33:19.616)
in all the ones I listed and stays that way.

stays that way.

Craig Garber (01:33:28.886)
And how do you make sure?

Rene (01:33:30.932)
It takes people going and looking and doing the work, scanning it. Sometimes you got to do the work. That’s the motto of my favorite WWE wrestler. I told you I was going to mention WWE and somehow I managed to. Yeah. Sometimes you got to do the work.

Craig Garber (01:33:34.744)

Craig Garber (01:33:44.841)
You did. So tell me, okay, you said there was two things that makes you guys different. One is more human interaction and the second.

Rene (01:33:54.804)
The second is our contracts. So when you do an admin deal in music, it is usually all or nothing. So if you go to a publisher and you ask them to be your administrator or you sell your publishing or you do a co-publishing deal, whatever it is, it will be all of your rights. So all your rights at all of those different databases for the territories in question.

Maybe it’s the US, maybe it’s the world. What Exploration does is we say, you need help with just YouTube? Publishing on YouTube? Got you. We’ll just do that. And we’re not going to touch anything else, and we’re not going to invoice you. We’re not going to commission anything else. That works for you. YouTube doesn’t. We’ll fix YouTube. Maybe we had a number of clients who needed help getting started with the MLC when it came a few years ago.

You need just help with the MLC, maybe HFA and maybe MRI. Okay, just those platforms. Our contract is like a dim sum menu where you just pick and choose what you want us to deal with. And then we leave the rest of it alone and we only take a commission on what we work on. And that’s not the way it works. That’s not the general rule.

Craig Garber (01:35:13.035)
And I…

Craig Garber (01:35:16.814)
That’s so awesome, but I would bet long-term that serves you because people are like not defensive and they’re like, wow, these guys are giving me my space. Let me breathe. They’re happy to do what they do. Like who doesn’t want to down the line after you do a good job for six months and say, hey, handle all my shit because this is great. Like I got to believe that’s a feather, huge feather in your cap for you and for the clients and for you.

Rene (01:35:42.644)
happens. We’ve been able to have some publishers as clients who maybe they got their YouTube license done, their agreement with YouTube done, and then they were like, oh my God, what is this big new database? Maybe we just need somebody for six months to a year to help us understand this and teach our team what to do and help us figure all of this out.

And we’ve done that a few times for companies. We did it with the MLC, with a songwriters and with a few publishers, indie publishers who were like, it’s a whole new thing and I don’t have the time to just do it. Can you get me started and teach me? And we were like, yeah, we can do that. Our core value, our core thing that we want to do that I want to do personally as well is to educate this industry and get everybody up to speed. I don’t just want.

Craig Garber (01:36:19.478)
That’s awesome.

Rene (01:36:40.832)
publishers to understand what we’re doing, or songwriters to understand what we’re doing. I want all the attorneys and the managers and the mailroom guys and the vice presidents of legal at the major publishers, I want them to all have a basic working knowledge of how all of this works. And that’s not always the case, unfortunately.

Craig Garber (01:37:07.95)
So when you first meet a client, what happens?

Craig Garber (01:37:14.914)
What’s your process?

Rene (01:37:15.064)
Um, there’s so many ways that clients come to us and knock on our door. Um, the V if, if someone comes to me, approaches me directly, my very first thing is I’m going to go look, I, I’m a big fan of the show catfish.

Craig Garber (01:37:37.751)
I don’t know this, so…

Rene (01:37:37.78)
And I have been fooled a few times. Uh, that’s where people will like, you know, you’re tending to do online dating and the person that you’re dating online is actually using somebody else’s pictures and lying about who they are.

Craig Garber (01:37:48.59)
Oh yes, somebody else. Oh man. You know what? Like literally I don’t have a massive Instagram following, but I would have to say 50 to 60% of it is catfish. And I’m like, God, I must, it is. Cause I get all, all day long, I’m getting these like, you know, pictures of young girls with two followers, like, you know, and I’m like, I mean, it’s prolific. It’s, it’s probably more fake than real followers.

Rene (01:38:03.08)

Rene (01:38:15.284)

Yeah, it’s true. So I, it is not that I don’t trust people. It’s that this business is my baby and I have staff to protect and I have other clients to protect. So the first thing I do if I just meet someone or they just send me an email as I will do a few checks of things to see if they are who they say they are. And

Craig Garber (01:38:18.323)
It’s so now I get yeah, it’s phenomenal

Craig Garber (01:38:45.554)
Right. Okay.

Rene (01:38:47.804)
And based on that experience, I can tell you we have received emails from potential clients who have sent us their address is a Walmart parking lot or their…

Craig Garber (01:38:58.87)
What, like, why would someone like, what is the, what are they looking to get out of you? Like, I don’t. So like literally, like it’s just somebody sitting in their house saying, how can I waste someone else’s time? Like, what the hell? Yeah, I guess. Yeah.

Rene (01:39:05.382)
I have no idea. It happens.

Well they could be hackers, they could be hackers, they could be scam artists, they could be, you know, it could be anything and it could come from anywhere in the world. It could come from anywhere in the world. So that’s the very first thing that I do is just I will sort of just check and make sure that what’s in the email is legit. It’s not hard to do. It’s some basic, you know, if you just do basically looking at it, you can tell.

Craig Garber (01:39:18.7)

Craig Garber (01:39:24.206)

Rene (01:39:39.052)
And then I will usually if it’s not someone that I know or not someone that That is a referral from someone. I know I will hand it off to our biz dev department and They will they will reach out they will get they will get in touch and they’ll say hey give us some songs We’re gonna do a little check of what your songs are doing out there We’re gonna see if you’re at a level where we can help you

Craig Garber (01:40:05.89)
Okay, like an audit.

Rene (01:40:06.248)
Because if you’re making, yeah, so if you’re making literal pennies, if you’re making under a dollar, if it’s like, you know, I had a thousand views over the course of six months on a video or something like that, you’re not going to be generating value that it’s worth sharing that value with us. And so in those cases, we’ll usually direct them to the book, which we have on our website.

Craig Garber (01:40:25.41)
Sure, absolutely.

Rene (01:40:34.156)
and you can download it for free. It’s called How the Music Business Works and the third edition is going to come out in January, I believe is the release date. The second edition is up. We direct them to the book where we talk a lot about the mechanics of how to actually do some of the things that everybody else talks about in their books. There’s a lot of books out there that are really great about theory but they don’t get to how do you actually do it.

Craig Garber (01:41:02.026)
Yeah, they tell you what to do, but not how to do it. Yeah, I get that.

Rene (01:41:02.364)
And we do. Yeah, and so in those cases where we, you may not be ready for us or ready for an administrator, we’ll direct them to the book and give them a little bit of advice. And sometimes might, if it’s a serious issue, we have, you know, we’ve been like, okay, these are attorneys that you might wanna talk to. We have had a few serious copyright issues come up in those scenarios where we’re like, look,

Craig Garber (01:41:26.312)

Rene (01:41:31.576)
we can help you as an administrator, but you need to get that solved first. And here’s some names that you might want to talk to that we here’s some attorneys we trust that you might want to reach out to and find out more. In the case where we can help them and they are ready for some support, we usually will talk to them about what they need. You know, do you need, you know,

What is your current situation? Do you already have an administrator and you’re dissatisfied? Do you, you know, what’s going on in the life of your catalog that is troublesome for you? Or what is your situation? And here are some ways we might be able to help. And then they’ll decide, they’ll sit down and they’ll talk about how we fit into their world.

And then we draw up a contract that fits that situation. And off we go to the races. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:42:34.718)
All right. So it’s very straight. It’s very straightforward. A couple of questions for people listening. What are the biggest mistakes artists make that prevent them from collecting all the royalties they’re entitled to?

Rene (01:42:38.463)

Rene (01:42:51.536)
Okay, you don’t have enough metadata.

Rene (01:43:01.672)
The more metadata you have from your co-writers or your featured performers on your sound recordings, the more metadata you have, the more likely it is you are gonna get paid properly. And the easier it is for your administrator to do the work. I’ve had writers who have turned in

songs where their co-writer was DJ number 73.

Craig Garber (01:43:38.368)

Rene (01:43:40.404)
DJ name, DJ random name. And I’m like, okay, I don’t know who that is and I can’t deliver that to ASCAP.

Craig Garber (01:43:49.165)

Craig Garber (01:43:52.863)
Yeah, right.

Rene (01:43:54.704)
And so when I put that in and my co-writer is DJ Random Name, and then DJ Random Name, whose name is John Smith, goes and he delivers the song to ASCAP, it’s going to be two different songs in ASCAP’s database. And we’re going to confusion now about what’s going on. So.

Craig Garber (01:44:12.096)

Craig Garber (01:44:15.958)
Okay, so not having accurate and thorough metadata.

Rene (01:44:18.916)
not having accurate metadata. So if you’re sitting with your co-writers, this is, I have a database. I have a database for my writers that I build out and I share the template so they can build out themselves as well. Where you have all of yours, like the first tab of the spreadsheet is all of your songs and what you control and your co-writers names and in all of this stuff. And then the second tab of this spreadsheet is

your usual suspects is co-writers. And all of their information, their IPI number, their publisher, their publishing entity name, their administrator, that IPI number, their ISNI number, ISNI numbers become an important metadata point now. So all of those numbers for their usual suspects, so we don’t have to chase it every time.

Craig Garber (01:45:12.267)
Yeah, that makes sense.

Rene (01:45:14.853)
and sitting down and discussing the splits.

sitting down and going, okay, we’ve been in the studio for 12 hours. We hate each other. We smell, we’re starving and everybody needs a whiskey.

Craig Garber (01:45:32.194)

Rene (01:45:34.004)
But y’all need to take a few more minutes and talk about who contributed creatively as a songwriter and who contributed as a musician who’s not a songwriter. You gotta fight through and have that conversation.

Because if you don’t…

We’re going to end up with somebody claiming more percentage than you think they should. And we’re going to end up in, then your publishers and your administrators need to have this conversation.

Craig Garber (01:46:05.822)
Right, and that’s not gonna be an easy one.

Rene (01:46:07.848)
It’s not going to be easy either. And you’re going to get uncomfortable phone calls from me going, okay, okay. Okay. Yeah. All right. Your boyfriend was on the phone and he signed to EMI and that’s why EMI is claiming 75%. Okay. How long were you on the phone with him? What did you talk about? Again, actual scenario that’s happened to me in my career. Boyfriend was on the phone.

Craig Garber (01:46:25.29)


Yeah. Unreal.

Rene (01:46:37.968)
mentioned something random about the song, he said something and all of a sudden EMI was claiming 25% of the song and I’m like, what?

Craig Garber (01:46:44.77)
Because of his phone call, what he mentioned on the phone call. Yeah. Wow.

Rene (01:46:47.604)
Mm-hmm. Yep.

Rene (01:46:52.828)
Yeah. That was a wake up call for my writer, for sure. She married him and they’re happy, by the way. They’re amazing. They’re an amazing couple.

Craig Garber (01:46:53.706)

Craig Garber (01:46:58.167)
Tell me that.

Craig Garber (01:47:01.73)
Ha ha ha!

Craig Garber (01:47:05.442)
What aside from artists checking out that content page, which really is fantastic, it’s forward slash learn. Are there some other things they can do to get up to speed on this area of the business?

Rene (01:47:23.073)
I am also the vice president of the California Copyright Conference.

Craig Garber (01:47:27.006)
You had so many things you’re doing. I’m like, I can’t read all these. This is like cutting it. It’d be like five, 10 minutes. Like, I was like, so impressed with that. Yeah.

Rene (01:47:35.356)
Just walk through the organizations. Yeah. So, um, the California organ networking, very important building relationships in this business, not just with fellow songwriters, but with industry people. How are you going to find the best manager or the best attorney out there? If you don’t go out and meet a bunch of attorneys and meet a bunch of people who need attorneys and have used attorneys and get in a good referrals and good understandings. So.

Joining organizations like California Copyright Conference where you can go to events and see webinars and in-person panels about these topics is really, really important. You don’t just build relationships, but you also learn about these things in real time. What’s happening as it’s happening. What’s going on? Are you curious about what’s going on in AI? There’s going to be a panel out there on it.

And there’s several organizations you can look at. California Copyright Conference, the AIMP, Association of Independent Music Publishers. There’s a new songwriters organization out there called the 100 Percenters.

which I haven’t had a chance to really dig into. They’re new to me. I think they’ve been around for a little bit, but they’re new to me and I’m really interested to see where they’re going and what they’re doing. And then my favorite organization, which is Songwriters of North America, Sona, put together by songwriters for songwriters to really dig in and understand what’s going on and to help fight

for better rates, fight for songwriters just in general out there in the world. Um, and one of the most important things is that to help other songwriters feel like they’re not alone.

Craig Garber (01:49:36.938)
Yeah, that is important. Just a shameless plug to guys listening. We have a whole chapter in music, a module in music licensing profits. We talk a lot about how to network and because a lot of musicians feel awkward about that and they just, you know, and that’s a, it’s a real thing. And, but networking is fun. If you approach it like that, you know, it’s like, if you don’t, yeah, it can be, it’s all like everything else. Your mindset.

Rene (01:49:37.917)

Rene (01:49:58.2)
It is, yes, it is. It can be, it can be.

Rene (01:50:05.652)
I had issues, so things like this interaction would make me extremely uncomfortable. I still even had a little bit of imposter syndrome before we started this morning. But I do.

Craig Garber (01:50:17.218)
God, I have imposter syndrome just interviewing you. I don’t feel like I know enough to be asking a lot of these questions.

Rene (01:50:20.924)

Um, but, uh, it can be a very real thing. Mental health is hugely important. And so I would also say that if there are areas where you struggle with any issue, take a look at like music cares, the musicians fund through Sona, um, mental health is, is I’m a huge advocate for support in that regard. And so, um,

Craig Garber (01:50:29.288)

Craig Garber (01:50:48.77)
guide it.

Rene (01:50:50.44)
Definitely there are resources out there that can help. Even if it’s just mentoring for a small issue, like a little bit of imposter syndrome when you first walk in the room, or even if it’s bigger issues like depression or addiction, um, there are a lot of organizations that offer help out there and if that particular organization can’t help you, I have not seen an organization not connect you to a sister group.

Craig Garber (01:51:19.846)
Yeah, reverse, yeah.

Rene (01:51:20.38)
or can try to connect you to a mentor, try to connect you somewhere where you can get some support. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:51:26.898)
I’ve had half a dozen artists on the show that have gotten sober through music hairs. So that’s everything you’re saying is 100% true.

Rene (01:51:33.64)
Mm-hmm. That’s brilliant. And it’s not just the thing I learned a few years ago about Music Cares, it’s also for people in the industry. A friend of mine, she was an executive and she had breast cancer. And she struggled to make ends meet and struggled with a lot around that time. And she was able to reach out to Music Cares and also get support.

Craig Garber (01:52:01.047)
That’s awesome.

Rene (01:52:01.22)
even through that health crisis as an executive. It’s there for all of us, primarily musicians. And primarily their biggest challenge out there for them is the addictions, but.

Craig Garber (01:52:05.014)
That’s great.

Craig Garber (01:52:13.99)
is addiction. Totally. Yeah.

Rene (01:52:16.456)
But it is there as a resource for all of us in the music industry when we’re struggling.

Craig Garber (01:52:21.686)
That’s great. I didn’t, I didn’t know that. That’s really great. So this is a bit of a controversial question for most. And we’ve kind of alluded to this, but for most artists, the business aspect of their life is just something they’re not, they don’t like it. They’re not comfortable with it. Then when things go wrong, they’re upset. So

For people who find themselves or who have found themselves in this situation, what kind of practical or even like tough love advice would you give them?

Rene (01:53:00.656)
If I find myself in a situation where I am upset at a co-publisher, a client, a situation that’s out of my control, a publisher, an old administrator that just will not let go of a song that I now control, the executive vice president number 83…

of giant corporation that will not answer the phone. When I find myself, the very first thing when I find myself in that situation I do, and this is something I learned from my business partner, Erin, are you hungry, are you thirsty, are you tired?

Craig Garber (01:53:46.494)
Hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Yeah, halt. Yeah, yeah, those are.

Rene (01:53:51.452)
Check that first. It’s not gonna change the facts about whatever’s going on. All it’s gonna do is it’s gonna check your, it’s gonna check your inner Karen is all that’s gonna do to check those things. And I think we have learned enough by watching social media over the last few years to know that Karen behavior is not gonna get a solution to a problem. And that’s ultimately what you want. So check those things.

Craig Garber (01:53:53.194)
That’s great.

Craig Garber (01:54:04.158)
Yeah, inner Karen is funny.

Craig Garber (01:54:16.078)

Rene (01:54:21.268)
first. Take a breath. Go get some fresh air. Put your hands in some dirt. Hug a tree for a minute. Have a coffee. Take a moment. Your emotions are valid. Your feelings about the situation are valid. That doesn’t change. But ultimately you want to get to solution. You want a problem fixed.

Craig Garber (01:54:34.699)

Rene (01:54:49.96)
You’ve got to approach it like you want to fix it, not like you just want to raise hell. So that’s the first thing when I am in that situation. That’s the first thing I have to recognize. Now does that mean I never accidentally boil over and end up venting? No, I end up venting sometimes a lot.

Craig Garber (01:54:57.037)

Rene (01:55:14.056)
So do I screw that up sometimes? I’m not perfect either. Yeah, I screw that first part up sometimes, often. But when you stop and you do that, you fix those things first, check those things first. Then you can then drill down, I try to drill down to the facts. Is there a timeline? Where did the time, where is that timeline of things that happened different from what I expected?

Craig Garber (01:55:18.222)

Rene (01:55:45.924)
I like to clean my house before I throw stones at somebody else’s dirty house.

Craig Garber (01:55:51.974)
That’s a good one.

Rene (01:55:53.652)
if i gave shit metadata to them

Rene (01:56:01.416)
How can I expect them to have executed to the highest of their abilities?

Craig Garber (01:56:05.422)
All right.

Rene (01:56:08.264)
So how was my expectation different? And then so I check myself, I check what did I bring to the table?

Did I muck this up before it even got to them? I check everything over here in my own house before I start laying out somebody else’s, it’s somebody else’s problem to fix, or somebody else screwed up. That’s who I am. I was raised a people pleaser. I was raised in an environment that conditioned that, but I don’t know how I handled it with the gray. I don’t know how I necessarily.

Craig Garber (01:56:33.972)

Rene (01:56:49.188)
It came to the grace that I think I deal with it now. Some people call it people pleasing. Some people like think that it invalidates their emotion or invalidates their feelings or, you know, and it doesn’t. None of that invalidates anything emotionally that you’re feeling. It doesn’t make them right and you wrong. It doesn’t make you right and them wrong. You still gotta go through the facts.

with them and figure out a lot of things to make a situation right. Sometimes a few things, but sometimes a lot of things. But that’s usually where I start.

Craig Garber (01:57:18.857)

Craig Garber (01:57:31.286)
That was a great answer. Thank you. I tell you what women approach that kind of an answer so differently than guys. And it’s so much better how you approach it than how I would have answered that guy. I gotta be honest with you. I would have been like, look, boom, you know, and you’re like, so thoughtful and sweet about everything.

Rene (01:57:48.753)
I just learned a long time ago that I’m human.

Craig Garber (01:57:51.718)
Yeah, you’re right. But you we all are.

Rene (01:57:55.272)
And sometimes I might screw up. And so if I see somebody flying off the rails and reply to an email I sent, the first thing I’m going to do is go, what, what did I say? Did I, did I typo something? Did I say massage instead of message? What did, what happened? And if that all checks out, then I know I need to go into that with some grace and give them some room because they’re having a, they’re having a big feeling.

Craig Garber (01:58:10.762)

Craig Garber (01:58:18.538)
Yeah, something’s going on there.

Rene (01:58:22.324)
They’re having an emotional moment and it might have nothing to do with anything to do with me or my company or business that we’re doing. They’re, you know, their dog might’ve gotten hit by a car and they can’t do anything. It’s at the vet and they’re just freaked out. So just go into it with, just go into it with a little empathy and a little grace and a little humility.

Craig Garber (01:58:30.802)
Oh, most of the time it doesn’t. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:58:38.999)

Rene (01:58:49.236)
None of those things will change the facts. The facts will have remained the same, but you’ll be able to get to the facts and understand the facts and find a solution a lot quicker if one of you is not coming in hot and can help the other person to cool, to get to the facts.

Craig Garber (01:58:52.514)
That is so true. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:59:09.61)
Yeah, deescalating is always smart.

Rene (01:59:11.927)

Craig Garber (01:59:13.73)
Thank you, that was a great answer. Rene, you’ve done a lot of work for well-known artists, people like Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Kings of Leon, Kiss, Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Eminem Pink, Pete Townsend, and I think Joe Perry, right?

Rene (01:59:15.412)
Thank you.

Rene (01:59:27.964)
Yeah, Joe Perry is my favorite client. It’s always gonna be. I didn’t have a favorite client until Joe Perry was my client.

Craig Garber (01:59:30.953)
How did I know that?

Craig Garber (01:59:37.715)
Are you usually interfacing with the artists themselves or with their management or both?

Rene (01:59:43.036)
depends on the client. Some are, you know, when Peter Hernandez, who became Bruno Mars, was signed to Windswept back in the day, we worked, we worked, yeah. Mm-hmm, yeah. We, I ended up working, you know, talking to him, talking to people close to him.

Craig Garber (01:59:55.638)
Oh wow, so he’s like a holdover from, oh, that’s so cool.

Rene (02:00:09.324)
Um, on the other hand, when working with Alison Krauss, I talked 99% of the time to our manager. So, um, so you just develop, it’s how the relationship develops. And I would encourage everybody to be open, especially in the industry side, the business person side, don’t get hamstrung over how the relationship with the client develops. You know?

Craig Garber (02:00:16.116)

Rene (02:00:39.824)
If you don’t talk to the artist every day like you wanted to.

Are you still getting the work done? Is everything that’s supposed to happen still happening? That’s the important part. If you’re blocked by a manager every five minutes and you can’t get discussed what needs to be discussed.

Craig Garber (02:00:53.43)
Sure, that’s very, yeah.

Craig Garber (02:01:02.838)
Yeah, what did you do then?

Rene (02:01:04.824)
Well, I just, no, I didn’t fire the client. It wasn’t the client’s fault that the manager, it was sort of like, we just had a little come to Jesus pow wow. The client had emailed me and was like, Hey, I don’t understand why this thing’s not done. And I’m going, okay, do I throw this manager under the bus by saying, you know, I have, I’m sitting here, right?

Craig Garber (02:01:06.424)
You fire the client.

Craig Garber (02:01:25.758)
Your manager is an asshole. Send.

Rene (02:01:30.24)
I’m sitting here, I’m sitting here with my email upon email of follow up to the manager and not hearing anything back. And I was like, well, I could send all of this to the artist and go, I have 27 follow ups over the course of two months where I didn’t hear anything back trying to get this job done.

Craig Garber (02:01:35.799)

Rene (02:01:50.652)
Or what I did in that situation was I went back to the manager and I was like, look, let’s go have a drink. Let’s go have a chat. Let’s go have dinner.

Craig Garber (02:02:00.558)
Oh, you did. Wow. And even though you had some you had some friction with this person.

Rene (02:02:02.301)
Yeah, and I was like…

Craig Garber (02:02:08.671)
Wow, that’s pretty.

Rene (02:02:08.884)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, this was this my our relationship explorations relationship with the manager was causing friction with the songwriter

Craig Garber (02:02:15.936)

Rene (02:02:17.448)
Because the songwriter was very, very high level and did not have bandwidth, they have shit to do in the world. And the manager, they trusted to handle everything. So the key to the relationship was the manager. The key to getting things done with the artist was the manager. It wasn’t gonna happen without the manager. So the relationship with the artist didn’t need fixing. The relationship with the manager needed fixing.

Craig Garber (02:02:26.687)

Craig Garber (02:02:44.727)

Rene (02:02:47.984)
And it turns out the relationship between the manager and the artist needed a little nudging, needed a little help. And so I was just like, let’s go have a drink. Let’s go have a steak and some whiskey. Oh, that sounds really good. But yeah, let’s just go have a steak and a whiskey and let’s stop. So here’s what I’m seeing. Here’s well, here’s what needs to happen. And here’s why it needs to happen.

Craig Garber (02:03:02.89)
It does.

Rene (02:03:18.48)
Now, when these things happen, when this gets done and fixed, then this can happen. Well, that’s the thing we really want to get to. That’s where I’m like, yeah. So how can we get the artist to move to step two so you and I can move to step three?

I don’t know, man, you know, trying to get them on the phone and trying to do this. It’s like so crazy. And I’m like, OK, OK.

Let’s try, let’s try, what about this tactic? And then just start to make a plan. And now all of a sudden this manager really likes me and won’t leave me alone because they realize, they realize we’re on the same team. And sometimes you forget, sometimes you forget that you’re on the same team. Sometimes it looks like people are in, you know, working against each other. And you’re not ultimately the goal.

Craig Garber (02:03:59.026)
Okay. Yeah, but at least the headaches dissolved. Yeah.



Rene (02:04:17.208)
is the songwriter’s hopes and dreams and what they want to have done and what they want. And as long as you’re all working towards that goal, you’re on the same team. You’re just seeing it from different perspectives. And all it really took was to just nail down for the manager that like, look, you got to have an uncomfortable conversation with your friend who has hired you as their manager.

Rene (02:04:48.5)
You’re gonna have to do it or where none of us is gonna make any money for them.

Craig Garber (02:04:49.032)

Rene (02:04:55.42)
and they’re gonna fire us all.

Craig Garber (02:05:00.078)
That’s great how you did that.

Rene (02:05:00.284)
and all you need to do is go have an uncomfortable conversation. And he was like, I think I’m going to try this. Yeah, he did. He was like, I think I’m going to try this steak and whiskey thing. I was like, please steal the idea. Spread the joy of steak and whiskey in the world. And they had an uncomfortable conversation as friends that made their manager artist relationships stronger. Is that going to work every time? Probably not.

Craig Garber (02:05:04.981)
And I’m assuming they did.

Craig Garber (02:05:14.778)
Spread the joy of steak and whiskey. Yeah, right. Bread on.

Rene (02:05:30.024)
But, you know, it’s just, it’s a try.

Craig Garber (02:05:30.39)
No, but that’s a pretty good. So that’s a pretty good. So I mean, like, what else can you do? Yeah, what else can you do?

Rene (02:05:36.608)
Mm-hmm. I find that having a steak and whiskey with people is just the perfect way to solve a problem.

Craig Garber (02:05:39.223)

Yeah, what the hell’s the downside of that? My god.

Craig Garber (02:14:13.874)
Is there any funny or interesting stories about how you wound up connecting with any of the more well-known artists that you’ve worked for Or worked with I should say

Rene (02:14:17.684)
You’d have to go with the calmer thing. Yeah, but, ah, swordfish steak? Have you ever had swordfish? Oh, see, there you go. There you go.

There you go.

Rene (02:14:44.681)
I started down the road of the Carole King story. It didn’t get to the end of it. Her daughter who is amazing and wonderful and is so talented and I was denying her request for a reduced rate on the mechanicals because, you know, my writers were not subject to the same agreement with her label that she was. And so now I should preface this by saying.

Craig Garber (02:14:47.882)
Yeah, you did. Her daughter.


Craig Garber (02:15:08.223)
Right, okay.

Rene (02:15:12.308)
There was a lady at the time that was the mentor to Leticia, whose name was Carole King as well. So there’s two Carole Kings. So I get a phone call and she says, this was my naivete at play here.

Craig Garber (02:15:21.663)
Oh, that’s wild.

Craig Garber (02:15:33.622)
This is the Carole King inside the business, not the artist. Okay.

Rene (02:15:37.428)
inside the business, inside the industry who worked for another publisher outside of Windswept. And so I get a call and she says, hi, this is Carole King. And I was like, oh, hey, how’s it going? Thinking. It was the publisher. I thought it was the publisher, Carole King. And so I’m like, hey, how’s it going? And she was like, great, great. She’s like, for this song on this album, we need a reduced rate.

Craig Garber (02:15:50.678)
I love your music. Ha ha ha.

Craig Garber (02:15:56.962)
Oh, okay.

Rene (02:16:05.552)
And she proceeds to try to negotiate this reduced rate with me. And I tell her, no, no. And then she proceeds to say, well, that’s my daughter. You know, that’s my daughter. Right. And I was like, well, I’m sorry, but that still doesn’t warrant me giving a, you know, discounting how much money my writers are supposed to make this, you know, thank you so much. Goodbye.

And I hung up.

Craig Garber (02:16:36.743)
Thank you so much. Goodbye.

Rene (02:16:39.568)
and I hung up on her! I hung up on Carole King! and I’m sitting there for a moment and I’m like wait oh shit oh SHIT that was Carole King, Carole King that was…you make me feel like a natural woman, Carole King that was OH MY GOD and I just…the mortification overtook me in a solid wave

all the way down to my toes.

Craig Garber (02:17:11.074)
So how did you handle that?

Rene (02:17:12.976)
And I just, I slowly got out of my chair and walked to Leticia’s office and I sat down and the look on my face had to be something like.

And I was like, I think you, I think, I think I fucked up. I think I fucked up with EZI. Oh my God, Leticia, you’re gonna have to fire me. I was so freaked out and scared. And she goes, what happened? And I was like, I told Carole King, no, she couldn’t have a reduced rate for her daughter. And I hung up on her. And Leticia, washing over her face, the same sort of realization of what’s happening.

Craig Garber (02:17:55.938)

Rene (02:17:59.387)
And she took a deep breath and she was like, okay.

break it down for me. What exactly happened? Again, getting to that core of the facts, even though both of us were like waiting for Evan Meadow or Jonathan Stone, the big bosses at Windswept to like run screaming over any moment, which she has probably called them like, and I tell her, you know, this artist has been trying to get.

Craig Garber (02:18:10.114)

Rene (02:18:32.82)
reduced rate for this song. That is a cover of a song by our writers. I have been denying it because I don’t see the reason why we our writers should get paid less. And that is apparently Carole King’s daughter and she called to throw some of her weight behind that request. Fair enough that she did. I’m not knocking that

I think that’s perfectly fair. She wants to fight for her daughter. And I said, and am I fired now, Leticia? And she goes, she thinks about it for a moment, and she goes, No, no, you’re not fired. No, you were right. Our writers have a right to collect their full rate for that song. You did not have to grant it. And thank you for standing your ground for our writers.

Craig Garber (02:19:26.67)

Craig Garber (02:19:30.423)

Rene (02:19:31.312)
And I was like, is Carol King going to be mad at me for the rest of my life? Am I never going to be able to meet Carol King or talk to her? And she was like, no, she’ll eventually forget in like 20 years or so. So maybe someday in two years. You can go and talk to her. And and something else, Leticia said later.

A few years later when we were talking about it, she was like, I will bet money that if Carol King remembers the incident at all, which I don’t know if she does or not, but if she remembers it at all, she probably respects the hell out of you now for standing up for your writers. In the moment, she was probably pretty mad at me, but at the end of the day, if she even remembers it ever happening.

Craig Garber (02:20:09.586)
Yeah, absolutely. Because she’s a songwriter. She’s a… yeah.

Rene (02:20:23.088)
she probably has a lot of respect for you for standing up for your writers. So, yeah. Yeah. But either way, even if she was still mad at me, I would still respect her because she was a mom fighting for her baby in that moment. So I still respect that from her.

Craig Garber (02:20:27.246)
she should as a songwriter herself, as a prolific songwriter. That’s awesome.

Craig Garber (02:20:43.446)
Hey, what are some, let’s go this one. In your bio, you mentioned you’re in an industry that’s very male dominated, which obviously it is. To whatever extent you’re comfortable, any kind of, what kinds of bullshit have you had to put up with as a result of this? And what have you found to be the best way to set boundaries in those situations?

Rene (02:20:53.405)

Rene (02:21:06.305)
Um… hmm…

I think most of my bullshit came early on. I was protected of course, because my grandfather protected me from a lot of stuff. From seeing or from understanding in the moment what things were. Anything that was nasty that I was exposed to was not music industry related. If that makes sense.

Craig Garber (02:21:39.243)

Rene (02:21:39.9)
Um, I got bullshit for being a fan. I think that was one thing. I think that’s, I think that’s something that women get, get some shit about and struggle with. Yeah. I’m being a fan. I came into this industry because I was a fan. We’re all in this industry because we’re a fan of somebody. And, and I, you know, I got, I would be excited and I like.

Craig Garber (02:21:49.055)
like a fan of one of your artists.

Why would you get?

Craig Garber (02:21:58.979)
Yeah, yeah.

Rene (02:22:04.568)
I like to go to shows and I like to dance in the aisle and I like to shout and sing along and I’m going to keep doing it. I’m not going to go to a concert and be the guy in the back of the room that looks like he wants to work for security and just stare at my artist for two hours and show no emotion. It’s not going to happen. But I’ve gotten shit for being a fan of my clients. I’ve gotten shit for…

Craig Garber (02:22:18.724)

Rene (02:22:35.32)
I’ve gotten shit for dying my hair before I’ve gotten shit for getting gray hair before I’ve gotten and yeah and

Craig Garber (02:22:41.719)
Wait a minute.

Craig Garber (02:22:45.134)
Wow. That blows my mind actually. Like for dyeing your hair.

Rene (02:22:54.732)
I got, yeah, and you’d be surprised at where some of the shit comes from. Like.

Craig Garber (02:22:58.638)
Wow, like what was the complaint there? Isn’t that like a, that’s like wearing a collared shirt that you wanna wear, I mean, isn’t?

Rene (02:23:07.856)
It was from a woman. It was from a powerful woman in the industry who said, I’m not going to take lessons in how to do my job from some chick who dyes her hair.

Craig Garber (02:23:21.032)
Oh my god.

Rene (02:23:23.344)
And I was like, okay.

Cool. Peace out. Bye. What do you do with that? And what do you do with it when it, what do you do when that kind of thing comes from other women?

Craig Garber (02:23:28.526)
Wow. Yeah, right. Like what are you gonna do with that? Yeah, like what can you do with that? Yeah.

Craig Garber (02:23:40.386)
That’s bizarre as hell, I gotta tell ya.

Rene (02:23:43.48)
Yeah, and even to this day I firmly believe that she was venting about something that had nothing to do with me.

Craig Garber (02:23:49.746)
Yeah, I’m sure. I’m sure.

Rene (02:23:51.82)
And so I don’t hate her for it. I took it for what it was. It was an unfortunate interaction.

um that did not break my stride

Craig Garber (02:24:08.875)
Yeah, good for you.

Rene (02:24:11.272)
Um, there’s also a place that I know that I come from a lot of privilege. Um, I’m white and blonde with blue eyes.

Rene (02:24:24.316)
I try to check myself. I try to look around the room and evaluate the situation and go, okay, what are the words coming out of my mouth here? What am I saying? But bullshit in general from men, it comes at you. Sometimes you can handle it with grace. Sometimes you can handle it with a laugh and…

take it as a joke and pawn it off and break the tension. Sometimes you’ve got to confront it head on. Sometimes you’ve got to say, okay, we’re not gonna gaslight in this conversation and call it out for what it is. And that can be hard. But I got a lot of shit for being a fan in college from professors.

Craig Garber (02:25:22.475)
I don’t even get that.

Rene (02:25:23.168)
Um, and, and that, that struggle is really well, that’s something that actually haunts me sometimes. That’s something I struggle with that. Like, oh my God, I really respect this artist and, and I’m not just, I’m not just a fan and the little girl in me hurts again.

Craig Garber (02:25:46.218)
Yeah, that’s terrible because that’s the whole reason like people like you said get into this business

Rene (02:25:48.194)

Rene (02:25:52.828)
Yeah, we’re all here because we were a fan of somebody. Somebody did a concert somewhere and we were there. And we saw that music and we heard that music and we fell in love with the music so much that we put up with the industry.

Craig Garber (02:26:08.142)
Yeah. I’ve had, I’ve had musicians tell me, Craig, I would play for free. It’s all the bullshit and the travel and the rest of the industry that I have to get paid for. I love the music so much.

Rene (02:26:11.391)

Rene (02:26:22.056)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. So I, so that really, that’s the one that affects me the most. I was, I don’t know why, but I was in enough situations where I didn’t, I don’t recognize in my history where I got excessively sexually harassed.

I’m sure there were moments when I just was clueless. It was happening. Either I was too young or too innocent or too jaded. Just pay attention at some point. But most of anything that happened in my life where I felt sexually harassed was outside of the industry.

Craig Garber (02:27:11.214)

Rene (02:27:12.008)
That’s, I know that I am lucky in that regard. That is not the truth for most people, most women in the industry. Yeah. And so what I try to do, I think, you know, is to provide a safe space for friends or for any woman in the industry. Even if it’s a woman who hates me, but she needs to vent or she needs to just have a moment or she needs to just commiserate or whatever.

Craig Garber (02:27:18.286)
For a lot of women, yeah.

Rene (02:27:41.696)
to create a safe space in my world where people can just breathe and be and vent or talk or relate or anything like that. And here’s the thing I think we really, really forget. It is not just women who experience the sexual harassment.

or the sexualization or the abuse in our industry. There are plenty of men who experience it.

Craig Garber (02:28:21.813)

Rene (02:28:22.596)
and go through it from women and from men. There are plenty of it. The number of times I have watched my artists get groped on stage by female fans, and I’m not just talking about like touching their leg, I’m talking about like, you know, groping, full on couch grabbing and things, and people are like, oh, he’s a dude, he must love it. I’m sorry, it’s assault, it’s sexual assault.

Craig Garber (02:28:43.79)
Full on crotch grab. Wow.

Craig Garber (02:28:52.15)

Rene (02:28:53.36)
If you do it to a female artist, you get arrested, you get thrown out. You get your ass kicked by her fans.

Craig Garber (02:28:57.73)

Rene (02:29:04.008)
You do it to a guy, oh the guy must love that. He’s a guy. No, I’m sorry, it’s still.

Craig Garber (02:29:09.687)
Not if he’s in a good marriage with three kids at home waiting for him.

Rene (02:29:13.952)
We’re just not, if he’s in general, a human being who has boundaries, who doesn’t want to be groped. We’re all people that don’t want to be groped. And so it’s still sexual assault when that happens. And yet it’s looked at very differently and treated very differently. I don’t see security running down and putting a lot of those women out.

Craig Garber (02:29:16.753)
Yeah, yeah. Doesn’t wanna be groped, yeah.

Craig Garber (02:29:39.699)

Rene (02:29:41.296)
It happens in the industry side as well. I mean, I am absolutely certain that there are male interns that have been, you know, occult.

things like that, it happens. It happens. And it happens to men and it happens to women. I am not gonna sit here and claim to be an expert to be able to give you percentages, but what I can tell you as a survivor of abuse and everything else that can happen to a young woman in this world.

Nobody’s there is no winner. Your struggle is not better or greater or more tragic than my struggle. Nobody’s horror story is more or less horrific than anybody else’s. It’s not, we’re not trying to win any scale here. There’s no scale.

There’s no billboard top 10 of horrific abuse stories. And that’s the thing that I see happen. I see that happen on social media quite a bit. Well, yeah, that happened to you, but wait till you hear about what happened to me.

Craig Garber (02:31:00.434)
Yeah, I don’t. Social media is just not very social, is it?

Rene (02:31:06.859)
And yeah, everybody struggles. Everybody has something that they struggle with.

Craig Garber (02:31:08.578)
You know.

Rene (02:31:15.076)
and for abuse survivors.

We have to get, we have to support each other and just go, you know what that happened to you and that’s horrific. What, what do you, are you in the early stages of surviving it? How can I help you? What do you need?

focus on them and then as they start to heal and everything, okay, you know what, that happened to you and that is horrific. Can I share my story with you to maybe help you see a different perspective or get an idea of how you can lift up from this? That’s a helpful way to share that you went through it too, but without degrading what that person’s going through.

Craig Garber (02:31:59.862)
Yeah, it really is actually.

Rene (02:32:01.544)
You know, and by sharing these things, we shine a light on them. We learn that we’re not alone. We help each other. It’s when it becomes a game of one-upsmanship that I tend to like check out of those conversations and I see it happen. I see it happen in the industry too. So, yeah.

Craig Garber (02:32:28.398)
All right, let’s, I want to talk about those 16 guitars behind you. Are you still playing guitar nowadays?

Rene (02:32:33.697)
Ah, my babies. Um, I play well enough to know I should not get paid to play guitar.

Craig Garber (02:32:42.15)
Don’t say that. But you know what? Do you know how many artists I’ve had on my show that have said the same thing? They’re like, I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this. I mean, it’s like a kind of a running joke almost. What is your go to guitar right now? And what others? What other two would round out your top three?

Rene (02:32:44.156)
No, that’s the truth. That’s the absolute truth.

Rene (02:32:53.678)


Rene (02:33:06.008)
I pulled down a few of them to show you. My number one go-to is always this guitar that I named Grandpa. This was my grandpa’s. This was my grandpa’s guitar. It’s from the 50s. It’s an Epiphone. And it is beautiful and wonderful. And this guitar has been in my care since I was six years old.

Craig Garber (02:33:08.526)

Craig Garber (02:33:15.132)
Oh, that’s so cute. That was your grandfather’s guitar.

Craig Garber (02:33:29.11)
Must sound amazing.

Craig Garber (02:33:35.342)
That’s amazing. And that guitar is 70 years old at this point or close to that. Yeah. Wow. It’s beautiful.

Rene (02:33:35.92)
And yeah, so.

She is. She’s a good girl. She’s been through a lot. She and I have been through a lot together. Yeah. So that’s my… this is always my go-to. Always. And it’s named Grandpa. My top three right now… my top three changes every day. Now that… the first guitar I ever bought with my own money was this Joe Perry Gibson.

from 1997, first one I ever bought with my own money. She and I have been through a hell of a lot together. And she’s my ride or die. But, and not because, huh? If there’s a fire, that’s the one. I grab grandpa and I grab her. And her name is Roxy.

Craig Garber (02:34:08.99)
Oh yeah.

Craig Garber (02:34:21.314)
That’s the one you grab if the fire, if there’s, that’s the electric you grab if there’s a fire, yeah.

And the great Joe Perry.

Craig Garber (02:34:35.239)
That must weigh a ton if it’s a 97 less Paul. Yeah.

Rene (02:34:38.812)
She does way done. She’s, she’s yeah. If I never need to carry weights on the treadmill or whatever, I’ll just like grab Roxy, carry those weights. Yeah. Um, but to round out my top three right now, I have a newer, a newer one to me. It’s a used one. It is an Eddie ball, um, axis sport. And I call her Natasha.

Craig Garber (02:34:48.309)

Craig Garber (02:35:06.656)
Oh, that’s a music man, yeah.

Rene (02:35:08.508)
Yeah, it’s a music man. She’s brilliant. She’s great. And then currently right now that is my little feisty child that I can’t seem to get an understanding with is the new Joe Perry from Les Paul, the Gold Rush.

Craig Garber (02:35:29.518)
Oh, that’s, you know what? That looks like a, that’s very similar to Dave Amato’s guitar with a, except Dave has a like a, yeah, I don’t know if you know Dave, but that’s wild. That’s a single, it’s a single humbucker.

Rene (02:35:35.816)

Rene (02:35:43.456)
Mm-hmm. Very simple. Go talk, yeah.

Craig Garber (02:35:45.41)
Gold Les Paul, gold top. Yeah. So why are you not getting along with that guitar? It’s just hard to play, it’s resisting.

Rene (02:35:52.356)
She’s, it’s, I think that they all have some personalities and I think my personality kind of goes with them. But she, I don’t know, she just is temperamental to me. I make adjustments to the strings. She doesn’t want to stay in tune. It’s nothing wrong with the guitar itself. I think, have you ever, have you ever, well, you’re a dad.

So have you ever had like a period of time where one of your kids was just like fussy when they were a baby for a little while? Yeah, they were just fussy. You could do everything that you knew to do as a parent and do it perfectly, but just for some reason, the baby was just fussy and needed to work through it. And I think she and I are just having one of those phases where we’re just learning who each other is.

Craig Garber (02:36:28.807)
Oh god, yeah.

Craig Garber (02:36:46.67)
here at that stage.

Rene (02:36:50.836)
And it takes time to do that. I got this one used maybe about a year and a half ago or so. And so it takes time. And you know, I’ve got 16 of them.

Craig Garber (02:37:03.446)
What do you play mostly? What kind of music do you mostly play when you like to? Do you still play country?

Rene (02:37:08.501)
I just I do still play some country. Mostly I just kind of pick around and just try some things out and just try to you know here’s the thing I really love the hum of the amp in the headphones even when I’m not playing. I have been known to just take a nap just turn the amp on with the headphones on.

Craig Garber (02:37:27.551)

Craig Garber (02:37:32.718)
to leave the amp on. Wow. What amp you have? What kind of amp you playing out of?

Rene (02:37:34.968)
and just take a nap. And so, right now I’m playing as a line six spider over here in the corner. And I use headphones because I respect my downstairs neighbors. I don’t always, if I know that they’re not home, I will unplug the headphones and crank it up a little bit. But mostly I use the headphones with it just because it’s like, okay, we all gotta live together.

Craig Garber (02:37:42.228)

Craig Garber (02:37:48.641)

Craig Garber (02:38:04.17)
That’s thoughtful of you.

Rene (02:38:04.588)
And you know, so, but I really like that sound. And so even just sometimes I’ll try to pick out something I love. I can play the slowest version of Walk This Way you’ve ever heard.

Craig Garber (02:38:21.303)
See, that’s another, just like that song, everything that he’s come up with has been pretty innovative.

Rene (02:38:22.588)
It’s a gift.

Rene (02:38:27.012)
I can’t play it faster. I can’t play it at any speed with which anyone could sing it properly. But I can recognize it when I play it.

Craig Garber (02:38:40.063)
Give me your, Rene, give me your top three Desert Island discs, just no particular order and just for right now, because obviously that changes all the time.

Rene (02:38:50.312)
Alright, once again, Joe Perry’s solo album, Let the Music Do the Talkin’, the first one.

Um, I’m going to say, um.

Rene (02:39:05.713)
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.

Rene (02:39:12.004)
the soundtrack to Wonder Woman, the Wonder Woman movie. Some great music in there. Great music. You’ve got to have you’ve got to have some if you’re on a desert island, you’ve got to have some music that’s going to fire you up to fight. To survive, so some really good school will do that to you. And then a friend of mine named Stephen Gooding, any CD from Stephen Gooding.

Craig Garber (02:39:17.515)
I haven’t seen that movie.

Craig Garber (02:39:29.391)
You thought this through.

Rene (02:39:41.616)
His collection is any CD by Gooding, any of those. I’ll grab any of them and take it with me. Just because his perspective on the world and his perspective on humanity in his songwriting is so beautiful. And it’s just a reflection of all the good human that we can be. I really like his writing.

Craig Garber (02:40:08.098)
What kind of music does he play?

Rene (02:40:11.004)
Uh, it’s kind of a country rock thing. I mean, it’s rock music, but it’s, there’s so many different places that he goes on his journey as an artist that it just kind of like, it’s in, you know, the, oh, the best way to describe it is indie rock, but that sells it so short. If that makes sense. Yeah.

Craig Garber (02:40:31.842)
Gotcha. Yeah.

All right, tell me, let’s see here. Most important lessons you’ve learned from getting older.

Rene (02:40:42.42)

Craig Garber (02:40:44.267)

Rene (02:40:48.442)
Oh my gosh, I’m getting older. Okay. Um,

TMI for all the men, but ladies, paramenopause is a perilous journey wrought with, with twists and turns and underwater currents, which will grab your leg and throw you against the rocks. And you’re, and you’re not alone in it, and you’ll never be alone in it. The struggle is real for all of us. Hang in there.

Craig Garber (02:41:11.694)
I feel for women having to go through that, let me tell you.

Rene (02:41:25.137)
That’s number one. And men just have more patience with us at that phase.

Craig Garber (02:41:26.97)
That’s hilarious. Yeah I feel for women that is not an easy thing to go through.

Craig Garber (02:41:38.71)
Yeah, it’s a tough one. Maybe a tough question. What do you like most about yourself?

Rene (02:41:49.676)
I like that even after 40 years in the industry, a lot of people are just like, okay, I’m done, peace out. I still want to fight. I hear about a songwriter who is like, they won’t let me out of my deal. Oh my God, their commission is 40% or I don’t understand the MLC. There’s a band right now.

Oh, I wanted to mention this because maybe they’ll watch your show, but there’s a band called downstate and they have, they write amazing, beautiful works, amazing songs out there. And I love this band and their song kingdom is one of the greatest songs in the world. One of the best rock songs ever done. It’s beautiful. And I went and I was like, I want to see who their publisher is. I want to, you know, blah, blah.

and I go and they don’t have an MLC account.

and nobody’s collecting their YouTube royalties. And so I reached out to them and I was like, hey guys, I’m a fan. Your music’s great. I just wanna say, like, this is not a sales pitch, but there’s money on the table that’s out there. Here’s like the gist of it. And if you want some help, please let me know because I would love to even just consult for you and give you some advice and set you on the right path.

Craig Garber (02:42:50.584)
So they.

Craig Garber (02:42:54.132)
Oh my god.

Rene (02:43:19.632)
I would love to even just do that for free for you. Never heard anything back from them. I don’t know what’s going on. I, and, and so I would like, I love that I want to fight for this band that I have no connection to whatsoever. They’re just out there in the wild making great music. And I just want to fight for them. And that’s the thing I love about myself is I want to fight for writers. I want to fight for artists. And, and I still want to do that. And downstate.

Craig Garber (02:43:29.078)

Rene (02:43:49.508)
If you’re watching, please, please get your MLC account set up. Get your MLC account set up.

Craig Garber (02:43:53.506)
Well, if I get one of those guys on my, if I get them on my show, I’ll make sure they hook up with you. If some, at some point in time, yeah.

Rene (02:43:59.988)
Please, just make sure they get their MLC account. I don’t even have to be hooked up.

Craig Garber (02:44:04.69)
No, I’m just going to tell them to call you. Not going to do that because you could serve them much better than I can by telling them that. Where are they out of?

Rene (02:44:10.273)
They’re amazing. They’re making great music full of passion and life. I think they’re out of Indiana. Yeah. They’re P.R.O. Stitch. They have under control. It’s everything else they need. They need to get moving. There we go.

Craig Garber (02:44:26.858)
Rene, tell me the happiest time in your life or the happiest moment in your life.

Rene (02:44:34.741)
happiest moment in my life. Um

was this weekend on the couch over there in this room showing my beautiful chosen family niece who’s two years old, letting her pick out any guitar she wanted on the wall and letting her just sit and play with it.

Craig Garber (02:45:01.302)
Really, that was a happy time. So it was just a special, like a special connection or a special moment, just pressures.

Rene (02:45:03.164)
That was the happiest moment of my life. And I have a violin. I have a violin that was signed by Les Paul. How obtuse is it? Yeah. Um, and, uh, I got it out. She wanted to see it. It’s, it’s in a case like guitars. And so she thought it was a little guitar and I was like, no, no. Very expensive, very special, but I sat her on my lap and I played it with her.

Craig Garber (02:45:12.983)
That’s a first. Yeah.

Craig Garber (02:45:24.482)

Rene (02:45:32.604)
I’m actually gonna get choked up about this. I wish, I wish, I wish with all of my heart that my grandfather could have been in a position to do more with me.

Craig Garber (02:45:35.51)
That’s all right.

Rene (02:45:54.664)
And being able to do that for her, for this beautiful, beautiful little girl who is chosen family. It’s not like she was routed to me by blood, you know? To give her this opportunity to be exposed to this music at two years old, to be able to play guitar, to be able to do those things. It reminded me of being…

two or three years old sitting with my grandpa and him doing the same thing for me. And I have that picture of that happening somewhere in my social media, I posted it. But the realization that I was passing that on to someone was extraordinary. Yeah, sorry, I think like emotional on it. Yeah.

Craig Garber (02:46:29.41)
That’s so nice.

Craig Garber (02:46:49.342)
No, thank you for sharing that. That was really sweet. Are you kidding me? That was really nice. I’m glad you got, I’m really glad you got to, got to experience that.

Rene (02:46:52.36)
that that’s the best moment.

Yeah. Otherwise it was going to be some another Joe Perry story, dude.

Craig Garber (02:47:01.143)

Craig Garber (02:47:06.306)
Two more questions, most important lesson life has taught you.

Rene (02:47:07.938)

Rene (02:47:11.41)
Um, always bet on yourself.

Craig Garber (02:47:14.19)
You know what? You’re the third person who gave me that answer.

Rene (02:47:18.532)
Always bet on yourself. And you know who I learned that from? I learned that from The Undertaker. The Undertaker said that to me. Yeah, he said that to me. He was like, always bet on yourself.

Craig Garber (02:47:25.078)
Oh, from WWE. That’s, that’s great. Oh my God. You can’t believe it. You’re literally the third person that said that. Wow. Yeah, that’s really, and the first two guys have said it. The first guy that said it was Keith Nelson, the founder of Buck Jerry and great songwriter and producer. He referred me to Oliver Lieber, who was, you know, Lieber installed

Rene (02:47:36.967)

Rene (02:47:47.002)

Rene (02:47:52.808)

Craig Garber (02:47:53.642)
And Oliver said the same answer. How odd is it that those two guys were connected? And I was like, holy shit, that’s weird. Yeah, that was really, really random. And last question, and I just wanna tell you, I can’t thank you enough for your time. I literally just let people know, I had a cut back like half, I mean, you have such good information. And you know, we didn’t even, I didn’t, listen, I wanna just say something too. I wanna just acknowledge you to put a company together with 50 people and to do that.

Rene (02:47:59.413)
That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Yeah.

Rene (02:48:12.348)
It’s just so good.

Craig Garber (02:48:22.91)
is so you know, so freaking awesome. And I have so much respect for you because I know how hard that is. And I and that just doesn’t happen overnight. And I and for you to be kind enough and share this much of your time and I know how freaking busy you are. I really appreciate it. So thank you very much. It’s really been you know, kind of you

Rene (02:48:29.78)
Thank you.

Rene (02:48:43.416)
It’s worth, it’s been worth every minute of it. And I do want to take just a moment before you ask your last question to give a shout out to my business partner, Aaron Davis, who, uh, we put up with each other. He’s like a baby brother to me. Um, and, and none of it would have been possible without him. Uh, at my side, we couldn’t have done it individually. We did it together. Yeah.

Craig Garber (02:48:48.8)

Craig Garber (02:49:04.339)

Craig Garber (02:49:08.918)
That’s great.

All right, biggest change in your personality over the last 10 years. And has this change been intent? Was this intentional change or a natural part of aging?

Rene (02:49:22.088)
Ooh, biggest change in my personality. I think the biggest change in my personality is that I consider myself to be in my, in my no fucks era, my zero fucks era. I don’t give a fuck. I find that there isn’t any topic I won’t talk about. There isn’t any truth I won’t say. I may say that truth.

Craig Garber (02:49:35.186)
Right on. That’s awesome.

Rene (02:49:51.632)
with a lot of grace and respect to people who’ve come before me or people who are powerful in this industry.

Rene (02:50:02.944)
I will speak truth to power. And it doesn’t matter who that power is. And we have to be able to do that. And yeah. And so I’m in my Zero Fx era. I don’t care. You’re not going to knock me down. My reputation stands on its own. And if I speak truth from my experience and my observations and my learning.

Craig Garber (02:50:09.23)

Craig Garber (02:50:22.083)

Rene (02:50:32.356)
um it’s good enough for anyone so yeah

Craig Garber (02:50:37.55)
Thanks. That was a great answer. Let me tell people where to find you and then I want you to talk about Jane Eastphunk because I know you’re involved in that. All right, so Rene Merideth, and I’m realizing here, I spelled your last name wrong, it’s M-E-R-I. Sorry about that. All right, you did, I was very impressed. And once I realized, I was like, oh wow. Okay, third edition of How the Music Business Works is now out when this comes out. Download it at.

Rene (02:50:43.557)
Okay, cool.

Rene (02:50:50.268)
It’s okay. I’ll let it slide.

I’m out.

Rene (02:51:02.462)

Craig Garber (02:51:03.378) forward slash learn. And I would honestly, if this is something you want to learn more about, and if you want to eventually get involved with exploration as a company to work for you and represent you, I would go through all of the learning aids on that page because you’ll be serving yourself and

Rene (02:51:24.539)

Craig Garber (02:51:25.37)
and anybody that you meet with that exploration because you’ll have a lot more knowledge and familiarity with what you’re looking to get done. I mean, there’s tons of great stuff on that. I even told John about that yesterday. And you can get that book, How the Music Business Works, the third edition. It’s a free download. If you want to have the physical copy, you just got to pay shipping and handling and they’ll mail you the physical copy. And

Rene (02:51:35.476)

Rene (02:51:48.564)
Fair warning on that shipping and handling, it is a 700 page book. So, yeah. It’s thick.

Craig Garber (02:51:52.858)
Oh, wow. Wow. No, I’m just saying to be, you know, fair warning on, you know, opening the book and starting to read it. Yeah, shipping and handling. Wow. I would you know, it’s funny when you said to me, the book is called How the music business works. I said to myself, God, do you have enough time to write that? And apparently you did. Because I like, yeah.

Rene (02:51:58.228)
Be prepared. You’re shipping and handling, yeah.

Rene (02:52:14.546)
It’s a team effort. It was a team effort. My name is on it as part of a team at exploration that wrote it. So yeah.

Craig Garber (02:52:23.53)
Tell me about Janie’s funding, your involvement in it, and why you like it.

Rene (02:52:28.832)
Speaking of getting emotional, I promise you I’m going to get emotional again here. So Janey’s Fund is an organization that helps abuse and neglected girls. I myself went through a lot of abuse and neglect as a child. And it changed my course. But I never felt safe.

Craig Garber (02:52:31.502)
That’s great.

Rene (02:52:57.532)
I never felt safe. And I had to learn how to feel safe. I had to teach myself how to fill out job applications. I had to teach myself how to fill out college applications. I had to, as I might put it, escape to Nashville to go to school. I had to figure out what therapy was. I had to do all of those things. All the things that you do as a young adult with the support of parents and things, I had to do on my own.

I had to do it. Janie’s Fund’s big program for helping abused and neglected girls is called LifeSet. And for foster kids who age out of the foster system at the age of 18 in most of the United States, they age out and they’re like, OK, here’s your bag of stuff. Bye. See you later. They, um.

They don’t have, they have to find a place to live. They have to find jobs. They have to figure out how to apply to college. What do they need to do? And that shouldn’t be that way. We shouldn’t have these kids who we have put into foster care for decades sometimes.

suddenly be out and out thrown to the wolves in the wild. And so LifeSet provides counseling, it provides mentoring, it provides just some one-on-one instruction sometimes to help these young women age out of foster care with some knowledge and some skills of how to navigate this world and help them fill out job applications, help them.

help them to figure out how to rent an apartment, help them how to continue their therapy, all of those things that these young women need. And I have bed in their shoes and I will forever fight for them because they need our continued support. And you can find them at and that’s where they are.

Craig Garber (02:55:12.066)
Rene, thank you for everything. You’re a doll and I really appreciate you sharing this, what you just said. And I know you’ve done a lot of work and you couldn’t get where you are today by not doing any work. So kudos to you for all that, all right? Hang on one second. And again, for everybody, check out exploration, I’m sorry, forward slash learn to download all those resources. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this.

Rene (02:55:16.564)
Thank you.

Rene (02:55:26.836)
Thank you. Thank you.

Craig Garber (02:55:40.642)
Please share it on your social media channels. We appreciate your support. Thanks very, very much to Rene Merideth. Honestly, I’d like to bring you back maybe on a part two sometime in the future because you have like so much in your head that we could shake out. I mean, probably be hours and hours, but thank you very much for spending time with us and being so kind with it. And most important, remember that happiness is a choice, so choose wisely. Be nice, go play your guitar, and have fun. Till next time, peace and love.

Rene (02:55:50.048)

Rene (02:55:54.9)
Thank you.

Craig Garber (02:56:09.202)
I am out. Rene, thank you for everything.

Rene (02:56:11.412)
Bye everybody.

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