Randi Reed is a music business consultant who specializes in live music industry troubleshooting. But that’s only half the story. “Trouble shooing would be a better description. My job is to find the problem, resolve it, and teach clients how to avoid more problems in the future. I want musicians to win.”
Randi Reed also has a flair for making lemonade out of lemons. Case in point:in early 1997, in the midst of a Platinum level career in booking, artist management, and concert promotion, she was sidelined by the autoimmune disease CFIDS. Battling vertigo, dizziness, and cognitive issues, but still undaunted, Reed started an online resource for unsigned and independent musicians--while confined to bed. "I'm really stubborn," says Reed. "I just refused to allow the disease to keep telling me no." A few name and format changes later as she recovered, that online resource evolved into MusicBizAdvice.com, an online magazine in web publication since 2003.
Born in the Midwest and transplanted to California's Coachella Valley in her early teens, Randi Reed began her music career at 16 as a singer and songwriter in a local band. “My singing career was short-lived, but it shaped the way I work with musicians to this day,” says Reed. “I was passionate about music, but I had constant throat problems and didn’t love singing enough to be miserable. By then I was co-managing our band and enjoyed the behind-the-scenes aspects, so I decided to go into management. My parents probably thought I’d be a novelist, or maybe write for Rolling Stone." (Reed is a former college journalism award winner.)
Advised early on by a prominent talent manager to learn as much about as many different facets of the music industry as possible, Reed set about learning the business “from all sides of the contract—everything from working at a music store, to working for a symphony during the day while working with local metal bands at night, to writing another artist’s fan club materials.” Meanwhile, she immersed herself in the local music scenes in Southern California and Arizona.
Her national-level break came in the form of an internship with illustrious concert promoter Danny Zelisko. It would prove pivotal in every sense of the word: half a decade and a move to Los Angeles later, in an odd twist of fate Reed would work for a Pollstar Concert Industry Award winning talent agency--for an agent responsible for the booking territory covering Zelisko’s venues. “Both sides of the contract, totally unplanned," says Reed, who had originally applied for another position within the agency. “I couldn’t have asked for better experience in major concerts.” Meanwhile, she continued to work on a variety of music industry projects, including a stint assisting a Billboard Top 10 pop metal artist she declines to name. “That it was brief was a blessing,” says Reed. “Had the Internet and social media culture existed as we know it today, I would have known they'd been through six management companies in three years, and who knows how many agents. No one was talking because of confidentiality agreements, so I only had half the story going in. Let's just say it was a great learning experience!"
Fast forward to 2014, and management performance audits and music industry background checks are some of the services Reed offers in her role as a music business consultant. But whether checking out that new manager a band is thinking of hiring, or helping indie musicians sort out issues that can arise from trying to road manage themselves on tour, or showing artists ways of improving their live performances, or even advising a non-profit about planning a benefit concert, one constant remains: for Randi Reed, it’s all about live music.
But does she miss singing? "Absolutely not! But I'm grateful it taught me what it takes to go onstage, and what it feels like when the show's going really well, or how part of you just wants to die when your voice gives out in front of a crowd. That's why I'm so passionate about helping musicians succeed."
"When I was a little kid, I didn't play house like the other little kids. We played 'On Tour'. How weird is that? My tour routing skills are much better now."
"As an indie artist, you have to be even more business-minded, because it's all you. Your choices are, either get comfortable with it, or hire someone who is." -Randi Reed