If someone introduced themselves by saying they’d worked with historic music artists such as Neil Young, Robert Plant, the Allman Brothers—you probably think one of two things: Either this person’s “completely full of it” or “whoa.”
And in welcoming the relatively anonymous Tom Lipsky to the latest episode of The Load Out Music Podcast, we’ll take that “whoa” and then some, as I didn’t even mention his associations with Rush, Iron Maiden, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nancy Wilson of Heart, Motorhead, Lenny Kravitz, Judas Priest, Styx, Widespread Panic, Kiss, Rob Zombie, The Steve Miller Band and many more.
Often referred to as “the King of Classic Rock,” Lipsky is a longtime record industry fixture who previously led CMC International Records, Sanctuary Records, Loud & Proud Records and now heads Carry On Music. His work today principally focuses on creating business opportunities for iconic, legacy artists such as working on selling the rights to catalogues with investment funds—deals like we’ve seen from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan in recent years.
More than anything, as Lipsky noted throughout our conversation, he simply wants artists to ensure that the artists he works with receive the respect they deserve.
“Everyone wants to be respected, I don’t care what industry you’re in,” Lipsky said during our interview. “And it’s no different in music. The rock stars that are out there—it doesn’t matter how high they’ve been, how far they’ve fallen. They want to be respected for what they accomplished.”
He started in music during what he called “the 8-track era,” working in live entertainment and running a music theater in Baltimore, Maryland. He met everyone in the business and moved into managing artists, ultimately joining CMC in North Carolina. He transformed CMC into an industry force and has continued successfully trudging through the industry until today.
“I like the way the business has evolved in most cases,” Lipsky told me. “I love the fact that independent creators, independent companies, labels, publishers, producers have been able to have an impact—standing toe to toe with the much bigger labels.”
He finally “accidentally” fell into the veteran artists community, working with established music acts looking to maintain relevance in an evolving landscape.
“I found myself finding an incredible opportunity with the veteran artists,” he said. One thing that stuck with him was how Crosby, Stills Nash and Young had been released by Atlantic Records. The band merely received a form letter in the mail.
“You think of that group,” noted Lipsky. “They were one of the building blocks of that label….and they didn’t even get a phone call. They didn’t have an executive fly out. That’s a terrible way of doing business.”
Convinced there was a niche with veteran artists, he convinced a handful to join his movement—one of the first of which was Lynyrd Skynyrd—and it mushroomed “very quickly.” But more than anything, Lipsky simply wanted artists to get the respect they deserve. It’s at the forefront of what he does every day for the artists he has and continues to work with—and the list is long and impressive.
Sit back and enjoy a terrific episode of The Load Out with the King of Classic Rock—Tom Lipsky.