In an industry where most executives are always chasing something new and sexy, Tom Lipsky has carved a successful niche working with veteran acts. Combining his appreciation for seasoned artists with an understanding of what fans want and loads of industry moxie, Lipsky launched Loud & Proud, which is releasing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “God & Guns” on Sept. 29 through a marketing/distribution deal with Roadrunner Records.
In the mid 90s, Lipsky launched North Carolina-based CMC International and built it into a successful home for veteran artists. “A lot of people do it from a catalog standpoint but my thing has always been doing new music by established artists. The industry is comfortable marketing to the younger demographic but when it gets time to market to the over 25 crowd, it is a different challenge. I just saw an opportunity there to start a business and it has been a nice one,” says Lipsky.
“I ran [CMC] independently then as a joint venture at the time with BMG Entertainment North America for four years. Then CMC was acquired by Sanctuary [in 2000] and I was the CEO of Sanctuary, the record label.”
He sees Roadrunner as a perfect partner for his current venture. “Roadrunner is definitely a very music and artist oriented company [like] CMC and Sanctuary,” he says. “The whole idea behind Loud & Proud—the same as with CMC—is to do things with artists that we feel cross generations and genres that people have underestimated in the industry and give them the chance to do what they do best.”
In marketing veteran acts, Lipsky says the key is “to go direct to the fans. Sometimes you don’t have as much access to mass media outlets or extensive radio play so you have to a lot more direct marketing and retail marketing so that when people are shopping it is real obvious that there is new product available.”
He says marketing around tour dates has always been a prime way to tout new product from veterans. “You can preach to the converted—20,000 fans who have loved an artist forever so they are a captive audience,” he says, adding that Twitter and MySpace, Facebook are valuable new tools. “Again you are preaching to the converted. Those outlets are great because it is not shotgun marketing. You are going directly to a specific group of people who you know love the artist.”
Lipsky has worked with Skynyrd for 15 years, having signed them to CMC and Sanctuary. “They do something that is universally accepted,” he says. “You can go here or another country or go to a fifteen-year-old or fifty-year-old, a man or a woman and they have appeal. In the case of Skynyrd, to me, it goes beyond that because they are a part of our culture. They stand for all the best things that American rock and roll has produced.”
Lipsky just signed a deal to represent KISS in Europe. Loud & Proud just released a Collective Soul album and has projects coming from Ratt and Tommy Lee’s Methods of Mayhem. “My goal is to work with four to six projects a year. It might be only two, but it will be whatever I feel is compelling,” Lipsky says. “This time around, I am not trying to build a company, which is what I have done before. This time around, I am trying to enjoy the projects. I am trying to bring artists that I feel have something significant to say into a great structure at Road Runner.”