In this edition of my blog series feature Behind the Art, meet Heart’s manager, Carol Peters. I’ve adored Heart ever since I first heard “Crazy on You” as a kid in 1976, so interviewing this dynamo was extra-special for me. Carol’s career spans the music industry gamut, from working at top record labels, such as Elektra, Capitol, Warner Bros., Pasha/Epic, and more, to handling marketing and promotion for a multitude of major artists, including Heart, Bee Gees, John Mellencamp, Deana Carter, Quiet Riot, and Vikki Carr, to name a few. She’s sharp and well-versed on the business of music.
Behind the Art: Carol Peters
Peters Management Syndicate Inc.
What prompted you to pursue the business side of music? How did you happen into it?
I had been employed at Ampex when it all started.
I entered the music industry at its very mid-1960s change from corporate music (Frank Sinatra) to independent rock (Creedence Clearwater, Deep Purple, et al). I had been involved at Ampex, where computer tapes created for initial space and other industries were reserved for recording. The company knew how to reprocess the tapes but needed product. I signed Motown, Atlantic/Atco, Warner Bros/Reprise, MCA, etc., and developed a product line of dozens of labels and hundreds of amazing artists, all of whom earned lots of money from sales of their music on tape in multiple formats.
How did you get into artist management?
Initial gigs after Ampex were in artist marketing and promotion, working for several different labels. I moved into artist management in the 1990s.
Who all is on your roster?
Right now, it’s Heart—Ann and Nancy Wilson, whom I’ve been with for 17 years.
Who’s the first artist that got you started? What’s the story behind that?
Lots of answers…
First big artist: Deep Purple.
First artist launched from scratch: Deep Purple.
First artist in management: Bee Gees.
I was working was the same in every instance: Marketing and Promotion.
As a woman in a male-dominant business, what gender-based obstacles have you encountered and how did you overcome them?
100% involvement in business.
Was there a particular moment when you felt you’d “made it” as a music industry professional?
Fortunately, it was always exciting on every level I got.
Whether for business or just for pleasure, what makes you want to research an artist who’s unfamiliar to you?
However, the industry is changing massively, so what kind of music and how much investment in online and constant touring the artist is providing, is essential.
Where do you live and why?
Los Angeles—Great music industry town.
What is your morning routine?
I start early and finish late.
What constitutes a productive day at work for you?
Making things happen that are new and exciting.
Is there anything unusual about your workspace? What do you keep on your desk? What’s the view from there?
Not important. I work wherever I am. It’s all about the computer.
Do you have a peculiar habit?
Please recommend three songs (any genre, any artist) and tell us why you like them.
Too many to list. Everything Heart, Beatles, Band, Dylan, Elton, Van Morrison, on and on.
As I’m also an author, I’d love for you to recommend three books and tell us why you like them.
All You Need to Know About the Music Business—Donald Passman
Do you have an industry friend who helps and inspires you?
Lots and lots, but for the past 20+ years some really hard workers and achievers at CAA (Creative Artists Agency).
Do you play a musical instrument? If so, which one(s), and for how long have you played?
Piano. A lifetime.
Do you have any superstitions?
What is something about yourself that is essentially unknown and maybe even surprising?
Working harder all the time.
What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
Play, play, play. Build an audience. Do not expect others to deliver.
What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into the business side of music?
Get a good college education in marketing or other industry work. Apply to everyone. Take whatever you can find that gets you taken in.
All You Need to Know About the Music Business, Ampex, Ann & Nancy, Ann Wilson, Atlantic/Atco, Band, Beatles, Bee Gees, CAA, Capitol, Creative Artists Agency, Creedence Clearwater, Deana Carter, Deep Purple, Don Passman, Donald Passman, Dylan, Elektra, Elton, Frank Sinatra, Heart, John Mellencamp, MCA, Motown, Nancy Wilson, Pasha/Epic, Quiet Riot, Van Morrison, VIkki Carr, Warner Bros., Warner Bros/Reprise