Schwartzman attended Windward School in Los Angeles, California. Schwartzman formed his band Rooney in his junior year of school in 1999. He left the band temporarily when he attended Eugene Lang College in New York City in 2001. Schwartzman wrote songs in his dorm room and flew home every month to perform new material for Rooney in his first semester at college. Most of the songs on the first Rooney album were written while in college. It was during this time that he realized that he wanted to go back to Los Angeles and pursue a professional career in music with Rooney. Shortly after he left school, he was signed to Geffen/Interscope records in early 2002. Rooney recorded their debut self-titled album in June 2002. They also were selected by Schwartzman's friend, Johnny Ramone, for the Ramones tribute album entitled We're A Happy Family, which was released in early 2003. Rooney opened for Weezer during their headlining tour in the summer of 2002, it was their first national support slot. The next tour the band landed was with the band The Strokes. Rooney's album was finally released in May 2003 and has since sold approximately 500,000 copies. The band had a cameo appearance in an episode of The O.C., "The Third Wheel". Their song "Blueside" was featured on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 soundtrack and their song "I'm Shakin'" was featured on an episode of the daytime soap opera All My Children. On November 16, 2004 the band issued their first DVD, Spit & Sweat. The hour-long documentary features interviews with the band and live performances from Los Angeles. The DVD also includes the videos for "Blueside", "I'm Shakin'", and "If It Were Up to Me". Following their 2006 summer tour, the band began the recording sessions for their second album. Three songs from previous sessions ("Don't Come Around Again", "Paralyzed", and "Tell Me Soon"), were kept for their new album, Calling the World. On March 6, 2007, the single "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?" was released on their official MySpace Page. The single also was used in commercials for the TV show Beauty and the Geek. The album was released to stores July 17, 2007 and debuted at #42 on The Billboard Top 100 Albums chart.
Robert Shwartzman released his first solo album, Double Capricorn, on October 25, 2011. All profits from the sale of the album will be donated to the Tibetan Healing Fund to help build a new birthing center. He scored the 2013 film Palo Alto with Devonte Hynes of BloodOrange.
Rooney - Wild One EP (released November 27, 2009 only through private band distribution but later released on Amazon.com February 3, 2010 and was soon available at other online-only media outlets; iTunes, Zune)