UNDER THE LABEL

a&r

WHO

Artist & Repertoire

WHAT

Scouting new artists, Overseeing the recording process, Assisting the creative process.

Music Production
Close to Artist
Creative

THE BASICS

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JOBS

SCOUTS​

They focus on listening to demos and looking for new talent by using different methods like attending music events, scouting social media, or word of mouth. If an artist catches their attention, they will pass them on to the A&R managers.

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MANAGER

Their role is to negotiate the deal and get the department to be interested in the artist. Once the artist is signed, they are responsible for guiding the artists' career.

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HEAD OF A&R

The Head has various responsibilities like overseeing the A&R department in the label and managing the A&R staff. Furthermore, they set the policies and take part in the decision about new artists.

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN A&R

A&R Executive @Liberty Music PR / A&R Director @Sire Records

A&R stands for Artists and Repertoire.

 

It's a division of a record label that is in charge of the talent scouting and the artistic and commercial development of an artist. It also serves as a bridge between the artist and the record label.

This role is involved from start to finish. They start with talent discovery, signing them, checking the creation of the music process to marketing and promotion.

In big record labels, you will find three main levels in this department:

THE TASKS OF THE A&R DEPARTMENT

Whom they work with and what they do 

ARTISTS

Finding Talent:

- Discovering new and upcoming artists

- Go to events and concerts to listen to artists/bands

external

internal

MARKETING

Assisting with marketing and promotion:

- Building a basic promotional foundation

- Choosing songs for artists, if they don't write all of their own songs

PRODUCERS

Overseeing the recording process: 

- Being on the recording sessions

- Offer creative input

- Listening to demos

SKILLS

TIME SPENT

CHECKLIST

Is a degree required?

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Is a degree recommended?

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The recommended majors for A&Rs are marketing, business, communications, and business management. 

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HOW TO GET STARTED

The entry position for this job is a scout. Many people first start as interns in another industry position before moving into this one. Several experts in the industry say you need to get involved in the community to get skills. Even though you don't have labels nearby, start working in venues or at your local radio station. 

 

Most A&R managers began as college marketing representatives, A&R coordinators, or interns at a record label. 

From there, they are usually promoted to A&R representatives that focus on scouting talent for managers to sign. 

College marketing representatives are college students that work part-time to promote label artists among the young adult demographic. Through this process, they gain early marketing experience and a valuable introduction to the music industry.

 

A few more tips are:

 

  • Think about taking music courses, and getting to know the industry and the terms are important. 

  • Network - connect with people, attend events and use social media to your advantage.

  • Create your own opportunities - use your skills to build your own foundation. 

  • Work for it - it's a hard job with a lot of competition. Put your effort and mind into it, don't give up just because you got rejected once. Learn from that and improve.

GLOSSARY

Record Deal 

A recording contract is a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artist, where the artist makes a record for the label to sell and promote.

A&R 

'Artist & Repertoire'

The name comes from an age where the A&R's role was to connect singers/performers (the artist) to songs or songwriters (the repertoire) and find the perfect fit. This aspect of the job progressively disappeared with the emergence of more singer/songwriters such as Bob Dylan and the Beatles, who started to get involved in the writing process as well.

Demos

A demo (shortened from "demonstration") is a sample recording of an artist's music, distributed to disc jockeys, recording companies, etc., to demonstrate the merits of the song or performer.  

Scouting

Finding potential artists with different methods, for example going to live events, listening on SoundCloud, or through word of mouth.

Written by Ixe & Stef
Published June 17th 2021
Copyright © 2021 Coda Collectiv.