A&R stands for “Artists and Repertoire”
A&R is the 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 with the artist from start to finish. They take an artist from undiscovered to fully supported by the label after signing them. The A&R also is involved with the music creation process all the way from song conception to final release marketing and promotion.
A&R scouts focus on listening to demos and looking for new talent. They use different scouting methods like - Attending events, listening to demos, and word of mouth referrals. If an artist catches their attention they can pass them to the A&R manager or be responsible for signing them theirself.
A&R Managers negotiate the artists record deal and get the department to be interested in the artist.
The Head of A&R sets policies and takes part in supervision of signed artists’ projects.
They make sure the record has been distributed to DSPs around the world; Spotify, Apple Music but also Gaana and Jioaavn (India), KuGou and QQ (China), etc.
*sometimes the part of the international sales is centralized for all labels under one group* For example, Sony's Global Digital Business & US Sales record division deals with international sales for all Sony Labels (RCA, Arista, Columbia, etc.)
“It is important to be confident in your instincts and beliefs, but it is equally important to remain humble and eager to learn.”
An A&R is responsible for identifying , signing and developing artists. The development process includes making records with the artist – potentially pairing them with collaborators, clearing samples and side-artists, managing budgets and logistics, acting as a sounding board and supporting creatively and emotionally. Once the album is delivered , the a&r’s job is technically done on paper, but a good a&r is one who can then galvanize the building once the album is done - ushering the project through the label system and translating the vision of the album to the rest of the company so that everyone is marching to the same drum. You need to break the artist in the building before you break them out in the world.
A&R Director @ Sire Records
Who they work with and what they do
A music supervisor reaches out to the label with interest in a song. They provide 3 elements for a possible contract and give a scene description and information on the use of the song.
With those elements in mind, the Sync Department defines the licensing fees for the use of that song. The amount usually depends mostly on the artist, scene description and length, and part of the song used.
The label asks for the artist's approval; both on the budget and the use of the song (which project it will be featured on).
Important to know: For a song to be used, it needs the approval of both the master recording (label) and the publisher. This means all songwriters have to approve the use of the song too! And if an artist is also a songwriter they need to approve it twice, once through the label and once through the publisher.
Finding potential artists with different methods.
Once negotiated, the deal has to be sent to the publishers for approval.
This step is necessary legally to ensure that the Most Favored Nation (MFN) clause is respected.
If a music supervisor confirms the use of a song then the license is created.
On their side, they will have to pay a fee for the use of the composition (copyright to the publisher) and a fee for the master (to the label).
“For NY and LA, there is always a member of our team at shows to organize business encounters, escort our partners backstage. It’s kind of a concierge service”
- Tour and Special Events @Interscope
"When there is no covid I travel a lot so I am divided between being with the artist on tours and promotion - with visits to my offices for strategy and planning meetings around the world and in London with my team on a day-to-day basis when we are not traveling. My boss travels much more than I do so we are used to working remotely and maintaining constant communication."
Is a degree required?
Marketing, Business, Communications, and Business management degrees are recommended.
Many people start in a different role before moving into A&R if they do not start at a label internship. Many experts in the industry say that to get skills you need to get involved in the community. Anyone can be a talent scout without a label, so the easiest way to would be to start working at a local venues or radio station and keep an eye out for unsigned artists who are performing.
Most A&R managers start out as college marketing representatives, A&R coordinators, or interns at record labels. From there, they are typically 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 college-aged demographic. Through this process, they gain early marketing experience and a valuable introduction to the music industry.
Also, a few more tips are:
Artist and Repertoire.
A demo (short for "demonstration") is a recording of a new song performed by a singer, distributed to disc jockeys, recording companies, etc., to demonstrate the merits of the song or performer.
Finding potential artists with different methods.
Record Deal (or Recording Contract)
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.
Written by Ixe & Ian.
Designed by Lou.
Published June 17th 2021
Copyright © 2021 Gen Admission.