17
Nov
08

What Do A&R Reps Do?

Hmm…  You know, I’ve read and heard a lot from A&Rs at major labels.  Usually what an artist trying to break into the business tends to hear from them is “I don’t have time to listen to every submission that is sent to me.  That’s not what I’m here for. ”  Or something to that effect.

Okay, so since these fine, upstanding ladies and gentlemen seem to be a little confused as to their actual job functions, I actually went out and did a little research on what exactly it is that an A&R rep should do.  What is their actual job function?  What keeps these busy bees buzzing all the way to the bank?

Okay, well, according to Christopher Knab’s website, here are the responsibilities of an A&R rep:

An A&R Reps Primary Job:

Seek talent by:

  • Auditioning demo tapes (solicited, as well as unsolicited, depending on record label policy.) If interested, ask to see artist perform live.
  • Attending live shows at clubs, showcases, concerts, and other venues. Also visiting artist/band website and social neteworking sites like MySpace and Faceboook.
  • Following leads from any ‘buzz’ created by artists.
  • Checking industry insiders (managers, agents, attorneys, concert promoters, label promo reps, retail contacts, trade and consumer press tips, regional ‘scenes’, or other sources.)
  • Watching for talent on other labels, who’s contracts are expiring.

Other Responsibilities:

  • Evaluate talent and match with potential audience tastes.
  • Sign talent to label with executives approval.
  • Search for new songs for existing talent on the label.
  • Coordinate label relationships for an artist, once they are signed to the label.
  • Provide creative input and direction on artist’s material.
  • Find suitable producers and recording studios.
  • Plan the recording budget with the business affairs department.

And this is what Wikipedia has to say about A&R reps and their responsibilities:

The A&R division is responsible for discovering new recording artists and bringing them to the record company. A&R is expected to understand the current tastes of the market and to be able find artists that will be commercially successful. An A&R executive is often authorized to offer a record contract and participate in contractual negotiations.

A&R executives rely mostly on the word of mouth of trusted associates, critics and business contacts. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the responsibility of the A&R department to sort through demo tapes sent by musicians. A&R departments at major labels in the United States rarely make decisions based on a single recording. However, major labels outside the United States and various independent labels may accept unsolicited demos.

So, it seems that talent scouting isn’t a distraction like these A&R reps would have most up and coming artists believe.  It would seem to be their main job function. Now, I know that A&Rs must have to listen to a ton of music on a daily basis.  Some good, and some probably pretty bad.  But the truth of the matter is that it’s their job to do this.  And nobody should be “too busy” to do their jobs, right?

I wonder how there poor ladies and gentlemen got so confused about their job functions?  For the sake of all up and comping artists out there who are trying to get their music heard, I hope the information in this post helps those poor, overworked A&R reps to figure out their job responsibilities…

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1 Response to “What Do A&R Reps Do?”


  1. 1 coffeemag
    November 17, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I KNOW ICE. THEY ARE SO POOR AND OVERWORKED. MAYBE THEY SHOULD JUST STAY HOME FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE AND..WELL..OH GOD!…LET THE ARTIST HAVE ALL CREATIVE INPUT IN THEIR MUSIC! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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