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What does a Record Label A&R do?
The record label A&R position is probably one of the most hectic jobs in the music business. A&R stands for Artists & Repertoire. The main function of a record label A&R is to help their artists creatively while helping the record company financially by signing hit acts and developing them. They are usually music industry professionals that are hired to oversee the entire recording process which includes finding the right songs for their artist, working with the right music producers, finding the right recording studio, etc. A major A&R must stay on top of current music industry trends in order to create acts that will do well for the record label that employs them. Even if a record company A&R really likes a band they still may not be able to sign them. Usually it is the head A&R that makes the final decisions.The reason being an A&R can be stressful is that with every act that you sign your job is on the line. Since there is a high rate of failure in the music industry, A&R people try to sign artists that are already somewhat established. If an A&R does not prove to the record label that they can generate hit acts they will be let go from the company.
How Does Your A&R Help You Work With Your Label?
Most A&R people were once producers, promoters or artists themselves. Basically they are hired to present a trustworthy face to artists and musicians. Usually record company A&R people are in their thirties because they are old enough to know what they are doing & young enough to know what the new trend is. When you get signed you better believe that it is just the beginning, there are still a lot of things that could go wrong. Someone at the record label may drop the ball or your record label A&R person may have to deal with flaky or unhappy music producers that aren’t really into the project and are too busy to put their heart into it. Your A&R must also fight for you to get the attention of the record labels publicity, sales and promotion departments. It definitely takes a lot of work on an A&R person’s part to get a recording artist from signing to being added to radio play lists and having a video on MTV. The recording process for a record label A&R is very intense because they must make sure that there are enough radio friendly songs on the release. If the A&R feels like there are not enough quality songs he/she will have the artist write and record more.
How can you contact a record label A&R?
There are a lot of record label A&R people that accept unsolicited material. The ones that accept unsolicited material may ask you to put a certain code on your package so that they know you have permission to submit. Whenever I find time I usually sort through everything because you never know what you are going to hear. Most A&R reps know exactly what they are looking for in an artist & if they find it in you, they will more than likely sign you without any hesitation. If you get your act together & promote yourself aggressively, there is a chance that a record label A&R will come to you. Green day is one band that didn’t really have to look for a record deal. All they did was become a local hit & sell a good amount of CD's on their own, next thing you know a majority of the major record labels wanted to sign them. It is always a great idea to do as much as you can on your own.
How do A&R people look for talent?
The internet is becoming a great way for record label A&R people to find new talent because artists are becoming savvy enough to get sites up with MP3 samples of their music. Technology is making the job of finding new talent easier and easier. As I have said before I like it when a successful music manager or producer recommends an act because I trust their judgment but I would never rely on this alone. There are a lot of magazines out there that offer demo reviews for artists; my favorite would have to be music connection magazine. I like to associate with people who program college radio stations because they usually know exactly what is new and hot. Just like it’s a stockbroker’s job to research potentially profitable stock, it’s an A&R person’s job to research potentially profitable artists. I tend to like artists that are already selling albums locally and are having those records counted by sound scan. The first and most important thing that an A&R person is looking for is a hit song. The second thing record label A&R people are looking for is a star quality front person that looks good, has style and charisma. The third thing record companies are looking for is an artist or band that has a great powerful stage presence and performance. One of the main reasons why Brittany Spears sells so many records is that she is sexy and shows off her body. Let’s face it, sex sells and will sell until the end of humanity. Did you see the makeover they had to do on Clay Aiken before he could be seen as a star quality-recording artist? They changed everything but the boy’s dental records.
Important: Krysto Drym Music Publishing does not accept unsolicited song submissions