The Gatekeepers: A&R



The A&R department of a record label is
often regarded as the gatekeepers of the
record company. A...
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Artist And Repertoire

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Artist And Repertoire

  1. 1. The Gatekeepers: A&R The A&R department of a record label is often regarded as the gatekeepers of the record company. A&R departments have a powerful reputation because they have the all-important job of finding and nurturing the musical talent. Imagine your importance in the music industry if you were the one who first discovered Madonna or Aerosmith or Britney Spears. Simon A&R man for BMG UK A&R stands for "artists and repertoire," but Cowell many musicians joke that A&R stands for "attitude and rejection." Without being Devine looks first at the demos given to him noticed or discovered by A&R people, by his most trusted business sources and there is almost no way for an artist to get works his way down from there. Other signed by a major record label. In times executives, like Max Gousse of Epic past, artists would send "unsolicited" demos Records, examine the music industry itself to (tapes that were not requested by the see if there is a void in the market. Gousse record company) to A&R departments, may seek out a certain type of artist that he and the executives would listen to the feels is doing a different kind of music than tapes and hope to find the next big thing. what is already in the stores. Over time, so many artists were sending demos that it became impossible for A&R people to keep up. Because of this and other legal issues, labels, with a few exceptions, soon stopped listening to unsolicited material. It is also important to remember that when A&R executives discover and promote a particular artist, they are putting their own name on the line. If the artist fails, an A&R executive's job may be at stake. As this part of the recording industry becomes clearer, you can see how difficult it is for an To find out about what kind of talent A&R average band without record industry people look for and how they find it is to contacts to "make it." take a sampling of opinions from some of the major label executives. Tom Devine of When an artist is discovered by a record Columbia Records has worked in the company, then the full machinery of the business long enough to know a lot of record label must begin the work of people. producing, promoting and marketing, distributing and selling the album.

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