Category :


The Ugly Truth About Today's A&R

The Ugly Truth About Today's A&R

Back in the “golden years”, A&R used to serve as the middleman between the artist and record label and work very closely with the artist.  They would discover a band, convince the record executives to sign them, find the band a record producer and studio, and help develop many aspects of the artists career such as style, promotion and marketing.  Today, thanks to the internet, most of that can be done by the artist themselves.  Recording hardware and software is cheap, accessible, and can be easily ran by monkeys. Marketing and promotion can be done through social media websites and digital distribution, and now every major player in the business wont even acknowledge you unless you already have some self-made clout. So now, who is an A&R rep for?  Record labels?  Artists?  Do A&R's even exist anymore?

The answer is yes. Although there are a lot less major labels, the power of an A&R rep is diminished, and the web has provided an easy way to discover music. These labels still have a few A&R reps that have new methods for discovering new artists, and are used to filter through the watered-down internet. In the independent label world, old school A&R is still used, and actually still a very relevant way to scout new talent. The best example of this is indie label XL Recording's discovery, development, and utmost support of Adele a few years ago. She is still with XL, and is very successful. Other than that, the face of A&R has changed so much, most wouldn’t even recognize it anymore. Many have been saying that music supervisors are the new A&R people. Music supervisors are the ones whom, most of the time, are selecting music for film, tv, and video game projects (among other duties). Some 90% of the music placed in these projects come from unsigned, independent artists, and many have been discovered and launched successful careers by this approach.

Others have said that another new form of A&R is websites and blogs.  The Artic Monkeys were the first band who’s career was greatly impacted by MySpace support. Incredibly popular music blogs have a lot of pull and can serve as the new “gatekeepers.”  A blog like Brooklyn Vegan, one which is viewed by millions a month, can essentially make or break a new artist simply by featuring an artist on their homepage. Other sites like Yahoo music helped launched Katy Perry and the Plain White T’s, and sites like YouTube offer an excellent platform for videos, and are debuted on a weekly basis. YouTube has also expressed that they are not just in it to just throw any old artist up, and hope for the best. The label department of YouTube actively seeks out artists that they actually believe in.

Music publishers have also been thrown into this new A&R conversation as well. Long before Coldplay was signed to Capitol Records, they were affiliated with BMG music publishing who provided funds for recording and even shopped the band to labels. Chrysalis Music Publishing is also building a reputation for really getting behind and pushing their artists into the spotlight, setting an example for other companies to follow. 

2 Biggest Promotion Budget Mistakes

Consumers Are Starving For Your Music

Getting a record deal

How To Send The Perfect Demo

6 Music Industry Myths

Creating the Perfect Set List

Loving what I used to hate

Cliches You Need to Stop Using Now

Why You Might Need a Producer

10 Worst Song Demo Mistakes

Why Vocal Training is Important in Becoming a True Artist

The A&R Guy


It's Not The Tools That Don't Work, it's The Band

Artists Should Build Lifelong Relationships with their Fans

7 Tips to Increase Your Exposure and Potential

8 Steps to Your First Song: From Idea to Professional Production

Letting Go of Perfection

Unbundling the Album: A Business Case for Releasing Single Songs

From Riches to Rags

What Are The Best Books on Music Promotion and The Music Business?

So…the CD is dead? The trick is to Diversify.

If I Never Made a Dime

What Are Your Fans Saying About You?

How To Change Key Successfully In Your Music

What Are The Essential Features Of a Hit Record?

The Importance of Being a Frontman

How to Do a Great Cover Song

What's The Real Cost of Signing A Major Record Deal?

Want a record deal? Here is what you need to do.

Inside the Mind of an A&R

What Record Labels Are Looking For When Scouting Artists

Finding The Best Record Label For Your Style Of Music & Goals

Defining Your Style

The Truth About Mainstream Success

How Releasing Holiday Covers Can Skyrocket Your Promotion

Why Streaming Your Music Is A Good Thing

Being a Well Rounded Musician VS Mastering One Instrument

3 Tips For Landing A Record Deal

How Youtube Can Get You Seen, Heard, and Trended

Why You Should Care About Your Image

3 Simple Tips for Getting Noticed In Today's Music Industry

Signup Free