Complicated MIDI 1
Complicated MIDI 1
How to get involved in the A&R business.
We have researched information about A&R via many different sources including: Internet, telephone and mail. Throughout our research we have learnt many different ways people can try to get involved within the business. The source in which we gained the most information was the Internet. We used online forums, websites and e-mail to help with our research. Throughout our project we have learnt that it is a very hard industry to get into. Many people high up within the business have had to work their way up through companies and do hours of voluntary work to gain experience that has helped them to build up a reputation in A&R. We asked many professionals for tips on how to get involved, they suggested many different ways of doing so. This included working for a local/college radio station or even promoting events for local bands/artists. Getting involved in A&R will take a lot of dedication and hard work to get noticed but it can be a highly rewarding job.
What do people in A&R do? What is talent?
What makes a good band/artist?
Throughout our project we have had a huge interest into finding out what A&R reps actually look for.
People working in A&R are often accused for not having a real interest in a band/artist and that they are only looking for sales figures; we wanted to find out if this was true. We received multiple emails from people that we contacted. Our email contained two main questions, how did they get into the business and what they look for in a band/artist.Each person that we received a response from seemed to have a high interest in the music industry and a real passion in true talent.
When it comes to finding new talent, everybody all claims that the key is originality. A&R reps are always looking for new, exciting talent. In such a competitive industry, it can take years of perseverance in order to gain knowledge and learn the aspects of the business.
Our opinions and views of A&R.
After researching the A&R business in depth, we compiled some opinions of our own. We gathered that A&R could prove to be a lonely and stressful business, as one would be required to travel to attend gigs and open mic nights on their own. Also it requires a lot of independent research in areas such as current fashion and style, as well as being up to date with the ever-changing aspects of the industry. We deduced from the information we collected on ‘How The Internet Has Changed The Business’ that the width of working in A&R has increased, as now there is more than just one way of coming across new artists. This may imply that A&R has become an easier side of the music industry, and it may seem that it would be far from an effort to find talented new artists. However, from our research we have found that A&R now is much more complex than just finding a good singer or performer. As an A&R rep you will need to visualize the future development of an artist, this includes target audience, songs recorded and the image of a band/artist.
Pros and Cons of the business.
An ongoing and alarming issue that has hit the music industry hard for the last decade is music downloading. We have gathered that this problem affects near enough every single aspect of the music industry. We have researched how this affects A&R as an occupation. Larger recording companies will force an artist to create music they know can sell in the current chart, by using their own producer for an artist, or by not releasing the album until the artist has complied with their wishes. However, now that music is selling less and less as time goes on, labels aren’t investing in new artists, as the amount they can make from sales is nothing compared to the amount of money they would invest in a new artist. This affects the A&R rep, as they may be certain they have just discovered the next music phenomenon but the record label they are working for refuse to invest in them due to the lack of income on record sales. This may put a person who is working in the A&R business at a stand still in their career, as they cannot get a reputation or gain experience to develop or progress in their occupation. So unless the music downloading decreases and the sales start rising, the labels will be investing in less and less new talent and the A&R reps will have no new talent to be responsible for finding and having faith in.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Music Downloads
We have found that due to the way contracts are formed, the artist doesn’t own their music, the record label does. Therefore if an artist signs to a new label, that label is unable to produce the work the artist done whilst signed to their previous label. Which means if the previous record label opts to no longer print any more albums or release the artists songs, that music, in theory, would be no longer available to the world. However, downloading is the only way for the public to access those songs. Another peculiar advantage that we noticed a lot in our research, was the statistic of the most common group to download music being teenagers that have the time it takes to download large amounts of music, and don’t have the kind of money to spend on music. On the other hand, music downloading seems to create a love of music, which, when teenagers become adults may increase the sales of music. This being a result of adults perhaps not having the time to wait around for downloads, as well as most likely now having the money to buy music. Which increases music sales in the long term.
Downloads can provide exposure for new artists as well as popular artists, which can then lead onto sales after gaining promotion and popularity from the downloading.
Disadvantages: The amount of downloads has overpowered the industry causing labels and artists to starve and go bankrupt.
It affects every aspect of the industry, although some think it is nothing major as the stars have big enough wallets already. As we have discovered, it has discouraged labels from investing in the new talent put forward by A&R reps.
What we have learnt from our project.
Throughout our project we have expanded our knowledge of A&R. The research we have completed has widened our views on pursuing a career in this side of the music industry, and put the occupation into an interesting perspective. We now understand various aspects of which are included in A&R. Even though the average salary of an A&R rep looks very enticing, as well as working everyday in an industry which we both have passion for; the time, dedication and effort that is required at the beginning of every A&R reps career proves to be an uphill struggle. We have learnt how many people have become involved with the business and now understand that there is a lot more to the job than we expected. We have also learnt how easy it is to communicate with people in the music industry; this has encouraged us to persevere e-mailing and phoning companies to gain more knowledge from experienced professionals.Prior to this project we had thought of A&R to be a simple occupation with straightforward requirements and expectations. Before we began research we had little knowledge of this side of the music industry, we are now sure that we have a much better understanding of Artists & Repertoire and feel that the project has been a great success. Now we have ventured further into A&R we have understood that it is far from a minor part of the music industry. Although A&R reps don’t necessarily get the limelight or fame, successful people in the business get the most credit and respect for their work.We have identified the pros and cons of the business and have realised it can be a lonely and stressful career; on the other hand, there are numerous appealing factors to the job which in our opinion outbalance the negative sides to it. However, it is obvious that you must have a personality that matches the aspects of A&R. It requires one to be outgoing, upfront and independent, with a strong drive and passion for finding new artists. To be successful in the business you will also need a strong mind, throughout a career in A&R there are bound to be various points where the going gets tough and it takes determination and perseverance to overcome this. In conclusion, we believe our project has been a huge success. We now have a much better understanding of the business as we have attempted to cover every aspect of A&R. Both of us now feel more confident to write and phone different companies and feel as if the project has given us a wider outlook on communicating with professionals in the music industry.