DOA (Death of A&Rs) A&Rs better known as the gatekeepers of the music industry, or the “middleman” between an artist and the record label are almost obsolete! In a world filled with savvy musicians who push their own music on the streets and have found a way to interest labels by gaining their own fan base, the need for A&R’s have diminished. Now when we say “DOA” I’m referring to A&R’s whose primary job is to scout talent.
In my short experience I have found A&Rs to be both a blessing and a curse. To some artists A&R’s are looked at as “dream killers” a person who has the power to crush an artist’s dream with one bad review or critique. There are some A&Rs who are perceived as cocky and self serving. Barely taking time to listen to the full potential of the artist’s music. Instead they look for “one hit wonders” and “hot singles” versus the longevity of the musician’s overall talent. It even shocks me that some A&Rs cannot give artists a “professional critique” which consists of breaking down song structure, choruses, music (beats), vocals and rhythms. Some have even gone as far as saying they want to be paid to give an artist feedback! Really?! When A&Rs say, “I don’t like your music, “it’s just not a hit to me” or “you don’t have “it”, sounds more like an opinion instead of solid feedback that the artist can take and build upon. Although music is very subjective (when it comes to likes and dislikes) there are certain universal elements that make music very objective no matter what the genre is (solid song structure etc...) Then as I “critique” A&Rs even further some opt to party and hang around the glitz and glamour of the stars instead of ushering in great talent to the label or company, which seems to be at the bottom of their agenda. Yeah they may give out their email occasionally or hit a few talent showcases and music conferences but how many can actually produce, which is finding amazing talent? Most of the talent we see today comes from artists who have already been grinding and putting themselves on before any A&R could ever find them!
Now in some cases A&Rs are actually essential to the life line and career of an artist. Once an artist is officially signed to a label the A&R is key to putting the right producers with the artist and overseeing the project’s studio time etc..). The A&R helps to create the image the artist needs for others to see their full vision. A&R’s also pay attention to the full development of the records from beginning to end and assist with the marketing and promotion of the product. Building a good relationship with an A&R once you have signed with a label can be quite beneficial in the long run.
So to those who are pursuing a career in the music industry know the difference between A&Rs who actually take the time to scout talent and the ones who don’t! Use referrals when necessary and find out the A&R’s track record for finding new talent. Again, there is no guarantee that every A&R who listens to your music will think it’s hot but it only takes “one” A&R who is passionate about music and who can see your full potential to change your life in just one phone call! Good Luck!!!!
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