How To Become An A&R In The Current Music World Monday November 29 2021, 5:19 AM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
How To Become An A&R In The Current Music World

What Is An A&R In Music?

An A&R person or department, also known as Artist and Repertoire department, serves as the organization's music scout and talent finder. The organization is traditionally a label or publishing company that is looking for talented artists and songwriters.

Still, other companies in the music world, like magazines and promotion agencies, will often look to A&R people for their assistance. 

For labels and publishing companies that are established and have a large budget, A&R jobs can be full-time positions for those who have a good ear for musical talent and a lot of knowledge about the music industry.

It can be a part-time or contracted position for smaller labels and other types of companies looking to hire someone to scout talent. 

A&Rs can scout for music in a variety of different ways, just like a general music consumer would.

They often find talent in local music scenes, on streaming sites like Spotify and Soundcloud, and with digital submission forms or emails from artists and bands who are looking for a chance to be heard.

They also engage with potential talent via email, phone, video chat, and in-person meetings. 


A&R Jobs

Being an A&R is a very unique type of job in which there is no one way to land a good position. A huge part of getting hired to be an A&R depends on your ability to network in the music industry.

With A&Rs and similar music label jobs, it's all about who you know and being in the right place at the right time. 

Many A&Rs start as interns at labels, music publishing companies, and radio stations. As you progress through smaller tasks in your company, your work may lead you to get a position in the A&R department.

There are often several different roles in the A&R department, including A&R Administrators, A&R Managers, and the Director of A&R (which you will need time and experience to work your way up to). 

If you are looking to take a more independent approach to getting hired as an A&R, you may want to consider developing your own brand as a music curator.

This can be done by growing an audience with a blog, Spotify playlist, social media profile, or a combination of all three.

You will need to showcase your knowledge of the industry as well as your excellent taste in rising talent, and key people in the industry may want to hire you for contract work. 

Do You Need A College Degree To Be An A&R?

You don't need to have a degree to be an A&R, but it can certainly help if you have a degree related to business and marketing, particularly in the music field.

Several programs across the US have a Music Business degree available that would be a good fit for an aspiring A&R to have. 

Again, networking is more critical here than a degree would be.

It is also more important to have credible experience working for reputable companies in the music industry, such as previous label work, DSP (streaming music sites) work, music management work, radio work, or something similar.

Tips For Landing An A&R Job

Build A Strong Network

Networking is crucial in the music industry, especially for A&R positions. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, connect with industry professionals on social media.

Also build relationships with artists, managers, producers, and other key players in the industry. Your network can open doors and provide valuable connections for job opportunities.


Gain Industry Experience

Look for internships, entry-level positions, or freelance opportunities in record labels, music publishing companies, radio stations, or related organizations.

This will allow you to learn the inner workings of the industry, gain practical experience, and demonstrate your commitment and passion for music.

Develop A Strong Musical Ear

A&R roles require a keen sense of musical talent and an ability to identify potential hits. Stay up-to-date with current music trends, genres, and emerging artists. Listen to a wide variety of music and develop your ability to recognize unique and promising talent.

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Showcase Your Music Industry Knowledge

Stay informed about the music industry's latest developments, business models, streaming platforms, and emerging technologies.

Demonstrate your understanding of the industry's challenges and opportunities during interviews or networking conversations. This showcases your dedication and passion for the field.


Create Your Own Projects

As I said before, take the initiative to curate your own music projects, such as creating playlists, hosting a radio show, a talent show, or starting a music blog. Or try a couple at a time!

This demonstrates your ability to discover and promote talent and can serve as a portfolio to showcase your expertise and taste in music.

How Much Do A&Rs Make?

A&Rs, on average, make around $40,000-60,000 annually, but it largely varies due to the largely ever-changing nature of the work in the music industry in general.

Some A&Rs do very part-time work that will only make them a few hundred per week, while others work for huge labels and make six figures.

It also depends on the type of company that is looking to hire A&Rs. Labels, magazines, marketing companies, radio networks, and DSPs vary widely in company size and budget. 

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Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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