chapter
22 Pages

KEY CONCEPTS

A & R The artists and repertoire (A & R) department of a recording label is responsible for working with acts who are

already under contract, and finding new talent; it is constantly seeking out new material and acts to sign, attempting to develop a roster of artists for the company. A&R staff are frequently involved in all aspects of an artists relationship with the record company, including the initial negotiations and the signing of the contract, the rehearsal, arrangement, and recording of songs, and liaising with the marketing, video production, and promotion divisions of the recording company. It is a male-dominated sphere, a hierarchy divided according to seniority and experience, with successful A & R people among the highest-paid employees in the music industry. The criteria A&R personnel generally use for judging potential artists are identified by Negus as ‘the live, stage performance; the originality and quality of the songs or mater ial; the recorded performance and voice; their appearance and image; their level of personal commitment, enthusiasm and motivation; and the achievements of the act so far’ (1992:53). A&R staff base their acquisition and development of artists on a mix of information about rapidly shifting styles and who are ‘hot’ new performers, acquired through extensive networks of contacts, and assessed largely through intuition and subjective response (‘gut feeling’).