A&R COORDINATORAlternate Career Titles:
A&R Representative, A&R Rep, A&R Staffer, Talent Acquisition Representative
Career Overview: The A&R Coordinator searches for new Artists that are a good fit for a particular record label’s genre and image, then signs them to a record deal.
Career Salary Range: $27,000 to $85,000+
Become an A&R Coordinator
The A&R (Artist and Repertoire) Coordinator carries plenty of responsibility and is one of the hottest music careers available. While many of this position’s specific duties will depend on which record company the A&R Coordinator is working with (click here to get record company addresses), his or her main job is to find and recruit musical talent for the record company. Of course, it’s then up to the record company to decide whether or not to sign a recording contract with the Artist.
There are many different ways in which the A&R Coordinator can go about the business of scouting for talented musicians. One way is to search the Internet for leads using music blogs, fan pages, and all types of social media. Another good thing for the A&R Coordinator to do is personally visit clubs, bars, and musical performances of all kinds. Many Artists will send demo recordings and videos to the A&R Coordinator; while the majority of these won’t lead to a recording contract, the occasional signing will happen.
In addition to finding undiscovered talent, the A&R Coordinator can also use all of these same resources in order to court Artists who already have existing record contracts with competing record labels. If a deal is made with one of these Artists or Bands, the A&R Coordinator may have to wait for the existing contract to expire before signing the Artist to their own label. This isn’t necessarily the case, though, and they may also have the option to buy the Artist’s contract right away. Of course, in order to do that, the A&R Coordinator will usually have to be prepared with a very attractive offer.
The A&R Coordinator may sometimes be charged with finding songs for their Artists to record. One way this can be done is by going through the plethora of demos which the record company receives by aspiring Songwriters. One other popular trend is to take songs that have already been released, and rearrange or remix them in order to re-release those songs under the name of their Artist and label. The A&R Coordinator can also match up a Staff Writer with an Artist in hopes that the two can create something that will lead to a hit record. After a song is decided on, the A&R Coordinator needs to locate a Producer who can work with the Artist to get the recording underway and completed.
In some ways, the A&R Coordinator acts as the Artist’s Manager. From the time the Artist is signed to the label, the two work very closely together to turn the Artist into a commercial success for the company. In order for this to happen, the A&R Coordinator also needs to work with any other departments within the record label that might be in contact with the Artist; this is good general business practice, and ensures that things run as smoothly as possible for the company, the Artist, and the A&R Coordinator alike. Depending on the structure and makeup of the record label, the A&R Coordinator generally reports to the Vice President in charge of A&R, the Vice President of Talent Acquisition, or the A&R Director.
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Salaries paid to A&R Coordinators will vary depending on record company size. A&R Coordinators can earn anywhere from $27,000 to $85,000+ per year. This does not include bonuses, which are generally paid out to any A&R Coordinator who signs an Artist who experiences big commercial success–or one that is already considered a superstar.
A record company will usually look to promote people from within to fill the role of A&R Coordinator, but of course will generally consider successful A&R Coordinators from competing companies as well. The existence of smaller, independent labels improves the prospects of employment for A&R Coordinators.
An A&R Coordinator can grow into the position of A&R Director. They can also continue to become more financially successful within the position of A&R Coordinator by moving on to progressively larger, more prestigious record companies.
Education and Training
Labels generally prefer to hire someone for the position when they hold a college degree, usually in merchandising, business, communications, marketing, or advertising.
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Experience, Skills, and Personality
A&R Coordinators usually have previous experience working within record companies. They must have great instincts for recognizing talent and understanding the marketability of their prospects. They also must be skilled at selling, as others in the decision making process might not initially share their vision of each prospective Artist.
Unions and Associations
A&R Coordinators may belong to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the Country Music Association (CMA), and the Gospel Music Association (GMA).
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Try to get your foot in the door by being willing to perform any task possible, even if this means performing a job no one else wants to do. Many companies promote from within, and once you become known as an energetic and hard working person, you could be presented with opportunities to move on to something bigger and better.
- Begin your career by scouting local talent. If you are able to identify someone special, you can gain useful experience by managing or working with the act.
- Keep current on trends within the music industry. Read trade publications or magazines. Trends have a way of repeating themselves over a period of years, and this could greatly benefit someone with insider knowledge.
- Spend time visiting different recording studios in order to get to know those who book studio time, including Producers, Engineers, and more.
- Look for a position as an Intern within a record company. This will allow you to gain experience and establish contacts in the industry.