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Alternate Career Titles:
Artist and Repertoire Administrator, A&R Administration Representative
Career Overview: Handles the clerical elements of the A&R Department and maintains the budgets for artists signed to a label by working with accounting & legal personnel.
Career Salary Range: $25,000 to $65,000
Become an A&R Administrator
The A&R (Artist and Repertoire) Administrator works alongside the A&R Representative; in some cases he or she might take on both A&R administration and A&R Rep duties if the record label is small. If the record label is large, the A&R Administrator’s duties will focus on secretarial functions like bookkeeping, office upkeep, etc. He or she would most likely handle an artist’s budget, which is considered one of their more important duties. Similar to Budget Coordinators, the A&R Administrator will look at previous budgets, current budgets, and artist lineup to project cost estimates to come up with the new budget. As time passes, the A&R Administrator’s success or failure relies on whether or not the budget is met.
To save on studio expenses, the A&R Administrator (get your A&R contacts list here) may work exclusively with one or two studios to generate volume and discounts for their artists’ recording time. To keep track of the budget, he or she monitors all expenses, studio time, Studio Musicians, and all other miscellaneous expenses. In addition to keeping track of all expenses, they must also submit bills and purchase orders to the accounting department. This must be done in a timely manner to ensure proper recording and payments. Since union regulations dictate payment schedules, a late payment is not only disrespectful to the artist, but it could also lead to a dispute.
The A&R Administrator works alongside the A&R Rep to monitor an artist’s progress with their records and to ensure they are ready for release on the designated dates. This position reports to the Director of A&R.
An additional duty of the A&R Administrator is to gather all information that will be placed on record packaging. This includes the names of the artists, group members, other Session Musicians on each track, Record Producers, song length, and more. The A&R Administrator may also need to apply for copyrights on materials surrounding songs or album art. He or she must also make sure all this information is properly filed. For these reasons he or she must be extremely organized and detail-oriented.
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Like other music jobs, an A&R Administrator’s salary will vary depending on the size of the record company and the experience of the A&R Administrator. Salaries can range from $25,000 to $65,000 per year.
The A&R department is one of the most prestigious departments within a record company. This is why competition is heavy, and many record companies promote from within. One strategy for obtaining an A&R position is to find a lower level job within a record company and work your way up.
Advancement is determined by the number of individuals within the company who are promoted or move on to other labels. The next step forward for the A&R Administrator is the A&R Coordinator position within a record label. It can also be considered a promotion for an A&R Administrator to take on another Administrator role with a larger record label.
Education and Training
Due to the high level of competition, many record labels require a college or music school degree for this position, although some might require only a high school diploma. Useful degrees include business, accounting, and administration. Less formal education options include seminars, programs, and workshops hosted by record companies, (get your record label contacts list), organizations and colleges.
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Experience, Skills, and Personality
Preparing and sticking to budgets are very important skills for the A&R Administrator. Basic math skills are a must to properly manage a budget. The A&R Administrator must frequently report to other departments; therefore good written and verbal communication skills are also required.
Unions and Associations
A&R Administrators 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
- To get your foot in the door, you should be willing to perform any task necessary, even if it means performing the job nobody else wants to do. Many companies promote from within and once they label you as an energetic, talented, bright individual, you will be presented with opportunities to move forward. Remember to remain enthusiastic and ask a lot of questions.
- Stay up to date on current events and trends within the industry. Read trade publications or magazines because trends have a way of repeating themselves over a period of years. This could greatly benefit someone with the proper knowledge.
- If you are a college student, check your career center or guidance office for available internships that will earn you college credits.
- Check with personnel departments at some record labels; you may find that there are some training programs that will help you get started.