Rock bands are discovered by artist and repertoire representatives -- they're
the folks who find and sign new talent for record companies.
After A and R reps find a band and sign them to a record company, they
assist the group in making a record. They're the creative liaison between
artist and label.
"We find new artists, and if they're really good and willing to live the
life of music, we try to place them with a label," says rep Scott Patterson
of Haledon, New Jersey.
A representative is someone a band member can relate to. They're traditionally
young, about the same age as the band. Bands will intuitively trust someone
they consider a peer.
A and R reps must know every angle of the music business, including what
each record company is looking for in their artists. They must be able to
pick out a winner from among the thousands competing for a chance at fame.
By far, one of the most important requirements for a rep is a love of music.
They must be determined to succeed and prepared to learn the business through
on-the-job training. Many successful people in the field have worked their
way up after starting at the bottom.
Besides recruiting and signing new artists, a rep might:
- Listen to mounds of demo tapes
- Attend a recording session
- Make sure the record company's marketing plan fits the artist
- Deal with managers, lawyers and booking agents
A and R reps may be employed by the major record labels or work for independent
labels, known as "indies." The larger independent labels are usually owned
or distributed through some kind of partnership with a major label.
Smaller indies may operate out of someone's home with a staff of three
Those working for a major record company may only be responsible for finding
and signing talent. However, reps who work for indie labels may spend more
time in artist development and long-term promotion.
Most A and R reps don't handle marketing the records after they're recorded.
A marketing expert handles that aspect of the business.