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Artist and Repertoire (A&R) Representative Job Description, Career as a Artist and Repertoire (A&R) Representative, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree preferred

Median Salary: $50,000 per year

Job Prospects: Fair

Job Description

An artist and repertoire (A&R) representative works to scope out and hire local talent. Reps may find these artists in a variety of ways, including holding auditions to locate the very best talent. This can be a stressful job because many people believe that they have the talent necessary to make it as a recording artist, but it is up to the A&R rep to tell them the truth and to determine if they will have a career in this field or not.

Artist and repertoire representatives may work for a record label or on an independent basis, but the responsibilities are the same. Reps are responsible for finding talent and then may play an active role in ensuring that they actually record an album, the reps managing the artists along the way.

Not only do A&R reps work to find local talent, but they also work to find music for existing recording artists. In the instances in which the A&R reps work with the artist, they act as a liaison between the recording artist and the record label. The reps are responsible for ensuring that the right music is selected for the recording artist to continue to be successful.

The main mission of an A&R rep is to continue securing successful musical artists who record hit albums. The more talent that an artist and repertoire representative can sign and the more hit albums that are produced as a result of these efforts, the more professionally successful that A&P rep will be.

Training/Educational Requirements

There is no set educational requirement for an A&R rep because formal education is not necessarily an important factor in getting hired or moving on in the arts. Some of the most successful A&R reps don’t have a degree, but many record labels say that a degree is preferred. Any courses or training in the field can help to prepare A&R reps for their responsibilities and to stay competitive in the field.

Some of the best training for A&R representatives comes on the job because experience is what will help them to move on in their career. The more experience that A&R reps have and the more artists that they successfully sign on, the better equipped they will be at working in this career.

How to Get Hired

Initially the best way to get hired as an artist and repertoire representative is to have an education or degree in music, business, communications, or a related field. This isn’t always a requirement, but it can certainly help a potential A&R rep to get a foot in the door. Working in the business in a different capacity can help to prepare an individual for a career as an A&R rep. Showing not only an interest in but a knowledge of music can be a great way to get hired as a A&R representative. As this can be a rather competitive field, anything that can make an individual stand out in terms of knowledge or experience will help her or him to get hired.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Though there are always job opportunities for good A&R reps, this can be a highly competitive field. This is an industry that many people have an interest in, and for which many people feel that they are qualified. Therefore, the number of candidates competing for a job may far exceed the number of job opportunities. Though there is always a need for artistic talent and new recording artists, the job of artist and repertoire representative may not be in high demand in tough economic times. Keeping competitive and gaining experience even during slow times is the best way to obtain or maintain a job in this field.

Working Environment

The work environment for A&R reps may change daily as they are often on the go. Artist reps may spend part of their time in an office preparing for visits with artists or record labels or for a potential scouting opportunity. A&R representatives often spend a great deal of time traveling or on the road, moving to the next meeting or venue to listen to a potential artist sing. They may expect to spend some time in the recording studio or meeting with either the recording artists or the record label directly. This can be a stressful environment sometimes as there are often deadlines and big decisions that need to be made quickly. A&R reps need to be quick on their feet and to make decisions well, keeping calm all the while.

Salary and Benefits

Though the average salary for an artist and repertoire representative is somewhere around $50,000, this can vary widely. The biggest factors in determining how much an A&R rep earns are experience and the number of artists that they have successfully brought on and managed through a successful recording. Because of this, an A&R rep may earn anywhere from as low as $18,000 all the way up to over $85,000. Geographical location may play a role. A&R representatives may receive traditional benefits, such as paid vacation and medical coverage, but this is usually after they have proven themselves. Initially, they may work on a contract basis and be responsible for their own benefits; this may even be the case later in their career, if they work on an independent basis.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts