Title: Confused by A&R?

  1. Thursday, February 17, 2022 12:55:04 PM
    Richard Rogers
    I spoke to a Dutch artist last week on a short 4 hour zoom consultancy, a general music industry consultancy. I asked the act if they had any involvement with A&R and they looked at me totally blankly. They had confused PR with A&R and thought A&R was promoting the band and getting them press, features and interviews? This set me thinking, in this modern day and age of streaming, do artists and songwriters actually understand what A&R is and what it does? Are they aware of the different types of A&R? I'm currently writing another book on A&R and any decent views, ideas and comments I may include in the book. What is your understanding of A&R in 2022? Have you had any involvement with A&R? If yes, what was it like? Please give me your thoughts and views on A&R and A&R persons in the forum.
  2. Thursday, February 17, 2022 5:19:12 PM
    Giorgio Ranciaro
    As far as I know, Artist & Repertoire was in past the guy in charge to chose some artist to introduce to the boss of the label in which he was working. In 2022 I've to admit that this music business figure is not so clear anymore to me.
  3. Friday, February 18, 2022 1:15:57 AM
    Richard Rogers
    Hi Giorgio, Thanks for your input. That is correct to some degree. However that would depend on the status of the A&R person. Which of the following was the A&R Man?; An A&R scout A&R Junior A&R Assistant Manager A&R Manager Head of A&R A&R Consultant A&R Director Owner of company These positions all incorporated different roles and all positions had different tasks. True some of these positions crossed over. Who makes the decision to sign the artist or songwriter, if it's a good A&R Man then those in charge would let the A&R Man choose the artists they wished to sign. After all what good is a 65 year old boss of a company into Crosby Stills and Nash and T.Rex when he's in charge of a label dealing with rap music. Let the 19 year old A&R Manager with his finger on the pulse make the decision on who is worth signing and who isn't. Then you also have to look at what sort of A&R, are you talking about record label, record company, music publishing or conglomerate A&R? They are all completely different and work far apart in some areas.
  4. Friday, April 1, 2022 4:00:45 PM
    Mario Christiani
    Hi Richard, Can you write more about the differences of an A&R in a record company, music publishing etc. Thanks Mario
  5. Friday, April 1, 2022 6:06:07 PM
    Jürgen Joherl
    Hi Richard, Maybe you remember me?..I'm Dutch artist & composer as well 😉 Oh yes, guess you're right about the different roles within A&R at Record Labels, etc..and it's not about PR in the first place..I would assume the main purpose is simply chosing & signing the most suitable act for making great money out of them in the long term..and as it happened & we known from the past, if they miss out on a certain act because the big boss did not like them or they have no good understanding of the music style, another label had caught the fish and succeeded in making profit.. Now in these current internet & streaming time, the A&R roles and necessity of Record Labels seem quite diminshed and appear questionable to me...as the sales of fysical products, like CD's and more had also dramatically going down and new technologies seem to took over as well..furthermore it never had been more possible as today for artists to be or stay independent and being in charge of their creativity and musical goals..and this horrible pandemic time might benefit this too?..but these are only a few short thoughts from me😉...cheers, JJ
  6. Monday, April 4, 2022 9:07:18 PM
    Richard Rogers
    Hi jurgen, Thank you very much for your input. Firstly what I find is that when you take on an A&R job you might actually be given a roster of artists (at a record company) or songwriters (at a music publisher). So initially finding and choosing a suitable act for the company maybe secondary as you have to get to know your roster already in place first and foremost. Only then would you usually look for new artists or songwriters. I think this situation is overlooked enormously. I think your line ''if they miss out on a certain act because the big boss did not like them or they have no good understanding of the music style, another label had caught the fish and succeeded in making profit'' is a good point but you can get into a situation whereby as an A&R man you discover an artist first, however they sign to another label due to a bidding war. You lose out despite being the first to discover the artist. Being a good A&R man has many parallels with being a good professional football manager. What is your budget? Could you get two good acts with potential for the same price as one great artist? Can you handle the artists as they not always the most easy to get along with in many cases? Does your own boss have faith in you? The list goes on. On the physical front CD, vinyl and cassette have actually all grown in sales in 2021 year on year, so that point of 'dramatically going down (in sales)' is certainly not true in relation to physical formats. Obviously the COVID pandemic as you correctly state has not helped in any way whatsoever. Hopefully we are coming out of that dark room at least.
  7. Tuesday, April 5, 2022 2:03:50 AM
    LHMPR Radio
    I have had some Artists to approach me with questions about the role of an A&R some think the A&R is like a Booking Agent while others think the A&R is their Manager. So I will be looking for your new book.
  8. Tuesday, April 5, 2022 8:31:48 PM
    Richard Rogers
    Thank you LHMPR, It's a dual book covering both the band ABBA and the A&R work done both in the past and on their recent Voyage album. Should be out in a couple of months.
  9. Tuesday, April 5, 2022 9:13:10 PM
    Jürgen Joherl
    Hey Richard, I hear you and feel much for your various thoughts on A&R work..it's often a tricky game or lottery for artist & labels..and unfortunately I've never read or heard anything really positive from unknown & well-known acts or bands..maybe it's better to stay away from this money business and operate as independent and take good zelfcare for one's own future..which doesn't mean it will be easy!😉...btw, concerning the sale of physical versus digital music worldwide I came across recent reports of serious music organization's of the USA, all had showed figures about real diminshing numbers for physical products!?..yet what do I know?😉✌️
  10. Tuesday, April 5, 2022 11:31:53 PM
    Richard Rogers
    Hi Jurgen, Thanks for the input again, in relation to the 'diminishing numbers for physical products' the info below categorically states this to be untrue. On 22/3/22 (2 weeks ago) the Global Music Report for 2021 was released by the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). The main oversee'er of statistics for the music industry worldwide. In the report it states as follows: 'Total streaming (including both paid subscription and advertising-supported) grew by 24.3% to reach $16.9 billion, or 65.0% of total global recorded music revenues. In addition to streaming revenues, growth was supported by gains in other areas, including physical formats (+16.1%) and performance rights (+4.0%).' 16.1% in physical formats is a huge upturn Jurgen in the fortune of physical products. So although they are a small number in relation to streaming numbers they are still significant and on the up. You only have to see how successful Record Store Day is or look at companies such as Townsend Music to realise physical product is certainly not currently diminishing.
  11. Wednesday, April 6, 2022 12:01:46 AM
    Richard Rogers
    Jurgen in relation to your first point where you talk about A&R persons and I quote you as follows; 'and unfortunately I've never read or heard anything really positive from unknown & well-known acts or bands'. Yes, i agree with you here to a certain degree because most A&R people i've ever met and there are a lot of them simply have no idea of how A&R works because there is no blueprint and in fact up until a few years ago there were no courses or qualifications in A&R. I set up A&R Understanding Classes in 2004 in London. I believe these were the first ever courses in A&R of any kind in the world. It was four A&R classes/lectures worth of getting to know A&R albeit with no certificate or qualification afterwards. Even Mario Christiani here at M2D came along and he hated flying at the time, unfortunately I was too ill to lecture when he turned up - sorry Mario!!! A&R is a lot more varied and difficult than the general public would ever believe. Yet your statement about A&R persons not getting any positive feedback is true to a degree. Unfortunately because A&R jobs bring the person a lot of power, a lot of this power goes to the A&R persons head and they abuse this power and get themselves a poor reputation, upset the artist whether signed or unsigned and therefore A&R as a whole also gets a bad reputation. Sadly. But I can understand why. Having said that there are some excellent A&R people out there, but you have to find them! For myself, the first two years in A&R were an apprenticeship if you like and then I learnt from lots of my own mistakes. After that it becomes much much easier but an interesting fact albeit from Music Week magazine as far back as a decade or so ago was that on average an A&R person lasts at a record company for a duration of about 18 months and at a publisher for around 3 years! That's all. I've been doing A&R personally Jurgen for about 30 years ago and I still learn something all the time. Even in the last week i've had a German company attempt to deviate finances on a project from a publishing royalty quota to a record company royalty quota as a 'commission'. Totally illegal of course. If i get more feedback i'll go into why unknown artists need A&R more than ever before. Jurgen thanks for these comments though.
  12. Wednesday, April 6, 2022 12:28:07 AM
    Richard Rogers
    In relation to Jurgen's input in this forum about the diminishing sales for physical product. I found some more information that shows the situation in the UK in 2021 which makes interesting reading. This information was obtained through the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) so only deals with the UK for 2021 but is a great barometer to how superbly vinyl is performing and an improvement in CD sales for the first time in 4 years. ''Revenue from physical formats on CD and vinyl grew at a faster rate than streaming, up by 14.6% to £241 million. These figures coincided with an increase in the number of indie record shops, which went from 390 in 2020 to 407 in 2021 (according to ERA figures). Vinyl revenue soared by 34% (thanks in part to rising prices) to £117.2m, but perhaps the real achievement for the industry was growth of 1.4% in CD revenue to £115.9m - the first increase since 2017. CD still generates slightly more than vinyl for labels and artists, although the change is likely to occur this year as predicted by label execs to Music Week last month. The CD format benefited from superstar releases by Adele (the year’s biggest album across formats), Ed Sheeran, ABBA and Dave. ABBA’s Voyage was the No.1 seller on vinyl last year.''