A & R
How can you become an A & R :?:
Perhaps A-J or Nick will correct me, but this is how I understand it.
"A&R" stands for "Artists and Repetoire" - meaning the person at a record label who keeps track of the various bands and albums under her control. She would also seek out new talent and new songs, trying to anticipate who might succeed. It's a risky business, but at least you're spending someone else's money.
This is essentially a marketing position, and as such requires little formal training. I jest, but it's like trading stocks - there is a combination of talent, skill, hard work, and a good amount of luck that determines whether you succeed.
At a minimum, I would think you would need a college degree in business or marketing (not music), and a demonstrated interest in music and/or producing. Knowledge of the recording process would be important.
But the biggest factor would be the most intangible - can you identify where the music trends are headed, and find the bands that are leading the way?
Does this help a little?
my great knowledge comes from my anti-RIAA cronies, so here's some other things that they'll want from you.
-A % R people need to be in touch with the current times, so that bands feel comfortable in signing with them, because the little "temporary" contracts most A % R people give out are actually legal binding contracts which force the artists to not work outside of that record company until a full contract is fulfilled, it's like a starvation method.
sorry, I went too far with that, but it will be important that you have marketing experience and, possibly, education, but it will be very important that you will present a particular character to record companies which will attract bands to feel comfortable with you.
I don't follow my dreams, I just ask em' where they're going and catch up with them later.
Did you see that!
I'm a recent graduate who's trying to get into A&R as well. From what I understand the 2 most likely ways of getting into A&R is via luck or a connection. So far I've been goin about it the traditional way (i.e phoning HR dept) but had little luck in getting (major) labels to give me the time of day, one HR person suggested (quite condescendingly) that I "fax in a resume which will then be put in a pile with 80,000 other applicants". I believe its alot easier with the independent labels.
One thing I would suggest is picking up a copy of "All You Need To Know About the Music Businesss" by Donald Passman. Its written very well and goes into (as the title suggests) all the aspects of the industry.
Another idea that was suggested to me was start a blog about up and coming bands and things of that nature. This will give you an advantage for two reasons; first off, you'll have some sort of notability. Secondly, now you're not just another applicant, you've got something more to bring because, in a manner of speaking, you're already doing the job.
The most important thing though, is GO TO SHOWS, always. Keep up on whats happening, meet the band, but more importantly you're also likely to meet industry people there.
Finally, check out this site, http://www.music-industry-jobs.com , it has resources, tips on networkin, and alot of other great info.
Anyway, hope this helps.
I pity the fool, but also suggest ways he might better himself.