Many people outside of the music industry believe that A&R (Artist & Repertoire) is a specific field that all talent advisors work in. The truth of the matter is that all jobs within the music business use A&R in different ways. Obviously other jobs do not require the same amount of focus on A&R as an A&R for a record label would, but people in the industry from live music booking agents to music managers at firms are required to use A&R in one way or another for maintained success. Here is a look at how some prominent positions in the music industry use A&R within their unique roles.
A booking agent works for a booking agency and is responsible for scheduling appearances for artists as well as live shows and concert tours. The booking agent works as a middleman between venue talent buyers and managers to achieve offers that satisfy both parties. Though it may seem that these people would not have to incorporate A&R into their jobs, it is largely a part of being a successful agent. A&R for agents is used to find rising talent that is not yet exclusive with other agencies. The most successful agents in the industry take A&R very seriously and use it to find artists that will eventually become A listers and draw more offers for shows. A great booking agent will make their job a lot easier through the use of A&R as high profile talent sells itself and raises prices therefore increasing their salaries.
A talent buyer works for a venue or multiple venues to schedule live acts that will draw in a large crowd for ticket sales. The perception on these people may be that they could just look at the Billboard Top 100 and pick any high-profile act to come perform but this is not the case. The talent buyer needs to use A&R to see what acts are producing the best shows, which acts are attracting certain demographics, which artists within their budget can put on a show to sell tickets, as well as if the show will work with the taste of the surrounding city.
A music manager works for a large management firm, small management company, or even completely independent. These people work directly with their associated artists and play a large role in the progression of the artist. A&R is used by managers to help the artist choose what songs will have success, what musical direction they shoul pursue, target audiences, as well as brand structure and development.
Producers are the composers of the music industry, as they sell beats and musical pieces to recording artists. Their requires A&R as well as their compositions often shape the styles of recording artists. A beat for an artist can reveal a signature sound for them, that begins to become a part of their brand identity. An example of this is what producer Metro Boomin has done for 21 Savage and Kanye West for Jay-Z.