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Artist and Repertoire Representative

What They Do

Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes Career Video

Insider Info

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 demos
  • 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 or four.

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.

At a Glance

Give new bands record deals

  • A representative is someone a band member can relate to
  • A and R reps must know every angle of the music business
  • Most positions require a university degree and several years of experience