Who's Your A&R?

by moe on February 22, 2009

Who's Your A&R?

"Who's Your A&R? A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar?" - GZA

In the video below, producer, Isaac “Ike Dirty” Hayes III, discusses the current state of A&Rs and the need for record labels to recruit A&Rs with a musical background.

He makes a very strong case. What are your thoughts?

{ 12 comments }

Mickey February 22, 2009 at 5:12 PM

He’s right. Especially with hip-hop. Labels just hire a bunch of kids nowadays to recruit whatever’s hot in the street but they don’t hire people to see it through and who have real musical knowledge and know-how to develop it to something more.

the real jim crow February 22, 2009 at 5:50 PM

fuck labels. we have to do this ourselves!

Rob Fields February 22, 2009 at 7:11 PM

Moe,

In complete agreement with Ike on this. The fact that people with no musical training or–more importantly–taste are determining what gets heard on the radio has been extremely detrimental to creativity overall.

This is a good find. Thanks for sharing!

Rob

jG February 24, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Absolutely, 100% could not agree more. What is even crazier is all of these vanity A&R signings. I think they are designed to be signals to other established artists as a way of bringing them to a different label rather than recruiting new artists. Remeber, A&R isnt always about signing new talent, it is also about the effective management of a label’s current roster. Check out this related article that was published a few days ago about why A&R is essentially a lost art these days. Great stuff!

jG February 24, 2009 at 2:28 PM
d February 24, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Disagree completely. Clive was a lawyer. A&R’s need to FIND hits not WRITE them. Last time I check music fans bought music they liked, so why not let the biggest music fans (the A&R’s) decide what other music fans will like. You don’t need to be able to write a song to know that “Since You’ve Been Gone” is a gonna be a smash. Writing music and doing A&R are too completely different skills.

youngfreshnew February 27, 2009 at 2:20 AM

Great article & video.
I agree with what Ike had said. In previous cases, the A&R reps back in the days had some part of the music industry where they know the key elements on finding their newest and hottest artists. Now a days, everyone is just not ready to take a risk. A lot of label heads including A&Rs are not taking a lot of risk in the music business because of previous cases and bad luck. But they definitely need to think outside of the box. It’s hard to try and determine what the “fans” will like but its not hard to determine who is HOT in La-La Land as a I called the “Internet” A&R reps gotta understand the foundations of the music industry and keep up with the trend of the Web World. Also, they should look at what voids need to be filled. I.e. Boy Bands. There hasn’t been a HUGE boy band since B2K. Diddy made an attempt with B5 and Day 26 (Whats with the numbers in the group names? Iunno) but there are a bunch of voids to be filled and I think someone other than Diddy should fill it.

Tash Poeme February 27, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Amen!
Music as a whole is suffering, maybe this is the key… Consumers want talent, not looks, not who your crew is (sure your boys lean and rock, but it sucks to watch you ride on their coattails)!
Although, I think part of the problem too, is that the kids, cousins, nieces and nephews of famous artists are allowed a free pass and that needs to stop too.
?

Francois March 8, 2009 at 7:10 PM

That’s a difficult one. There is good and bad on the 2 sides.

I agree a musical background helps. If you want to tell an artist what you think is missing in a song or you want to communicate effectively with the production team you need to have some knowledge. That being said Ego is a dangerous thing. With A&R’s who have a successful track record i feel you run in more risk of them trying to recreate what made them successful and have more of a tunnel vision (recreating their hits as opposed to creating new hits). All in all a musical background definitively help and knowing what a hit record sounds like and how it feels to produce one etc… is crucial. But being a bit wet behind the ears sometimes and willing to take a chance is also very imp. I know this guy who actually create Artificial intelligence and has a very successful algorithm that predicts successful tracks. maybe one day we will all be replaced by computers !!!

vijendra@record deal June 1, 2009 at 12:51 AM

Hi,
The fact that people with no musical training or–more importantly–taste are determining what gets heard on the radio has been extremely detrimental to creativity overall.If you want to tell an artist what you think is missing in a song or you want to communicate effectively with the production team you need to have some knowledge.
Thanks.

lee June 2, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Well, dude does raise some valid point about A/Rs not having a really having a background in music to be able to pick good music. Overall though, I don’t think the problem is so much the A/Rs themselves but with the decisions their making. No one wants to develope artist anymore, everyone wants that straight out the gate succese dream now!!! It’s funny, you look at the people still moving units, the vast majority are artist that are 4 and five years in, if not more. Those have had time to grow and find themselves. Ultimately, I can’t put the state music squarely on the shoulders of the a/rs, but there not helping

Solo Slice April 20, 2010 at 8:09 PM

need work need manager to believe he can bring my music to life and bring my performance to the world

{ 6 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: