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The Role of the A&R in the digital age

Has the internet made this ‘too easy’ of a career to venture into?

Before the internet caused widespread changes in the music industry in the early 2000s, an A&R reps role was more demanding. They would scout for new talent by attending concerts and music showcases nationwide. This involved a lot of travelling, working overtime and most importantly being the middle man between the artist and the label as they had to convince the label executives to sign the artist.

The power of an A&R rep has diminished arguably, due to the rise of music blogs and social media. With the help of social media and music blogs, an A&R can now discover a new talent on various websites designed to showcase musicality, such as YouTube (Esmee Denters, Justin Bieber, Connor Maynard etc), ReverbNation, MySpace (Arctic Monkeys) and SoundCloud.

If you’re looking for a career in the A&R department, it would be recommended for you to look at the role of a music supervisor, as the number of A&R’s has decreased in the past few years. due to many major labels merging. Music supervisors select music for films, TV, video games and commercials – they often select music from unsigned and independent artists.

It used to be an artists dream to be discovered by an A&R, but since digital music emerged the internet has provided an easy way to discover new music.

What’s your view – Does the role of an A&R still serve purpose in this digital age?
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