An A&R executive, also known as an artist and repertoire executive, is a position within the music industry. They are the people who are responsible for finding and hiring new musical talent. They may also work as a manager to any new artist making sure that they manage to record an album.
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A&R executives can work either for themselves or for a record label. Their role isn't just to find new musical talent but to find work for established artists working as the middle man between the artist and the various record labels. They work to ensure that the correct music is chosen for their artists and are essentially responsible for whether the artist produces a hit album or not.
There are no minimal academic qualifications required to be an A&R executive and many do not have degrees. However, many record labels do admit that they prefer their executives to have degrees if possible. Most of the training an A&R executive will undergo occurs on-the-job, although a number of music industry-related degrees and other programs can help candidates prepare for a career as an A&R executive.
The working environment of an A&R executive differs from day-to-day. Some of their days might be spent in the office, while others may be spent visiting record labels and artists. This means that a lot of time is spent travelling around the country listening to potential new artists sing and perform. Other days might be spent in the recording studio. The role can be quite stressful with deadlines often having to be met with decisions having to be made quickly.
Given that A&R executives work within the music industry the role attracts a lot of candidates and as a result is very competitive. Far more people look for work in the music industry than there are jobs. The health of the economy also plays a role in the number of executives needed. In times of economic downturn the number of executives will rise slowly, or even decrease. Having said this there are always jobs for good and experienced A&R executives.
According to State University the average salary of an A&R executive is around £32,500, although it admits that this can vary depending on the number of artists an executive has on his books and whether or not they are successful. The best will earn more than £55,250 a year. Benefits for those working for a record label can be expected to be the same as with other professions, so might include health insurance and paid vacation, although many executives work on a contract basis meaning they will be responsible for their own insurance.
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