Head of A&R

Run the department in charge of finding and signing new musical talents.

What does a Head of A&R do?

Overseeing the Artist and repertoire department for a record label, the Head of A&R has many responsibilities. Managing a staff of A&R Scouts and A&R Managers, the Head of A&R is ultimately responsible for finding and retaining talented Musicians and bands. If the record label doesn’t have talent on board, it won’t succeed.

As the Head of A&R, you have varied talents and keen business sense. A background in business, music, human resources, and project management is required. Courses in music production, Artist management, business, economics, human resources, and communication prepare you for the job.

Your days are exhilarating as you seal the deal with the next top-selling Artist. Your nights are filled with entertainment, too, as you head to local clubs to hear new bands.

Personnel management is also an important job duty for the Head of A&R. Given your immense list of responsibilities, you must have employees who can work with minimal supervision. Directing your team requires excellent leadership and communication skills. Negotiating schedules and internal politics can be tricky at times, but you make it work by setting a good example.

For example, when two A&R Scouts request the same vacation schedule, it falls to you to fix it. If a hot prospect is playing during that time, it’s up to you to make the schedule work. You can either deny one vacation request – which may lead to hostility within your team – or you may choose to lead by example and hear the band yourself. Making the right decision is not always easy, but it can lead to better cohesion within your group.