Top Secret: What Is The A&R Role? And What Does it Take To Achieve That Position in 2023?


What is the role of A&R?

An A&R manager’s main job is scouting out talent and signing them to a record contract. The A&R Manager is also responsible for developing the style of an artist and matching them with producers, songwriters, recording studios, and clothing designers. They are instrumental in helping artists get public exposure through industry networking, performances, demos, and recordings. Often, they will also assist artists in managing their careers.

There are infinite definitions of an A&R manager. The job description primarily reflects the skill set of the manager, not the actual work involved. Some would say that an A&R Manager is in charge of identifying artists and repertoire while others believe they’re responsible for all aspects of songwriting and copyrights. Either way, certain traits make a good manager.


Signing and cultivating talented new artists requires patience, judgment, interpersonal connections, and persuasive written and spoken communication skills.

As an A&R, you’ll be responsible for the entire talent discovery process. This is both a challenging and rewarding role, as you’ll be working with some of the most talented individuals in your industry. Can you keep up with the ever-changing trends in music? As an A&R manager, you’ll need to have a professional manner but also act fast on new talent. This will often require negotiating terms between record labels and artists.

Career Path

With an A&R career path, you will be in charge of the record label and its employees. You will make all the major decisions about what music is released for the label and will make recommendations to the executive team. These positions are as competitive as they are sought after, making this position rare but desirable.

Work Life

Most high-profile music supervisors are freelancers who work on a project-by-project basis. However, music supervisors can also be employed by production companies; film, television, and video game studios; advertising companies; or even small music-supervision companies. The majority are based in Lagos Nigeria.

Unsurprisingly, work hours for music supervisors vary considerably. As they don’t necessarily need an office for their work, many works from home or do the majority of their job on the go, moving from meeting to meeting. On the other hand, music supervisors who are acting as full-time music directors for a show or movie tend to be much more involved in the filming process and almost always spend some time on location.

Interpersonal Skills

A&R managers are exceptionally well-organized, detail-oriented, flexible, and punctual, with impressive multitasking abilities. Signing and cultivating talented new artists requires patience, judgment, interpersonal connections, and persuasive written and spoken communication skills. In addition, managers are well served by strong leadership qualities and should possess a vision for the careers of artists under their wing.

Finding Work

Most A&R managers work for medium-sized to large record companies and music publishers. When hiring an A&R representative—the position which precedes working as an A&R manager—companies tend to look for work or internship experience in the music business, as well as demonstrable engagement in local and national music scenes.

Professional Skills

    • Written and verbal communication
    • Budgeting
    • Personnel management
    • Multitasking
    • Organization
    • Leadership
    • Deep knowledge of musical trends, movements, and styles
    • Excellent ear for music
    • Networking
    • Contract negotiation

Are you an aspiring A&R? Do you want to learn the ins and outs of the role, see how it fits in the industry, and how and a job? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve assembled a comprehensive breakdown of the a&r career path that will guide you from your first day on the job until your retirement and beyond. We know what happens to most of today’s great artists and songwriters—but what happens to their song ideas, unfinished recordings, and unrealized careers?

The fact is, you are going to have to work hard if you want to be a successful A&R (artist and repertoire) But who said that was an entirely bad thing? Hard work isn’t just a requisite for success; it’s also the foundation of your musical skill set while this may not be a popular idea, the truth is that all of the artists and repertoire will tell you the same thing. Consistency, determination and a willingness to do what it takes are key traits among those who reach the top. That’s not just good advice for A&R—it’s good advice for any endeavor in life. Sign up with A&R DUTY and start shooting for success today!


Written by Babatunde Makinde Williams