What skills do you need for A&R?


What skills do you need for A&R?

The music industry is a cutthroat business. If you’re not on top of your game, you’ll find yourself behind the curve. So what skills do you need to be successful as an A&R? In this post, we’ll look at some of the most important qualities, plus how they relate to your career in music:


Analytical skills.

Analytical skills are the ability to solve problems and make decisions based on information. These skills can be developed over time through experience and training. Analytical skills can also be used in a variety of situations, such as in business, government, and education. Analytical skills are important because they allow people to make decisions based on facts rather than emotions. They can also help people learn new things by breaking down complex concepts into manageable parts.


Business skills.

You should be able to understand the business and its dynamics, negotiate with artists and their managers, negotiate with music publishers, negotiate with music producers (if you’re at a label), and so on. This is where most people’s minds go blank when considering A&R jobs—they don’t know what it means to be a good negotiator or how to actually do it. For example: how do you negotiate with an artist? Do you tell them what they should get paid? Or maybe let them dictate terms based on market value? The answer is somewhere in between those two extremes. In general, there are three types of negotiation tactics that can help:

    • Soft power—convincing others through your own charisma and personality (i.e., charm).
    • Hard power—convincing others through threats or other forms of coercion (i.e., “don’t say no or I’ll kill this kitten!”).
    • Win-win scenarios—creating mutually beneficial outcomes where both sides win (i.e., “I won’t kill this kitten if you sign”).

The best negotiators use all three of these tactics, but generally focus on soft power in the beginning, hard power for difficult situations, and win-win scenarios to close out deals.


Communication skills.

If you’re an A&R person, you’ll need to talk to a lot of people. You’ll be talking about things like how certain songs feel, what your vision is for the album, and how much money the band needs to make it through the recording process (it’s more than they think). The ability to communicate effectively with others is crucial for any job in music but it’s especially important for A&R. When someone tells you that you should sign a band because their new single is “a little bit punk,” you should be able to understand what that means. You also need to be able to convey your own thoughts and ideas clearly so others can act on them appropriately and so everyone knows what’s going on at all times!


Creative skills.

So, you want to be an A&R person. Great! You’re about to embark on a journey of excitement and discovery. But before you begin your journey, there are some things you should know:

    • What do we mean by ‘A&R’?

When people talk about being an A&R person, they’re referring to the job of identifying and developing new talent for a record company. An A&R professional will listen to the music submitted by artists or their managers, then decide whether or not it’s good enough to be released through their label. They’ll also sign producers in order to produce tracks for these acts. In short, they’re responsible for finding the next big thing in music whether that’s an artist who can sing well and write songs or someone who has an amazing studio setup with killer beats (like Max Martin).

    • Why does this matter? Because it shows that there are creative skills involved in the job! Otherwise known as ‘being creative’, this skill involves having ideas that haven’t been thought of yet – which means doing research into what other companies have done before so they don’t repeat any mistakes.”

But that’s not all: A&R professionals also need to be able to run a business, because they have to make sure their acts are being paid properly and that they’re making enough money for everyone involved. This means having an understanding of contracts, royalties, and licensing and knowing how to use them effectively in order to get what you want.


Decision-making skills.

Let’s face it: you’re not going to be doing much listening if you can’t hear anything. This is where your hearing comes in, and we mean both the literal sense of hearing and the figurative sense as well. So, having good ears is important for an A&R person but so are good eyes.

You’ll need to make quick decisions based on what you see and hear and those decisions must always lead to success. It’s not just about making a record; it’s also about signing talent (or deciding against signing them) so that your label can continue operating smoothly and profitably.


Multitasking skills.

The best A&Rs are able to multitask and switch between projects quickly and efficiently. They know how to stay focused on the task at hand, so they don’t get distracted by emails or calls from other people in their office. They also have a good sense of time management, so they can prioritize tasks effectively. This comes in handy when you’re dealing with multiple artists who all want your attention at the same time which is one reason why being an A&R is such a tough job!


Networking skills.

Networking is a skill that can be learned. And it’s a skill that is incredibly important to the A&R job. You need to have the ability to network with people, because depending on your role at the label, you may be in charge of finding new artists or employees for your company.

There are many different ways networking can help you in your day-to-day work as an A&R rep:

    • You might be working with artists who have managers or agents who are connected in other industries such as film and television. If they like their client’s music, they may recommend them for another project, which could lead to more exposure and opportunities for that artist.
    • If you’re running a record label yourself and want to sign an artist but don’t want them as part of your roster yet (maybe because they’re not ready yet), then it would benefit you greatly if one of their connections was willing to give some feedback about what improvements could be made before signing them onto the team full time!


Organizational skills.

Organizational skills are a huge part of being an A&R person. If you don’t understand the importance of organization, then you can’t be successful as an A&R person. The organization is about time management and prioritizing tasks; it’s also about setting goals, which is just as important as prioritizing tasks because without goals, how will you know where to start? And finally, the organization is about being efficient in your work so that when someone comes to ask you what happened to that project they gave you three weeks ago which they haven’t seen yet you don’t have to say “I forgot.”


People management and negotiating skills.

People management and negotiating skills are a must for every A&R rep. You’re not just in charge of signing new artists you also have to work with them, helping them grow as artists and working together to figure out what songs will be on their albums. And that means working with lots of different personalities without losing your cool or getting frustrated. You may also have to negotiate with labels and other A&R reps about who gets the best songs from an artist, who gets the first chance at signing them, etc., so you need to be able to handle these situations calmly and professionally while still getting what you want out of it.

The bottom line: being an A&R rep is all about people management, whether it comes down to making sure everyone on your team has everything they need (or want) or negotiating with artists over contracts and song choices.


You need good business and analytical skills for A&R in Nigeria

You need good business and analytical skills for A&R in Nigeria.

    • Analytical skills: The ability to analyze data and recognize patterns, trends and relationships between variables is crucial. In this position, you will be required to make strategic decisions based on market research reports and other information
    • Business skills: You need excellent organizational abilities with the ability to prioritize tasks according to deadlines; excellent problem-solving abilities; patience when addressing problems; strong interpersonal skills (especially with people who will be meeting their needs); communication skills (verbal and written), including listening attentively in order to understand customer needs; conflict resolution techniques when dealing with difficult situations at work or at home; time management skills because many projects require your immediate attention if they are not completed within the designated time frame then there’s a risk of losing customers, especially in an industry where competition is very high so having these qualities means less stress on yourself as well as others around you which leads us into…



A&R is a very competitive business and it is not for the faint-hearted. You need to have all of these skills if you want to succeed in this industry. In this article, we discussed some of the most important skills that you need for A&R in Nigeria. If you have any questions about A&R or about how to become an A&R, feel free to ask us in the comment section below! We will try our best to answer them as soon as possible