Building artists’ careers
While record companies are always looking to discover and break new talent, they also want to develop long-term relationships with the artists they sign. Part of the role of an artists and repertoire (A&R) team is to help its successful artists develop their career in music.
A label can work with a developing artist to help them realise their vision of how they want their music to sound. Julie Greenwald, chairman and COO of Atlantic Records Group, home of artists including Alt-J, Bruno Mars and David Guetta says: "We listen to their demo, we talk to them about what they were hearing in their head when they wrote the song; we sit them with songwriters who can help them fine tune their lyrics and producers who can create the sound they were originally imagining."
Record labels can help developing artists by opening the door for them to work with the best talent in the music business. Daniel Glass of Glassnote Records emphasises the importance of collaboration: "We can help artists create their records, making available writers, mixers, mastering experts, producers. It's about a network of contacts." He cites the examples of the band Little Green Cars, 19 year olds from Dublin, whose music he introduced to Markus Dravs, the Mumford & Sons producer, who loved it and subsequently worked with them.
Record labels work with developing artists and help them put together a body of work. This may involve developing tracks the artist has written, commissioning new music from songwriters offered by music publishers, or creating a cover version in which the artist brings their qualities to a track that has been previously recorded. Ashley Newton, president of Columbia Records US, says: "A&R in its purest form is identifying unique talent and encouraging them to dig deep and create remarkable artistry. Some artists are truly self-supporting in this respect while others require a level of expertise, resource and evangelical enthusiasm in order to realise their full potential."