What is an A&R Department?

By: Jerry A. Greene

Question: I am considering sending my songs to a record company. They said that I need to get in touch with their A&R deparment. I was wondering what it A&R means and how do I contact them?

Answer: A&R stands for "Artists and Repertoire" and is the deparment in a record company that is responsible for finding the next "superstar" and next "hit song".

They are always out scouting for the next big thing. Most of the times, when you hear about a band, or artist performing and having someone come and hear them, it's usually an A&R represetative. When you are looking to be signed by a label, it's usually the first person you talk to in the record company.

There are a few good ways to contact them, but keep in mind that these A&R reps are really busy and they hear from so many people, that are looking for their big break, everyday. First get the A&R's contact information, especially email. Nowadays, people like to get an email first because it is not very obtrusive (they can go through their email on their own time, not be interupted by a phone call). In the email, be short and to the point. Tell them who you are and what type of music you are involved with. Ask them if it would be alright to speak with them over the phone and if so, to provide a time and date that would be good to contact them.

Remember that the most important thing is to establish contact with an A&R rep. You want to make sure that they know that you exist. If they don't know you exist, you're invisible to their world and may never get "found". But if you are a pain in their side when contacting them, you can almost be assured that you will never be "found"...by them anyway. So make sure all of your communications with the A&R departments of the record companies you are interested in working with are short, polite and to-the-point.