In the music industry, Artists and Repertoire (A&R) is the department of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists signed to the label.
The A&R manager's job is to find new talent to sign, budget releases and promote and market records. A&R men were originally employed by record companies to search out promising talent and match them with producers, musicians and arrangers. They would listen to tapes sent in by singers who wanted a career in show business. If the material was suitable for release, the A&R man would recommend it to his boss who would then arrange for an audition with the artist. The term originates from the early days of sound recording when all production roles were consolidated under a single individual called an 'A' list artiste or repertoire man (because he handled all performances).
A&R teams at labels typically include a head of A&R, assistant A&R managers, marketing and promotion executives, as well as interns or assistants. They are responsible for scouting new talent and signing them to record contracts with their label.
A&R teams also handle the artistic development of their artists once they’re signed. This can include everything from choosing producers and songs for an album to helping manage the artist’s image and career trajectory.