A&R TERMINOLOGY

A&R TERMINOLOGY


A&R Terminology  - A&R stands for Artist & Repertoire. This is the department in a record company that is responsible from scouting upcoming talent, signing new artists and overseeing their creative development. (To read more about the history of A&R see Wikipedia - A&R)


A&R terminology is a working knowledge that will help you and your colleagues stay on the same page when referencing an artist and his or her work. It is also useful if you wish to enlist the help of a professional music execs.Knowing A&R terminology will also help you understand how artists (and their record labels) are evaluated.


Playback

– where the artist, the A&R representative and key record label staff (and any invited special guests) listen to the finished record together for the first time – can be quite nerve-racking for artist and A&R person.


The artist will be listening out for any negative comments from their new team; the A&R person will be looking out for signs that their role has been usurped by someone else. The whole team will be hoping that the record is good enough to get signed on the spot, but in reality, this rarely happens.


Playbacks should take place as soon as possible after completion of production, so that there's still time to make changes if necessary, but not so early that everyone gets bored of hearing it over and over again. The ideal situation is when everyone can all sit down together in one room at one time and listen without interruption, but this isn't always possible.


If you're doing a playback over email or phone, then it's best to send out one track at a time so that people can respond to each one individually before sending on to the next one (there's nothing worse than hearing two tracks back-to-back which don't work). Make sure there's enough space between tracks so that


Monitor Mix

The monitor mix is the version of a record that leaves the recording studio before its been professionally mixed.


A rough reference copy from the recording studio to send to artist, A&R dept and mix engineer before the mix session.


The monitor mix is usually made with a limited set of speakers or headphones, so it sounds as close as possible to what you’ll hear on other systems.


Label copy

The sleeve notes that contain the songwriting and producer credits, the long list of thanks you’s, lyrics and the copyright information contained in the inlay sleeve of records.


A&R

Artists & Repertoire. The person or people who have control over an artist’s musical direction, including their selection of songs to record. Often these people also act as producers.


Artwork

The visual elements that are used on an album cover or CD booklet including photographs, illustrations, typefaces and logos etc…

Auto-Tune

An audio processor used for correcting out-of-tune vocals during recording sessions or live performances. Auto-Tune was originally developed by Andy Hildebrand from Antares Audio Technologies Inc. His original intention was to use it as a tool for singers with disabilities such as laryngitis or bad vocal habits (such as poor breath support) but it has now become a standard studio tool for many mainstream pop artists too!



Advance

– A non-refundable amount of money received by the artist and/or songwriter from record and publishing companies for the exclusive right to copy, sell, adapt, distribute, broadcast and perform their music. It is paid upfront before recording commences and allows the artist to concentrate and focus their time and energy solely on their music. An advance is negotiated between artist manager and record company via music lawyers.


Artists’ manager

– The person who manages an artist’s career on a day-to-day basis, acting as an intermediary between the record label and the artist or band. Artists’ managers are responsible for all aspects of their clients’ careers including: booking shows; booking studio time; negotiating recording contracts with labels; negotiating publishing deals with publishers; marketing; promoting tours etc.


Artist development deal

– A type of record deal where an artist receives a small amount of money upfront from a record company in exchange for ownership of their master recording (the finished album). This type of deal is most commonly used by developing artists who are not yet making any money from touring or merchandise sales (or have only just started doing so).

Royalty Rate

– this is an agreed % of revenue an artist will receive from every record sold, e.g. a 20% artist royalty rate will mean that the artist will be paid 20% of the published dealer price (PPD) of each record sold. If an album’s dealer price is £8 per CD then the artist will receive £1.40 in royalty payments from the sale of that one CD after all costs have been recouped by the record label (see below).


Recoupable Expenses

– these are expenses that are charged back to an artist on a per unit basis, such as manufacturing, marketing and distribution costs. The recoupable period for physical products is usually between six months and one year after release date, depending on the type of product being released. For digital releases there is no recoupable period, as all costs are borne by the label and then recovered out of royalties earned on a monthly basis following release date.


Breakage

– this refers to units lost during manufacturing or handling processes due to breakage or damage. Breakage rates may vary depending on how sensitively fragile your product is but we recommend budgeting


Bridge or Middle 8

– the ‘drop-down’ section of a song that comes directly after the second chorus. It features either an instrumental solo section or an alternative melody line to that of the verses and chorus. It is usually 8 bars long, hence why it is known in the UK as the Middle 8.

Bridge/Middle 8:

A section of music within a song that directly follows the Chorus and precedes the Refrain.


Chorus:

The main refrain of a song that is repeated several times throughout the song.


Refrain (or Chorus): The main refrain of a song that is repeated several times throughout the song.


Verse:

The first part of each verse, which typically sets up what will be said in the second part (the body) and often ends with an incomplete thought or idea (incomplete rhyme scheme).


Instrumental Solo Section

– a solo played over an instrumental backing track without any vocals present; this can be during or after a bridge or middle 8 section of a song, or at any other point in time within an arrangement where you feel it would suit your purpose best! Instrumental solos are usually between 4-16 bars long but can be extended beyond this if required.




A&R (Artist & Repertoire) is the department in a record label that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the careers of recording artists.



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