If you have a true love and passion for new music and would like to help music artists realise their dream, then a job in A&R could be the dream job for you. We spoke to Ben Scarr from Island Records (Universal Music) and he told us exactly what it takes to be a A&R manager in the music industry.
Name: Ben Scarr
Job Title: A&R Manager
Company: Island Records (Universal Music)
What does your job role entail?
Scouting and signing talent, overseeing the artistic development of artists both in terms of recorded music and live shows.
Describe your working day or week?
My days are made up of two main aspects; first is finding new music. This can be in the form of meetings with music artist managers, lawyers and or up and coming artists, as well as visiting showcases and searching online. The next part of my day is setting up sessions for artists on my roster, going through their music and working out strategies for promotion.
What key skills do you need to do your job?
A good ear and good taste in music is probably the most important skill you need for my job. Good people skills, patience and a real genuine love for new music as well as confidence within yourself to complete and see-through to the end a music project that often only you believe in, in the very first instance.
What made you decide to go for this job role?
It wasn’t so much a conscious decision for me, I had been working for a years in various aspects of the music industry. I started a live night called The Jump off, flyering at first and then working my way up to the level of talent coordinator. I also worked as a runner in a studio in Brixton called The Dairy and also taught workshops on the side to make ends meet.
Over the course of a few years juggling these different jobs roles, you get to meet a lot of people and eventually I got the opportunity to spend a month at Island Records on a work placement. They kept me on for a further 3 months (UN-paid) before offering me a job as marketing assistant. From there I was helping out on different departments and ended up being transferred to the A&R department, again as an assistant and that’s where its all started for me in terms of working towards becoming an A&R manager.
Best part of your job?
There are so many good aspects of the job, but seeing a new artist progress from the hard graft and the struggle at the start of their career, right through to the point where they are realising their dream, that is an amazing thing to witness first hand.
Worst part of your job?
Seeing a talented artist not fulfill their potential. That’s always tough.
Most memorable moment at work?
Seeing a record I worked on go to number one for the very first time.
If I’m choosing a course to study, what type of course suits this job best?
To be honest, I think experience is the best teacher, but if you are going to study for it, some basic knowledge of the recording process and an understanding of people management would benefit you.
Does work experience really help you to get the dream job?
Yep! That’s exactly how I started.
Follow Ben on twitter @BennyScarrs