5 things not to waste an A&R’s time with

Embarking upon a career as a musician is an incredibly exciting thing for anyone to do. When looking to attain the next level of success you might seek the attention of an A&R. Many see these A&R’s as the gatekeepers of a their potential triumph. But before you send a muffin basket to their home or try to tell them that their 3rd cousin is your milkman’s poker buddy, bare in mind, they are just people. Here are 5 ways to avoid common mistakes when seeking an A&R’s attention.

1. You don’t need more than a 4 track demo.
At the very most send through 4 tracks, although 2 will be absolutely sufficient. All you are trying to do is get there attention. Go through all your songs and think very carefully about which tracks you should send. You will want something that captures your identity and that could be a potential single. Basically if you’re Sigur Rós, send ‘Hoppípolla’ not one of the 13 minute tracks.

2. You do need to send full songs at a good quality.
Make sure you are sending full songs. If you only send a snippet of a song you’ll just frustrate the A&R listening, they want to be able to make an informed decision based on the length of a piece of music. Send your recording via YouSendIt (or another file sharing website) on MP3 format and at a quality of 128kb/s or above. Don’t make them endure files that sound like a 90’s ringtone.

3. Don’t send them links to your Soundcloud. 
A&R’s are a lot more likely to listen to something if they have to download it. It creates a more personal relationship between them and the song and should they want to play it again it is in their computer. FOREVER. Until they delete it. We’re sure they won’t.

4. You don’t need fancy packaging or artwork. 
Put your easel away, close photo shop, call up and cancel the graphic designer you are paying 98,000 euro to do your logo. An A&R isn’t interested in how incredible you’ve made a potential album cover look or that your name is written in fancy writing. All they care about is whether or not they like your song and would other people like your song, essentially, is it good? So save your money and your time and just send them some great music.

5. You don’t need to send them an essay on the artistic merits of your music. 
It’s difficult to send an email to someone you’ve never met when what you’re saying to them is ‘please like what I’ve spent ages putting my heart and soul into’, but it is important not to say too much. The temptation could exist for you to explain why you are so very good, or maybe to play it down. You obviously like your own music otherwise you wouldn’t have written it. Keep your opinions to yourself. All you need to do is introduce yourself, include a short bio, the download links, your contact info and inform them of future gigs you have.

So now you know how to get A&R’s not to hate you. But what is a record deal? Record Deals – Decoded.


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