Spinnup Academy – Lesson 3: A&R

Welcome back to the third instalment of Spinnup Academy. For this lesson, we have our very special guest Rich Castillo (Senior A&R Manager at Polydor Records) to guide you through the world of A&R. Check out the whole video below and keep reading for your lesson notes:


1. An A&R is responsible for scouting and signing artists/talent to a record label.



2. A&R’s and artists tend to have quite close relationships with each other, with A&R’s being the main articulator and “manifestor” of an artists’ vision.



3. The things A&R’s look out for:

  • – A point of difference: what makes you unique from other artists

  • – Artists who know who they are

  • – Passion


Therefore, to get the attention of an A&R, Rich advises that you start the process now as if you are already a signed artist (i.e. start recording and writing songs, manage social media, start momentum, playing shows etc). It is impossible to wait to be discovered if you are not achieving or actively pursuing any opportunities yourself.




4. When being signed, there are many different types of deals an artist can be signed to that match their vision and goals such as:

– Single deal – label commits to one track, pays you an advance and gives the offer of options (meaning, if the track or you do well, the option to sign on more of your work exists)

– EP Deal – sign for a few EP’s (1 EP during the initial period of the contract/deal with an option to pick up more EP’s)

– Album Deal – sign for a few EP’s (1 album during the initial period of the contract/deal with an option to pick up more albums)




That’s all for this lesson! Miss last weeks lesson? Click here to get up to scratch! Massive thank you to the incredible A.T. for soundtracking this lesson, be sure to check out his Instagram and Facebook. Join us next week when we take you through ‘Creative & Marketing Your Brand‘ and have a sneak peak at the rest of our series here.