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  What's An A&R Man?

By Marv Goldberg

© 2017 by Marv Goldberg

Since I'm always mentioning "a&r men", it's probably time for a definition. If only it were that easy. The term means "artist and repertoire", and probably had a slightly different meaning in each company. The basic responsibility of the a&r man is to match an artist with a song. Past that, he might rehearse the artist, oversee the recording session, seek out new talent, sign acts to the label, find songs for them to record (if the artist didn't write songs, there were any number of songwriters who submitted songs to record companies), and do promotional work (such as visiting disk jockeys and convincing them that the company has a superior product; he may have even on rare occasions left a few dollars with the DJs, probably just to compensate them for taking up their time). In all probability, the smaller the company, the broader the responsibilities were. [And, of course, an "a&r man" could just as easily be a woman.]

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