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What does A&R mean?
Artist and Repertoire. An A&R person within a record or publishing company is responsible for discovering and developing artists. They will usually work closely with the artist all the way through the development process, up to and including, album delivery - at which point, marketing and promotion specialists will take over.
Once signed, you (or more usually your manager) will be dealing with your A&R person on a daily basis. They will fight your corner and guide you. The progress and reputation of an A&R person depends on the success of the artists they sign so are naturally on your side, until told otherwise by those in more senior decision-making positions.
What can Bespoke A&R Services do for us?
Our aim is to prepare you artistically, and to guide you in developing and implementing a career plan. We have the knowledge and experience to help you prepare for a career in music. See also 'Why is an independent A&R service required?'
We will help you to navigate the many obstacles and pitfalls. You can, of course, learn all of this by yourselves, but learning this stuff takes time and involves numerous bumps and bruises along the way. Some of these bumps will merely delay your progress, others will diminish your desire to carry on.
Why is an independent A&R service required?
Once you sign a record deal, you don't get long to prove yourselves before the record company pulls the plug. It is, therefore, of paramount importance that you are prepared artistically and have a clear direction and properly mapped-out career plan before you sign a deal. That's where Bespoke A&R Services fit in. We will help you to prepare effectively, and equip you with the skills to navigate the wide variety of situations that you will inevitably encounter, no matter your ultimate goal. The better prepared you are, the more chance you will have of taking advantage of any opportunities, and of having a successful career in music.
What Bespoke A&R Services offer is not time-limited. We're not going to rush you before you're ready, unlike record companies, for whom time is money. That doesn't mean we won't push you, though. We most definitely will, so be prepared for some hard graft - the difference being we won't just drop you when things get difficult.
Maybe you've already experienced rejection and want to find out what you've being doing wrong and to learn a more effective approach. Get in touch and tell us how we can help.
Can you guarantee a record or publishing deal?
Unfortunately not. We wish we could. We can, though, get you much closer and far sooner by following our guidance.
What should we expect from our first Zoom meeting?
Firstly, you will need to supply us with a representative demo (via Soundcloud or similar), plus links to your website, social media and YouTube channel etc. so that we can get a good idea of who you are and your skill level.
We will then arrange a Zoom meeting, during which we will discuss your hopes and dreams. This is your best opportunity to be open about what you think is and isn't working for you.
We will then develop a plan and present it to you via email. When you've had time to absorb the information, we will meet on Zoom again to discuss the next steps and to iron out any wrinkles in the plan. Whilst your BARS Plan is active, we will continue to support you via email and Zoom, fine-tuning our guidance as you progress.
What are "solicited" demos?
A&R people are wary of listening to demos that haven't come from a trusted "solicited" source. In other words, from someone they know and respect. Record and publishing companies are inundated with hundreds of demos a week and, therefore, it's quite unlikely that your demo will even be heard by an A&R person. And when they are listened to, it is usually by a junior member of staff who sorts through the endless stream of demos and passes the ones they consider promising to an A&R person.
We are in the lucky position of being able to present "solicited" demos directly to the A&R person who we feel will best appreciate your music. A word of warning though, if we think you're not ready, we won't risk our reputation by presenting your demo. This is something that we will discuss as our work together progresses. You are, of course, free to ignore our advice and present the demo to whoever you like, whenever you like.
Do you help with marketing and social media?
No. We only involve ourselves with talent development and the preparation required to present you to record and publishing companies.
There are far more knowledgeable people than us in the marketing and social media world, some of whom we have relationships with, and to whom we are more than happy to introduce you.
Why just rock and indie music?
Simply because that's where our knowledge and experience lays. We wouldn't feel comfortable giving advice and guidance in other genres.
What if we don't want a record deal?
A record deal may not be suitable or desirable for everyone. If this isn't your focus but you need guidance to help you develop as an artist, get in touch and tell us how we can help.
Can you work alongside our manager?
Yes, absolutely. The only caveat is that your manager must be on-board with it, otherwise it will create unnecessary friction. We must all be pulling in the same direction.
Do you fulfil the "manager' role?
No. We concentrate on artistic guidance and career planning. We won't get involved in the day to day running of a band, such as booking rehearsals, or speaking to Mrs Miggins about your crap breakfast at the B&B while on tour etc. We will, of course, try to help in an emergency, such as dealing with a drunk tour bus driver (yes, really. It's happened).
Can you help to resolve disputes regarding songwriting splits?
Yes. As an objective observer, we can absorb the various arguments and suggest ways to help maintain a healthy working environment. You should try not to let this kind of issue fester. Most bands break up because of internal conflicts.
What don't you do?
See 'Do you fulfil the 'manager' role?'
What if some band members aren't up to the task?
We have dealt with this situation many times before. It's probably a lot more common than you realise. We most definitely will not suggest that the band member in question is replaced. We have tried and tested methods to help anyone lagging behind. So far, we have a 100% success rate. That's not a guarantee, but a promise that we will do our best to help you all develop at the same rate.
Do you only work with UK artists?
No, but we can only work with people who are fluent in English.
How should we thank you when we sign a deal?
A slap-up meal at Mrs Miggins Pie Shoppe, of course!