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Got in interview for A&R Director Position at Atlantic Records. How should I prepare?
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doop
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#1
7th August 2012
Old 7th August 2012
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Got in interview for A&R Director Position at Atlantic Records. How should I prepare?

I recently was one of a few accepted to do an in-person interview at Atlantic Records for a position as Director of Urban/Hip-Hop A&R. I have some pretty solid experience in the music industry already (as a producer, mostly), but I'm curious as to what I can do to better prepare myself for the interview. Some things I'm curious about:

Do I need to know hundreds of unknown artists?
What specific traits make up a quality A&R rep?

Thanks so much for your help!
#2
7th August 2012
Old 7th August 2012
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If you place too much importance on music, sound, art etc you definitely won't get the job
#3
7th August 2012
Old 7th August 2012
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Knowing hundreds of unknown artists will help, but only if they're the good ones

Seriously though, being likeable and easy to work with goes a long way. And in addition to knowing good music, you'll need to be able to spot the "problem artists" just as easy.
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7th August 2012
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1.Remember you are there to make money for the company - not the artists, so you need to satisfy various criteria!

2. Identify Revenue streams and understand where the artists play a major role and to what extent, this is 2012 and you will be surrounded by others & you'll be all backed up or ganged on by others needing you to save their jobs - you need to work for everyone!

3. Your a serious team player whom can satisfy the needs of all sides, you also need a pool of talent - don't play your cards all at once - broader musical terms are desired here as you need to function from A&R, Marketing, Promo, Payola, etc right through to a non type advance scenario - no on spec deals or contra deals! Solid deals only with Artists & Managers!

4. Your production credits are good, though you'll move that "ROLE" into seriously "SAFE" hands so when you over run, you have someone else to blame A&R is all about BLAME - how, why, where, & when will not cut it in a full company meeting. You need to work out what the company points are, it's label stars and try and wrap everything you do into a 360 degree deal so the company benefits.

5. The Company will have their preferred way of working .....go with them until you gain tenure or get to Mk3 interview! This interview is one of many!

6. You should by now know exactly how the company moves it's artists and revenue, and through which preferred avenues it does so.....your going to work 24/7 12 hours office 12 hours nights & clubs + Artists - don't bring in the (I've got a scoop/Angle for you stuff) Play it gently to begin....suggest, don't in force!

7. Working in A&R is very close to managing a massive database & studio complex, you need to multitask well and keep your word 100%. Never Lie, Disrespect or promise anything you can't deliver 100% as you are fighting on 2 fronts here - the company and the company - the artists need to have faith in you - offer all and they'll know it's bullshit, and you will not find the new star on youtube, though humour is half the battle!

8. Be an Upfront, Standup kinda a person, you need supreme confidence even when you know all is slipping away - getting in the door is half the battle, don't rattle on about Studios & engineering chops, those are what studios & engineers are for, your into making money on returns and preferably BIG ONES for small outlay - they might give you something impossible to do when you begin - give it a shot though offer a plan B... you can all get out of with NO PENALTIES!

9. TV, Radio and The www./Net are now your main advertising streams and revenue bases, you'll need to work with already big-ish names & ego's plus plenty of meets and greets, be affable, polite, humours and warm & friendly, look at the good in everything though more so the bad......look at what can/could go wrong before critical decisions! Record everything you think critical on a 64gig iphone - this could one day save your ass big time - pay huge respect to all staff be they lower or higher, don't big note, don't play it up, you selling/buying shares in music to capitalise in them. don't try to polish something which can not be polished - remember you'll need a strike rate - you need to get something in the bag within 12 weeks of landing the gig. (So plan you evil plans though say nothing to no-one!)

10. Enjoy yourself & have fun - Industries melt down after long term artists expire - it happened with Marvin, Whitney will be the same - don't find the next one.....sit, think, polarise, prioritise, and pounce!
#5
7th August 2012
Old 7th August 2012
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chaleboy76 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiborg View Post
Knowing hundreds of unknown artists will help, but only if they're the good ones

Seriously though, being likeable and easy to work with goes a long way. And in addition to knowing good music, you'll need to be able to spot the "problem artists" just as easy.
+1
I have been fired,laid off, or changed jobs so many times I've lost count but I have never been out of work for more the 2 months unless I was not looking.The one thing I can say for sure; if you can make people believe that you have a strong work ethic, related knowledge, a good attitude and easy to work with you will greatly increase your chance of landing that job .Because at the end of the day people have to believe that not only can you do the job but also this is a person that I want to work with.


Good luck
#6
7th August 2012
Old 7th August 2012
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The Byre is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLastByte View Post
1.Remember you are there to make money for the company - not the artists, so you need to satisfy various criteria!

2. Identify Revenue streams and understand where the artists play a major role and to what extent, this is 2012 and you will be surrounded by others & you'll be all backed up or ganged on by others needing you to save their jobs - you need to work for everyone!

3. Your a serious team player whom can satisfy the needs of all sides, you also need a pool of talent - don't play your cards all at once - broader musical terms are desired here as you need to function from A&R, Marketing, Promo, Payola, etc right through to a non type advance scenario - no on spec deals or contra deals! Solid deals only with Artists & Managers!

4. Your production credits are good, though you'll move that "ROLE" into seriously "SAFE" hands so when you over run, you have someone else to blame A&R is all about BLAME - how, why, where, & when will not cut it in a full company meeting. You need to work out what the company points are, it's label stars and try and wrap everything you do into a 360 degree deal so the company benefits.

5. The Company will have their preferred way of working .....go with them until you gain tenure or get to Mk3 interview! This interview is one of many!

6. You should by now know exactly how the company moves it's artists and revenue, and through which preferred avenues it does so.....your going to work 24/7 12 hours office 12 hours nights & clubs + Artists - don't bring in the (I've got a scoop/Angle for you stuff) Play it gently to begin....suggest, don't in force!

7. Working in A&R is very close to managing a massive database & studio complex, you need to multitask well and keep your word 100%. Never Lie, Disrespect or promise anything you can't deliver 100% as you are fighting on 2 fronts here - the company and the company - the artists need to have faith in you - offer all and they'll know it's bullshit, and you will not find the new star on youtube, though humour is half the battle!

8. Be an Upfront, Standup kinda a person, you need supreme confidence even when you know all is slipping away - getting in the door is half the battle, don't rattle on about Studios & engineering chops, those are what studios & engineers are for, your into making money on returns and preferably BIG ONES for small outlay - they might give you something impossible to do when you begin - give it a shot though offer a plan B... you can all get out of with NO PENALTIES!

9. TV, Radio and The www./Net are now your main advertising streams and revenue bases, you'll need to work with already big-ish names & ego's plus plenty of meets and greets, be affable, polite, humours and warm & friendly, look at the good in everything though more so the bad......look at what can/could go wrong before critical decisions! Record everything you think critical on a 64gig iphone - this could one day save your ass big time - pay huge respect to all staff be they lower or higher, don't big note, don't play it up, you selling/buying shares in music to capitalise in them. don't try to polish something which can not be polished - remember you'll need a strike rate - you need to get something in the bag within 12 weeks of landing the gig. (So plan you evil plans though say nothing to no-one!)

10. Enjoy yourself & have fun - Industries melt down after long term artists expire - it happened with Marvin, Whitney will be the same - don't find the next one.....sit, think, polarise, prioritise, and pounce!
Excellent run-down of what is required.

I would add to all that, have a clear record in your head of your achievements and how each and every position you have had in life, clearly leads up to this position. What a (good) employer is looking for, is a 'red thread' of continuity of achievement.

And good luck!
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doop
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7th August 2012
Old 7th August 2012
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Thank you so much for the help! I think I've got a pretty good understanding now of what I should be doing to prepare, and it'll be interesting to see how the real interview goes later this week. I'll follow up later on if I can!

Thanks again !!
#8
7th December 2012
Old 7th December 2012
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aeromusic is offline
Question -

Hey I know this is a little outdated but I recently had an interview with them as well, for a different A&R position. Do you recall the name of your interviewer?
#9
8th December 2012
Old 8th December 2012
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Yeah - TheLastByte!
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#10
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
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ruju is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by doop View Post
I recently was one of a few accepted to do an in-person interview at Atlantic Records for a position as Director of Urban/Hip-Hop A&R. I have some pretty solid experience in the music industry already (as a producer, mostly), but I'm curious as to what I can do to better prepare myself for the interview. Some things I'm curious about:

Do I need to know hundreds of unknown artists?
What specific traits make up a quality A&R rep?

Thanks so much for your help!

so what happened? did you get the job?
#11
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
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TheLastByte is offline
I'm pretty Sure he got the Gig.....and had not a second to lose or look back!
Really I guess the same advice that was given to DOOP can maybe help you Iron out any scenarios or curly questions!
Good Luck!
I hope you get the Gig!
#12
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
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Agreed on much in this thread - be easy to work with, take direction well, have an opinion when asked. A&R is more project management than discovery and the politics where art and commerce meet are always a challenge.

oh, and BE YOU.
#13
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
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Really good advise here that will work for a majority of jobs in the music industry.
Good luck!
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