Featured image shows a guitarist on stage and reads How to Impress a Music A&R Representative

Even though I believe you are still better to be an independent artist, joining a label can still be a good move. It all depends on who you are and what you do. If you have a lot of free time in which to market your music, going alone is the best way. However, we don’t all have free time. Some of us are working in full-time jobs and in non-musical businesses. If this is you and you don’t have time, a record label can be good. Therefore, I believe that impressing the music A&R person at a label is a fantastic approach.

Key Takeaways on the Music A&R Person

By the end of this post, you will…

  • …know how to impress the music a&r person at any label
  • …have the confidence to approach a label of your choice
  • …feel happier about the prospect of building your music career

A Music A&R Person Will Expect You to Polish Your Material

Firstly, before you do anything, you need to make sure your songs are well-written and well-produced. A music A&R person will not look at you if you can’t produce the best music that are both well-written and well-produced. Furthermore, you need to ensure that the recording is top-notch. This needs to be your first concern. Your recordings should be of high quality, demonstrating your best work. A&R representatives look for compelling, commercially viable music.

Develop Your Unique Sound

Also, you need to stand out by developing a unique artistic identity. The music A&R people are often attracted to artists who have a distinct style or sound that sets them apart from others. There is no point in replicating the exact sound of another artist.

I have said this in the past, but you need to build your own distinct sound. If you can do that, and it is good, you will attract attention because you are different.

Sure enough, your idols sound great. However, if a fan wants to listen to that artist, they will. You don’t listen to Tiesto because he sounds like Ferry Corsten. If you want to listen to Tiesto, you will. If you want to listen to Ferry Corsten, you will. Making your own distinct sound will drive more interest in your music because they like your unique style.

Build a Strong Brand and Online Presence

This is one thing that you may think is unfair, but you have to think about it from the label’s perspective. Put yourself in their shoes. You have two mixtapes from two different artists who are both equally good. However, one has a strong brand and online presence, but the other doesn’t. You are going to give your time to the one who has that brand and presence because they have a more significant presence. Therefore, you need to have a professional online presence, including social media profiles and a website. This shows you’re serious about your career. Your branding should be consistent and reflect your musical style and personality.

Grow Your Fanbase

Just like your brand and online presence, developing and growing your fanbase is also a crucial step that you need to take. Put yourself in that same scenario. You have two artists. One of these artists has a fanbase and the other doesn’t. Who are you going to choose to work with? The artist with the fanbase, of course! Having a ready made market is an audience that your label can tap into. Therefore, if you are serious about impressing the music A&R person, you stand more chance of success if you can prove that you have a ready-made audience. Having this in place makes it easier and more profitable for both yourself and the label.

It is also important to be able to engage with new fans. This is important because it demonstrates that you can attract new fans more easily. You may already have a significant following, but being able to continue to expand the size of your audience is important. It shows that you can never get too big and that you are comfortable with attracting large crowds at a gig.

Live Performances

Excel in live performances, as these are great opportunities to showcase your talent and charisma. A music A&R will often scout talent at live venues to see how artists connect with an audience and handle the stage. If you can do this well, there is nothing stopping you from getting to the top of the tree.

As I’ve said recently, you also need to make use of online gigging services. Sites such as Stageit.com have amazing benefits and playing live from your practice room at home has many advantages that you need to investigate.

Network and Make Connections With Music A&R Reps

Industry events, music conferences, and gigs are perfect opportunities to network with music A&R people and other music industry professionals.

There are many opportunities for networking. This is both online and offline. I cover networking in my book, The Complete Guide to Music Marketing. It is now in its 5th edition and the sixth issue will be developed into various different formats. You can request your free copy of my book here.

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Be Professional

Ensure you have a press kit that includes your music, bio, recent press releases, photos, and contact information. This is essential for all media professionals. It is also great for fans. They can find your next gigs, where you will be performing and when. A good electronic press kit can lead to significant results through the different opportunities that you are qualifying yourself for because you have an EPK.

Understand the Market

Show that you have an understanding of where you fit in the music market, who your fans are, their demographics, and how you can appeal to a specific audience. Music A&R reps look for artists who not only make great music but also understand the business aspect of their careers.

Monitoring and learning from your market research will tell you everything you need to know about your music including elements of songs that are more popular, where your fans live so that you can plan tours and even how you should design your merch so that they appeal to your fans.

Seek Feedback From the Music A&R Rep and Be Resilient

Be open to feedback and constructive criticism. Don’t let criticism put you down. It is important to see criticism as something you can learn from. What do people like about your music? What don’t they like about your music? Learn from this, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your audience and implement popular changes where you can. The music industry can be tough. Therefore, it is important to be resilient. Keep going for it and never give up. If you quit and don’t even try, you won’t get anywhere.

Follow-Up With the Music A&R Representative

If an A&R rep shows interest, follow up with a thank you message and keep them updated on your new projects, shows, or any career developments. This keeps the lines of communication open and shows your enthusiasm and professionalism.

    Impressing an A&R person is about more than just talent. It’s also about demonstrating that you are market-ready and capable of sustaining a career in the music industry.

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