How many of you are blindly reaching out to music executives and or label scout personnel on their LinkedIn Profiles, socials or through their emails with a long front loaded email that explains all of your hopes and dreams why YOU think you should be heard and have the best music they have heard yet with your links to music and videos?
Imagine if you are the executive. You aren’t the first artist/musician who has reached out with this agenda. These pros are getting hit up by 100s of artists to the point that they have told their family members to say that they have any career other than the music industry. My mom has literally gotten propositioned by the mailman once who had a cousin “who is a really good singer” because he somehow found out I work in the music industry.
This is a BUSINESS like any other business. It is music and artists marketed for commerce and revenue. The people working in the music industry who are of value to you are valuable for a reason. They started out somewhere, learned, won, lost and experienced the business which has resulted in a priceless bank of information of how tos, how not tos, who you should know , etc. It has cost them too. Everyone pays their dues on some level in the music business and it is not for the thin skinned especially if you want to run with the winners and be among the “A” game of make it happen people who have mastered generating income and revenue from music.
Let me share with you what goes on in a normal day for an A&R Music Executive. It’s far more than an open inbox sitting there just waiting for every demo and magical submission known to the universe. The pros are busy earning a living like you are at your day job. This isn’t a hobby or an attempt for them. They are conducting business. I’ll use senior A&R Executives as this is where my expertise lies from my own personal experience as a former A&R Executive at Capitol Records and Atlantic Records.
A&R executives daily routine – Keep in mind each scenario listed below has multiple artists, label team members and colleagues involved:
- Engaging with their established top tier signed artists who may be writing or recording their next record. This means they are seeking out the best songs or considering the collaborative writer to contribute to the process to create sure fire winning well written songs. This may entail calls to all of their publisher executive friends who represent the talented songwriters, songwriters that they have relationships with first hand and/or other industry colleagues who may have ideas to bounce off of them for suggestions. There will also be calls to the producers and their managers to discuss budget to record, where to record and schedule to record.
- Listening to the demo tracks or song ideas submitted by the artist. Listening to the songs that publishers, writers, producers and other industry colleagues have submitted for consideration for the artist.
- Discussing the songs with phone calls to the artist and their managers to have creative direction on songwriting and production.
- Making decisions and presenting them to the Department head, the Accounting/Admin department and maybe even label Business Affairs attorney to address the terms of the contract. The budget is proposed for costs to record – travel to put the artist with the songwriters and writing studio costs. Then there will be producer costs, recording studio costs, engineer costs, mixing and mastering costs along with travel to get the artist and producer together.
- Following up with all representatives of the band, the songwriters, producer and engineer and to the business affairs department to make sure that the producer manager and label legal affairs are in touch to get producer agreement done.
- Championing the record (s) of other artists who are finished with recording process and ready to release the record. At this point, the A&R Executive is meeting with marketing, radio and press internally at the label to be a part of the game plan for the release. Following that, there will be a meeting with the artist and their representatives to go over the plan from the team.
- Answering calls, emails and texts from established managers, attorneys and other industry colleagues following up on their demo submissions and asking if there is any interest in signing their artist. Perhaps there is further discussion of the A&R Executive setting up a showcase, traveling to see the artist, etc.
- Meeting or doing a phone call with a signed artist or their manager about the artist having a mental breakdown over writing block and probably other scenarios that are too bizarre to go into.
- Listening to and meeting with label scouts on a weekly basis to consider what new unsigned artists that are on the horizon being considered by competing labels or unsigned artists with explosive progress on social media.
- Now let’s see who from the universe randomly submitted music to my inbox? What are their credentials? No known manager with a track record of delivering an proven artist with revenue. No numbers showing a track record of the progress the artist has taken upon themselves showing they can compete on the level of the artists with stories being submitted by other colleagues who have touring results, impressive video and or digital streaming numbers, etc.
Are you still wondering why a seasoned executive might not want to consider your unsolicited email front loaded with hype, amateur pleading to listen to the links that you have sent to their inbox without permission? If you want to be taken seriously by those who have the ability to assist you in your endeavors in the music business, then take yourself seriously. Educate yourself. Present yourself as such. Don’t alienate yourself right out the gate. Be about the business.
Want to ask some questions on what you need to learn about approach? Check out my page on Consultations and Reviews. I offer phone call conversations that can enlighten you on how tos and how not tos in regard to creating the opportunities you may be missing due to lack of preparation and approach.