TEN A&R DON’TS:
DO NOT pitch your music to every A&R rep in the universe. You’ll waste time and money. Each rep tends to deal with specific styles of music and work with certain genres. Learn what they like – read liner notes, research industry articles or, simply, call their office and ask.
DO NOT hound A&R. Don’t cop an attitude if they don’t respond. They’re one of the busiest workers in the biz, and you’re not their priority – yet. Instead, establish relationships that are relevant to your career. A&R prefer dealing with people they know, trust and like.
3. PHONE CALLS & E-MAILS
DO NOT send anything without calling first. But, don’t call too often, or take 20 minutes to tell them how great you are. Don’t be rude to their staff – they can be your best friends. If A&R wants to contact you, they will.
4. PROMO KITS
DO NOT send volumes of paper and expect anyone to read it. Keep it simple. Remember, it’s about the music. A CD, photo, and one sheet of paper with a brief bio, media quotes, accomplishments and itinerary (tours & shows) is sufficient. If A&R want more, they’ll ask for it.
5. CONTACT INFO
DO NOT forget your contact information. Put it on EVERYTHING. Items get separated. Don’t just note your Website – include your phone and e-mail as well.
6. PET PEEVES
DO NOT wrap your package so that only a blowtorch will open it. Don’t try to be too clever or cute. Unusual packages might get attention, but generally indicate desperation (and lack of quality). Don’t leave the shrink-wrap on your CD. NEVER send food. Don’t lie about your age – they’ll find out. Don’t just list songs on the CD label, print them on the insert and/or sleeve too.
DO NOT send a ten-song album and expect A&R to listen to the whole thing. Do NOT ask A&R to listen to songs 3, 6 and 7. They will listen to the first song and, if they like it, the next. So, put your BEST SONG FIRST, and the rest (no more than 3 songs) in order. A&R often listen while driving or doing something else, so your songs better catch their attention – quickly.
DO NOT send crappy photos. It’s better to send nothing. Don’t confuse A&R with an image that conflicts with your music. Image goes beyond appearance. You must project WHO you are as an artist and WHAT your music represents.
DO NOT showcase before you’re ready. Get an objective opinion first (like a review from Music Connection Magazine). A poor live performance could cool down industry interest – no matter how much they like your music.
10. DON’T BEG
DO NOT expect a label to save you, make you or break you. That’s a huge turn-off. A&R are impressed with artists who accomplish things on their own. It shows them you’re a proven and marketable talent that could generate income for their label. Build a story and buzz around your act and you’ll get industry attention (and help your career in general). Acts that simply focus on their music, and couldn’t care less about a deal, are usually the ones that get the most offers.