What is a Music Executive?
A music executive is someone who works in senior management within a record label. They make executive decisions and oversee the publishing, manufacturing, marketing, promotion, production, distribution and touring decisions for the record label and their artists.
The music executive may also handle the selection of musicians and technicians and seek out new talent. Music executives must have a combination of natural talent and professional training. Executives who search for musical talent should have a natural ability to spot marketable talent, as well as the creative ability to nurture talent. They oversee all aspects of the recording process and the production of music videos. A music executive’s influence is great, but if they fail to deliver chart-topping hits, their tenure could be cut short.
Music Executives are the Captains of the big yellow submarine that is commercial recording. They oversee almost every aspect of the recording process from scouting new talent, to in-studio production of that talent’s next hit, to throwing the party when a record sells 1 million copies.
Some Executives do this all, from start to finish, while others choose to specialize in a few areas, such as finding and marketing talent. But whether you specialize or not, you’ll need a broad and deep knowledge of music generally: A good Music Executive knows the industry inside and out. They know how to produce, record, market, and distribute a song. They also know the basics of songwriting (and have probably written some songs themselves). Many are multi- Instrumentalist as well.
All this information helps you profitably navigate the music industry. Because even if you choose to focus in one area, you need to understand how your work fits into the production process at large.
But this work isn’t all just a rose-colored Artist ’s dream: Beyond the musical talent mentioned above, you’ve got to be extremely business savvy—if you want to make a living in the music industry, somebody has to give you money at some point.
You should also love what you do, because you’re going to have to work hard. Successful Music Executives don’t usually have 9 to 5 schedules because they work much longer hours than that, and even off the job, most of their time is spent in the music world.
A&R – Artists and Repertoire
A&R stands for Artists and Repertoire. The is the division of a record label that is responsible for talent scouting and the artistic and commercial development of the recording artist. It also acts as a liaison between the artist and the record label.
The role of A&R has three main responsibilities:
Overseeing the recording process
Assisting with marketing and promotion
A & R can sign new or established talent to the company’s roster. They then continue to work closely with the artist, acting as their liaison to the label’s business affairs department and as an advisor who will help nurture a certain sound and image Their duties include listening to demos, aligning artists with the right producer, and offering creative input.
For the unsigned musician, A&R can be the gatekeepers of the industry. It is not their job to keep you out, so much as it is to find marketable music for their company. A&R reps are the musicians’ point of contact at the label during contract negotiations. They also play an important role in development of the artist – how the band will be marketing, sometimes choosing songs for the musicians to record if they don’t write their own material and building a basic promotional foundation for the album and the band.