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The Artists and Repertoire Talent Scout

Andy Robertson

Sometimes referred to as an A&R Scout these individuals can have a major influence on the career of any up-and-coming performance artist. The A&R Talent Scout’s role is multifaceted, combining artistic insight with business acumen to discover and develop the next generation of musical talent.

Music publishing and record labels operate in a dynamic environment where it is vital to keep up with music trends and this requires the constant acquisition of new talent. A&R scouts are usually employed by these organisations and perform a key role in their financial success and in shaping the music industry by bringing new talent to the music buying public. 

What does the A&R Talent Scout do? 
Their primary role is to identify new talent using a combination of analytical research to discover trends, scouring online platforms and attending live performances. It is essential that they have an intimate knowledge of music genres along with networking skills and project management. It is not unusual for the A&R scout to have a solid knowledge of music production, recording and mixing techniques too which helps new talent to produce technically excellent material. A&R scouts often attend live gigs, clubs and music festivals in the discovery process as this is a good indication of an artist's professionalism in a live performing environment. 

Evaluation of Talent. 
The A&R scout will have numerous criteria in which to assess potential talent, primarily the artist's vocal, instrumental, and songwriting abilities. In addition, they will consider the market and commercial potential of an artist which they will match to their own research on audience preferences and trends. As many scouts find talent in live performance environments, they also judge potential artists on their stage presence and audience engagement. 

Getting the Attention of A&R Scouts. 
Any up-and-coming artist trying to get the attention of an A&R scout should ensure they follow some key steps. The artist should have good coverage on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Spotify and SoundCloud. This should include their latest material to showcase their talent including both live and studio produced tracks. The artist’s manager should use their network to invite relevant A&R scouts to attend live performances to get a real handle on the artist’s capabilities that will cover music quality, live performance skills, professionalism and fan engagement. 

Business Acumen. 
The role of the A&R scout does not end with finding and signing new talent, they will also be heavily involved in their career development. They will assist new talent with high quality recording and production of new material along with marketing and distribution. In addition, they can drive the artist’s live performance schedules, tours and securing music festival appearances. They will also be involved in contract and agreement negotiations on behalf of the record label or publisher when dealing with artist and their managers. It is in the interests of the A&R scout and their employer to provide guidance to the artist on how they develop their material, brand and public persona. This ensures the artist has long term marketability for the record label or publisher. 

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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