Artist and Repertoire Workers
There are hundreds of record companies across the country, but many are small, independent labels staffed by very few people. Three corporations—Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment—control a large percentage of the recording industry in the United States and employ the majority of A&R workers. Major record labels include A&M, Geffen, Warner Bros., Atlantic, Columbia, Virgin, and Capitol. There are also many independent record labels such as Bloodshot Records, Thrill Jockey Records, and Righteous Babe Records. Most positions are located in Los Angeles, New York City, and Nashville.
Getting a job in A&R can be very difficult—such positions are highly sought after. Some major record companies offer internship opportunities; check with your college's internship office for information. After college, you can pursue an entry-level position with a record company. You should work in any department in which there's a job opening. Check the help wanted ads in such trade magazines as Billboard (https://www.billboard.com) and Variety (https://www.variety.com), or seek out temporary employment agencies that specialize in placing people in jobs in the entertainment industry.
Once A&R workers gain some experience in the music industry, whether within a company, or as a freelance producer or manager, they will be able to make connections with other, more experienced A&R professionals. An A&R worker may begin as an assistant, then work up into a position as a coordinator, and later as a vice-president or president of the department.
Tips for Entry
Be willing to relocate to Los Angeles, New York City, or Nashville. It may open more job opportunities.
Use social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on industry developments, network, and learn about job openings.
Participate in internships at music recording companies.
Conduct information interviews with artist and repertoire workers and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.