What Does an A&R Administrator Do?

Working under the supervision of an A&R manager or director, the A&R administrator plans and oversees budgets for the label’s artists and takes care of numerous additional administrative tasks.

The world of A&R is famously difficult to enter, but the fact that this job requires high-level financial and mathematical skills alleviates some of the competition, making it an excellent starting point for aspiring A&R directors and record company executives.

Financial Tasks

When an artist embarks on a new recording project, it's the administrator's job to design cost proposals for the entire process. The administrator must take into account numerous costs including studio time, the producer, the session musicians and vocalists, mixing and mastering, and additional marketing—both for the album itself and the tour that promotes it. When these proposals are being put into action and the album made, administrators monitor every penny spent to make sure the project stays on budget—ensuring that, for example, the producer can't blow through the entire recording budget without letting the band’s A&R rep know.

Administrative Tasks

In addition to managing album budgets, administrators handle many of the department’s general administrative tasks, such as coordinating and maintaining contracts, submitting bills and purchase orders, projecting future expenses based on past and current budgets, and gathering and analyzing data connected to music streaming and licensing.

People in the Field

Melody Ewing

Name:

Melody
Ewing
Class of 
2007
Position: 
Director of A&R Administration, Verve Label Group at Universal Music Group

A&R Administrator at a Glance

Career Path

A&R administrators are the entry-level employees of the A&R administrative track. They can progress to become A&R managers, A&R directors, and even—if driven and lucky—record label executivesThe administrative track runs parallel to the talent scouting track, which includes A&R representatives and A&R coordinators. Job titles and responsibilities can vary greatly from department to department; at smaller labels, the duties of administrators and representatives may be folded into one general A&R position.

The world of A&R is famously difficult to enter, but the fact that this job requires high-level financial and mathematical skills alleviates some of the competition, making it an excellent starting point for aspiring A&R directors and record company executives.

Finding Work

Although A&R representatives are best known for their work at record labels (both major and independent), they can also work for music publishing companies and independent A&R agencies, such as LaunchpadPulse Music Group, and Mom + Pop.

People typically land this job after working in another area of the music business such as music licensing, recording studios, production, or management, or after performing a lower level job or internship at the record company or music publisher in question.

Professional Skills
  • Spreadsheets
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Data analysis
  • Contracts
  • Higher mathematics
  • Accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Invoicing
  • Administrative skills
  • Written communication
Interpersonal Skills

A&R administrators are organized, detail-oriented, and data-driven planners and analysts, who are as passionate about crunching numbers as they are about making the next hit single. The ideal administrator takes pleasure in planning ahead, color-coding spreadsheets, searching data for trends, and catching others' small mistakes. Administrators are also flexible communicators, who are just as comfortable speaking with fellow mathematicians as they are with musicians, producers, and record label executives, all of whom may struggle to understand the intricacies of an administrator's job.

Work Life

Of the A&R department, administrators are the most likely to work traditional business hours from behind a desk. Outside of work hours, however, administrators can usually be found at concerts, parties, and music industry events.