Working under the supervision of an A&R manager, the artists and relations administrator plans and oversees budgets, and takes care of numerous administrative and support-oriented tasks for the department.
When a signed artist embarks on a new recording project, the A&R administrator designs cost proposals for the entire process, taking into account expenses related to studio time, recording personnel, session musicians, mixing and mastering, marketing and promotion, and more. Subsequently, the administrator monitors every penny spent to make sure the budget isn't blown on a single part of the process.
In addition to managing album budgets, A&R 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.
Although larger labels might leave these more menial duties to lower level A&R coordinators, A&R administrators might also be asked to schedule studio time, book musicians, rent studio equipment and services, coordinate artist travel and lodging, collect the copy and credits for an album release, answer office phones, prepare CDs for meetings, or even coordinate a remix project.
A&R Administrator at a Glance
A&R administrators are generally seen as the entry-level employees of the A&R administrative track—a parallel position to the talent scouting track's A&R representatives. The world of A&R is famously difficult to enter, but the fact that this job requires impressive financial, mathematical, and organizational skills alleviates some of the competition, making it an excellent starting point for those who wish to climb the ranks. Much like A&R representatives, A&R administrators can progress to become A&R managers, A&R directors, and even—if driven and lucky—record label executives.
Still, job titles and responsibilities can vary greatly from department to department; for example, at some companies A&R administrators may be referred to as A&R coordinators, whereas at others these are two separate roles. In addition, small labels are unlikely to have multiple dedicated A&R administrators as most A&R staff will pick up a share of the administrative workload.
Although A&R professionals 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 Launchpad, Pulse Music Group, and Mom + Pop. People typically land this job after working in another area of the music business such as music licensing, recording, production, or management, or after working as an A&R coordinator or intern for a record company or publisher.
- Microsoft Excel
- Data analysis
- Higher mathematics
- Administrative skills
- Written communication
A&R administrators are organized, detail-oriented, and data-driven planners and analysts, equally passionate about crunching numbers as they are about creating the next hit single. An ideal A&R administrator is also a flexible communicator, capable of distilling difficult information and communicating it to musicians, producers, A&R managers, and record label executives.
Of all the members of the A&R department, administrators are the most likely to work traditional business hours and spend most of their time behind a desk. Outside of work hours, however, administrators can usually be found at concerts, showcases, and other music industry events.