Although the specifics of the job depend on the size and hierarchy of the department, A&R coordinators do everything that A&R representatives—the foot soldiers of the department—do: attend shows, scout and sign promising new artists, listen to demo submissions, and guide the careers and album efforts of specific artists. In addition, A&R coordinators liaise with the marketing and publicity departments to come up with bold new promotional strategies for upcoming releases, oversee the efforts of a team of A&R representatives, and provide periodic reports to the A&R director.
There's a great deal of variation in job duties and nomenclature from company to company. Generally speaking, A&R coordinators are much less likely than representatives to perform clerical tasks like assembling the copy or credits for an album, filing a contract with a union, or making travel arrangements for artists and label staff. However, A&R coordinators at larger independent labels do it all, while small A&R departments may not even have coordinators. In some cases there may be only one A&R coordinator, who acts as the director's second in command.
A&R coordinators are sometimes referred to as managers, although A&R managers generally serve a more administrative role.
A&R Coordinator at a Glance
This is a senior position in the A&R department. Before breaking into the field of A&R, one might work in other sections of the music industry, including management, production, publishing, promotion, or radio. One might also perform internships in the A&R department, or apprentice to an A&R director or executive. After landing a position as an A&R representative, hard work can secure the promotion to A&R coordinator, granting new power and responsibilities. A&R coordinators work alongside A&R managers, and both are eligible to become A&R directors.
A&R coordinators work mostly for major record companies and music publishers, as this kind of intermediate position is less likely to exist in smaller companies. When hiring A&R representatives, which is the pre-requisite job for working as a coordinator, companies look for work or internship experience in music business, as well as demonstrable engagement in a local music scene: putting on shows, working at a radio station, tour managing for an up-and-coming band, or building online music communities.
- Deep knowledge of musical trends, movements, and styles
- Exceptional ear for music
- Written and verbal communication
- Personnel management
A&R coordinators must be impressive multitaskers: exceptionally well-organized, detail-oriented, flexible, and punctual. Finding and signing talented new artists requires patience, connections, fantastic ears, and the ability to be persuasive. In addition, coordinators are well served by strong leadership qualities, including written and verbal communication skills.
Like many in the music business, A&R representatives work unpredictable schedules, which include seeing a lot of live music, listening to mountains of demos, spending time with artists, and attending to business in the office. It should go without saying that networking is a tremendous part of the job, and keeps A&R representatives busy outside of conventional work hours. Fortunately, in this profession, networking usually means attending concerts, showcases, open mics, workshops, and private music industry events.