5 Rules for Meeting with A&R

If you’ve set up a meeting with the A&R person of a record company, congratulations! That’s a great first step toward kickstarting your music career. But the work has only just begun… Setting a meeting was just part one of trying to convince them that you should be added to their artist roster. Here are some tips to keep in mind before you take on the A&R world.

1. Get centered
You’ll need to be in the right frame of mind going into your meeting. It’s only natural to be a little nervous, but you should do your best to minimize your jitters. Calm, cool and confident is the name of the game here. One way to help your cause is by being as well-prepared as you possibly can (see the tips below for more on that). One surefire way to let your nerves get to you is by not knowing exactly what you want to say!

You might try meditating beforehand as well. If you’ve never tried it before, it doesn’t take long to learn the basics! Things like meditation and yoga can keep your mind focused, keep you relaxed, and let you keep your eyes on the prize–you shouldn’t be flustered just because someone cut you off on the highway on the way there. Focus on your breathing and stay in a calm mindset.

2. Be complimentary
Everyone loves a good compliment. That includes record label folks! You might want to start your meeting off by explaining why you love their label. Why did you want to take this meeting in the first place? What aspects of this particular record company do you find most appealing? Who are the artists on their roster that you really love?  Flattery can get you everywhere.

Just like a job interview, it pays to prove that you’re knowledgeable of the company that you’re trying to work with. Visit their website beforehand and read up on their company history and musical philosophies. You should be doing this anyway before you decide the label is a good fit! Look up articles written about them. Get as specific as you can to show you’ve done your homework, and they’ll only have more confidence in you.

3. Listen intently
It’s a good thing to remember that you have two ears and only one mouth. Although you’re obviously going to want to do some talking during your meeting, try to listen twice as much as you speak. The advantage to this is that you can play off of specific things the A&R person says–listen for their needs, business ideas and plans. The idea is to illustrate to them why they should want to add you to their artist roster. Remember, if they really knew why they needed you there, they probably would have signed you already. So it’s up to you to convince them that you’re their artist.

What do you have to offer them? Why should they take a risk on you? How can you make them money? (It is a business after all.) Why would their current fans also love your music? They have everything you need to know, and it’s your job to listen for the clues.

4. Be creative
You may think you’re creative and clever, but the fact is that record labels talk to dozens of creative people every week. It should be your goal to stand out from the crowd and be especially creative when you talk to them. What can you do to be unforgettable?

Many business owners looking for investors develop what they call an “elevator pitch.” This is the 30-second summary of your product and goals that you could pitch to the company president who just happens to be in the elevator with you for a brief time… It works just as well for musicians as it does for other businesses. Can you summarize your sound and why you’re interesting and unique in just a minute or two? You may have set up an A&R meeting, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to give you an hour of their time. Practice your elevator pitch until it becomes second nature.

5. When all is said and done, dont worry about the results
After your meeting, congratulate yourself on a job well done. If you were disappointed with a particular aspect of it, take note of that for the next opportunity. But don’t dwell on the results of the meeting. You may get lucky and the A&R person liked you. But it’s more than likely that you receive a polite rejection.

Don’t let it get to you. Everyone fails once in a while–successful people probably fail more than anyone. It’s how you deal with failure that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd. Keep your chin up and keep pursuing your musical dreams. If you’d like more feedback on your project before heading into the A&R office, try a free project consultation with Studio Pros!

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