Niyah Smith – a Young Music Executive Shedding Light on the Music Industry

He finds peace in music, he is tipped to be one of the next big A&Rs coming through the ranks.

In the rapidly changing music industry, the A&R structure is always changing. Maybe 10 years ago A&R was the traditional sign “whats hot” (musicians wise) A&R the records and try and make the next superstar.

In this day and age record labels are signing comedians & reality TV stars. “If it’s popping on the internet, we will sign it “.

Majors are always up against eachother, many try and get in there before other labels get a sniff, it’s not always a first come first serve, it depends on who offers what, and what team within the label will be in charge of the artist. The part everyone looks forward to is the money, on some occasions I have witnessed 5 different labels battling for one act, bidding wars!

We are now at a stage that artists are going viral via different platforms such as tiktok, triller, Instagram & Twitter. Some majors have dedicated members of staff who live on tiktok, it is their job to find talent on the platform aswell as find influencers who they can partner with to push artists on their roster.

A&Rs can go to many sources for tip offs on new talent like lawyers, publishers , open mic nights , blogs , word of mouth, music managers , radio pluggers, PR companies and many more.

An A&Rs work is never finished, there is always something to do within this field , the ultimate aim is to “not sign any acts that don’t work”. This is very unrealistic. From my experience and speaking to senior executives who have been in the game for a long time have all said they’ve signed acts that haven’t worked, that is part of the game.

Depending on what level you are at within the label, some have more power then others. In other words “their judgement “ is more trusted. A Senior A&R manager will have greater power over an A&R scout.

Knowledge is key, educate yourself, you can never stop learning. This will be a massive advantage for you in your career .

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