I was reading the credits for one of my favorite albums and saw an A&R credit. What does A&R stand for and what purpose does this position serve in the creation of an album?
Artists and repertoire (colloquially abbreviated to A&R) is the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists (singers, instrumentalists, bands, and so on) and songwriters. It also acts as a liaison between artists and the record label or publishing company; every activity involving artists to the point of album release is generally considered under the purview, and responsibility, of A&R.
As far as A&R's purpose in the creation of the album, the above referenced Wikipedia article states:
Overseeing the recording process
The A&R division of a record label oversees the music style and recording process. This includes helping the artist to find the right record producer, scheduling time in a recording studio and advising the artist on all aspects of making a high-quality recording. They work with the artist to choose the best songs (i.e., repertoire) to record. For artists who do not write their own music, the A&R person will assist in finding songs, songwriters, and arrangers. A&R staff will help find session musicians for the recording. A&R executives maintain contact with their counterparts at music publishing companies to get new songs and material from songwriters and producers.
As the record nears completion, the A&R department works closely with the artist to determine whether the record is acceptable to the record company. This process may include suggesting that new songs need to be written, that existing songs need a new arrangement, or that some album tracks need to be re-recorded. A key issue is whether the album has a single: a particular track which can be used to market the record.
Also known as the 'Umm & Ahh department' - responsible for changing their minds, not remembering the band members' names, not being sure of release schedules, falling out over track listings & artwork… & generally feeling like a hinderance to the entire artistic process. Don't invite them to the studio whilst you're working on a track …& if you have to, never give them a copy of the rough mix, or they'll get so used to it they won't like the final mix.– TetsujinOct 20, 2022 at 6:59