If you’re an Excel whiz by day but crawl the clubs looking for the next new thing after business hours, this gig may be the perfect marriage of “real job” and music love. Pantsuits and ties are optional; passion for number-crunching is required.
The artists & repertoire administrator works under the direction of the senior A&R executive, and is primarily responsible for clerical tasks and budget monitoring for the department. This individual, or team of administrators, plans budgets for artists signed to the label based on a thorough audit of previous expenditures and estimates of needs for the coming quarter and fiscal year. These budgets are concerned with costs associated with recording albums: studio time, producers’ fees, compensation for session musicians, and mastering. A&R administrators are tasked with designing the cost proposal and, upon approval, must monitor all transactions to ensure that the album stays on budget. This person will build in a contingency buffer for the unexpected (for instance, what if a blizzard hits New York and knocks out power to Lower Manhattan two weeks before the delivery deadline?). Other tasks may include maintaining information databases and label copy, acting as a liaison with the finance department, and invoicing.
Skills & Education
An affinity for spreadsheets and numbers is imperative. This job requires a substantial education in finance, statistics, accounting, and higher-level mathematics. A college degree in business administration or music business is expected. Also important is a firm understanding of the recording process, the billing structure of studios, and master recording rights. You must be comfortable and poised in communicating with producers and artists, have strong spreadsheet and reporting skills, and have a passion for music.
What to Expect
Record labels typically adhere to a casual dress code meant to reflect that employees are in touch with the scene and artists, not uptight pencil-pushers. You will spend most of your day buried up to your eyeballs in spreadsheets and expense reports, but you will also be afforded access to producers, studios, and artists that the mailroom clerk can only dream of. This job does require experience, but for those with a considerable background in finance or accounting, this gig could be your in to the A&R department. Openings are rare, and everyone wants to be an A&R exec; starting as an administrator will allow you to understand label operations from the inside and prepare you for advancement. Your best asset is a meticulous eye for detail and the ability to keep an album on budget; those who let the producer blow too much of the label’s money without keeping the band’s A&R rep apprised will find themselves blackballed.
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