Over the weekend, I received a DM on Twitter from an indie artist asking if he should pay an A&R a $300 “consultant fee” to listen to his music.
The short and sweet answer is NO. Absolutely not. But let’s see why.
First, it is important to understand the difference between an A&R consultant and an A&R consultant. An A&R is employed by a record company, major or otherwise. An A&R consultant, or creative consultant, is not an employee of the label. He is an independent entrepreneur, sometimes hired by the label.
An A&R has many responsibilities, more than the music industry Twitter likes to attribute to them, but finding, discovering and signing talent is at the heart of their success. To do this, an A&R must listen to new music. That’s the job. For this they receive a salary.
An A&R consultant, on the other hand, is essentially a talent scout. Some do other more specialized work, but more often they find talent and pitch it to the label for a possible signing. They receive a monthly fee or a commission on signatures.
In either case, it is the record company, not the unsigned artist, who is responsible for paying the A&R or A&R consultant for their time. If the label learned that one of its A&Rs was charging for song submissions, that person would likely be fired. An A&R consultant is also reportedly absent from the gig.
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That said, an artist MAY benefit from hiring a creative consultant, assuming the individual does not post, tease, suggest, or promise a record deal in exchange for a fee. in dollars. Consultants can play a short-term management role, offering wisdom and expertise.
Areas a creative consultant can help include, but are not limited to: album building, art direction, branding, beat selections, digital marketing, imagery, media, editing, sequencing, single selection, social media, synchronization, typography, video and writing.
I didn’t include booking, blog posts, interviews, and playlist submissions in my list. While a creative consultant can help in these areas, those who trumpet them usually do so with false promises and the fulfillment of their dreams. No consultant can promise coverage or internships. Already.
With respect to the “hiring” process itself, both parties must enter into an agreement — a written contract — that clearly states what services the consultant is providing to the client, over what period the consultant will provide them to the client, how the cost of services and how the client is to make payment to the consultant.
Assuming the conversation starts in a DM on Instagram or Twitter, I recommend asking the consultant to forward the conversation via email, with their agreement attached for review. A reputable consultant should be prepared to take a brief call to review the agreement and answer the client’s questions about terms or cost. They shouldn’t charge for that call.
If the consultant insists on communicating only by DM, or if they don’t want to jump on an introductory call, or if they ask for a payment before all the parameters are even in place for the business relationship, walk away. .
And, in general, be smart. The people at Google. Ask around.