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Upper-echelon execs continue to place the burden of the biz downturn (as well as any hope for an upturn) squarely on the shoulders of their A&R staffers.
WHEELS & DEALS SPECIAL:
IS IT OVER YET?
25% Decrease in Label A&R Positions
in Past 5 Years
Here’s hoping you stuffed yourselves over the Turkey break—we still have nearly 30 days to go before the end of the year, and some of you are already $30k over your expense-account limits.

But since we’re over ’02 every bit as much as you are, here’s a little tidbit to keep you going like the Energizer Bunny for the next few weeks: There are currently around 200 people in the biz (that’s two hundy) who are paid to search out new artists for the top 30 or so Big Five imprints.

Our crack computer department did some mad calculations for us, and they recorded a 25% decrease in A&R positions since roughly five years ago, when Electronica turned out not to be thenextbigthing and corporate rawk once again claimed the airwaves.

Nevertheless, upper-echelon execs continue to place the burden of the biz downturn (as well as any hope for an upturn) squarely on the shoulders of their A&R staffers. What’s a poor weasel to do?

As the majors scramble to find new ways to keep corporate revenue flowing, talk of new artist-development models becoming part of the A&R process is increasing. This is a tad ironic, given that artist development used to be among A&R’s primary concerns.At this point, more and more hittas are saying increased attention to AD and more efficient ways of achieving it are the way to go.

So, are some labels starting to make AD a priority once again? Will we see more partnerships between majors and independent labels or indie A&R/producer types in the next year? Will the setup EP become more prevalent as a tool in the A&R process? A few intriguing new ideas are being kicked around. Stay tuned.

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