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A&R's Artist and Repetoire
A&R stands for artist and repertoire. For record labels, the A&R reps are the people who find new artists and sign them to the label although in reality, there may be more than one person involved in the decision to sign the musician to the label. A&R reps are the musicians' point of contact at the label during contract negotiations and they facilitate things like setting up the advance, booking recording sessions where required and anything else that needs to be done to act ready for release.
They also play an important role in development of the artist - how the band will be marketing, sometimes choosing songs for the musicians to record if they don't write their own material and building a basic promotional foundation for the album and the band.