module specification

LT6051 - Artist and Repertoire (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Artist and Repertoire
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
10 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
104 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 20%   Individual Oral class presentation (10-minute long),
Coursework 80%   Individual Essay 2,000 words
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module provides a critical understanding of the interface between the creative industries and the artists who provide the underlying content for these industries. Specifically, record company A&R (Artist and Repertoire) and music publisher roles and functions, and management functions are examined, and the underlying principles of successful A&R practice are distilled, from what is often erroneously considered to be an area of subjectivity.
The module will examine the extent to which there is an objective process for the successful undertaking of A&R activities. Within the context of artist and repertoire, the module will explore the interplay of music scenes, pioneering artists, classic albums, talent discovery, the role of independents, and the concept of artist development. Theoretical and practical components will shape the student's understanding of the critical functions of discovery, assessment, and development of talent within creative industries. A&R skills are perhaps of greater importance than ever, even if they will be utilised increasingly outside of the traditional record company framework. The skill sets associated with effective processes of discovering, assessing and developing creative talent are central to those required by students of the music industry, but also have broad transferable benefits for those studying other creative sectors, such as fashion or events, and the module can therefore stand as an EoK module and also a study abroad module.

Module Aims:

  1. To develop students’ understanding of the evolution of popular music within artist and repertoire.
  2. To introduce students to the various elements of popular culture.
  3. To connect relevant economic concepts in production and consumption of popular culture to the creative dynamics and changes in styles, genres and modes of communication.
  4. To understand the analytical tools at students’ disposal, including but not limited to critical theory, and the economy of the creative industries.
  5. To comprehensively introduce the A&R globalisation of music
  6. To create an overview of the impact of global music repertoire
  7. To introduce the context of global A&R, music licensing and market strategies


  1. The Importance of song structure and hooks LO3
  2. The A&R & Product Manger Relationship LO2
  3. Introducing Frontline A&R and Frontline discovery LO1/LO2
  4. The A&R and Artist Relationship LO1/LO2
  5. Social Media and The Pre-Signed Artist LO4
  6. The History of A&R LO1
  7. Different Genres and A&R strategy LO4
  8. Music Publishing A&R – deal issues, songwriters, & producers LO3
  9. Sync and A&R - placement and breaking the act LO3
  10. Careers in A&R – jobs and how to make your name LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The formal delivery of the teaching and learning will be based on three contact hours per week
spread over 12 weeks with an additional enrichment week mid-way through the module. The teaching and learning techniques employed on the module will consist of the following: workshops, case-study discussions, videos, as well as problem solving questions in relation to current A&R issues. Where possible, guest speakers will be invited.
Outside of class contact hours, students will also be expected to undertake independent study and collaborative work (reading, discussions and own/group research). In class students will be set home study questions to prepare for the next class. Students are responsible for preparing for class, and studying relevant materials (articles, texts, case study, video etc) before coming.
Teaching is delivered through a blended learning model, using weekly classroom workshops and BlackBoard / Weblearn Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), in order to explore themes and identify issues typical of the A&R sector. Students will receive both formative and summative feedback through each assessment, within 15 week days, including the final component. In preparation for the first item of assessment, students will be required to start an early formative assignment in week 4. Students will receive feedback on this in week 5, which they will then have opportunity to discuss with tutors and reflect upon this to help construct their first assessment. Opportunities for reflective learning will be available throughout the module as students are given the opportunity to consider their approach to tasks/discussions whilst also having the opportunity to reflect upon informal feedback.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will:

  1. Understand the sociocultural and creative imperatives behind artist and repertoire and their social, cultural and political impact (LO1)
  2. Present an overview of methods suited to the understanding of A&R business within an appropriate context (LO2)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of different strategies for maximising international success in the music business (LO3)
  4. Interpret globalisation effects upon music scenes artist/acts and genres across different territories (LO4)

Assessment strategy

Assessment for this module is designed to help students to self-evaluate, to aid decision making, to learn from mistakes and, where possible to plan the students’ curriculum and future career.

Formative assessment
Formative assessment will be carried out during sessions where students will discuss issues and themes, and carry out problem-orientated tasks relating to issues pertinent to the A&R sector and wider music business. Students will have the opportunity to develop theoretical, analytical, creative thinking, and communication skills.

Summative assessment:

1. In-class presentation (20%, LO1/LO4)
Each student will be expected to give a 10-minute presentation critiquing the career of a selected A&R person, considering career milestones, professional decision making, key records made & released, artist development & market strategy.

2. Individual Essay (80%, LO1-2-3)
Building on assessment 1 above.
Select the successful A&R person past or present, research and write an essay analysing their role in the areas of talent discovery, talent assessment and development, and explore how they have harnessed relevant business, creative, and cultural opportunities available to A&R in order to nurture, launch and sustain the artist's career. Discuss the basis of their "success", and indicate how they have attempted to reconcile the desire to discover great music, with the commercial constraints of working within the music business, record label expectations, business changes and musical trends. All sources are relevant are relevant, incl; bios, docos, academic journals, textbooks, web articles, interviews, social media).
2,000 words (+/- 10%)


Core Texts:

Weissman D. (2017), Understanding the Music Business: Real World Insights, Routledge; 2nd edition

Dubber, A. (2012), Understanding the music Industries, Sage Publications Ltd.
Lusensky, J. (2011) Sounds Like Branding: Use the Power of Music to Turn Customers into Fans. A & C Black Publishers Ltd.
Negus, K. (1999) Music Genres and Corporate Cultures, Routledge

Other Texts:
Adorno, T (2001) The Culture Industry, London: Routledge
Anderson, C (2009) Free, Hyperion
Bartlett, C.A. & Goshal, S. (1995) Transnational Management
Beard, D & Gloag, K (2005) Musicology: The Key Concepts, London: Routledge
Bennett, A (2001) Cultures of Popular Music: Issues in Cultural & Media Studies, Buckingham: Open University Press
Bennett, R. (1999) International Business
Blecha, P (2004) Taboo Tunes: A History of Banned Bands & Censored Songs, Milwaukee: Backbeat Books
Bordowitz, H (2004) Turning Points in Rock and Roll, Sacramento: Citadel Press
Burnett, R. (1996) The Global Jukebox, Routledge
Clayton, M, Herbert, T and Middleton, R (2003) The Cultural Study of Music, Routledge 
Cohen, S (2002) Folk Devils and Moral Panics: Creation of Mods and Rockers, Routledge
Cook, N and Everist M (ed) (1999) Rethinking Music, Oxford: Oxford University Press
De Nora, T (2003) After Adorno: Rethinking Music Sociology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Doyle G (2002) Understanding Media Economics, Sage Publications
Drummond, B (1998) The Manual: How to Have A Number One Hit the Easy Way, London: Ellipsis
Frith, S & Goodwin, A (ed) (1990) On Record: Rock, Pop, and the Written Word, London: Routledge
Gebesmere, A (2002) Global Repertoires Popular Music With-in And Beyond the Transnational Music Industry, Ashgate
Gillett, C (1996) The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock & Roll, London: Souvenir Press
Klein, N. (2000) No Logo, Random House
Negus, Keith (1996) Popular Music in Theory: An Introduction, London: Polity/Blackwell
Passman D (2016) All you need to know about the Music Business Penguin Books
Shuker, R (2001) Understanding Popular Music, London: Routledge
Thornton, S and Gelder, K (1997) The Subcultures Reader, London: Routledge
Williams, A (2001) Constructing Musicology, Camberley: Ashgate

Popular Music

Digital Music News
Music Business Worldwide

BPI Statistical Handbook (Yearly Publication)
IFPI The Recording Industry in Numbers (Yearly Publication)