module specification

LT6051 - Artist and Repertoire (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
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
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 50%   Individual presentation
Coursework 50%   1250 word essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City Thursday Morning

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) 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, quantifiable process for the successful undertaking of A&R activities. Theoretical and practical components will shape the student's understanding of the critical functions of discovery, assessment, and development of talent within creative industries. The expertise of Rob Dickins (LMBS Visiting Professor, former Chairman of Warners) will be provided through his involvement in the delivery of certain guest lectures, and will give students an insight into best industry practice in this area.   Particular emphasis will be given to developing an understanding of the new and diverse needs for creative talent in the evolving music industry.

Prior learning requirements

Introduction to the Music Industry and Creative Digital Platforms
Music Appreciation and Creative Methods

Module aims

1. To understand historical and ongoing debates about the nature of art and the nature of commercial imperatives and the dialectical relationship between them

2. To understand concepts of subjectivity and objectivity in relation to assessing artistic talent

3. To understand the role and function of A&R staff in record companies, to examine how this role has evolved since the 1950s and assess how A&R staff meet present day challenges

4.  To understand how these talent finding and development skills are also now required by new music and creative media companies
5. To understand how artist development is a process driven by many different stakeholders including A&R staff, artist managers and record producers; and to examine the complex interplay between these points of developmental input

6. To understand the relationship between A&R functions and other record company functions, with particular reference to marketing strategies

7. To understand how approaches to discovering, assessing and developing talent may vary according to genre and territory
8.  Communicating/presenting– orally and in writing, including inter-cultural communication
9.  Problem Solving and Decision Making
10.  Self assessment/reflection, including awareness of and management of emotions
11.  Interpersonal, including. collaborating / working with others, cross cultural awareness,having a positive attitude, negotiation and persuasion
12. Enterprise skills, including taking initiative, being creative, leadership, completingtasks and projects, taking calculated risks
13. Career management


What is "talent" and why is it of fundamental importance to the content industries?

Discovering talent - theory and practice, channels of discovery
Talent assessment- theory and practice

The development of talent - artist development - theory and practice
 - stakeholders
Case Studies - presented by former Chairman of Warner Music Group - Rob Dickins

Case Studies – presented by other guest A+R personnel

The relationship between successful marketing strategies and effective A&R functions
The importance of artistic identity and its role in establishing the core audience

Who are the new stakeholders in talent discovery and talent development since the decline of traditional record?

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered by way of 3 hour weekly workshops.  Each workshop shall comprise formal content delivery, class discussion, interactive class exercises, and from week 6, delivery and group discussion of student individual presentations.

Workshops shall be supported by the use of directed reading, videos and other media.  Audio-visual platforms such as Youtube and Myspace will provide a fundamental part of the teaching experience.
The workshops shall develop students’ confidence in subject discipline as well as in generic skills such as written and oral communication, creativity, critical and analytical skills.   Students will be expected to undertake prior directed reading and digest weblearn provided materials.

Workshops shall also provide an opportunity for students to consider and reflect upon career opportunities within the international music and creative media industries.  VP Rob Dickins will conduct a music industry job interview training session in week 6.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will:

1. Understand the ways in which artists are discovered by the creative industries and identify areas of possible objectivity in relation to the assessment of talent and be able to clearly articulate the basis for any given assessment
3. Analyse how the creative industries seek to develop the talent they have discovered, and be able to critically assess the success or failure of such developmental processes
4. Understand a given artist's artistic identity and that of the artist's core audience.
5. Understand how, to be successful, marketing strategies must be compatible with the artist's identity
6.  Understand the career profiles of successful A+R personnel and understand the ethical issues that may arise in the process of talent development

Assessment strategy

Diagnostic and formative assessment will take place weekly during the workshops where in addition to the formal transmission of content students will have the opportunity to develop theoretical, analytical, creative thinking, and oral and written communication skills

There are two components to the formal summative assessment strategy, an individual presentation and a written essay. Both aspects of the assessment process are designed to support student learning by requiring students to apply the theory and practice of taught elements. Both have formative and summative aspects. The formative assessment aims of enhancing learning outcomes are strongly related to employability related components in the overall field. In particular, the individual presentation is modeled very closely on what would be encountered in a record company A+R meeting. Assessment timing has been designed to align with the delivery of taught components and the need to provide student feedback during the presentations process.


(50% weighting)
Each student will be expected to give a 12 minute presentation in relation to 2 different unsigned acts selected by the student. One of which should be cited as an example of potentially successful talent worthy of being signed to an appropriate record company, one of which is of potential interest but in need of a greater degree of artistic development (the nature of which should be specified by the student). The presentation should include use of streamed Myspace or YouTube content demonstrating the selected artists together with the student's commentary. The Presentation aspect of the assessment process will require students to: understand the ways in which artists are discovered by the creative industries, identify areas of possible objectivity in relation to the assessment of talent and be able to articulate the same, and analyse how the creative industries may develop the talent they have discovered.
 Presentations will run from week 21 until week 28 in order to provide sufficient time for all students to present.

(50% weighting)

The essay aspect of the assessment process will require students to apply theoretical and practical problem solving approaches to a question concerning the central module themes.


Bennett, Andy (2001) "Music Scenes: Local, Translocal and Virtual" Open University Press

Adorno, Theodore (1956) "Essays on Music" University of California Press

Denisoff, R (2004) "Solid Gold: The Popular Record Industry" Transaction Books

Fonarow, Wendy (2006) "Empire of Dirt" Weslayan University Press

Frith, Simon (1999) "Rock and Sexuality" University of Chicago Press

Marcus, Greil (2005) "Mystery Train" Plume (reissue 1997)

Negus, Keith (1998) "Music Genres and Corporate Cultures" Oxford University Press

Tate Joseph (2006) "The Music and The Art of Radiohead",

A&R Think Tank: New Talent Acquisition Practices - available on MP3 from

Students are encouraged to read the biographies / autobiographies of distinguished record company A&R executives, including Chris Blackwell, Ahmet Ertegun, Berry Gordy, Alan McGee, Tony Wilson and Clive Davis


Music Week



The Guardian Newspaper - Monday edition Media section, Friday Music section

The Financial Times - Tuesday edition - Creative Business

The Stage