module specification

LT6051 - Artist and Repertoire (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Artist and Repertoire
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 105
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
60 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 40%   Individual presentation
Coursework 60%   Written essay
Running in 2020/21
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) 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 the 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 and worst 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.  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 the students of the music industry, but have wide 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


What is "talent" and why is it of fundamental importance to the content industries? LO1
Discovering talent - theory and practice, channels of discovery LO1
Talent assessment- theory and practice: LO2
Assessing: performance / stagecraft / material / aesthetics / intelligence / attitude and work ethic / dynamics/ structure / identity / initial fanbase / online presence etc)
The development of talent - artist development - theory and practice, limitations / dangers LO2
Stakeholders in artist development – complex interplay LO2
Manufacturing Talent – processes and outcomes (South Korea) / X Factor etc Versus  “Real Artists” – who are they, and what is the business case for procuring them LO1,LO2
Industry A&R people - Case Studies and guest speakers LO2
The relationship between successful marketing strategies and effective A&R functions LO1,LO2
The importance of artistic identity and its role in establishing the core audience LO1,LO2
Who are the new stakeholders in talent discovery and talent development since the decline of traditional record companies? LO1,LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

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 approx week 5, 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, Facebook, Soundcloud, and Tumblr 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 an A+R job interview training session in approximately week 6.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will:

1. Identify areas of possible objectivity in relation to the assessment of talent and be able to clearly articulate the basis for any given assessment
2. 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

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 modelled very closely on what would be encountered in a record company A+R meeting. 

Each student will be expected to give a 20-minute presentation in relation to two 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 be made up of streamed YouTube, Facebook, and Soundcloud etc content demonstrating the selected artists together with the student's commentary which should demonstrate the student's understanding of objective and subjective assessment criteria in relation to the talent.
From week 5 onwards - 40% - A1

Identify a successful A&R person within the music business, past or present. Describe and explain their role in the area of talent discovery, assessment and development. Discuss the basis of their "success", and indicate how they attempted to reconcile the desire to discover great music with the commercial constraints of working within a music "business"
2500 words - Week 15 - 60% - A2


A&R Think Tank: New Talent Acquisition Practices - available on MP3 from
Adorno, Theodore (1956) "Essays on Music" University of California Press
Bennett, Andy (2001) "Music Scenes: Local, Translocal and Virtual" Open University 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 (1975) "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",


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