Posted on 22nd january 2019 by the eric team
When Warner Music Group let us into their offices to run riot, we did a few things. Touching everything a celebrity may have touched (this took a while), ‘borrowing’ memorabilia from unmanned desks, an unsuccessful attempt to break into the in-house studio… and we also cornered a couple of WMG employees to ask them about what they do. All in all, a great day for the ERIC team. P.S. Joe is a biiiig deal - read on if you wanna get serious job envy.
Interview with Joe Kentish, Head of A&R for Warner Bros. Records
Job title: Head of A&R for Warner Bros. Records - I manage a team of 6 A&R people and I also do A&R myself. I search and find new talent we wanna work with, sign them to a record deal and help them create music that we can then market effectively.
Where do you go in the office: Part of my day will be talking to and helping out people on my A&R team, help them decide whether we should be signing an artist and helping them make records. Part of my day is listening to the records of the artists that I’ve signed myself and helping them finish records. Part of it will be meetings with lawyers, publishers, artists managers, artists themselves to talk about new signings and part of it will be talking to other members of the label about any campaigns we have going. I could be out of the office all day, I could be meeting other departments about campaigns or I could be spending the day with my own team.
Where do you find music: We go to see artists lives sometimes, we find them online, we hear about them through publishers, managers… we find out about them from all over the place.
Do you ever get bored of listening to music: A large portion of it is spent listening to music - listening to too much music and becoming snowblind is a bit of an issue. By that I mean listening to so much music that you aren’t responding in a measured way. You can’t hear the good stuff or tell the difference, so you can’t listen to music non-stop.
Something people don’t know about your job: People would be surprised about how involved we can be when it comes to shaping the music of an artist. We give so much constructive feedback and thoughts on the music they create and we can sometimes play a much larger role than people expect. We’re in the studio a lot of the time - we have a studio in the Warner offices, but I often spend my days in the producers studio.
Also, the extent that we use data to help us identify an artist or particular track that is having an effect on an audience. In particular at Warner we use an AI tool called Sodatone to help us track this. We also look at the platforms that the artist is using, such as streaming sites and social accounts, which gives us lots of useful data. We can cross reference these for patterns that the music is resonating. Of course this doesn’t replace the human touch, the music needs to connect with us also on an emotional level.
The most boring thing about your job: Too many meetings where music isn’t played.
What was the funniest thing you’ve ever done for work: The funniest thing I ever did was organise a writing and recording session in a beautiful french chateau in the south of France and I wish I did that more often.
Written by The ERIC Team
Brought to you by Warner Music Group
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