How Do A&R Executives Evaluate Talent - Pete Ganbarg - Atlantic Records - MUBUTV Insider Series
How do A&R executives evaulate talent? MUBUTV's Ritch Esra sits down with one of the leading Major Label A&R Executives in the Business - Pete Ganbarg - President of A&R at Atlantic Records. They discuss a myriad of topics on the subject of A&R today, including what has changed in A&R, What is his personal criteria for signing acts, How important does an artists story factor into his signing decision, How has the expanded number of platforms and outlets for music affected his A&R process, Beyond just having “Hit Records” what other factors are important in an artist having a successful career today, When an artist fails to meet initial expectations, what determines keeping them for a second and third album, How important is an artists ability to perform live in determining whether to sign them or not among other things. Don’t miss it.
Pete Ganbarg is President of A&R for Atlantic Records, a position he’s held since late 2017. He joined Atlantic as EVP, A&R in late 2008. At Atlantic, among the artists and projects that Pete has signed and/or A&R’d are Grammy Award-winning artists twenty one pilots, Halestorm and Jason Mraz; Platinum and multi-Platinum artists Christina Perri, Melanie Martinez, Skillet, Brett Eldredge, Matchbox Twenty & Rob Thomas, Theory Of A Deadman and Icona Pop; as well as the Original Broadway Cast Recordings of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen and the Billboard No.1 album The Greatest Showman soundtrack, the latter two of which he also co-produced.
Pete began his A&R career in 1989 at SBK Records. In 1997, he joined Clive Davis at Arista Records, where, as Senior Director of A&R, he conceived and A&R’d Santana’s 30x platinum worldwide, nine-time Grammy-winning Supernatural. Prior to joining Atlantic, Pete headed Pure Tone Music, one of the industry’s leading A&R consulting firms, whose success stories included Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Chaka Khan, Santana, Train, Donna Summer and others.
Questions asked during video:
0:51 - From your point of view, you run a major label A&R department, what is your criteria both personally and musically for signing an act today?
1:44 - How much of the story that an artist can bring you factors into a decision whether to work with the artist or not?
2:46 - We live in the world today of so many more sources for music. From your point of view, has that expanded your base of how you discover new things professionally speaking, in terms of what you’re looking for? Or has it become a thing where it’s so overwhelming you just stick with certain sources?
5:36 - How do you determine when you’re signing an act if there’s something more than just a great well produced song or a song you even believe it’s a hit record?
8:40 - How important, in your position, is the team of an artist when you’re considering signing them. Is that something in your consideration when you’re gonna make that commitment?
10:12 - In your opinion or your criteria, what determines continuing with the second record and moving forward versus saying I don’t think this is right, not only for sales but maybe for other reasons? What are the determining factors in going forward on something that didn’t quite meet the expectation at the first time?
11:09 - How important is an artist’s live performance or their ability to perform live in the early stages before you sign them, a factor in your decision making process to sign an act?
12:39 - What are some of the more innovative things that you see today that artist are doing to promote themselves?
13:44 - In your point of view, what are the qualities that you think make a great A&R person?
14:55 - Are there any particular things that an artist can do to get on your radar, or on the radar of an A&R that you would advice a talent to do?
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Executive Producers: Eric Knight & Ritch Esra
Directed by: Eric Knight & Marco Tomaselli
Hosted by: Ritch Esra
Cinematography: Marco Tomaselli
Editing & Audio: Eric Knight
Production Assistant: Keagen Meneses
Gogo Dog Productions
Event: Musexpo: musexpo.net/
Shot on location at: W Hotel (Hollywood, California)
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