Example: Jon Tanners, A&R for Epic Records
What people think I do: I think GZA summed up the the public perception of A&R as out of touch culture thief best: "First of all, who's your A&R?/ A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar?/ But he don't know the meaning of 'dope'/ When he's looking for a 'suit-and-tie rap'/ That's cleaner than a bar of soap." Basically, people think A&R's swoop in, snatch up hot musicians, and water down what makes them great for mass consumption.
What I really do: Seek out both bubbling acts and amazing talents, then create the conditions to make the best album (and, increasingly, musical experiences) possible. That can mean pairing artists with producers, writers, remixers, and collaborators, or simply acting as a sounding board. A lot of the time, though, I'm listening to music, trawling the corners of the digital and physical worlds to find great artists. - Jon Tanners (@jontanners)