A quote I saw somewhere said, “Music companies invest a greater proportion of their global revenues in A&R than most other sectors do in research & development/R&D”
Knowing that monies, and a lot of monies, are being funneled to one area, tells us this area is of super importance. Of course it is, this is how artists get signed. what songs we hear, and who we hear it from are due to an A&R rep taking the chance, to research and develop artists. Researching how an audience reacts to the song/artist is a primary role for A&R reps. This role requires a ton of responsibility, and experience with music in the real transaction.
What do we mean by the real transaction? Live is the closest engagement to the music, this is how music is received, and interacted with on the closest level. Music that gets an audience moving should be music that gets a chance to be recorded. The research of A&R has always gone on in a space where the audience interacts with the performance or live product. The song and the crowd response is why A&R worked so well. There wasn’t great data other than tickets sold and crowd reaction.
I love concerts, and have attended somewhere close to 1000, in one capacity or another. I have performed well over 100 as a solo act, worked close to 750, and the other 150 I have been a fly on the wall, a guest, an audience member.