Well A&R actually stands for “Artist and Repertoire” They are employed by the record company and are responsible for scouting out and signing new artists and singers, and are even responsible for finding songs for their artists.
A&R scouts have to keep up to date with new music trends and have to have an excellent knowledge and understanding of the music scene today. A&R scouts will typically spend a lot of time on the internet and looking through magazines and newspapers looking for new and talented acts. These day’s it’s less and less about going to see acts live in the the flesh. Why? Because nearly all of new acts have online material. This is why your online presence is so important. The scout will first refer to your online repertoire and if they are impressed by that, then they will come down to your gig.
A&R requires you to be seen at a lot of important gigs and to know the right people, and therefore can be seen as glamourous. Therefore there is a lot of competition to become and A&R scout. It’s no wonder that lot’s of new scouts often start unpaid working long hours. Most scouts will start work at a record label on an internship basis. Simon Cowell famously started in the mailroom. It is possible to earn a good income as a scout, and if your very lucky, earn a lot of money.