Meet Parlophone A&R Alex Peppiatt...
How did you break into the industry?
At 17, a friend asked me to help set up a festival called Beach Break in Wales. I jumped at the chance to spend a weekend away from home, enjoy music and earn some money. The experience was amazing – it opened my eyes to the level of organisation and attention to detail needed to put on a large-scale event. Also, I met a young Ed Sheeran, who was enjoying his first Top 10 single at the time… After that, I continued working in events and festivals while studying at Cambridge. I applied for internships at all the majors but only heard back from Sony. After a rigorous application process that involved a panel presentation and seven separate interviews, they gave me a three-month internship with the international promo team. I then got another placement with Ministry Of Sound, consulted for Promised Land Publishing and began working full time in A&R at Parlophone in February.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
The biggest lesson so far is to persevere. It takes hard work and dedication to achieve anything meaningful, and this is especially true in the music industry. It’s crucial not to dwell on setbacks and remain focused and passionate about your goals.
What’s been your toughest challenge yet?
Working in A&R is incredibly fulfilling and exciting, but also has its challenges. It’s a mercurial role as you have to be super-aware of current trends and tastes, while not overly pandering to them. You have to remain true to your own taste and vision for what’s next in music and where the industry is going.
What is the music industry’s biggest problem?
The industry needs to focus on long-term rather than short-term goals by investing in artist development. Also, it is vital to have diverse leadership, in order to bring innovative and exciting ideas to the table.
How will A&R develop in the future?
We’re in the middle of a big shift in new technologies and attitudes towards labels, and the way forward is to keep very much in tune with these developments. However, I believe that the fundamentals of finding talent and making records have been, and always will be, a human and emotionally driven process. The human aspect of the business has to be nurtured.
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