A&R Reps on who they'll sign, who they won't

A&R Reps: Who They'll Sign--Who They Won't

roundhill

ROUND HILL MUSIC
Patrick Conseil,, Sr. VP of Creative & International
roundhillmusic.com
Submissions: Website

Round Hill Music (RHM) is the publishing arm of Round Hill Records (RHR). Both focus on great catalogs and only a few select artists whose music they feel passionate about. Patrick Conseil discovered and signed Rune Westberg (Danish songwriter-producer), whose songs were covered by Prince Royce, Colbie Caillat and Dean Ray. A longtime industry veteran and Pure Pop founder, Conseil also works with Jeffery David, Charlie Midnight, Lindsey Lee and Bosshouse, as well as new Round Hill signings Schmarx & Savvy and Jimmy Robbins.

Do you develop acts?
I’ve been known to do so. It’s very exciting to sign writers early in the game and help them. I love it when I get a cut on a new artist’s record and the song breaks the artist and the writer or producer at the same time. I think of myself as a part of the puzzle that helps recording artists, songwriters and producers fulfill their dreams.

How do you evaluate potential signings?  
The first step is to meet them. I like to know what they want and where they see themselves in a few years. I like to know what they think the value of a publisher would be. I’ll go to their place of work, listen to music and brainstorm a bit. I want to know who they worked with and what I can bring to the table. I need to know what works for them, how open they are to suggestions, and how quickly they can turn around music after a session. I want to make sure we get along, because I’m going to be in touch with them regularly––sometimes daily.

What qualities do you look for?
The ability to communicate; musicianship; and a good work ethic. I want my signings to want success even more than I do. I want them to be prolific and, because of my international expertise, I want to make sure they know about foreign markets. Past success is important, but I’m more interested in the years to come. In the case of an artist, I look for uniqueness, charisma and drive. I also like to see them perform so I can see their connection with the audience and how they are with their fans.

How important is originality?
Very… There is so much music out there, I need to hear something that stands out. I’m looking for artists who bring something new to the party: new sounds, interesting lyric concepts, or a vision and esthetic that gets me excited.

How important is social media activity?
I don’t get overly impressed with viral activity, as many songs go in and out rapidly. I’m more interested in seeing if the artist is building a fan base. Do they have a following in their home town? Are people joining their mailing list as opposed to just clicking likes, and who is the team around them? Those are all important factors, but the main factor is always the same––do they write great songs.

What is the signing process?
I make sure the company is committed and excited about the writer or artist I want to sign. Everyone listens to the music and gives feedback. After talking with the act’s manager or attorney, I present my case to a board who look at the numbers and terms and approves it...or not. We are very selective and the amount of new deals we make is small. If you get signed to Round Hill you will be a priority. In the past, the company was aggressive in the acquisition of catalogs; now we are looking to build a solid roster of artists and songwriters.

What future trends do you see?
Virtual platforms for music will increase. Touring will grow as will large-scale festivals. Musically speaking it’s always been cyclical. But, ultimately the true power is in the songs, always has been, always will be. That’s what keeps me going––the song and the songwriter. I’m optimistic that publishers and song creators will eventually be paid more fairly for streaming audio, and I think brands will invest more in emerging artists which is a good thing.

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