Label Scouts Explain Who They're Looking For In 2014




Greg Federspiel, Director A&R,

A former artist, Federspiel was a member of alt-rockers Making April (Universal Republic), an act that sold over 100,000 tracks on iTunes. He was an A&R rep at Warner Bros. Records for two years before moving on to RCA, where he is the Director of A&R. Federspiel recently signed Smallpools, an indie pop-rock band.

How is your label different?

It has a different culture than many West Coast labels. Everyone is dialed in on every project. We meet more often, usually once a week, and communicate more directly. That gets everyone on the same page and makes things happen quicker. It’s a very positive experience.

What gets your attention?

A great song will do it every time. The Smallpools sent me just one song and that was enough to get my interest. The band members all had industry experience––they had been in signed bands before––so that was helpful too.

Do you develop acts, or do they need to be already accomplished?

I like getting involved from the ground up. I like the development process. That’s a big part of my job. I’ll hook up new artists with writers and producers and try to develop their sound.

How do you discover new talent?

There are a couple ways. I get tips from trusted friends and associates and I also like to search YouTube. Today, A&R do not hang out at clubs like they used to. The Internet has given us great tools and sites to research acts.

Are social media numbers and activity important?

Social media statistics are not indicative of future success. You can buy or pump up numbers in a variety of ways. I’ll check them out to see if they’re real, but I view them with a grain of salt.

Are you looking for anything in particular?

I’ll consider almost any genre, but I would really like to find a great rock act. Though it’s not a dominant style of music today, people still like going to rock concerts. And if the act’s music could cross over into other charts, I would love that.

Do you see any trends in the business?

Streaming music services, like Spotify, are a big issue. Some labels don’t like releasing music on them too quickly because they believe it negatively impacts sales. But, other labels embrace them as a promotional tool. I think we need to figure out how to use them effectively, because they could be our future distribution models.

Do you have any pet peeves that would keep you from signing an act?

I don’t like artists (or reps) who constantly hit me up on social networks or send me a never-ending stream of emails. I also don’t want them to send me an entire album––I won’t listen to the whole thing. Just send me a link to couple of your best songs. If I like them I’ll ask for more.

How do you like to be contacted? 

Email me at [email protected].


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