Short Definition: The A&R (Artist & Repertoire) is the eyes and ears of the record label. This is the person you want to please at the label.
Long Definition: The record label A&R position is probably one of the most hectic jobs in the music business. A&R stands for Artists & Repertoire. The main function of a record label is to help their artists creatively while helping the record company financially by signing hit acts and developing them. They are usually music industry professionals that are hired to oversee the entire recording process which includes finding the right songs for their artist, working with the right music producers, finding the right recording studio, etc. A major A&R must stay on top of current music industry trends in order to create acts that will do well for the record label that employs them. Even if a record company A&R really likes a band, they still may not be able to sign them. Usually it is the head A&R that makes the final decisions. The reason why being an A&R can be extremely stressful is because with every act that you sign your job is on the line. Since there is a high rate of failure in the music industry, A&R people try to sign artists that are already somewhat established. If an A&R does not prove to the record label that they can generate hit acts they will be let, go from the company.
A record label A&R is a person hired by a record company to scout and ultimately sign exceptional acts. It is important for you to send your music to as many record label A&R people as you can. In the package you should also include a quality 8 x 10 photo, a biography that tells the A&R a story about the artist and how much local or regional success he/she has. Make sure that you leave your contact information including home address, email address, home phone, c phone, etc. Make sure that your demo CD is clearly and neatly labeled.