Artists, have you ever thought about teaming up with other musicians to release songs? Featuring can be a great strategic move and great experience. However, it is important to not jump in head first. There are a few things you need to know beforehand, and that’s good, because today we’re explaining it all to you with Groover.
Let’s set the record straight right now: if you thought that artistic collaborations or a “feature” is exclusive for certain artists, you were wrong. Collaboration is common, regardless of the artists’ level of fame. Take as a recent example Jul’s project, Bande Organisée, which brought together at least 50 rappers, all with different levels of fame. Here is the proof that you should not be afraid to propose featurings, even with those you thought untouchable. Because here, more than a question of money (we’ll come back to that later), you have to think in terms of artistic sensibility and audience gain. Now that this old legend is over, let’s focus first on the usefulness of a feature, as well as on the advantages of such an artistic collaboration.
| Also read: How to find an audience for your music project?
Advantage #1 of features:
gaining a new audience
The first advantage of featuring concerns your audience. In the case of an artistic collaboration, we can easily identify three examples, and as some of many positive aspects:
- Let’s say you are a newcomer and a “star” accepts your request for a feature. Logically, you will be attracting a percentage of their audience because of your collaboration with a big-named artist. This is HUGE if the track becomes a huge hit.
- Second possibility, you associate yourself with a musician whose community is equal in number to yours. The interest of featuring here lies in the type of audience that follows the artist with whom you collaborate with. If you make rap music and you choose to collab with a DJ, the chances their fans now following you too are quite high. It goes without saying that not every fan who listens to your feature will become a new fan, but by collaborating with a different artist, you are inherently growing your visibility. Keep in mind that if you collaborate with someone within your “niche”, the opportunity for growth is massive, for both of your audiences.
- Finally, the last case: although you are just starting out, you decide to collaborate with an artist with a smaller audience. Beyond the fact that your partner (or you) can become the new sensation, it is important to state here that there is no wrong audience. Every person who will listen to your music is a potential future supporter. So don’t overlook anything or anyone.
| Check out: How to promote your music and boost your visibility
So the next question is: how does one propose a feature to another artist? There’s no point in forking out cash to get an artist to appear on your track. Though this may be the case for some artists, this is not recommended. Some artists have set prices and won’t stray from them however, in the vast majority of artist collaborations are free. It is up to the artist to take part or not. So there is not really a standard technique to maximize your chances to get a feature, except to get in touch with an artist’s team or them directly and share your project/vision, and wait a response. Everything is mainly a question of artistic strategy.
Advantage n°2 of a feature :
This is an obvious fact, but let’s not forget it: by appearing on another artist’s song, you are providing a ” service “, and there must be money involved from this. To distribute your earnings, there are two possibilities:
- If you are an independent artist, you decide everything, including how to pay your collaborator(s). Let’s take the previous example of Bande Organisée. Jul, the pilot of the project, made sure that all the rappers who participated in the project got the same amount of money. This initiative is as rare as it is benevolent.
- Now, if you’re signed to a record label, take this opportunity to re-read our article about the different types of contracts. The choice of the distribution of earnings will be made by your teams, not by you.
| Also read: How to monetize your work as a musician
But how do we measure the gains to pay for these services? There are two aspects to consider here:
- The first one concerns royalties. This is the money accumulated thanks to the sale of records and streams (all platforms included). You, or the artist you collaborate with, must then negotiate a percentage of the royalties that the song will have generated. In most cases, and depending on your contract, this figure can vary quite a lot. This percentage can increase if the guest artist, or you, make a larger contribution to the song. For example, in addition to a verse, if you take care of the chorus, we will speak of a “duet” and not a “feature”. In other words, if you do more “work” in the song, you can logically claim more.
- The second aspect corresponds to the authors’ rights (to the “publishing” part), and thus brings ASCAP (or other performing rights organizations) into the picture. If the song has been broadcasted in mass on the radio, on television, in discotheques or in public places with sound, you are entitled to ask for a higher percentage. You should know that in France, thanks to a special jurisdiction that regulates artistic collaborations, you can’t get less than 50% of what SACEM provides you.
Featuring = I give you + You give me…
In smart, for an artistic collaboration to be successful, you must :
- establish a professional contact with the team of the artist or the artist directly ;
- decide together on a relevant artistic approach;
- agree on a earnings and their split amounts with a reasonable percentage;
- and finally, establish with your feature, a communication and promotion strategy (social networks & media) that can serve you both.
Now all you have to do is write your best verse before someone else does. Oh, by the way, on Groover, a whole range of artists are waiting for your suggestions to make good music!
– Edited and translated by Betty Gonzalez Gray –