Music Business

Featured Artist Guide: How To Feature An Artist For A Song

Photograph of the blog post author, Dylan Easton

Dylan Easton

1.8.2021

Small blue and purple gradient divider

SHARE:

Some of our favourite songs have been collaborations. What would ‘American Boy’ be without Kanye West? Or Kanye West’s ‘Monster’ without Nicki Minaj? Featured artists can bring so much to a particular song and can often make the song that much more memorable. While J.Cole went platinum without features, this is a very rare case. After all, music is all about collaboration and sharing. But how do you get a featured artist on your song?

how to feature an artist for a song

In this article, we will take a look at what a featured artist is, its benefits and how to feature an artist for your song.

Be sure to stick around until the very end so you don’t miss any key information. 

What Is A Featured Artist?

daft punk get lucky video

A featured, or side artist, is essentially a guest feature on another artist’s song. For example, the Daft Punk song ‘Get Lucky’ features Pharell Williams and Nile Rogers. This means that they performed on the track and have been credited in the title. 

A featured artist will receive a royalty from the sales of the song they performed on, in one way or another. 

What Does A Featured Artist Do?

da baby performing

A featured artist will record a verse, add some musical accompaniment, or perform in any other way on a particular track. In Hip Hop, for example, it is common for artists to write and perform verses for other artists’ songs.

The two parties will often decide on royalties before the track is released. This is so that the featured artist can be paid for their work. 

Or perhaps, sometimes they will exchange verses on different songs so they can both benefit from the collaboration

A rapper’s guest verse rate is a sign of relevance. The bigger the rapper, the higher their rate. DaBaby, for instance, went from charging $5,000 to $300,000 in a matter of three years. 

Additionally, a larger price tag also translates to higher expectations. If an artist is charging six figures for a guest verse, the hope is that the song will have a big bump in sales or critical acclaim. 

Why Feature An Artist On Your New Song?

mike dean and kanye west

Featuring another artist on your new song can be a great way to share audiences. This means that you will both mutually benefit from the feature and help to grow each of your fanbases

Additionally, making music with another artist can simply be a fun experience and a nice change to being in a studio by yourself.

How To Feature An Artist For A Song

In this section, we will take a look at how to feature an artist for a song.

Let’s dive in! 

Social Media

social media

For starters, it is always a good idea to utilise social media to find a big artist you want to link with. Once you’ve picked someone you’d like to work with, reach out to that person and offer them something you can do for them.

This will make you valuable. If you can’t think of anything, somehow find a way to impress them and gain their trust.

A relationship built on equal value is worth infinitely more than money. The plan is that, eventually, you will start making money together and you are now inside of that team’s network.

Network At Their Studio

featured artist collaboring in the studio

Believe it or not, other big artists use this method in order to network with other big artists.

If you have the funds, any studio will gladly let you use a room in their facility. It’s what they are there for. Additionally, it’s how they stay in business.

Your first step is to find the studios that these big artists work in. Once you have done this, try and rent out studio time at a time when you know they will be there working and recording.

It is a great idea to have a look at their tour schedule. Or perhaps ask the people who work there in a passive way etc.

If you are lucky, you might run into the artist themselves or the artist’s other collaborators in the hallway. If it is one of the artist’s people, you can start networking on that front and begin providing value.

In The Studio

featured artist collaboring in the studio

When you’re working in the studio, try and make a good impression and play some of your best work. The best bet is to play something that you think the artists might like and therefore catch their attention.

Upon hearing your work, they might want to collaborate on it. 

If and when you catch their attention, be sure to mention that there is (conveniently) an open spot for them on the song. 

It’s all planned in advance of course by you. Be smart

Does This Work?

Believe it or not, this actually has proven to work in many scenarios. This works because other decently known rappers are already renting these studios to do exactly this.

So, even if you don’t meet your dream collaboration, you will still meet the mid-level people and you can network with them. This will allow you to build relationships with many others in the music industry

Have Your Product Ready

featured artist collaboring in the studio

Your one shot could come at any time! Therefore, ensure that you are ready at any given moment. 

It is always a great idea to have a flash drive to hand anyone in the upper leagues. A flash drive with your best music with 1 open verse for them to hop on and all your contact information.

This will streamline the process massively and let them know you mean business. 

Pay For The Collaboration

music money

A lot of artists are out there for the money. If you hit up any artist’s management team they will respond with a number for a collaboration.

If you have money and you are passionate and talented, more often than not, they will want to jump on one of your tracks. Depending on how talented you are, they might also promote it for you.

How much do artist charge for a feature? It entirely depends on how big the artist is. This can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands. 

Paying for collaboration is the fastest way to get an artist on a song with you since money is the best communicator. 

How To Ask An Artist For A Feature

artists collaborating

There are plenty of artists looking for features out there, but it is important that you don’t get ahead of yourself. 

Firstly, the key is not to come on too strong; try not to smother the person you are trying to get on board with your work. 

Secondly, you will want to put on the table what you have to offer. More often than not, if you are a smaller artist, having a cash incentive is often the way to go. 

Alternatively, you can get in touch with that particular artist’s people who can lead you to them. 

Signed Artists Need Their Label’s Permission

Any artist, group, or band who is signed to a record label is technically owned by that label. Therefore, even if an artist is a close friend, you will have to get permission from the artist and also the record company or label to use the song. 

Therefore, you will also want to be in contact with the artist’s label, via email or organise a meeting. You will be able to draft up an artist feature contract and get the ball rolling within your featured artist agreement.

Now You Know Everything About Featured Artists

So there we have it! Now you know everything you need to know about featured artists. We’ve touched on what a featured artist is, and why they can be extremely beneficial for you as an artist. It can aid you to grow as an artist and will allow you to form some excellent working relationships. 

Also, we have touched on ways you should go about finding an artist to collaborate with and how you should approach them. With all this information, be sure to keep it in mind when you decide to shoot Drake an email about hopping on your track!

Who’s your dream collaboration? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below! If you found this article useful, why not share it on your socials? Be sure to tag us @musicgateway! 

If you found this article useful then why not check out another on our blog? Here are our articles on the best Music Collaboration Apps, our Opening Act Guide, and Music Industry Networking Tips to get you started!

Are You An Artist?

If you have songs that you want to share with the world – we want to help boost your career and get them noticed. Including promoting your music and improving your streaming presence!

Additionally, check out our sync opportunities page to get your music in TV and Film. Try it out for free today by signing up or clicking the button below.

Your music career
Get ahead.
“Making it in this business, means making sure you have everything you need to succeed.”
What you can expect from our newsletters:
  • Industry news and tips
  • Opportunities to submit your music and collaborate with others
  • Free software and resources
  • Free membership to Music Gateway
Are you sure that email is right?
Thank you! Newsletters will be sent to: .
Is this the right email address? If not, you can correct it.
Junk mail? Hell no - we hate that stuff too!
Tap here to get our newsletter!
News and opportunities
Thank you! Newsletters will be sent to: .
Is this the right email address? If not, you can correct it.
Are you sure that email is right?


Music Gateway Company Logo

Free. Forever.

Join for Free