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How Do Featured Artists Get Paid? (Show Me The Money!)


The way that a featured artist gets paid depends on the situation. For example, the arrangement could be a one-time fee or involve performance royalty payouts on an ongoing basis. Whether the artist is independent or signed to a label will also play a role in this matter.

Featured Artists And Payments

If you work within the music business, it is essential to know the potential payment arrangements for a featured artist on a track.

If you don’t understand this, you might end up on the wrong side of a bunk deal!

I have been performing and producing music long enough now to have learned a few things (as well as to have made a few mistakes of my own), and I’m here to share my knowledge with you.

In this article, we will look at how an artist that features on a track gets paid.

What Is A Featured Artist?

A featured artist makes a guest appearance on another artist’s song.

This could be a producer, an instrumentalist, or, most commonly, a singer/rapper.

Woman and man in the control room of a music studio

What Does A Featured Artist Do?

A featured artist works to collaborate with the main artist and record a part of their song.

The most common feature on a track will be a vocal performance from a singer or a rapper.

A great feature from a great artist can take a track to the next level and also increase its audience size!

Do Artists Get Paid For Featuring?

In most cases, yes.

Featured artists will usually receive payment for performing on a track. You should rarely do a feature for free.

However, here are a few potential cases where it might be worth it to feature on a track without getting paid:

  • If a bigger artist wants you on their song but they don’t have the budget to pay you, the exposure alone might be worth it.
  • If there is a smaller artist that you want to help by doing a feature on their track because you see potential in them.
  • If the track stands to make no money anyway, and you are just starting out. It can be good to get some practice early on in your career.

Remember, a featured artist is almost always paid for their work!


When working with a featured artist, you can either write the song with them or have a song ready. Either way, what’s the best way to start a song? Check out our article on whether to start with lyrics or music first.

How Do Featured Artists Get Paid?

The way that a featured artist receives compensation for their work on a track depends on quite a few factors.

For example, if you are an independent artist doing a feature on another independent artist’s song, they will likely pay you a one-time fee out of pocket.

On the other hand, if you are doing a feature on a signed artist’s track, their record label will likely be handling your payment. You might also receive performance royalties on top of your fee.

The more work I’ve done within the music industry, the more I have learned that every payment situation is different depending on the type of work you are doing, the amount of work you are doing, and who you are doing it for.

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Pro Tip

Before entering any deal within the music business, ensure you have a firm understanding of all the details.

How Much Do Featured Artists Get Paid?

This is also something that varies from situation to situation.

I have heard of artists doing a feature for anything from a few hundred dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars.

Two male music artists posing

Here are some factors that will determine how much a featured artist gets paid:

  • How renowned they are.
  • How long their feature is.
  • Who they are doing the feature for.
  • Whether or not the main artist belongs to a record label.
  • The negotiation skills of the artist that is featuring.

As you can see, there is no set amount that a featured artist will receive for featuring on a track. 

Do Featured Artists Get Royalties?

In some cases, yes.

Remember, this will always depend on your arrangement with the artist paying you to feature. 

Sometimes the featuring artist will receive only a one-time fee but have no legal ownership of their work on the track. Other times, they will also receive royalties on an ongoing basis.

Woman and man creating music in the studio

Whether or not a featured artist receives royalties for their work on a song will differ on a case-by-case basis.


Maybe you’re only using a featured artist to do a voice-over speech for your music, as you don’t understand sampling. Check out our article on sampling speeches in music and the legality of it.

How To Pay A Featured Artist

Here are some different ways that you can deliver payment to a featured artist:

  • Using a payment app such as Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, etc.
  • Wiring from bank to bank.
  • Cash.
  • Check.

The best way to pay a featured artist is the way that works best for both of you.

Related Questions

What Are The Benefits Of Having A Featured Artist On Your Track?

Here are some benefits of having a featured artist on your track:

– It might bring extra attention and listeners to your track if they are well known.
– Sometimes, a featured artist can bring exactly what is missing musically to your track.
– It could lead to a great relationship within the music business.
– It could lead to you featuring on their song in the future.

Although it may require an investment, bringing a featured artist into your creative process is worth it. 

Why Might A Feature From An Artist Be Expensive?

Here are some reasons why a feature from an artist might be more expensive than another:

– The artist is well-known or famous.
– The feature is a lengthy one.
– The feature involves rewrites, revisions, or multiple recording sessions.
– The featured artist does not have a recording rig, so you also have to pay for their studio time.

Multiple factors might result in a feature being more expensive.

What Does PRO Stand For In The Context Of Music Publishing And Royalties?

PRO stands for Performance Rights Organization.

A Performance Rights Organization is a company that collects royalties on behalf of any artist or musician that belongs to its roster.

A PRO collects your performance royalties, mechanical royalties, and publishing royalties. Then it gives you your share in the form of a royalty payment.

Does A Featured Artist Write Their Own Lyrics For Your Song?

This depends on the type of arrangement that you have with the featured artist you are working with.

For example, you could give them a pre-written part to sing or an open section of your track for them to write their own verse over.

Should You Credit A Featured Artist For Their Work On Your Track?

Yes, absolutely! Every artist deserves proper credit for contributing to a piece of music. 

Giving credit where credit is due helps both parties advance their careers in the music industry and grow as artists.

How Can I Get In Touch With An Artist I Want To Feature On My Track?

Here are some ways that you can get in touch with an artist who you want to feature on your track:

– Reach out on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
– Find their website and see if there is any contact information there
– Try to introduce yourself to them in person if they are local to your area
– Find out who their manager or agent is and contact them
– See if anyone in your circle knows the artist personally

Most of the time, artists eagerly look for work, so hopefully, you will succeed when trying to link up with them.

Final Words

As I have shown you, the way featured artists get paid for their work differs in every situation.

Sometimes it can be as simple as receiving a one-time payment from an independent artist contracting you.

Other times, you will be in contact with an artist’s record label that will be handling the payment process.

In any case, be cautious and diligent when making any deal within the music business and use your best judgment. If the potential value is big enough, consider working with a music lawyer or a knowledgeable agent.


As mentioned in this article, the featured artist doesn’t have to be a vocalist. Sometimes a producer working on a song will not be featured on the artist list on streaming services. Check out our article on whether producers get songwriting credits.

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