Featured artists are arguably just as important as original artists in songs. Without them, the music we listen to wouldn’t be the same or nearly as exciting. So, on Spotify, do stream counts go toward featured and original artists?
While featured artists may gain more clout and attention, they do not receive any streams or royalties on Spotify. All streams go to the original artists and producers of a song. However, artists may split the profits from the song with the featured artist.
As interesting as this is, featured artists receive some benefits, which make it worthwhile. Streams aren’t everything. Let’s talk about collaborations, features, benefits, and how the streaming process works on Spotify.
Collaborating and Stream Counts
The difference between being a collaborative artist and a featured artist is basically who the “main” artist is. If an artist is a collaborator, they also own the song. If an artist is featured, they are like a guest artist and don’t “own” the piece.
Main artists, producers, and writers- those who own songs- are the ones who get royalties for streams. Featured artists do not get any of the royalties or credit for streams. That doesn’t mean they don’t get listened to. It just means that every time the song they are featured in is listened to, the stream count doesn’t include them or directly help them make money.
For example, in Meghan Trainor‘s song “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” John Legend is a featured artist. This means all the streams go to Meghan Trainor even though John Legend sings part of the song. You can tell whether or not an artist is a featured artist because of the title. The music will say its name on Spotify and then “feat. the artist’s name” in parentheses.
What do Featured Artists Get?
While featured artists don’t get streaming counts or the royalties accompanying songs, they get attention. The attention and clout they receive from working with other artists can benefit a musician. Think of it like building up credibility in a resume.
The more experience one has with working with others successfully, the more willing other producers are to work with them. Additionally, if a person is a featured artist for someone with high rapport, listeners are more likely to want to check them out.
Another benefit is less work to be done as a featured artist. A lot of work goes into producing a song, such as finding a producing outlet, making payments, and going through logistics to get the music onto platforms such as Spotify. As a featured artist, you get to skip all of that.
Featured artists do not own the song they are working on, so they don’t have to worry about producing or investing anything into the piece. In most cases, the music is entirely written; all they have to do is sing or add their instrumentals. However, remember that the artist you are working with may ask you to advertise the song.
Routes to More Streams
While featured artists don’t directly make money from the number of listens or streams the song gets, that doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from the music. On Spotify, listeners can see (and hear) who is featured on the song they are streaming. When they look at the song title, the featured artists’ names in the song pop up, and they can tap or click on them.
This is great because, as a featured artist, that attention can draw new audiences to you. They’ll view your page and probably listen to some of your music, which you get streams and royalties for. As a featured artist, the other musicians you are working with will also promote the music you have been working on and mention your name.
New people will hear about you, check you out, listen to your music, and increase your streams. Your following will likely grow as well. If you play your cards right, both you and the original artists producing a song will gain streams not only on your new music but also on previous music.
As these streams increase, Spotify will likely show your pages to larger audiences.
To Be or Not To Be a Featured Artist?
There are benefits to being a featured artist and having a featured artist on a piece. However, some people would rather collaborate. How do you decide if you find yourself in a situation like this? Does it all come down to stream counts?
As an artist, you want people to listen to your music. You have a voice (or at least one type of instrument) and want people to hear it. Subsequentially, streams matter- they prove that people are listening to you. That doesn’t necessarily mean the stream count needs to go toward you.
Benefits of Being a Featured Artist
Even if you don’t have streams count towards you or the royalties that come with them, you get more attention than if you weren’t featured on a song. You also gain experience and will draw in a wider audience. You will get many benefits from creating music without the downsides of producing. The person, or people, you work with will likely do a lot of free advertising for you to gain traction for their work. Being a featured artist is like being an esteemed guest.
Benefits of Featuring an Artist
Clout goes both ways. If the artist you are bringing to your project is well known or will make your music way better, chances are the number of people listening to your music will increase. You’ll get more attention, a wider audience, and royalties if you do well enough.
You also won’t have to share any royalties. You get to call the shots and work with someone you likely admire. Featuring an artist is a great way to network and expand your contacts in music. More artists are likelier to work with you when you have featured other musicians.