I was asked a question from an Austin, Tx Rapper J Soulja ( @SouljaMontana_ ) about paid for features. At what point in your career do you begin charging for features? And how much should you charge? There is no particular metric scale, or guide that determines what you should charge, and at what point you should. Most artist begin charging at the point when they’ve developed a fanbase. Once this artists is on blogs, sites, and his name is quickly generating interests, at that point they begin requiring a fee for features. Some artists haven’t reached that plateau, and demand a fee. Am I saying they’re wrong? NO.
When you are the person that’s paying for features you have to ask yourself a series of questions.
1. How will paying this rate for this feature help my career?
2. Do I have an additional budget to market and promote this song I’ve paid a feature for?
3. If I shoot a video will this artist show up? And if so, how much is he charging for that?
4. Is paying this amount for this feature really worth it?
If you have a justifiable answer to those questions, then yes you should pay the artist. There are some artist who feel they should be paid for their talent, and I don’t disagree, but you have to remember the purpose of paying for features. It’s to use the likeliness of another artists with a following to entice more fans to hear your record. This is a subject that could be deadlocked without a definitive answer. Its all up to the artists that’s charging, and the artist who’s paying. Do I think all artist should be paid for their work? Sure, but its not up to me to determine that.
What I would do personally (in which ive done before) is pay for a verse from an artists when they are slowly getting on blogs and posts, developing a name. Do not immediately drop the record, sit on it if you feel that artists has the potential to develop to a bigger level. Once that artists does, you come out with the record you paid for. Its a gamble, but in some cases, it could work. Ive paid artists for verses in my lifetime. Did they do anything for my artists? Somewhat, it mattered to those who were fans of that artists. I paid for a Max B verse for cheap right when he got locked up. In 2012, I gave that record to one of my artists to put on his project. To the Max B fans, it meant something to them to hear his voice again, and we saw the record on allhiphop.com, and a couple of other well-respected sites. Did it create opportunities? Well, it helped when we were booking the artists and posted the links of this record to the booking agent/club owner.
I gave another record to an artists with multiple features. That song landed on a radio stations, website. And the song was the retweeted, blogged, and talked about during that time. I also had one artist team up with another well known act, and drop a mixtape together. We took 6 of my artists records, and 6 of his and dropped a mixtape. That project led to show paid show opportunities for both, as well as posts on sites, blogs, and livemixtapes (in which we had no idea it was there lol). So at the end of the day, its all up to you how you use the feature, and how much you want to pay for it. Its all about being realistic in what you’re charging, or what you want to pay.
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