Ah… The good ol’ do-a-song-with-a-bigger-artist-and-you’ll-tap-into-their-fanbase BS. It only makes sense if, by legal binding, you quite literally force the collaborator to promote your record once it is officially released. Otherwise, you end up losing money that you could have used on a major marketing campaign and gained tens of thousands of fans on your own for YOUR name and music. Read below to see what is the absolute biggest scam in the music business that honestly, plenty of famous artists and producers engage in.
Here’s what we want you to take into consideration when working with someone new: do they give a sh*t about your music? Do they actually like what you’re doing? Because if they don’t, they’ll take your money and be gone. People who don’t genuinely believe in you, will give you the most minimal value possible for the dollar you pay. Whereas people that sincerely like your product, will give you back tenfold the value of your dollar. When applied in real life, these are the two scenarios:
1. Lalalalala collaborates with Trick Mill, who’s famous but doesn’t like her music.
Obviously both names were made up as to avoid legal trouble. While Lalalalala paid a hefty 10 grand to Trick Mill to do a song with her, Trick Mill would love to nip the collab in the bud and have no one hear it because he doesn’t want to be associated with Lalalalala. He doesn’t like her aesthetics, her voice, or her message, but he really wants that cash. So he accepts doing the collab but does a half-assed verse and told Lalalalala he only had one day to dedicate to the video shoot so hurry it up. Another 10 grand go into the video production and another 10k into promoting it. When is all said and done, Lalalalala has a decent new video, with decent reception, but no continuous support from Trick Mill whatsoever. He never once shouted her out on IG, he never liked, commented, reposted their video, he never officially acknowledged their collaboration. He was in it for the money. In conclusion, the collab song if anything, helped Trick Mill tremendously as Lalalalala put in a lot of money, effort, marketing campaigns, while Trick Mill counted his cash and kept it moving. The song didn’t do anything for Lalalalala except being associated with Trick Mill in the shadows.
2. Lalalalala collaborates with Bunbun who is not as famous as Trick Mill but genuinely supports her music.
After realizing most of her new fans from the collab with Trick Mill came from her own marketing dollars and few to zero from Trick Mill’s actual fanbase, Lalalalala decides to experiment collaborating with Bunbun, a smaller artist who’s been openly supporting her projects since the beginning. The feature with Bunbun only costs her 3k, and she puts again a nice 10k in video production and 10k in marketing. When the product is finalized, Bunbun reposts the video on all of his social media, shouts out Lalalalala and her team, posts plenty of call-to-action in his stories, keeps track of the views and reposts the press coverage and stream numbers that their song is achieving, and sings the record’s praises left and right. As a result, Lalalalala sees thousands of REAL new fans following her YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook. She gets a nice spike in streams and video plays. Subsequently, she gets more revenue than usual from all streaming platforms. The blogs that covered Bunbun in the past, are willing to cover their collab for free as Bunbun has reached out to them personally to call in some favors. Bunbun happilly and officially is continuously supporting his collaboration record with Lalalalala. In conclusion, the song with the less famous Bunbun brought Lalalala thousands of new, interested, engaging fans and public support for life from another artist.
The higher ranks charge over 50k but reduced to mathematical results, these exact 2 scenarios are repeating themselves over and over again in the music business. That’s why you see the likes of Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, 6ix9ine, collaborate with plethora of artists that we never heard of and only happen to discover their songs when Spotify or YouTube, by association or by mistake recommends them on our homepage. This type of major collabs reflect very poorly on the smaller artist, as you inherently understand the bigger artist never acknowledged them and never promoted their record, thus they must have never truly liked them, thus we won’t bother listening to the rest of their catalog. We are guilty of this and we know you are too. More often than we’d like to admit, we only listen to the collaboration song itself and then go back to the bigger artist’s catalog. To avoid this from happening to you as an artist, make sure your collaborator is on the same level as you. In case they have much more clout and fans than you, force them by contract to shout you out, advertise a couple of your original songs, and officially acknowledge your collaboration. Heck, write the captions yourself if needed and tell them to copy/paste it. Don’t feel bad for asking for the maximum value possible for your dollar. You are worth it.
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