Singing Client Want to Feature You - How to Say NO

Feb 26, 2024

One of the biggest points of resistance to monetizing your singing voice is this. Singers are working hard to build up their own artist projects, and feel like it would completely derail everything they’ve worked for if a client tries to use their name as the featured artist on their release.

Well I don’t want to see you turn down lots and lots of side income simply because you’re worried people will use your name. There are several solutions and options for you, so let’s talk about em. 

  • Option 1 - You can be invisible from the start! You can just put your first name on all websites you offer vocal services like Soundbetter, Airgigs, Vokaal, etc. so they won’t even know your artist name. But this might decrease sales a little bit. I personally do put my full artist name on my profiles, and I share my credits and accomplishments as well. This builds trust with potential clients, and it allows them to google me, which may lead to them stumbling upon my other offers like acapella licenses and sample packs that I sell. 
  • Option 2 - Name your price. Honestly having a high price to use your name as a featured artist will often solve the problem for you, and price people out from even trying to use your name. You can also place the blame on someone else by saying, “My management would need to approve the use of name and fee,” giving you the right to refuse use of name all together, and also not look like the bad guy.
  • Option 3 - Have a pseudonym ready. Pick a cool artist name and start handing out free use of it to your clients. My friend Sara started with this strategy, and surprisingly now her artist name Scarlett has millions of streams! A lot of times they just want to put a name as the singer and it’s ok if it doesn’t come with a following. BUT many people will want to use your name specifically because of your following, and that’s when you can choose to name your price or... 
  • Option 4 - Have a strict policy in your terms of service that the use of your name and likeness is not allowed. However, you do run the risk of people not reading, which super sucks, and a client could very well credit you on distribution without your consent. So check Spotify now and then and if you see new unwanted songs populating on your profile, the best and easiest way to get that fixed is unfortunately by asking the client very very nicely to go into their distributor backend and they’ll have to request the change. If you can get them to make the change, it’ll fix everything. But if they don’t, you can serve the a cease and desist, or file a copyright infringement claim with Spotify, Apple, etc. and that’s a major headache. I know I said I’ve got solutions, but you should still be prepared for these mishaps. Is that mishap worth it to you if I told you you could be making over a hundred grand a year as a demo singer and custom songwriter? Up to you! I use a combination of Options 2,3, and 4. My profile terms all state that use of name and likeness is not permitted, but people still ask me, and so I’ll offer them my pseudonym. If I actually like the music, plus they want to pay, I’ll charge them to use my name and I’m ok with it. 
  • There is an Option 5 for special cases. I highly recommend as often as you can, if you can tell the client is super talented and possibly successful, ask them to send their Spotify link cuz you’d love to check out their music! You may be surprised to find they have incredibly high numbers of spins. In this case, if they are in your genre too, YOU might actually benefit from getting in front of their audience and ask them to feature you. I have found that I do get hired for EDM genres a lot, which is different than my own personal genre (which is epic movie trailer music), so I actually made up a second moniker just for big DJs to use: Kimera V. 

Hopefully that helps you decide how to navigate the big use of name question, and I really hope you do join the ranks of demo singers who make a super sustainable living without even having to perform live. And by the way, there are a lot of us, and we like to meet up on the first Friday of each month on zoom to mastermind all things about making money singing. You are invited to join us, it’s free, just sign up below, or visit where there are also other free resources available to you. So what is your made up pseudonym going to be? 

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