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New Joint Guidance for Session Musicians and Featured Artists Launched in Partnership With the FAC

Together with the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) – the UK artist trade body – we are delighted to share a new piece of joint guidance for session musicians and featured artists.

Published: 16 June 2021 | 2:04 PM Updated: 17 June 2021 | 9:26 AM
Photograph of a vocal recording microphone, with interesting red and blue light shining on it.
The guidance provides easy to follow advice on what rights are involved and the sorts of questions that musicians and artists might need to ask. Photo credit: Shutterstock

With the help of MU member and FAC Artist Ambassador Kelli-Leigh, who has been featured on tracks with Duke Dumont, Jax Jones and James Hype, the joint guidance aims to offer advice to creators, to establish how they should be engaged when working on projects.

This can be particularly difficult for lead vocalists going in to work with another artist or producer, but can also apply to an instrumentalist taking on a lead role.

This is a particularly tricky area of the industry, which often sees confusion around the rights, processes and negotiating position for music makers.

The guidance provides easy to follow advice on what rights are involved and the sorts of questions that musicians and artists might need to ask, in order to understand the role they are playing within a project.

It can be a minefield understanding with is the best thing to do

Kelli-Leigh, Artist & FAC Ambassador, says:

“The world of dance and electronic releases, laced with feature vocals, has grown exponentially in recent years. With over 60,000 songs a day uploaded to streaming platforms, there is increasing demand to find the perfect vocal topline or hook to create that potential hit.

“I have received so many messages from singers being approached by producers for vocals, without any knowledge of how the process of releasing works. Without clear guidance or good management, it can be a minefield understanding what is the right and best thing to do. I myself, a former session singer, only started learning and understanding the releasing process when I heard my voice on two UK number 1 hits in 2014.

“Earlier this year I was approached by the MU to develop a guidance document for singers, based on my experiences. This guidance seeks to make the world of feature vocal recording clearer, in turn creating better protocol and industry standard practice.

“I’m really pleased to have this document published in conjunction with the MU and the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), which will arm singers and producers with better knowledge on engaging in session, vocal and featured artist work.”

We hope it provides the tools for informed conversations

Sam Jordan, MU Sessions Official, adds:

“Making sure musicians are equipped with the knowledge they need to agree a fair deal and know when to seek advice is essential in creating an industry where musicians are paid and treated fairly.

“We are really proud to have worked with Kelli-Leigh and the FAC on this new guidance for session performers and featured artists, and we hope that it will give musicians the confidence and tools they need to have informed conversations about their work and careers.”

David Martin, FAC CEO, says:

“Artists and musicians, particularly vocalists, are often unclear about where the dividing lines are between the various roles they play within the music industry.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Kelli-Leigh, alongside the MU, to produce this guide. Ensuring that artists have the knowledge to understand their rights and negotiate fair deals is at the core of what the FAC does. We have therefore been grateful to Kelli-Leigh in lending her extensive expertise to help to demystify this area and empower creators.

You can read the full guide to engagements as a session musician or featured artist on our website.

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