The Hit Songs Deconstructed Wire

Variety interviews Hit Songs Deconstructed co-founder David Penn on the Popularity of Featured Artists



David Penn, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hit Songs Deconstructed, was recently interviewed by Variety on the rise in popularity of featured artists in the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10. DJ Khaled’s highly-anticipated release of Grateful with artists such as Future, 21 Savage, Migos, Nicki Manaj, Travis Scott, and Alicia Keys is just one example. Another is Despacito with Justin Bieber, Daddy Yankee, and Luis Fonsi atop of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 8 weeks… and counting.

Why would an artist partner with another artist? David Penn breaks it down in this Variety article with some interesting statistics:

Of the 131 songs that charted in the Top 10 of the Hot 100 between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2017, and found that 36% of those same hits have a credited feature:

  • 17% are all male artists (like Despacito, which is credited to Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber).
  • 19% are both female and male artists. (Chained to the Rhythm – Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley)
  • Less than 1% are all female – only one song, Side To Side by Ariana Grande featuring Nicki Minaj, registered in significance, though Minaj’s latest appearance on Katy Perry’s Swish Swish may add another to the mix.

When asked why an artist would partner with another artist, Penn explained:

  • They provide an artist or artists with heightened exposure / new fan acquisition (i.e. tap into another artist’s fan base).
  • Provide a song with heightened exposure and crossover potential (e.g. a Latin song like Despacito crossing over into mainstream Pop because of the remix that features Justin Bieber).
  • Heighten the clout of a song and/or emerging artist through affiliation with an artist of higher stature.
  • Provide a song with an additional element that heightens its impact – such as: a specific vocal characteristic (for instance: a featured artist providing a sung Pop or R&B chorus vocal in a song that contains rapped verses by the main artist), or a narrative enhancement (a featured artist in a male/female duet that provides one of the characters with a unique voice, thus heightening the impact of the storyline).

To read the full article, click here.