Skip to main content
123 123

What is a session musician and a non-featured artist?

2 min read

Understand the role of session musicians and non-featured artists in recording.

A session musician or non-featured artist is a creator typically hired by recording studios or music producers, to play an instrument or provide vocals as part of a sound recording.

When we speak about session musicians and non-featured artists, we're referring to who play an instrument, sing, or contribute a to a in other ways. Session musicians and non-featured artists are typically hired to perform on a sound recording.

See our Artist page to explore more about those roles.

Session musicians and non-featured performers are usually hired by the , the , if there is one, or sometimes the or the recording studio to perform on one or more sound recordings.

What rights does a session musician have?

can differ based on the agreement they have with the as well as the country the recording takes place in and applicable law. They may also vary based on agreements with record labels that set the terms of session fees and potential .

Session musicians and non-featured artists are usually paid a to contribute to a performance on a sound recording. This is known as a agreement, and further information can be found on the Work for Hire page. Under some agreements, session musicians and non-featured artists may also receive a share of the in the sound recording.

If you are a session musician unsure about your entitlement to rights or royalties in your country, ask your local .

Session musicians can sometimes contribute to a or sound recording in other ways. For example, suppose you are a hired musician who creates and performs an original bass line. In that case, you might also be recognized as and therefore also have an ownership share, or , of the musical work and . This is always subject to negotiation between you and the other songwriters.

See our Recording Splits page to explore more about ownership and royalty shares.

Image Credit: Martin Dam Kristensen