Each artist has a unique opinion as to what the “best” tracklist formation is. Many believe that a proper “start” and “end” is necessary to differentiate an album from a mixtape, while others believe that all projects are just collections of songs for fans to consume at their leisure. When putting the music itself aside, one key aspect of the album remains to be discussed: Whether or not to mention features in the advertising of the tracklist. 

As mentioned in a previous RSG blog post, features can help or hurt the artist’s project, depending on what the overarching goal of the release is. When examining this decision further, the choice of whether or not to list such features, should the artist have some, can be a considerable question to ponder. Is it best to advertise the featured tracks the most, or to solely put the artist’s name on the project and grow their fanbase through strictly themselves? 

In recent years, many artists have decided to remove features from their official tracklist, despite having a large number of additional names on the project. If no releases come to mind, look no further than Travis Scott’s “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight”, “ASTROWORLD”, or the latest album from 21 Savage, “i am > i was”. These albums went without features, incidentally adding an extra layer of mystery and anticipation to the first listen of the album. When a fan doesn’t know if there will be features on any tracks, they’re also more likely to listen to the album in full, earning the artist a higher level of revenue. 

On the other hand, artists will often put a large number of features on the project and advertise that as a selling point to the consumer. If a fan recognizes a handful of the listed features, they’re much more likely to check out the project in the first place, despite not knowing who the main artist was in the first place. The downside to this method of selling features to a fanbase is that fans will often only check out songs with big-name features and avoid the solo tracks. 

If an artist isn’t confident enough in their fanbase or place in the music industry to advertise their project without features, it is highly recommended that they form connections to new fans through other artists. This will allow the potential to obtain new fans with every featured release. Only if the artist is extremely confident in themselves and their fanbase, or if the project means more to them than sales and name recognition, should they feel free to determine the tracklist’s organization as they wish to. Each project is unique from one another and the answer to this question differs based on the circumstances. However, one common thread does connect them: As long as the artist considers each move they make and plan their releases with careful consideration, they’ll rise to the top in no time.