As the music industry has shifted and technology has evolved, a co-sign for a new artist — whether from a popular peer, radio station or a label — isn’t quite as necessary as it once was. But it sure doesn’t hurt.
A co-sign can still have a significantly positive effect on a rising artist’s climb, from exposure to new fan bases to opening industry doors. It’s a practice that has a particularly storied history in hip-hop, with everyone from Kanye West to Eminem to Kendrick Lamar to Drake serving as beneficiaries.
Ahead of the show, we asked Rocky and some of the night’s biggest performers about what a co-sign means to them. You can also get in on the action by adding your favorite emerging artists to our Cosign Playlist. Here’s what they had to say.
A$AP RockyGetty Images
I think it’s cool when people get together and guys don’t really know each other but support each other’s music off the basis of admiration. I can appreciate that, as opposed to f–king with somebody just because they’re dope or they’re hot at the moment. If somebody on a commercial or mainstream platform actually acknowledges what I do and respects it, it’s a blessing. It’s dope, especially them co-signing me early on in my career, before accomplishing a lot. I appreciate that.
Chvrches’ Lauren MayberryGetty Images
Without the support of other bands or people helping us get a reputation, it would’ve been a lot more difficult for us to get to where we are. I never really subscribed to the idea that you need to be competitive with other people you view as similar to you. I don’t think it works like that. It’s not like there’s only space for a certain number of things. My experience is that the music industry can be quite a lonely and isolating place, and I think finding likeminded people and allies is a nice thing.
The Chainsmokers’s Drew TaggartGetty Images
Getting the support of a musician who inspires you or who you look up to, it gives you that confidence that you’re making progress and doing the right thing. To be honest, no one really that early did any favors for us, but I will give Steve Aoki the credit that he was the first label that signed us, and he really saw something special in the song “Selfie” and went above and beyond to push the song out the door and get the momentum going. Having a guy with a huge fan base like that, who’s one of the biggest DJs in the world, kind of telling people to pay attention to you, it really makes a difference right out of the gate.
Jack GarrattGetty Images
I’m fortunate to know some incredibly talented musicians who live in and around London. It was so important that we went to each other’s gigs, not only to show support but to enjoy music. We weren’t ever there to try to beat the other person to the top. It was never anything like that. It was always just a genuine connection and a love for the art that our friends were making.
Get familiar with all of this year’s performers with the playlist below.
The MTV Woodies/10 for 16 airs Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. And if you’d like, you can watch the four-hour broadcast MTV Woodies/10 for 16 festival live on the newly launched MTV Live at 5 p.m. CST — or livestream the whole thing at woodies.mtv.com.