Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to be making music from home with friends, and even strangers from around the world.
Music collaboration is an amazing thing that exposes your talents to a wider audience, brings in other’s skills that you never knew you needed, and could see you end up creating something totally different to what you ever imagined!
Remote collaboration is on the rise and is becoming our ‘new normal’ as we spend less time working in close proximity with other people. Whether you’re a producer, an artist or a musician, mastering the ins and outs of working remotely with collaborators is something that you’ll surely benefit from as we go forward in this strange new world.
You’ll benefit from each other.
As different artists, you all have something unique to offer. You can bring different strengths and skills to the table. For example, you could be a producer but lyric writing isn’t your strong point. You connect with a writer who can’t produce. So, you can produce the track, and they can write the lyrics.
You’ll work more efficiently.
When working with others, it’s a lot harder to lose steam and procrastinate as you are accountable for one another – you are there to encourage and motivate each other. Collaborating with others can also help overcome writer’s block as you have someone else (or a few people) to rack your brain and discuss ideas with.
They say two heads are better than one. Different perspectives can lead to the creation of a really cool track that neither of you could have produced alone. Different viewpoints can more easily help you find creative solutions to problems.
Ability to take your time.
When you’re not restricted to a certain amount of time in a studio, you’ve got plenty of time to experiment. You have space to think about the track in your own time, without the added pressure.
Working with other artists gives you exposure to their fanbase and vice versa. It’s a really great opportunity to gain fans that you may not have gained otherwise.
Brings you closer together with other musicians.
By collaborating with others, you will be widening your network, which could bring other opportunities. You could make some long-lasting relationships, meet more people in the industry and engage with other musicians, which is SO important in this current time for not only your creativity, but your mental wellbeing.
Why you need to have a basic agreement with each other around ownership and royalty splits.
Before you do anything, it’s important to have an agreement and split sheet in place detailing how you are going to split your royalties. It’s incredibly important to agree on this collectively with all collaborator(s) involved before any revenue starts coming in, to avoid any disputes going forward. You’ll thank us later.
Songwriting collaboration agreements and split sheets are documents that set out who owns the rights to a track, what percentage of the track each collaborator owns, plus any other points you want to agree on in writing. You can easily find a template online, or write up your own. At the very least have things set out in an email – so long as you have a written and dated record of what you’ve agreed.
Having an agreement in place makes sure everything is there in black and white and everyone gets their fair share of royalty splits. It also means that if you want to sign a publishing agreement down the line, you will already know how ownership is split.
If you’re ever unsure about what to include in a collaboration agreement, make sure you do your research and seek independent legal advice if needed.
Where to find music collaborators.
Why not look to your own network for fellow musicians and artists/producers that may be looking to collaborate and drop them a DM. If you’re looking to branch outside of your immediate music hub (we encourage that you do), then social media is a great place to network and find other creatives. Look on Soundcloud, message artists whose music you like, or hop over to our Spinnup Community Facebook Group, that has over 800 members, with lots of artists looking to collaborate. Also, check out our blog post, for some of the best websites to help you find like-minded artists to collaborate with.
Remember to keep an open mind – it might be really interesting to find someone who is a completely different style to you. Look for artists all over the world and always be up for a challenge!
How to do a session from afar.
Where it’s still difficult to meet in person to have a songwriting session, the best way to write in real-time at the moment is through a video calling app like Zoom or Skype.
Be prepared just as you would for an in-person songwriting session. Bring ideas that you’ve been working on and decide on your goals and what you want to get out of the session.
Agree on times to meet regularly. This will help you to keep a good rhythm in your songwriting and fuel your creative productivity. Checking in with each other over video is always better than IM!
Optimize your video calling software audio for music.
Zoom’s default settings are set up for regular voice chat, so you’ll want to tweak the settings to optimize it for music. Read our blog post for how to do this.
Record your session.
Keep a record of those ideas that you come up with without the need to stop and record them as you go. Simply go back and listen to or watch the recording.
Writing your song.
It may be that you already have an idea you’ve been working on, but you’re not sure what to do next, or you’d like to add parts that you can’t do with your skillset alone. If so, then send it over to your collaborator. It’s important to make sure you don’t send a finished song. It needs to have the space for your collaborator to do their thing. Keep sending the track back and forth to each other and see how it develops.
If you’re stuck for ideas, use your video session as a starting point. Did you come up with any ideas on there you’d like to take further? Listen back to your recorded session and see what stands out to you. Maybe you came up with a cool chord progression – start off with this and build the song layer by layer.
Record ideas on-the-go. Inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time. The catchy melody to your song could pop into your head whilst you’re in the queue for the supermarket. Creativity usually comes to us when we don’t force it – so be ready to record these ideas down, whether its on your phone’s voice memo app or on a notepad.
Still feeling a bit of writer’s block? Then read some tips from Kamikwazi here.
When it comes to putting your song together, services like Bounce Boss, Splice Studio or Pibox offers you ways to collaborate on your track remotely. Alternatively, you can send files back and forth via Dropbox or WeTransfer. And until the end of September 2020, all Spinnup artists get a 90 day trial of Bounce Boss totally free – find out more here.
What to do when you and your collaborator have creative differences and how to avoid them.
How to avoid creative differences.
Make sure you’re on the same page from the offset. Get specific about what you want to create. What are your goals and expectations? Remember that everyone can interpret things differently, so it’s important to make sure you have a mutual understanding, rather than just assuming you know what each other means. Communication is key.
What to do when you and your collaborator(s) have creative differences.
As time goes on in a project, it’s not uncommon for friction to develop. But it’s important to resolve conflicts fairly and efficiently – you don’t wanna be spending all your energy on trying to maintain a relationship that’s gone sour.
Be open, let go and embrace your differences!
Accept from the beginning that differences WILL happen. Try to let go of having high expectations and just let things flow. See creative differences as a positive thing. Working with others can encourage new ways of thinking and new perspectives. Be open to your collaborator(s) ideas, and try not to become too attached to your original idea. Most likely, it will go off in a different direction than you both envisioned. This is a good thing! You’ve created something awesome that neither of you might have been capable of doing alone.
Talk it out.
It’s important to keep on talking to each other and keep on the same page as your track progresses. Give each other feedback. If they don’t like your idea ask them for constructive feedback and why they don’t like it. And don’t take it personally if they don’t like your idea. We’re all different. If you start to feel a divide growing then don’t freak out – be honest and open with each other and keep on revisiting your goals of the project. If you can’t agree on one idea, try to find that middle ground that satisfies you both.
Take a break.
With most creative endeavours, if you feel like you’re hitting a wall, or you’re getting frustrated with each other, then take a break from your song and your collaborator. You’ll come back to it revived, with fresh ears.
And most of all just have fun!
For more on collaboration, read our blog post here