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The Artist's Guide To All Things Collaborations

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

As an indie artist, collaborative projects may just be your best friend in the industry today. It goes beyond a guitarist adding a few keys over an already complete song - it is a meeting of minds, skills, and even instruments. This is why more and more creatives are exploring this option. Collaborating with fellow artists, producers, and songwriters can provide fresh perspectives, inspire innovation, and open doors to exciting opportunities. In this article, we will be covering everything from why collaborations are just what you need, to how you can find the right collaborators to maximize the potential of your collaborative projects.

Collaborating with other musicians; a success strategy for artists

Having produced some of the best and most innovative music in history, collaborations are one of the most significant creative forces driving the music industry. It is important to understand its value and the benefits it offers. Here are some reasons why you should consider collaborating:

It expands your network

Probably the most obvious reason you should collaborate; at this stage in your career, the biggest challenge you might face is being seen and heard by a wide enough audience. Some people have said that one of the ways to rise swiftly in the music industry is through collaborations with more established artists. Collaborative projects provide an opportunity to tap into other fanbases to reach new contacts, gain exposure and expand your network for further opportunities. With both parties promoting the project, there will be increased exposure for all parties involved. Working with other artists also conveys activity and engagement. Your audience gets to see how you relate with other creatives.

You get to exchange ideas and tap skills

The music industry comprises people with different skill sets and trades. Collaborations offer the opportunity to incorporate diverse sounds, styles, and perspectives into your music. Learning and growing is easier and faster with collaborations than solo.

Learn and create

Nobody knows everything about the music industry. Everyone has something new to offer, so when you work with others you get to learn and teach. Other artists can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you push past your comfort zone. Try finding partnerships with artists who excel in areas outside your specialty; then embrace their unique strengths and styles to create fresh and exciting creations that resonate with a wider audience.

Increased productivity

Sharing responsibilities and tasks helps save time, boost productivity, and reduce procrastination. Also, as ‘two heads are better than one’, in other aspects of your career, collaborations can help double the strategies you already have in place.

All in all, connecting with other creatives is important as it could help advance your music career. Reaching out to and creating magic with other artists like yourself could be beneficial to you as an artist.

Now you know why collaborations could benefit you, what do you do before embarking on a collaborative project?

Define your goals

Before embarking on any collaboration, it's crucial to define your goals and expectations. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve through the collaboration. Are you looking to explore a new genre, gain exposure, or create a unique sound? Clarifying your objectives will help you find like-minded collaborators and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It is good to also note

How to find artists to collaborate with

Networking is key when it comes to finding the right collaborators. Today’s tech world has made it easy to find fellow like-minded musicians to play and record with. Finding artists to collaborate with is no longer next to impossible. Now you just have to be willing to get out there and connect. How can an artist find another artist to collaborate with?

Social Media

There are many platforms today that you can connect with musicians on - Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook are some examples. With social media, one thing to note is that you need to stand out if you want to be noticed. The greater an artist's audience, the harder it will be to get them to notice you. This is not to say it is impossible. Some tips on being noticed:

  • Firstly, organize your accounts. Your account should look legit so that when you do get their attention, you're able to keep it.

  • Secondly, you want to arouse their interest; valuable personal comments do that. You don't expect to get noticed with five generic emoji as opposed to 'your consistency inspires me'. Also, everybody likes to laugh so if you have a sense of humor, use it.

  • Finally, BE CONSISTENT - getting a popular artist to notice you might be a game of chance but it is possible.

Go out and meet people

This is the oldest and still the best way to form human connections. Get involved in the social scene and invest yourself in the gospel music culture. Work on increasing your network and forming bonds. Genuine connections often lead to fruitful collaborations. You may have to buy tickets and backstage passes to interact with the artist; spend money to make money. Also, the friend of your friend is a friend; so use your connections to make more connections.

How to successfully collaborate with other artists

Now you have found the artist to collaborate with, the next thing to think about is how to solidify the relationship and get the most out of your collaboration.

Get to know the collaborating artist beforehand

In cases where you do not know the collaborating artist personally, do some research and interact with them beforehand. It's essential to build rapport and establish effective communication. Get to know each other's musical backgrounds, influences, and creative processes. Clear communication and mutual respect lay the foundation for a successful collaboration.

Prepare Your Ideas Beforehand

Coming into a collaboration without any forethought may not be the best strategy - especially if it’s your first session. Before discussing think chords, song topics, and lyrics so that you can have something to fall back on. The process of brainstorming will help you get a better understanding of what you want to achieve.

Be Open-minded and Don’t Force Ideas

Even if you’re working with an artist with a similar sound as yours, there will be some new ideas and styles, so keep an open mind. By being more open to new ideas and letting fresh ideas flow, you allow the sound to be heard in more than one perspective and therefore, will be able to produce a more unique and creative track.

Establish a workflow

Establishing an efficient workflow system is crucial for collaborative projects. Set clear timelines, deadlines, and expectations from the beginning. Utilize online project management tools, to keep track of tasks and progress. Regular communication and updates will help you stay organized and avoid potential conflicts.

Splitting Credits and Royalties

Before releasing any collaborative work, it's essential to have transparent discussions about credit and royalty splits. Clearly define each collaborator's contributions and determine how royalties will be shared, to avoid conflict later in the future.

In Conclusion,

Don’t be discouraged if things don’t work out the first time

Things may not always go as planned. Some artists may not be willing to work with you on first try due to busy schedules, or their inability to fit into your sound; they may also agree at first and then disagree, but don't let that discourage you. Their response is not a reflection of your value. Accept it as a learning experience. If the collaboration works, remember to follow up with the artist in order to maintain your relationship with him/her.

All in all, whether you’re a singer, songwriter, or producer, collaborations are necessary to move further as it allows you to discover new techniques, network with other artists, and get feedback on your music from other talents. By defining goals, finding the right collaborators, fostering effective communication, and embracing diverse perspectives, you can unlock the immense potential that collaborations offer. Remember to approach each collaboration with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow. Through thoughtful and strategic collaborations, you can forge your unique path in the ever-evolving music industry. Happy Collaborating!

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