Collaborate: Write a Song with Another ArtistBy -
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Experienced songwriters will tell you that one of the most potentially rewarding yet potentially perilous ways to write a song is to collaborate. Unless you’re a solo singer/songwriter who plays the piano, guitar, or some other instrument, you will have to work with others at some point in the songwriting process. Being prepared can help smooth that process out.
The Pros And Cons Of Collaborative Songwriting
The benefits of writing a song with another musician are countless. For starters, you can learn how other artists write their music. Having these methods as options can help you get out of a writer’s block rut down the road. If the musicians are from other bands or genres, you can experiment with different styles and sounds, and the collaboration extends your music to the audience and fan base of your co-writer. The alliances forged during these songwriting sessions can prove invaluable down the road.
Of course, there are risks when trying to write a song with another artist. Going into a collaboration, you have no guarantee that your songwriting skills will gel well, even if you both appreciate the others work. Since it can be tough to hear critiques, you need to have a thick skin and speak thoughtfully. The lack of guarantees, presence of criticism, and a host of other factors means those potential alliances can easily turn into hurt feelings, damaged reputations, and bitter enemies.
Pick A Good Partner For Collaboration
Honestly, making this decision requires a combination of careful deliberation and blind faith. Some prefer to only write with musicians they don’t know, thereby not risking ruined friendships. For others, the opposite is true, as they already trust artists they know. The opportunity to write a song with someone who you know quite well can be just as valuable an experience as the opportunity to write with someone you have recently met. The same is true for known and unknown artists. Each opportunity is what you make of it.
A Matter of Money
If you’re under a contract, you should probably speak to your manager or A&R rep about how to split profits from collaborated projects before you get going on the process. If you’re both independent musicians, agree ahead of time on how the profits will break down. You might split it evenly, or you might base it on the percentage of work done. Some up-and-coming musicians might take less money simply to share the songwriting credits and have the experience under their belt.
Have you collaborated on projects with other musicians before? How did the process go? What advice do you have for those considering their first collaboration?