Don’t just play with yourself

There’s a lot of value to be gained in working with others. Even if you’re a solo artist, you don’t have to limit your musical expression to just what’s in your head. Collaborating with other people can bring a number of benefits over working strictly on your own.

  • Covering each other’s weaknesses. I’ve written about this before. There are many tasks and activities involved in music production. Surely there are some you enjoy more (and are more skilled at) than others. What if you could spend more time doing the tasks you enjoy and less of the tasks you don’t? You’d probably enjoy the overall production process more. What if you could spend more time doing the tasks that you’re best at, and someone else did the tasks you’re not so good at? The end result would probably be of a higher quality overall.
  • New fresh influences. I’m not just talking about styles and instrumentation – there’s a lot you can do to expand your musical horizons by exposing yourself to a wide variety of music. Actually working with someone, however, takes it to another level. Not only do you explore each other’s taste in music from the perspective of the end result, but you are also exposed to each other’s work style and processes. With a good partnership, not only will you expand the way you think about music, but you’ll expand the way you think about making music.
  • Create something you wouldn’t have created on your own. This is related to the previous point. Not only will you learn new things about making music, but you’ll also create a new kind of end result. This will be new music that neither of you would have created on your own. Sometimes this can take the form of a combination of two clear styles. For example, if your main style is hard house and you collaborate with someone who’s main style is funky house, you’ll likely end up with something between both, containing elements of each. Sometimes, however, the end result can be something that neither of you could have predicted. This is especially true when one or both of you have a wide range of musical skills and stylistic appreciation.
  • Reach a new audience. A collaborative release will be of interest to fans of all the collaborators. If there’s not much crossover already, there’s a great potential to reach new listeners who’d appreciate your music. Of course, this depends on how different your style is to your collaborator’s style. You can expect a greater fan influx from a hard house / funky house collaboration than an acoustic folk / abstract electronica collaboration. It also depends on how open-minded the fans are. Most people aren’t just interested in one style of music. It’s a bit fuzzy, but you can get a sense of how open-minded an artist’s fans are by the degree of genre-pigeonholeing that happens to the artist. The less defined-by-genre or defining-of-genre an artist is, the more receptive their fans will be to new musical experiences.
Hopefully that’ll give you some ideas and inspiration for working with other people! Go on – pick up the phone, open up your email. Reach out and make contact!
    • Fredhoven
    • June 27th, 2011

    thanks a lot again Kim!

    • Robert Halvarsson
    • June 28th, 2011

    Great tip. So self-evident, but still needs poiting out!

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