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Collaborate or Independent and Why??


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I have always seen Songstuff as a hub for musicians. It would only seem to follow that  an environment of teamwork would apply, yet musicians can be a picky and moody lot.

I also think it's in human nature to be independent. We go as far as we can and then realize we could use help. For instance, I struggle sometimes with lyrics and admittedly need help. For someone else it might be something else. Is this why you might have considered collaboration? Or do you see the advantage in having other ideas in the process apart from technical advantages?

 

Most member descriptions under collaboration list "Interested". A few say "maybe". and even fewer say "no".

 

Even though "Interested" is the most common one. There doesn't seem to be much collaboration happening. Why is this? What are the advantages or possible disadvantages to collaboration?

 

What does an ideal collaborator look like to you? What ideas do you have about what a good partnership should be? What have been some of your experiences?

 

Should one person totally control one part of the process, or should each person have equal input?

 

Have you had successful collaborations in the past? Why were they successful?  

 

I've had some really good collaborations in the past and I continue to. 

 

Maybe list what you see as the pros and cons if you see any.

 

 

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Can I answer this one first?  :P

 

I'll keep it brief.

 

I believe a good collaboration is much, much more than the participants putting in their bits. It is firstly the meeting of the minds, truly appreciating the others' talents and skills, and forming an understanding (not too different from a good marriage ;) ). There is no ego involved.. just goodwill..... because that will help bring out the best in the project/s. And after that, the rest (read - technical/clinical stuff) automatically fall into place :)

 

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3 hours ago, Sreyashi Mukherjee said:

Can I answer this one first?  :P

 

I'll keep it brief.

 

I believe a good collaboration is much, much more than the participants putting in their their bits. It is firstly the meeting of the minds, truly appreciating the others' talents and skills, and forming an understanding (not too different from a good marriage ;) ). There is no ego involved.. just goodwill..... because that will help bring out the best in the project/s. And after that, the rest (read - technical/clinical stuff) automatically fall into place :)

 

I agree!!!! And even then there are ups and downs.

(not too different from a good marriage ;) )

I would just add (or other team player reaching for same goal)

 

* Tom, i wasn't thinking legal on either  collab/union.  More ideally. I should have thought broader. 🤔 thanks.

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Ha ha - this topic now reminds me of this song - which by the way, does prove that collaborations do work, it just depends who they are with..... this is Franz Ferdinand and the Sparks.

 

 

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Saw Franz F with Green Day a couple years back and I love the Sparks so this is right up my alley! Love it! Thanks man.

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6 minutes ago, Just1L said:

Saw Franz F with Green Day a couple years back and I love the Sparks so this is right up my alley! Love it! Thanks man.

 

The album is awesome. Two bands who are very much alike and the Franz boys love Sparks and wanted to work with them for a while. Have a listen to some of the other songs from the album, it is a really strong piece of work.

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20 minutes ago, Richard Tracey said:

Ha ha - this topic now reminds me of this song - which by the way, does prove that collaborations do work, it just depends who they are with..... this is Frank Ferdinand and the Sparks.

 

 

 

Quite on point. Not to mention hilarious!  

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12 hours ago, starise said:

Have you had successful collaborations in the past? Why were they successful?

Yes...

 

I think seriously good collaborations that work and continue to work for a long time are rare. 

 

The best collaborations which last longest happen when you're new to music and develop together, and when each person brings something different ... i.e. A BAND! For me great collaborations with other artists (which tends to be online) are special moments where each person bounces off the other to develop a song further...much like in a band... You start with one idea, the other person adds to it...and that takes you somewhere unexpected and so things develop... and that's a true collaboration.... and that's what I hope for with any attempt at collaborating. If things don't go that way but rather, for example, you get someone to sing a melody you've written...or if you ask someone to play a solo on your track....then that's 'featuring' rather than collaborating... I think.

 

A couple of my favourite collaborations which are true collaborations...where the final song changed beyond expectations due to each of us inspiring the other to develop things... and I think made me really try a lot harder than I would on my own, because there's a responsibility.

 

 

 

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I collaborate because I can't do it all by myself. And also because working with others can, sometimes, really help me test my limitations as a melody writer/composer.

 

Collaborations are wonderful but I think it's even better with a written agreement.

 

I've been looking all over the internet for examples of collaboration agreements and here's what I found so far - you could use them as references to write up your own collaboration agreement forms:

 

http://johnbraheny.com/resources/collaboration-agreement/

 

http://www.songwriter101.com/forums/viewthread/75339/#472785

 

http://www.writesongs.com/collaborationagreement.pdf

 

http://www.internetmedialaw.com/collaboratorsongwriter-agreements-new/

 

 

Happy collaborating! 

 

Ken

 

 

 

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I have collaborated several times. 90% of the time they were unsuccessful. 

One time when I set someones lyrics to music, I got the response "I didnt think you were going to make it sound like that!".

 

Other times musical ideas would clash. They were nearly all uncompleted projects.

 

The few occasions when they worked well, was when communication was frequent and we were working to a deadline.  Those couple of times were very hard work for me, but satisfying and worthwhile.

 

Another time I was working with my collaborator face to face. Swapping ideas frequently and working fast. But you have to be on the same page as each other. Speak the same language. If not, struggling to put ideas across is labourious and stifles the creative process. Being in the same room is much easier.

 

Most of the time its just so much easier for me to work alone. My book of unused lyrics is pretty big, so if I'm struggling for words I can turn to that. Musical ideas come easily to me. So its only my own laziness that I need to overcome.

 

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In my experience it's difficult to make online collabs come to fruition. Most of the time people say they're interested but when it never goes anywhere. It's hard to find someone who is on the same page as you creatively and so it can be difficult. I think it's best to just let collabs happen organically rather than just asking for them from random people online.  However, when collaborations do go well it's one of the best ways to learn new skills and ways of doing things that you may not have been aware of before. Overall, communication is the most important aspect. If there is good communication between the 2 people then it will most likely be a productive project

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I've had really great experiences collaborating as a rule.  I tend to do a bit of observing and tend to (not always) become a little familiar with potential collaborators--those are the best, I think.  There seems to be some synergy personality-wise.

I haven't got a ton of collaborators, but enough and they all have different styles and purpose and skill.

 

I've also had some one-time collaborations--those are usually with people I wasn't so familiar with and had only one out of those ones that didn't deliver something close to what I had in mind for the lyrics I wrote.  I find collaborating to be a great learning experience and also sort of exciting because you never know what the other person will bring to the mix.  I love to experiment, but that only works with someone else who doesn't mind that.  

 

I did have one gal that was pretty set on a particular format as she was more aiming for a "hit" in a genre she was focused in where I tend to go for creativity and emotion/connection and more about what/how something is said  in writing than aiming for radio hits.  She had been taking classes in it and was following the rules closely.  She also said she was writing with some established writers and learned these things.   Despite the little bit of a grind, we were so different that I felt I was learning some things.  She was very formatted and me, not my focus as much.  If/when it's out there, it'll be a very cool song.  

 

With her, our schedules were both limited for time and we had trouble catching up with one another, which is another factor to consider.

 

 Schedules can conflict and that's okay in some circumstances, but if someone is in a hurry, it might become an issue.  It's all something that needs to be worked out between both parties early on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I guess I'm a  "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of guy when it comes to collaborating. 

 

If I find someone who wants to work with me and I like their music, I'll do it. It's like, " you wanna do that?" ok let's do it. Simple as that. No prior considerations or requirements. No thoughts about future implications, mainly because I can read people pretty well and I have a good feel for who they are. I don't think any of the people I've worked with would ever go off with something done as a team and try to gain from it without telling me. I guess I'm really laid back like that. I would hope they all know I would always include them in anything that might include a profit. I see it as a mutual trust, mutual respect kind of thing.

 

I guess if I were to somehow become involved in a professional writers group, I would sign all the papers necessary. I see more freedom in the other way, mainly because you aren't watching your back and worrying they might be up to no good. You don't feel the need to protect yourself. There's probably a big difference in the professional approach and the " hey you wanna make a song?" approach.If you work with me and the song somehow makes money, you're in for 50% no matter what. I wouldn't look at how much they did compared to how much I did. It's usually a pretty even contribution though.I would surely put it on paper if they wanted to. I would recommend if you launch a collaborated work to an online record company like CD baby , you both share the account and know the passwords. That way you both see the numbers. Have it tied to a mutual account even. That way you aren't taking my word for it. I prefer things to be open.

 

I tend to flow better with suggestions instead of, that sucks lol. I think the best times are when you're stumped on an idea and the other person has one. I've noticed most musicians and writers tend to get into certain ruts  they can't break out of. The music might start to all sound similar.The artist is aware they are in a rut but they don't know how to break free of it. Collaborations can be good for this, like  breath of fresh air.

 

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I wouldn't say the end product isn't important.  I would say the process is AS important.  I think the synergy is important.  It brings out the best in both parties.  I can often sense in conversation when a collaboration relationship might be difficult.  I try to steer clear of certain types as it can be a drain on resources and who wants to drag to the collaboration?  

 

Even though I've had great experiences, there is a selection/deselection process going on long before a collaboration is considered, at least by me.  I don't want someone who's completely inflexible or I'm not particularly  loving what they've put out previously on some level.   I'm some of my long-term collaborators biggest fans or at least a fan of their potential.  I listen to their stuff in my puttering time.  

 

I also tend to put a lot into the character of my collaborators and we reasonably share similar values as I don't want any part in promoting something I wouldn't want my name attached to and that they're r not going to swipe my work.

 

I might try out a new collaboration partner from scratch, but only the tried and true ones get my favorite already written stuff or my most exciting new ideas to build on.

 

Also, I do try to avoid everything having the same sound.  I do think collaborations prevent that.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, tunesmithth said:

So, if I'm reading these responses correctly, most of the members who view board-collaboration as positive & beneficial do so because....

  • it's personally rewarding on some level
  • they enjoy the social interaction & exchange of ideas
  • they genuinely enjoy helping & working with others
  • the process itself helps them grow & expand their boundaries & proficiency as a writer

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with any of those reasons! 

That being said, they do share a similarity. They're all "task-oriented" motivations.

They have much more to do with the process & your participation in it,  than the end-goal ("the song").

 

Thing is, I'm more of a goal-oriented person. Don't get me wrong...I enjoy the creative process immensely & I love learning new things!

But for me, what makes the thousands of hours I've dedicated over 20+ years worthwhile IS the end product...the tangible results.

Since I am both task & goal oriented, one will not work without the other.

Honestly, if it weren't for the results, I never would have been able to justify the ridiculous amount of time, effort & money I dedicated to this.;)

 

Bottom line - if the collaborative task (process) & interaction is more important to you than the finished product, then yeah...I can certainly understand how informal collaborations would be beneficial. But if a large part of your satisfaction is dependent upon the end result, not so much.:rolleyes:

As with everything else in life...different strokes for different folks.

 

I have never been in a collaboration that didn't have an end result after the basic idea and directions were hammered out. I mean, at least the agreed uopn framework.I read here that a few have, so I know it can happen. I have had ideas that never develop fully, but I don't consider that to be the song stage. To me that's just the experimental idea stage.  I have had a few disappointments. Once I had a professional vocalist agree to work on a song for me. For whatever reason she couldn't hold up her end of our agreement. A lyricist from SS had written lyrics which we were batting around. When it became apparent that the vocalist wasn't going to be involved I was disappointed and I felt I had let the lyricist down because I was the initial impetus behind it all.I gathered a team, one quit and the rest fell apart. The thing just lost steam after that. I still have the lyrics she wrote, but haven't found a voice for that part.It was all in the experiment stage at that point. That could have had some financial viability because we were aiming for a certain market.

 

This has mostly been the exception rather than the rule. I like to see results too :D

 

I think this falls along the lines Pahchisme was discussing, that we choose our players wisely. This means I'll probably be booted :) .I hope not! It's been fun working with her and others here!!

 

 I have worked with a few who weren't a good fit. One in particular which I made a song with . The person was nice but under the veneer, there was a very decided opinionated inflexible person. I rolled with it through one song,mostly just doing whatever they wanted to do. Most suggestions were great and changes were spot on. For me I think it was more about the manner and delivery of those ideas. I wasn't getting friendly patient vibes, More like it was a favor to me,  which I did appreciate, but I also seen it probably wasn't going to continue. This person had a very independent nature and wasn't natural a team player.  I'm thinking the main motive was probably  just simple added exposure, or maybe curiosity, however small it was. To me OTOH it was something I put a lot more hope into. EVEN FROM THAT a decent song emerged. So you can make things work even in a less than stellar situation.In that case I was the initiator which can sometimes be bad because you aren't sure how into it they really are.

 

I think in this thing you just need to feel out kindred souls.You'll probably make a few blunders in the process. That's ok. I like both the process and the end results personally.

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23 minutes ago, starise said:

This means I'll probably be booted :)

I think not!

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"You wanna collaborate with me?  Very well: sign here."  Yeah, go ahead and call it a "pre-nup."  It exists for the selfsame reason.  Before either of us enter into this future, "possibly fruitful, possibly not," business arrangement, we are going to on-the-record document and agree-to certain things.

 

A great many very-famous bands – Pink Floyd immediately comes to mind – ran into a lot of trouble, and heartache, because they did not "mind their P's and Q's" when they needed to.

 

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16 hours ago, tunesmithth said:

 

Thank you Tim, for helping make yet another point.

Those are NOT your lyrics!

Regardless of mutually agreed upon intent at the time, the legal rights to those lyrics belong to her...fixed at the time of creation.

Yet here you are, acting as if using them at some point in the future is your decision.

Hate to be the one to tell ya' buddy, but it's NOT.

Once again...no up-front legal definition of rights = little or no control after the fact.

Like it or not, that is the nature of the beast.

 

Tom

 

*I'd like to add that Tim seems like one of the nicest folks I've ever met online. Given that, I'm reasonable sure that his intentions were good.

But regardless of those intentions, we find ourselves in yet another legal quagmire over rights...and the project's not even a project yet.

Imagine what might happen with a less stellar individual, or individuals?

 

 

In this particular situation these lyrics are just laying on my hard drive. I haven't pursued that project any further for several years. The person who wrote the lyrics has likely found other interests, since they haven't indicated they wanted to go anywhere further with it, I haven't seen the need or really had the desire to look for another vocalist that won't hang with it. In all honesty the whole process deflated me a little because I had such high hopes. I mean , this vocalist was simply amazing and she was a good fit for this type of thing. I should add that the lyrics weren't really completed, so I gather that the original writer might have felt the same way as me and just let it go. 

 

IF for any reason this project would ever pick up steam again you can rest assured I would NEVER attempt to use it without the consent of that person.Since I was spearheading the project,

I would likely be the one to find another vocalist if one is found. It was up to ME to look into that. This is why I said I hadn't found anyone to sing it. IF anything ever came of it and IF money were somehow made on it, then everyone around gets 33% since there were three people involved.

 

At the time I seen no need to sign anything contractual until we had a solid completion in our hands. Then we have something that can be used. 

 

I see the wisdom in signing BEFORE you ever start. This is honestly something I had never thought was necessary, mainly because you really don't have anything until you have something;)

I have always tried to communicate with those I worked with my intentions IF anything should come of it, there were ideas I had to continue with it. Example- IF we make 8 or 10 GOOD songs. I would like to make a joint hub we both can watch. IOW I always try to be as inclusive as I can be. One collab isn't enough material to really market IMO. You can do it, but I prefer multiple quality tracks.

 

In most cases though, money was never the intent, so we just made music together. If OTOH we started to accumulate multiple good songs and a trend starts to develop that we make a good team, then I think it's time to discuss those kinds of ideas.

 

Thanks for the kind words Tom, and I think you're one of the nicest ones here. I can see where you're headed with this and I DO think this is an important aspect, I also think you need trust, because, let's face it, that's what this is about. You don't TRUST the person enough to take their word for it. You NEED a signed contract. It's like, yes I'll marry you, but I'm not sure you won't take my money and run so I'll need you to sign this.

 

Where I see the issues you bring up coming into play more are with tracks that were never copyrighted being ripped and used by someone else aside from the collab team. This is why I try to lock downloads on websites I post music to. In one case I had forgotten to lock downloads and that track had 1000 downloads. I think most of those people just wanted the track for listening, but I don't know someone out there hasn't put it into something they are doing and haven't credited the artist.

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On 8/30/2017 at 6:03 PM, tunesmithth said:
  • they enjoy the social interaction & exchange of ideas
  • they genuinely enjoy helping & working with others

 

Hmmm...  There's very little 'social' in online collaboration. The distance can be frustrating. 

 

I gather we're only talking about online, since in real life we'd call it being in a band rather than 'collaborating'. 

 

And 'helping' ? I don't want to collaborate to 'help' anyone... 

 

For me it's all about working with people I admire,  to expand possibilities and explore new directions. And it's generally a quite hard work too... satisfying...but never just a carefree lark...

 

But in real life... a live jam which turns into something really good is a rare and precious thing...and yeah in that case the experience of the process is fantastic.

 

 

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