How to successfully collaborate on your projects
By Kris W05.05.2020
After googling how to successfully collaborate on a music project, you’re probably left with a whole lot of tips, tricks and guidelines. So we wanted to share our top tips and hopefully narrow it down for you. Based on our experience and research, we’ve come up with this list. Yeah, it’s not rocket science, but knowing or not knowing where to start can make or break the entire collaboration.
Find a match
There are many alternatives for musicians to find other musicians to work with. One of the most popular one is to use your social media accounts to reach out and hope the other artists are up for a collaboration. But after a few rejections or non-serious talks, and without a big network it can be a shot in the dark. So, the easiest way to connect with a musician, is to use a service whose goal is to connect the musicians. That’s why we made Verce! With thousands of motivated musicians in the community, starting a collaboration shouldn’t be that hard. Try it!
Have an idea or a concept
Going into a collaboration without an idea at all can be challenging, and is potentially doomed to fail. Use your time before going all in on a project to define a concept, or at least sit-down and come up with some ideas. If you’re announcing a project, and know what you’re looking for in your partner, it will be a lot more likely that you’ll find a good fit for your project. Think of it like a hiring process; ask for demos, workflow, what plugins and DAW they use. This way you know from early on if it’s gonna work out and worth spending time on.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
This is important! Don’t jump into a project that you know doesn’t suit your style or abilities. It’s also a good idea to evaluate yourself and try to connect with other musicians at the same level as yourself. You'll learn a whole lot just by doing the collaboration, but you'll also learn a lot from each other, so finding someone at approximately the same level as you is important so that it doesn't get overwhelming.
Get to know each other
If you’re spread around the world, it's still possible to jam together and it’s also nice to be able to set a face on the other person! Using tools like Zoom, Skype, or Whereby makes it super easy to have live video calls. This way you’ll also get to know each other while jamming.
Don’t be messy. Find the right tools to hold yourself on track
Being the one who constantly does not answer, and does not deliver on schedule isn’t cool. Not to mention the poor artist on the other side of the line constantly waiting to proceed with the work. That collaboration is toxic, and will not work out in the long term. Start by having a brainstorm together and set the course for further work. Plan production-hours and write them down in your notebook (or even better: share them in your collaboration timeline in Verce), share a cloud service together to always keep your documents in sync (like Google Drive or Dropbox).
Plan “creating”-sprints with clear focuses
Set goals for the different parts of a project, and make sure to achieve them before you go on and forget about the small details you skipped or postponed. Procrastination is a problem for many of us, and usually it won’t take long into a project before our phones, games, and all that other stuff takes all our attention. Planning small work sprints of 45-minutes with a specific goal in mind, and then taking a short 15-minute break to clear your mind, will make you super effective. Adapting this technique will get you and your collaboration partner to make a much more satisfying end result. Gathering over a Whereby or Zoom video call will also help make these sprints into something social and fun! Try it!
Release your work
After a ton of work and hopefully a successful collaboration, it’s time to finally release the project you’ve worked so hard on. There are many options for musicians to publish their work, and most of us dream about having our music on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and other major streaming services. Luckily this isn’t so hard. Lately, there has been a growth in web labels and services that provides publishing to these platforms. Either for free, or a small amount of money. The great thing about this, is that you potentially can make money from your music straight out of the box as your project hits the streaming platforms. One service that is growing rapidly is Amuse.io. They publish your tracks on the biggest platforms, and you keep all of your royalties and rights. There are other services as well, like Distrokid and Tunecore but these are paid services.
But it’s not all about the streaming giants like Spotify, Tidal etc. You will do yourself a favor by uploading your music to Youtube, SoundCloud, and of course Verce. In other words, it’s not necessary with label contracts. You can pretty much do it all yourself with a little effort put into it! That’s why you and your partner should plan the release carefully and make the music available for everyone in your target audience. Which also brings us into the next point on the list - marketing strategy
Create a marketing strategy for sharing the finished product
When you’ve released your music, that’s when the next job starts, and some say it’s the most important job. If your goal is to become a known artist, social media marketing is a very important part of the process. In 2020 the use of social media has exploded due to the COVID-19 situation and all the lockdowns around the world. With more time spent on Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., this is the perfect time to take advantage of these platforms.
Here is a few tips on how to get started:
- Make sure to have quality content, put some effort into making visuals and text content.
- Do hashtag-research, and make sure to use the most popular tags in your niche. Aim for the tags with the most posts.
- Do not fall into the follow-for-follow or like-for-like trap with continuous spam liking/following. It will get you shadowbanned if you abuse the platforms.
- A rule by thumb: Max 50-60 likes an hour, max 40-50 follows an hour, and don’t copy/paste your comments on other posts. Be authentic when engaging.
- Post regularly and use the my-story features.
- Be creative and try new things to see what is working and what is not.
- Convert your Instagram account to a business or creator account. This way you will have a lot more statistics to find out about your audience.
Bonus point - Don’t forget to have fun! It will make your collab successful! While we’re all really serious about our music, we still need to have fun doing it!