Have you ever written a song on Zoom, Skype, or over the Internet with a collaborator? More artists than ever are.
The idea of long-distance songwriting might have sounded bizarre a few years ago but nowadays, it’s almost become the norm. In recent years, mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on art and music, numerous musicians have collaborated remotely on work.
There are hundreds of examples of successful remote songwriting and long-distance music collaborations from all over the world.
- Elton John released the collaborative “The Lockdown Sessions” in 2021, featuring Brandi Carlile, Charlie Puth, Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, and Dua Lipa. Large parts of the album were recorded remotely on Zoom.
- In the early days of the pandemic, Charli XCX wrote and recorded “How I’m Feeling Now” in 2020. This was an entire album written and recorded on Zoom, as she worked on demos, song ideas, and artwork with fans being able to watch and contribute thoughts as the work came together.
- The critically-acclaimed 2015 album “Sour Soul” by Ghostface Killah and BADBADNOTGOOD was recorded by email. The band and the rapper exchanged beats and verses fine-tuning the tracks until they were fleshed out and finished.
- Lady Gaga has been working remotely for over a decade though not exclusively. In hotel rooms, she records her parts and will send ideas back and forth with producers like RedOne, such as for her 2013 album “Artpop”.
- An older example of long-distance songwriting and remote music collaboration is country singer-songwriter Brad Paisley who has been co-writing online through tools like Skype for nearly twenty years.
Why Long Distance Songwriting Works
The reasons why remote songwriting, music production, and music collaboration is so popular are numerous for the average musician. There may be financial constraints that prevent long-distance collaborators from meeting up physically, day job responsibilities that require artists to travel at a moment’s notice, hectic tour schedules, and much more.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of remote songwriting tools. Sudden spontaneous flashes of creativity can be shared instantly via Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, email, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or iPhone voice memos.
Also, gone are the days when a beautiful melody was lost forever simply because it came to a writer while he or she was riding the subway without access to a pen and paper. Those sparks of brilliance can be captured much more easily, thanks to the technology that many have accused of ruining the music business.
You Can Build The Ultimate Songwriting Partnership By Finding Collaborators Long-Distance
Although there is an entire booming industry built on the backs of staff writers in Nashville studios penning platinum hits in gruelling scheduled songwriting sessions, independent artists without access to professional co-writers, excellent studio space, and cutting-edge recording software aren’t waving the white flag just yet.
Instead, partnerships are coming together through alternative platforms. It can be easy to forget that real people exist behind their online presence but they do, and they often have great ideas that they want to express.
Even if a local community isn’t responsive to the type of music you wish to create or if you live too far out of the way to meet up with other musicians regularly, remote songwriting may be an option to entertain. Collaborators in all genres of music and categories of music production are out there. The process is also just as organic and natural as any face-to-face collaboration.
Where You Can Find A Remote Songwriting Collaboration Right For You
Find lyricists, music ghostwriters, composers, melody writers, and more on creative social networks such as AirGigs. Musicians in new cities may be able to find their niche on local musician classifieds ads. Touring bands frequently hire session musicians from online platforms as well. Songwriters and guitar teachers offer one-on-one lessons online.
It’s also not entirely unheard of for bands to form on the unlikeliest platform of all, Craigslist.
In the pre-Internet age, musicians who did not live in the same city rarely managed to get much going in the way of a devout fan base. If they weren’t capable of sticking together long enough to land some recurring gigs, they weren’t very likely to catch the attention of A&R professionals, managers, or even their local community.
Then, you had bands breaking up due to day jobs, marriages, and relocations. In many cases, a move to another city, much less to another part of the country, was the final nail in the coffin for otherwise promising up-and-coming musical acts.
Now, you can find remote songwriting collaboration opportunities all over the Internet on local and global platforms alike.
Collaborate Remotely, Stay Indie, Build A Fan Base, & Make Money
Your entire writing, recording, and performing can occur remotely without ever having to leave your residence.
Over the last decade, as management and labels have become less crucial to an artist’s success, independent musicians and bands have taken it upon themselves to use the tools of the day to create. You can use these online platforms to engage audiences globally, gather fans, and connect in a uniquely intimate way.
This has been the case, too, for over a decade. If you were a MySpace user in the mid-2000s, you might recall how many unsigned acts became overnight sensations thanks to the ever-widening audience that the now-defunct social network provided. Some of the era’s top music stars found fame on MySpace, including the Arctic Monkeys, Calvin Harris, Lily Allen, and more.
Around the same time, fans and artists alike joined PureVolume with the sole intention of finding and streaming new indie music that had yet to gain notoriety in the mainstream.
While MySpace is now an online graveyard, and SoundCloud and Spotify have more or less replaced PureVolume, these platforms set the basic concept in motion, giving credence to the idea that musicians might actually be able to reach a lot of people without ever leaving their bedrooms. Back then, it was a novelty. Today, it’s the norm.
Artists who are constantly touring openly discuss the advantage of long-distance collaboration, mentioning how they often utilize their free moments in hotel rooms to arrange Skype sessions or brainstorm ideas with their friends back home.
A life on the road can be lonely, so an instant, touch-of-a-button accessibility to your artistic community can have emotional benefits, too.
If it’s in you to make music or to make music a major part of your life, even if you’re not in the most convenient of music-making locations, long-distance music collaboration may be your best option. It’s a pretty good one, too.