There are many reasons why you should collaborate with other artists.

When you partner-up on creative, promotional, performance, or business projects, the right collab can yield better results than either person might achieve on their own.

Looking for specific ideas to move your music forward?

Here are 5 types of collaboration to explore this year!

1. The DSP-focused collab

One of the most common kinds of collaboration is teaming up with another artist to record a track that gets distributed to big streaming platforms (DSPs) like Spotify and Apple Music.

This places the track in both artists’ discographies, and positions it for algorithmic recommendation to both artists’ audiences. Of course you can both promote the release to your own followings via social and email too.

These collaborations can take a few forms, including:

  • Premeditated (a new studio recording you create together)
  • Responsive (a remix or alternate version following an official release)
  • Preparatory (where you make stems available without a specific collaborator in mind)

Whichever form your creative partnership takes — whether the other person is a primary artist, featured guest, remixer, etc. — you’ll want to credit your collaborator accordingly.

Your music metadata matters. Especially for collaborations.

2. Build a track in BandLab

Music creation can be a social activity. That’s what the spirit of collaboration is all about.

And with an app like BandLab, you can expand your roster of potential collaborators to… the whole world! More than 100 million musicians use BandLab, and they’re easily findable.

You can use “forking” to post an idea, start a musical conversation, and then see what others do with that audio. Or you can build a track from the ground-up with collaborators, and be actively involved in all the creative decision-making.

With BandLab, the creative process is a social activity. So your music-making can be about simple exploration, output, or both! There’s no correct answer.

With AI music tools and all kinds of audio-inspo at your fingertips, you can get a tech-assist in your collaboration too. If you dig what you make, share it with everyone on BandLab. The social aspect of the app also means it can be a testing-ground for tracks. Then distribute the best stuff as “official” releases!

3. The TikTok Duet

Informal social collabs are… social. (Thanks, Captain Obvious).

But that means they’re fun, usually don’t take a ton of time to produce, and have a slight advantage for getting further eyeballs.

Here’s an absolutely epic “duet” example from a couple years ago:

The “duet” format isn’t exclusive to TikTok, of course. Other platforms allow for responsiveness and interactivity between creators within the app. And you can always edit collaborative videos in Premiere, CapCut, or FCPX and then upload to any particular platform.

But the power of these kinds of videos is you can, on the one hand, join an existing conversation, responding to a video that’s already going viral. Add your own take, vocals, humor, instrumentation, critique.

The benefit here is that your audience will probably recognize the social moment or conversation you’re jumping into, while also being able to immediately identify what you’re adding to it.

Conversely, you can also plant the seed of a new conversation.

Rather than picking up on an existing moment, you make something new, leaving space for others to contribute or respond.

John Mark Nelson has built an Instagram following using this exact technique:

4. The co-bill, raid, or takeover

Collaboration can also incorporate shared spaces, not just content and video output.

In the realm of live performances, we’re familiar with co-bills. Where two acts share “headline” status, and can alternate the order they perform each night, if it’s a tour.

This is different from the “opening act” and “headliner” arrangement, where no matter how lucky or excited the opening act is to have the slot, the pressure and responsibility to fill the venue ultimately falls upon the headliner.

But you can take the mentality of shared responsibility online too, with co-headlined livestreams.

You can also foster a culture of paying-it-forward via something like a Twitch Raid, where you wrap up your own event by directing viewers to another creator’s stream:

You may also be familiar with the idea of a takeover. This is where you give another artist direct access to your audience, and they can post to your account, share Instagram Stories, curate playlists, tweet random thoughts,…

It’s like exchanging editorial power and swapping fanbases for a limited time. Then you just have to be entertaining enough that you don’t burn any goodwill!

5. Digital ad teamwork

It’s not always about name and face recognition. Let’s not forget that collaboration can happen behind-the-scenes as well.

If you have skills that another artist lacks, you can assist them — with promotion, editing, photography, recording, whatever else — and have them help you in return with some other effort.

Now if you apply that kind of behind-the-scenes teamwork to a public-facing collaboration (a co-bill gig, a collaborative release, etc.), you’re really going into overdrive.

Especially if you can coordinate digital advertising efforts, share lists and targetable audiences (as long as that usage is ethical, legal, and relevant to your promotion, of course).

A shared budget, shared social efforts, and shared marketing coordination, will all increase the chances of your ad driving results.

But don’t stop there. Make your ad content collaborative. Be together in the videos or photos, especially for shows and new releases.


Conclusion

We live in an increasingly instant and interconnected world. So it makes sense that online collaboration is an accelerating trend.

The ideas above are just five kinds of musical collaboration you should try in 2024. There are many more, of course.

How will you partner-up to improve your craft, build your audience, and move your career forward this year?

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