No matter what happens with local economies being opened or remaining closed, the world has essentially gone virtual. We have virtual hang-outs, e-meetings, and live streaming sessions in a whole new frequency than ever before; and there’s no indication that this trend will reverse once things go back to “normal.”
Yet while virtual collaboration has been around forever, and has always had its benefits, they’re even more visible now that this format is in constant use. Here are some of those benefits, in case you’re still on the fence about collaborating with other musicians across the web, and why we might see the uptick in virtual collaboration continue into the future.
1. Zero travel required
Let’s face it, not having to travel to and from your collaborators’ homes or studios can save you not only hours in the day, but money on gas, scheduling headaches, etc.
Over time, the ability to just turn on the lights in your studio, and your equipment, and save those little nuggets of time and energy, will add up to hundreds of dollars in savings and hours of work time. Plus, in a small way this lower reliance on industrial travel is helping to heal our environment.
2. Worldwide access
What were we just saying about travel? Not having to travel to collaborate with awesome musicians around the globe is a huge plus. Not only does it save money but virtual collaboration actually opens up access to an enormous range of artists and songwriters you might never have even heard of or been able to approach before.
Being able to interact and work with musicians around the world, and instantaneously, is an invaluable resource to songwriters looking to expand their brand internationally and dig deeper into their co-writing process.
There’s literally nobody around you to pressure your workflow right now—and deadlines these days are basically non-existent.
Having the ability to do your sessions from home gives you a new sense of flexibility in that you can work in different time zones, outside of traditional hours, and typically take a bit longer to finalize stuff for which you’d normally be paying (or wasting someone else’s) studio time. If you have a last minute emergency or need to push back ten minutes to clear your head, chances are your session partners will be a lot more relaxed about it; and a lot less inconvenienced, since they’re not waiting for you just outside your door.
Lastly, with regards to flexibility, the simplistic joy and comfort of being in your own home (if of course you’ve been able to get yourself up to home record and produce at home) is unbeatable. Without having to pay for every minute of studio time, you’re open to working on whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want.
4. Tracking and toplining
With virtual collaborations, sending things back and forward over email is now easier than ever, but it can get confusing quickly. Producers can send tracks through to writers, and writers can send vocals back for the producer to work on if they like what’s been done, and all the back and forth can create some confusing final files.
But this can definitely be a good thing, as it forces all of us to get more organized. And this will make way for clearer roles and attributions going forward, so there aren’t nine different producers listed on your next royalty statement. So be efficient, be clear, and get titles sorted up front!
5. Quick turnarounds and pitches
Virtual songs can be created and finalized with quicker turnaround times right now. This means that the song is done quickly and sent off to your teams of publicists, managers, collaborators, or whoever pitches your songs, at a faster rate.
And here’s the other thing, listeners are also at home, checking out new music as soon as it’s published to streaming services. So record more, release more, and keep the revenues flowing.
Learn more: The complete guide to selling your music online
6. More free time
Not having to move around so much means you’ve got a bit of extra time every day that you didn’t have before.
There are endless ways to use that time, like digging into your social media analytics a bit deeper, spending more time planning your next promo campaign, reaching out to cohorts and collaborators to spark new ideas, and of course, sending them tracks to record and play around with. Even if you want to just plunk down on the couch and watch Netflix, that can be part of your songwriting practice too!
7. Less pressure
Lastly, getting to stay within the comfort of your own home can take a lot of the nerve wracking pressure out of the typical recording session. Having the ability to create your own chill vibe and headspace in the comfort of your own home will be largely beneficial down the road, in terms of your productivity and the quality of your work.
All in all, while there are downsides to working in a different space than your collaborators, the benefits mean that this is likely to continue to be a form of cooperative working for a long time to come. So embrace that extra available time, and happy writing in quarantine!
Sammy Hakim is an up and coming young songwriter based in Los Angeles. In May 2018 she graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Major in songwriting and a focus in music business. These days she spends most of her time in songwriting sessions with artists all over the country.
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