It’s not unusual in the pop music genres to partner up with one or more others to write songs. For many of the songs you see on the Billboard Hot 100, they come about as the result of a well-established songwriting team working together in a very formulaic way.
Those songwriting teams can involve many participants, and in a very real way, they know what they’re looking for before they even get started. There’s a sound, and most songs they write demonstrate that sound.
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For you, however, songwriting is more likely to be a solitary activity. You’re the one that comes up with the ideas, and you put those ideas together to create a finished product that then gets performed or recorded.
But what if you find yourself running out of ideas? Or what if you get a few ideas, but you’re starting to get an uncomfortable feeling that you can’t finish most of what you start? What’s the way forward?
A Partnership Can Solve Problems
Finding a songwriting partner to help you finish your songs is a great reason to create a songwriting partnership. But just because you’ve met another songwriter who’s looking for a collaborator does not necessarily mean that you’ve found the ideal partner.
Here are five ways to know that you’ve found a good songwriting partner:
- They write in a similar or at least related genre. If you write heavy metal, your partnership isn’t going to work well if the other person is writing country waltzes. Having said that, however…
- Their songs don’t sound too much like your own. If you’re going to create a partnership, you might as well take advantage of the fact that by partnering up with someone who writes in a somewhat different style, you can move your own songwriting efforts in a fresh direction.
- The other writer respects the songs you’ve written. You want to work with someone who is going to value your input, and treat you as a respected colleague.
- They agree to split any royalties evenly, no matter who contributed what to the final version of the songs your working on. If your potential partner shows immediate concerns over how much of a song was actually contributed by you, that may be an alarm bell. For every song, you’ll find that actual contributions will differ. My advice is to agree to split royalties evenly if a song is recorded and/or sold.
- The other writer has a realistic view of what can or will happen to the songs you write. What I mean is this: some writers have an unhealthy grasp of reality, believing that the songs they write are going to be so good, that every Adele, Bruno or Ed is going to want to record them. You want someone whose main focus is to write great songs.
There’s nothing wrong with hoping that your songs might be recorded by others, but the aim always has to be the writing of a great song. No one in the music industry will have any interest in hitching their wagon to a songwriting team that isn’t writing consistently excellent songs. That’s got to be the main focus.
Don’t be afraid to suggest to a songwriting partner that you put your partnership down in writing. Write down what you both expect from the partnership, and how it will work (from a legal point of view).
A good songwriting partnership can be exactly the thing you need to give life to the song ideas you’ve created in the past that seemed to not go anywhere. It can help solve a creative block, and can stimulate your musical imagination.
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