October 16th, 2023Tech Talk

Online Musician Collaboration: Bridging Borders with Beats

Online musician collaboration is on the rise.

According to The Economist, artist collaborations increased by an average of 30% between 1990 and 2018 on Billboard's Hot 100 songs.

So much so that famous artists like DJ Khaled have built entire careers out of successful collaborations.

But hip-hop artists aren't the only ones to have benefitted from digital technologies. The electronic music artist Skrillex has also collaborated with multiple international artists since his early career.

Learn about these producers' inspiring stories.

The Rise of Online Collaborations

Once limited by distance and budget, collaborations have become increasingly popular among artists in recent years.

Thanks to online music collaboration software like Logic Pro, Ableton Live, and BeatConnect, making beats remotely has never been this easy. 

There are many explanations for the rise of remote music collaboration. For example, the advent of digital audio workstations (DAWs) has facilitated this type of collaboration.

Another reason is that hip-hop is one of the most popular and collaborative music genres, explaining the increase of collaborations on Billboard's Hot 100 songs throughout the years. 

Thanks to technology, artists can now:

  • Edit tracks on the go.

  • Enrich their music with thousands of features, sound effects, and virtual instruments.

  • Organize live video calls with remote collaborators.

  • Work with flexible schedules.

  • Access a global talent pool.

  • Explore new sounds and genres.

  • Skip the recording studio and work from the comfort of their home.

  • Save money for marketing instead of spending it on expensive recording sessions at a studio.

Stories of International Music Collaborations

Discover some of the most successful online musician collaboration stories.

Skrillex: Pushing the Boundaries of Electronic Music Production

Sonny John Moore (aka Skrillex) is an electronic music producer, DJ, and writer. He is one of the most famous artists who embraced remote collaborations through DAWs. His innovative approach to music production quickly helped him rise to fame.

The Los Angeles-born artist is particularly known for his sampling and sound design creativity. His shows are also known for including live instruments and controllers to create an immersive experience for his audience.

But Skrillex is also known for his many collaborations with artists from different countries and backgrounds. From Korean rapper G-Dragon to California-based metalcore group Atreyu, Skrillex has worked on many high-profile collaborations.

His ability to seamlessly mix in other artists' contributions through the use of DAWs has contributed to his success in the industry. 

One project that stands out is Skrillex's collaboration with Diplo on their joint project, Jack Ü. Their debut song, Where Are Ü Now featuring Justin Bieber, was an immense hit. It has gathered millions of listens across platforms since its release in 2015.

This piece is a masterclass of remote collaboration. After meeting the DJ duo at the New York Fashion Week in 2014, Bieber's team sent them a raw recording of a new ballad on which the young artist was working.

They started producing the track without Bieber even knowing, channelling their electronic expertise into his vocals. They experimented with different pitches, bass lines, and harmonies, creating what ended up being one of their generation's most popular electronic tracks.

DJ Khaled: Building a Career Based on Collaborations

American hip-hop artist DJ Khaled is known for packing his songs with famous names. His music is often ranked among Billboard's Hot 100 and has received countless nominations.

From Drake to Snoop Dog, Jay-Z and Rihanna, he has worked with some of Hollywood's most influential artists, helping him hone his skills and make a name for himself in the music industry.

In fact, his 2021 album Khaled Khaled boasts an impressive artist line-up, from Cardi B to Lil Wayne. As an expert curator, DJ Khaled has a talent for pairing the right beats with the right artists.

Some of his tracks feature unlikely artist combinations, such as Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne and Quavo in I'm the One. And it works. He usually has singers send him vocals so his team can do the final mixing on a music collaboration app. He then organizes the track's promotion and release.

Khaled has surrounded himself with a myriad of professionals throughout the years. According to Ayo Juan, his sound engineer, the producer is as passionate in real life as he seems on social media. "He just wants the job done and the job done right," he says. He is not afraid of working long hours to make his vision come to life.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the duo also had to adapt by working from home and sending files back and forth.

Working with such an impressive list of A-list celebrities isn't always easy. Ayo Juan mentions that getting an artist to participate in a project sometimes takes convincing.

For example, after Rihanna changed the song's pitch, Bryson Tiller wasn't sure he was a right fit for the Wild Thoughts track. After some stressful conversations, the team convinced the artist to re-record his part.

Another big concern in digital music production is ensuring that none of the tracks leak. Working with different parties means that security breaches might sometimes occur, which is what happened with Dinero, featuring J.Lo. 

Tips for Successful Online Music Collaborations

While music collaborations contribute to birthing unique tracks, there are a few guidelines that producers should follow in order to work together successfully. Here are some examples:

  • Clear communication: Artists need to be able to listen to one another and clearly communicate their vision. They should establish main communication channels and working schedules to optimize their collaboration.

  • Flexibility: Different creative ideas can sometimes be a problem for collaborators. In order to create a successful track, artists should be open to their team's vision and implement each other's best ideas into the project.

  • Choosing the right tools: Depending on their needs, producers should compare different DAWs and digital tools in order to find the one that works best for them. For example, Ableton Live is known for offering great flexibility during live performances. BeatConnect is great for remote collaboration thanks to convenient features such as cross-DAW compatibility, video calling and online live chat.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to online musician collaboration.

Skrillex and DJ Khaled are just some examples of successful artists who have capitalized on collaborations to make their music known.

By pairing up with different artists and stepping out of their comfort zones, these artists have collaboratively created innovative and refreshing sounds that audiences can enjoy in every corner of the world.

If you, too, want to collaborate with other music producers, try out BeatConnect and sign up for your first Beat Battle!