These days, a common, yet controversial thing to happen are paid collaborations. Let us break the term down for the ones who never heard of it.

Paid collab request

Paid Collaboration basically describe a producer being paid for working with another producer. You could argue that this is still considered collaboration with some extra motivation, but that does not match our personal views, due to the following reasons.

Financial point of view

At first, paid collaborations seem to be an uncomplicated decision, since you easily earn additional money. But as soon as you start rationally thinking about it, you will come to the conclusion that in the long run it is less beneficial than producing instrumentals on your own. In case the beat gets sold exclusively (e.g. 500$), you would have to split the money and give 250$ to the coproducer, leaving you with actually loosing money. That wouldn’t even be that bad, if you would have at least creatively gained something from this experience. But that is unlikely, because of the skill gap.

The musical skill gap

The chance of creatively gaining from paid collaborations is relatively low, considering the producers offering these deals are 9 out of 10 times far below your skill level. After all, why would they have to pay money to work with you? This isn’t meant in a discouraging way, but it leads to highly differing skill levels among the partnering producers, resulting in the paid producer doing 90% of the actual work. At the same time you probably won’t gain anything skill wise, either.

Meaning of collaboration

The Oxford – dictionary’s definition of the verb to collaborate also doesn’t really fit together with the concept of paid collaborations.

dictionary definition collaboration

Essentially collaborating means working together on a project, sharing the same goals and the same motivation. This isn’t achieved by simply paying someone to finish your work in an uninspired way. In most cases the initial idea is used, yet roughly 90% of the beat is created by the paid producer. You pay the money, get a product back with your name on it and that’s it. Would you consider that a collaboration? – We will leave that up to you.

What does collaborating mean to us?

To us collaborating is working with someone who has a different style or way of looking at music. Because of that you are able to learn from the way the beat evolved from the version originally sent. Therefor the creative process of working with talented producers should be in the focus and not financial or promotional affairs.

Working together on a mutual level

In conclusion, producers getting these kind of offers, should probably rather search for similarly skilled producers that have different ways of approaching and creating music. It shouldn’t be about promoting yourself but about creating something new with different views. If you want promotion, you are better off using adwords. In accordance to that, producers who are just starting out and would love to work with the bigger fish, should concentrate on their craft and improve together with similarly skilled producers. If you end up working on projects with established producers without paying them, it means you are unique and actually have something, they can’t craft themselves, to offer, so they want to learn from what you do.

Isn’t that what collaborating should be about?