Co-writing songs on Skype opens up a whole world of different songwriters to you…literally.
Because I’m in Australia and I have co-writers in the USA I’ve had some experience with using Skype to co-write and these are a few of the things we’ve developed.
First writing on Skype is way more time efficient…no traveling required.
There are 8 other advantages and things you might consider:
#1: It’s easy to record a full Skype session with inexpensive software like Pamela or Evaer.
#2: If you create a Google document for each song you can both access the same document and write down lyric ideas etc as you go in real time right there on your computer.
#3: When you create a work tape note the time on your recording of your session so you can find it easily later.
#4: Be aware of your time zone differences and any daylight savings changes of those time zones. It can pay to Google “time now in Nashville” or whatever town it is your co-writer is from. It can get tricky if you do a 3 way co-write on Skype and it’s best to be on top of any time differences.
#5: Different people might have different opinions but I’ve found things start to drag after two hours on Skype so I usually aim for 2 hour sessions or shorter when I co-write on Skype. It is easier to do more frequent, shorter Skype sessions because you don’t have to worry about travel time.
#6: There are sound limitations. On Skype it’s really difficult for one person to play guitar and the other person to sing at the same time for example. You might want to be aware of that with the way you write and the types of co-writes you set up. If you’re doing lyrics and the other writer is doing melody that works well. Taking turns singing will also work. I can sing and play just fine but on Skype I usually stick mainly to lyric writing and giving feedback on melody. I let the other writer do the melody. That means on Skype I’m looking to write mainly with melody writers.
#7: Because of time zone differences in Australia that limit our available times to write my co-writers are aware I’ll probably write stuff into the google doc when we’re not together (ideas for second verse, lyric rewrites etc) to make the process faster. I’m also okay with them doing that. This is not standard co-writing etiquette and that’s something you might also be aware of. When you change the way you co-write you may also consider being more flexible with tweaking the way you normally do things to make things run more smoothly and effectively. If you do that it’s really important that everyone is on board with it.
#8: When we write on a Google doc we keep everything we’ve written there…every idea, every lyric we discarded with rewriting etc. We have the current best lyric near the top of the document and everything else is just pushed down the page. This really comes in handy when you’re looking for ideas or an earlier lyric you changed.