Study examines how Nashville songwriters co-write with stars

phys.org | 2/7/2019 | Staff
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Country music songwriters must perform a careful dance when they work with famous singers who may be less talented at writing songs but bring the needed star power to attract fans—and, importantly, to get the song recorded in the first place, research suggests.

A study of 39 successful country-music songwriters found that they use two strategies to navigate creative collaboration with more famous artists.

Artists - Songs - Skill - Rachel - Skaggs

"You have these recording artists who are being required to co-write their own songs, but maybe that's not their skill," said Rachel Skaggs, the study's author and an assistant professor of arts management at The Ohio State University.

"And then you have songwriters who are brought in to help, and to collaborate, and they have to balance this. There's the need to make money and make a living, and the need to not have their name on a 'bad' song."

Study - September - Social - Psychology - Quarterly

The study, published in September in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly, identified the two strategies—what Skaggs has termed "bespoke facilitation" and "the manipulation dance"—that songwriters employ to co-write songs with someone who might be a famous performer, but who might not be a great songwriter.

"There are these strategies for when collaborators don't have the same idea of what they want to happen, particularly if one collaborator is much higher status—a more famous artist who is important to their label," Skaggs said.

Songwriter - Room - Collaborator - Something - Table

"And if you're the songwriter in the room with them, you don't want to undermine that collaborator. You want to identify that they have something to bring to the table, and maybe it's their fame, but maybe it's not creativity. So what are the ways around that? How can you can still create something that is good, but not alienate or belittle your partner?"

Such collaborations, between famous artists and successful songwriters, are becoming more common, Skaggs said, because of economic...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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