Over the past week, we witnessed a beautiful occurrence that perfectly summated an unforeseen benefit provided by Twitter when EDM producer Zedd reached out to Booth-favorite Khalid to both express his love for Khalid’s work and to propose a collaboration.
Within 72 hours, Khalid had shared video footage of himself in the recording booth laying down vocals to what will eventually be his first collaboration with Zedd, without the two having ever physically met. Such a process is all but commonplace these days, but when you take a second to think about it, the role of Twitter as a collaborative facilitator is truly mind-blowing.
Before the advent of social media, if you wanted to collaborate with another artist you didn’t personally know, your options were far more limited. You either had to know a mutual friend/collaborator of that artist, or you had to rely on your label to put you into contact with them.
Through the use of Twitter, the degree of separation between artists across all genres has faded to zero, and if you spend enough time scrolling through your feed, you’re bound to bear witness to that magical moment when two artists connect for the first time.
This makes collaboration an exciting, tangible process that fans can observe, but it also adds another bullet point to the list of reasons why labels are becoming irrelevant. Although both Zedd and Khalid are signed to major labels, this collaboration happened because Zedd was a fan of Khalid, and maybe also because the two have shared history.
There are also countless instances in which a similar connection occurs between independent artists, fostering collaborations based strictly on mutual appreciation and a genuine desire to create music together without the interference of greedy label fingers.
Ease of communication aside, as fans we’ve been made privy to a part of music creation that until now has only been told secondhand through the artists themselves in interviews and documentaries. Imagine if Twitter were around in 1991 and you could see Big Boi hit André 3000 with a “DM your info, let’s work,” followed by videos of André laying down vocals to “Player’s Ball.”
Across the board, Twitter has helped to purify the collaborative process, letting fans in on the entire process along the way. What a time to be alive.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.