If you take a look at a November 2015 Big Top 40 chart, 11 out of the 40 songs are by or featuring two different artists/bands, and two are by three, whereas in the top 40 songs of 2000, only three are by over one artist. Does this indicate that the future of music lies with collaborations?
The rise of collaborations in music could be due to a big rise in the popularity of rap in the 21st century. Rappers like Tinie Tempah, Flo Rida and Eminem usually feature on a singers track or have a vocalist singing on one of their tracks. Songs like Timber (Pitbull ft. Ke$ha), Thrift Shop (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) and The Monster (Eminem ft. Rihanna) are just some huge songs with rappers as one (or two) of the involved artists.
Also on the rise are DJs who produce tunes with vocalists, such as Avicii, Calvin Harris and David Guetta. Often the DJs’ songs go right to the top of the charts due to their infectious disco beats. Songs such as I Need Your Love (Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding), Hey Mama (David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj) and one of the biggest songs of 2015, Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn remix, originally by OMI).
The final possible reason for this rise, and maybe the more recent one, are groups like Clean Bandit, Rudimental and Sigma. Clean Bandit are a group of musicians who used vocals from Jess Glyne for their most famous song Rather Be. Rudimental are a drum and bass band that have had hits with songs like Waiting All Night, Feel the Love and more recently Bloodstream and Lay It All On Me, both with Ed Sheeran. Sigma are also a drum and bass group, a duo this time, have had hits with Glitterball, Nobody To Love and Changing.
So there are multiple reasons for the rise in collaborations, but have collaborations overtaken songs by a single artist in popularity? In 2014, 21 out of the 52 number ones featured more than one artist. This year just 13 of the 48 number ones have been penned by over one artist. However, for 6 weeks Uptown Funk was number one – so overall it would seem that there was no huge impact whether songs by one artist or by more reach number one, just whether the public take the song to heart.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the future of music will pan out this way. The rise of collaborations is obvious in the last 15 years, and if it continues then the future of music undoubtedly lies with collaborations, but as we’ve seen in the past music tends to change very often, so this could just be the collaborations era. Whatever the future of music is, it’s always cool to hear your favourite singers teaming up for a new tune.