If Taylor Swift had announced a collaboration with Kendrick Lamar a couple of years ago, I’m pretty sure the general response would have been a resounding “huh?” If you haven’t heard her new remix of “Bad Blood” featuring Kendrick Lamar, don’t worry, you will. It certainly makes more sense now that she has fully crossed over from country singer-songwriter to pop superstar, but Kendrick Lamar still isn’t the most obvious choice. That’s exactly what makes this artist collaboration so great.

When artists collaborate, they open themselves up to a new audience – often that is the intention. These collaborations benefit both artists, as they both can suddenly be seen in a different light. It is not only a way to widen the pool of potential fans, but also a way for artists to show other dimensions to their musical personality. During Wyclef Jean’s interview at SXSW this year, he talked about collaborating with AVICII on the song “Divine Sorrow.” He was very impressed by AVICII, noting that the young Swedish musician’s knowledge went far beyond EDM and current pop. Similarly, Wyclef Jean showed that he also has many musical sides, noting that before his Fugees fame, he sang vocals under the name Afrikali on the house record Out of the Jungle.

For Music Designers, artist collaborations sometimes offer a chance to include a song or artist that otherwise might never be included in a certain type of program. Wyclef Jean might not normally be included in an EDM program, but his “Divine Sorrow” collaboration with AVICII could make a great addition. Many Kendrick Lamar fans might not normally listen to Taylor Swift, but they might enjoy the “Bad Blood” remix. Artist collaborations offer an opportunity for listeners to be open to new music while still enjoying an artist or style that they already know and love.

– Submitted by Erin Yousef, Music Design