Come Together, Right Now: An Empirical Study of Collaborations in the Music Industry
48 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2021 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021
Date Written: December 5, 2020
Artist collaborations in music have been on the rise, which tend to produce commercially and critically successful songs. We seek to uncover the effect of these collaborative projects on their career trajectories, and identify the factors that lift an artist's profile in the short and in the long term. We develop a theory of collaboration based on the transfer of capital between the collaborating artists which facilitates spillovers across time. To validate the theory, we use weekly radio plays of individual songs, across 25 European countries, between the years 2011 to 2018, together with a multi-attribute Spotify dataset of songs, and Hofstede's cultural dimensions in relation to artist origins. We create pairs of similar artists who released a collaboration and a solo song in the same week, and measure the impact of collaborations based on the Difference-in-Differences methodology. We find that releasing a collaboration song, in comparison with a solo song, increases the number of plays of an artist in the future by +6.6%. This lift can be broken down into +27.5% for the current song, and of +5.1% for subsequently released songs, while past songs are unaffected. The effect is moderated by the difference in economic, social and cultural capitals, and are significantly larger when the collaborating artists are sufficiently diverse from each other. Our results can be used to develop counterfactual analyses, where artists can simulate the expected impact of different collaborations and choose the right partners to collaborate with.
Keywords: New Product Development, Collaborations, Cultural Production, Music, Status Hierarchies, Complementarities
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