The Irks and Perks of Remote Songwriting Collaboration

We're in the midst of a crazy change in how songwriters do their thing, get creative, and team up. Thanks to the pandemic and some cool tech advances, remote recording has become a game-changer for musicians, singer-songwriters, and producers.

It's like breaking down the walls of the old-school studio, letting people collaborate easily and virtually, no matter where they are, their time zone, or geographical location. In this month’s Session Notes blog, ‘The Irks and Perks of Remote Songwriting’, Pro7ect Songwriting Retreats founder and songwriter Lisa Fitzgibbon digs into why remote recording matters, the tech behind it, the gear you need, the irksomeness and the benefits of working remotely.

I’m currently travelling around the North Coast of NSW, visiting family and friends, getting some winter sun. It’s a long way from my cosy little home studio in Gloucestershire, UK. Nonetheless, I have ongoing projects and quite often need to work remotely with various collaborating partners back in the UK. A track that I’m currently working on was written and recorded last July at the Pro7ect residential songwriting retreat at Rockfield. It’s a collaborative track with a wonderful team of writers and I am creating additional tracks and working on the mix whilst I’m away. So, it makes sense that I write this month’s blog whilst on the road, about the pitfalls and benefits, irks, and perks, of remote songwriting collaboration.

What you need:

A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW): I use Logic Pro. Other choices include Ableton Live, and Pro Tools.

Collaborative Songwriting Apps: Soundtrap or BandLab are designed for real-time collaboration. These apps facilitate seamless sharing of ideas and creative input.

Virtual Instruments and Plugins: Utilise virtual instruments and plugins to enhance your sound. From virtual synthesizers to realistic drum samples, these tools broaden your sonic possibilities.

Communication Tools: It’s so much easier if you can see each other, especially when you are deciding the direction of the project. Video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype will help with this essential for a successful remote collaboration experience.

Cloud Storage and File Sharing: Store and share project files using cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. This ensures that all collaborators have access to the latest versions of the work, and past versions, anytime. Google Docs is a great tool, allowing real-time editing and easy communication through comments.

High-Quality Microphones and Interfaces: Investment in professional-grade microphones and audio interfaces is essential. Whilst travelling I’ll only track idea’s and either get my collaborators to re-record them remotely or I’ll record them when I am back in my studio. I use the Prism Sound Atlas interface in my studio so am used to their high-fidelity conversion. Other, more affordable brands like Shure, Audio-Technica, and Focusrite offer reliable options.

Headphones and Monitors: Ensure accurate monitoring with quality headphones or studio monitors. This helps collaborators hear the details and nuances of the music accurately. I always travel with my Audio-Technica headphones but use my reference monitors, PMC Results, in my home studio for consistency.

Internet Connection: A stable and high-speed internet connection is crucial for real-time collaboration. Ensure all collaborators have a reliable connection for smooth communication and file sharing.

The Perks:

Access to a global talent pool: Break free from local limitations and collaborate with top musicians and producers worldwide. Remote recording erases geographical boundaries, opening the door to innovation, collaboration, and creativity. Forget being stuck with the best drummer in a small town—now you can access the cream of the crop, no matter where they are.

Budget-Friendly: Say goodbye to studio booking expenses and paying musicians for non-recording time. This leaves you with more funds to invest in your home studio setup.

Time Efficiency: Forget the weeks spent coordinating with musicians, finding a studio, and dealing with scheduling conflicts. Remote recording allows you to book, record, and download in a fraction of the time—sometimes even within an hour.

Flexible Workflow: Enjoy the freedom of scheduling sessions at your convenience. Remote recording doesn't demand everyone's constant presence, streamlining your workflow and boosting overall productivity.

Studio-Quality Results: Thanks to advanced technology, remote recording can deliver top-notch studio-quality recordings, provided your collaborators have a well-equipped home studio. Many artists, spurred by the pandemic, have invested in industry-grade recording gear, ensuring professional results from a distance.

The Irks:

Time Zone Constraints: Coordinating across different time zones can be difficult and lead to time wastage, making it challenging to align schedules for crucial production and arrangement decisions. I try to mitigate this by planning sessions and discussions ahead so that the contributor’s commitment is clear.

Availability Issues: Difficulty in syncing up schedules may result in key collaborators not being available when needed, slowing down the decision-making process.

Audio Latency: Latency issues in audio can hinder real-time collaboration, causing delays and disruptions in the creative workflow. This challenge can impact the spontaneity and fluidity of the collaborative process.

In conclusion, I much prefer face to face songwriting. In my opinion, being in the room with the artist you are writing with is more enjoyable and time efficient when it all boils down to the creative flow of the track. Project7 residential songwriting retreats gives artists from around the world the unique opportunity to live and work with internationally recognised music producers in a focused, supported professional location. Our output is incredible, and a lot of the music goes on to be completed and released after the event. If I have to work remotely, I need the tools and communication ability to manage my time and the team’s expectations efficiently. Without these basic essentials, collaborative songwriting can become an irksome waste of time.

You can find out more about these life changing songwriting experiences here:

About Pro7ect:

Pro7ect is the UK’s premier residential songwriting retreat, based at Rockfield Studios in Wales. Pro7ect offers artists, musicians, songwriters and producers the unique opportunity to work with internationally respected music producers at our events.

Apply today for our next Residential Songwriting Retreats: (limited places available) at:

Our next events:

Residential: 16th – 20th July 2024 - £1795

Fee includes four nights’ accommodation (twin share), three writing days and all meals, studios, and equipment.

Masterclass: 20th July 2023: 10am - 5pm - £225.

The price includes studio, equipment, producer fees and lunch.
Applicants do not need to have any previous songwriting experience to attend the Masterclasses.

To find out more visit