Research project on songwriting camps

2022-11-24 Musicologists investigate think tanks for new songs in the music industry

Lüneburg. For some years now, songwriting camps have established themselves in Germany as think tanks for new songs, especially in the genres of pop and pop songs; internationally, they serve various other genres. For example, they bring together authors and other people from the music scene to develop new lyrics especially for a performer or a band. Musicologist Prof. Dr. Michael Ahlers from Leuphana University Lüneburg, together with his colleagues Dr. Jan Herbst (University of Huddersfield) and Dr. Simon Barber (Birmingham City University), now wants to explore this event format, which is important for the music industry, in more detail. Their three-year project is funded in equal parts by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with around 700,000 euros.

With their project, the three researchers are doing pioneering work in the field of researching commercial collaborative songwriting that takes place in songwriting camps. They want to investigate which forms of songwriting camps exist in the 21st century in Great Britain and Germany. On the one hand, they are interested in which interests publishers, record companies or individuals pursue as organisers of these camps.

But the researchers are also looking at the professionals involved, the creative processes of collaboration and the interplay of the participants' different skills. They want to find out how lyricists, producers, beatmakers and topliners manage to come up with new songs together. The organisation of songwriter camps as well as economic and legal aspects of these events will also be researched.

To arrive at their results, the researchers want to conduct interviews with organisers, creatives and rights exploiters. They will also visit songwriting camps as participant observers. For the second year of the project, they plan to organise a Songwriting Lab in Hamburg, bringing together German and British songwriters. The researchers then want to follow the path of the songs created to identify reasons for successes and failures.

The project will begin on 1 March next year.

Further information:

Prof. Dr. Michael Ahlers

Dr. Simon Barber

Dr. Jan Herbst