What do you think about collaboration in songwriting?
A songwriter responding to a previous response to this survey question, writes:
I have collaborated with several songwriters, (whom I will not name without their permission). I always try to go into each writing session with an open mind, ready to write a good or great song. That happens sometimes and it's almost as if the song writes itself. Other times it is a struggle and laborious. I believe that has a lot to do with who you are co-writing with. It's just a fact of life that we will not hit it off creatively with every co-writer. It's a wonderful experience to write with someone and find that they are on the same page and flowing with the creativity. It's another story when a co-writer is standing firm to defend his ideas and lyrics, unwilling to give at all. I have found that those writing sessions don't get very far. The writer who is unwilling to give and take probably would have been better off writing a song by him/herself. It's not about standing your ground and winning. It's about writing a great song, no matter who comes up with the killer lines or whose idea had to be tossed out. If the end result is a great song, then it was worth it. If someone wins then there are 2 opponents. Co-writing is a team effort and won't be successful for 2 or 3 people if someone is keeping score. As co-writers, we have to be on the same side at the beginning of the writing session to produce a good song. A sculptor doesn't continually try to keep all of the stone that has been hewn away. He lets it go because there is something better down deeper, underneath all the stuff. It's a process. I have to go deeper to search for better lyrics.
A lyricist, teacher, mother,poet living in two countries, writes:
I must collaborate as I write only lyrics. New music brings on new writing.
Jordan Samuel Moore
A songwriter/producer/performer/musician from Colorado Springs, writes:
Collaberation with another writer, I have found can be a joy, and can also be a very fustrating experience. Originally I wrote with a good friend who was lyrically talented but not much of a musician, we wrote great songs, and I know to this day that I can produce and promote the songs however I choose and we both trust eachother in that matter. ON THE OTHER HAND, another co writer I have worked with is completely different. He is a talented guitarist and we were able to write and record some very catchy tunes, I dread the day that I have to work the business end of the songwriting with him, because he is ALL EGO and has very poor people skills. Even though we were coming up with probably the BEST material I have ever created, I had to call it quits with him because of the personality risks involved, and furthermore it has left me with a bad taste about collaberating, something that is just now starting to wear off.
A songwriter from MS, writes:
I think collaboration CAN be a fantastic thing. My sister and I write together and when we need to come up with a song in a hurry and one of us has writer's block the other one usually comes up with a few lines to get the other one going. However, you have to find someone to write with that you have a certain "chemistry" with, otherwise you might as well forget it.
A lyricist with a couple of published songs, writes:
The Lennon/McCartney song writing team was very unusual. In most cases, only one of "the lads" wrote the song (lyric and music) and it was just tweeked by the other. If you wonder how to figure out who was the primary writer on any of their pieces, it was the lead singer. For example, Paul wrote Hey Jude (John gave a few comments). While John wrote In My Life (with Paul making a few suggestons). So, they certainly were a bit different than the typical songwriting team (usually consisting of a lyricist and a composer). Happy creating!
Nashville songwriter (4 yrs.), ex-New Englander journalist, writes:
When it works it takes the best of each and creates something much more; it also helps with winnowing down the "which way do I take this idea" dilemmas. However, when either co-writer is unwilling to shed adolescent ego on behalf of bettering a lyric or theme-treament, it is a total waste of time...
A songwriter new to this website, writes:
I'd never done it before, but about a month ago a friend and I were w-a-i-t-i-n-g and I came up with the chorus for a song I'd been incubating for a while. She provided the informational details I'd lacked and we bounced lyrics back and forth while I drove and played guitar (we were going real slow) and she wrote it all down. It was great (the song wasn't bad either). I don't know if I'd be able to do it deliberately, because I'm pretty much a loner, but I'd sure like to try some more of it.
A songwriter who didn't leave me any info about himself so we get to make up things about him, ok? writes:
I welcome the chance to work with open minded people who are willing to let each idea run its course and then make progress with that. Unfortunately, I have seldom found lyric writing an easily shared experience because everyline seemed like there were two directors. I do think its possible - and probably the best method of having a response that gives also that necessary confidence. Its like love, when you find the right partner-its gonna work!
A London UK based singer-songwriter (released debut CD single OCT 97 on Divertissimo Records - called MAN FROM ST LOUIS), writes:
Just too plain hard Music I could just about cope with if there was a purpose Lyrics-wise it would be impossible for me music and lyrics get written together, so it wouldn't work to do them separately, not at the moment for me anyhow.
A songwriter/arranger in Houston, Texas, writes:
Before I ever tried collaboration (sorry, Jodi, but it's with an "O", not an "E"), I figured it would be more of a headache than it would be worth. After two attempts, one successful and one much less so, I can say that with the right combination of people, it can work. The successful attempt was with a friend who was on the same wavelength as I was, and we both went into the project agreeing that we would do our best not to force our opinions/suggestions on each other. The resulting song took about 45 minutes to complete, and sounded great. The unsuccessful attempt, however, never got off the ground. Four hours after we'd begun, two of the gentlemen were still arguing about how to best deliver the message, and neither one would budge. I quietly backed out of that one, and wasn't the least bit upset about it. For songwriters who can get past their egos and realize the finished product is a group effort, collaboration is a great vehicle for expanding musical horizons and getting a taste of other musical styles. Some folks can adapt, others can't. I'd say that if you can't honestly wear the T-shirt that says "Works well with others", then collaboration is not for you. But if you can handle it, it's a trip!
A weaver of musical tapestry from Emlenton, PA, writes:
I approach my song-writing collabaeration from two different perspectives. First I try to hash the song out myself. If I feel that the idea is musically and lyrically fresh than I will approach my song-writing couterparts in our acoustic trio and say, "I have a new song. Here is how it goes and here is what you are going to play and sing." If I feel that the song is good and solid, than I am pretty stubborn when it comes to 'taking suggestions'. But there are also times when I can recognize that I haven't put together one of my better efforts. This is when I approach the other two members of the trio (who are song-writers in their own right) and open the floor up to suggestions. This seems to be a successful formula thus far.
Self-Taught multi-instrumentalist Singer/Songwriter/Composer/Producer/Recording Engineer from Miami/Ft Lauderdale area, Fla., writes:
I think that song writing collaborations can be either wonderful or disasterous, it depends on who your attempting to collaborate with. If you must collaborate with other people you have to make sure you both have the same motive. The main benfit to collaborationg, as I see it, is that the end product turns out to be much different than the writers had probably invisioned it. Of course, that is aslo the main drawback. A danger of collaborting is that through getting other musicians to supplement what you have already begun to write, they may delude the original intention or "emotionality" for lack of a better term, of a song than you originally intendd it. Personally, I don't collaborate except on very rare occasions because I just don't want to compromise a song's integrity or meaning or its emotional impact as I see it should be. Many people write arrangements a certain way as a means to "show off" their technical skill. This tendency appals me. When you hear a song, you shouldn't think "wow that guy's skill is amazing", you should think "wow, that song is amazing". I think that in songwriting, attention as far as arrangements go should be paid to wht the song needs, to make a song a complete harmony, not just one instrument dominating with others there only for support. It is because most people don't write songs for the sake of serving the song's need is why I think that collaboration, in general, is usually not the best way to go.
Songwriter from Bakersfield, California, writes:
It depends on who's involved. Personally, I'm scared to give other people my lyrics to put to music because I'm afraid that they will steal my work. How do you know who to trust? My work isn't copy- righted because I can't afford it. But I need my words put to music and I guess I have to take that chance. I just won't send my best work, and that way I won't be heart-broken if someone does steal it.
Direct from Dallas, writing songs of detachment and devotion, writes:
It's taught me patience. Right now, I'm writing with a friend for this urban/jazz-funk group and we've had differences on lyric writing for this style of music. He's wanting more pop lyric, using phrases that I feel are nebulous and tired, while he's accused me of writing lyrics that are too cerebral. Through comparing versions of the songs done individually and sometimes starting over from scratch, we've worked some stuff out. We're recognizing our strengths and weaknesses and learning how to combine them for good songs.
A songwriter from Sydney, Australia, writes:
That is the best way to add diversity to a song, e.g. my band has Spanish influences, classical influences, and a hefty dose of pop, all because of our songwriters collaberating. Can't beat it for adding that little bit extra to a song.
A professional entertainer and song writer for 35 years from Ventura, California, writes:
For a collaberation to work it helps if one of the parties is a lyricist and the other is a musician. You have to be able to work together like opposites sides of the same coin because in our industry,you don't always get a second chance to make a first impression!
A songwriter from middle Georgia, writes:
Pros: For those not blessed with talents in both music and lyrics, collaberation provides a means to create truly great work. Also, it's fun to have someone with whom you can discuss all the details of the progressing work. Cons: Working with someone who cannot take criticism can kill the project. Someone has to be empowered on each project to break any deadlocks when there are differences of opinion. Working long distance can be a problem, too.
A singer/songwriter-write in Nashville for Centergy Music Group Inc.-still love folk music!, writes:
I do it all the time in Nashville, but still prefer to write alone. In Nashville it helps move things along. Also, another person may think of an angle on an idea I missed. I've definitely grown from co-writing. Learned a lot about myself. In terms of quality? I simply don't allow poor lyric to work it's way into my work. Quality is up to me. Yes, Nashville is a song factory, and does suffer for it in may ways. But, it's still an inspiring place, and co-writing works. For my own tastes in acoustic music, and what I want to say, I still write those songs by myself. It's taken me years to learn how to love the marketplace and still be original and make good music. It is possible. All in all, writing is writing, and it's fun to go at it alone and with a friend.
A self-taught musician who gives private lessons, writes country AND heavy metal, writes:
Usually, working with others on one of my songs never works. I am very picky with my music and my lyrics. Someone else cannot hear what I hear in my own head, the way I want it to sound. However, working with another person on a joint effort song is very fun and can be a learing experience for both parties. I write better alone, I have completed over 80 songs within the last 3 years. There's no way I could write as many songs as I do if someone was collaberating with me. At least I feel that the quality would not be as good as a "one man" idea.
A songwriter in Tucson, writes:
So much seems to depend on a balance of egos. I've seen some perfectly wonderful ideas strangled in infancy by two or more writers relentlessly pursuing individual visions rather than that inherent in the song itself. In my experience, this appears to be more the rule than the exception and it tends to turn what originally began as an exciting writing session into a dreary and frustrating exercise in diplomacy. I prefer to rely on own perception of a song's shape and intent,arrange it as faithfully as possible, critique it as a fan and re-write/refine from there.
Michael C. Black
A long-time shadow artist / songwriter /personal journalist / poet from London, Ontario Canada, writes:
I havent tried it as yet, as most of my material has been quite personal in nature and written to clarify my feelings and generally as a catharsis. I write Balads in the folk /rock /country vein Some of my recent titles are "Make me Cry", Just another Voice, and "Times" would be happe\y to hear from fellow Poets /songwriters interested in Collaboratingor even just eMailing one another for support and encouragement in working towards becoming published,... I haven't yet taken the big step,... although a producer has recently shown an interest in "make me cry" and i've done an "a cappella" demo of it for him...
A songwriter from Saskatchewan, Canada, writes:
I was in a songwriting workshop once where the instructor,said that the one prerequisite needed for collaberation in songwriting was that the people involved must share compassion. I take this to mean that they care about some of the same things, and they value and share some kind of a mutual world view. This doesn't mean they can't have opposite ideas and personalities, though. In fact, probably the ideal situation is to have two (or more) people who "share compassion" but who also have a sparks to keep the energy going. I have found co-writing to be difficult, mostly because I develop ideas inside my head more easily than through discussion and agreement. But it has worked on a couple of occasions. When there was compassion. And lightness.
From Chicago, inspired by all kinds of music, fond of Beatles, Jeremy Enigk, tenor mellow singer, with a passion for melodies, writes:
Collaberation can be great if you mood is right. But it is a great way to learn why other people play the way they play. You can teach your self. But playing alone and creating yourself is important, too. Because that is when you really let your influences show. Which builds character in your writing.
A songwriter from Nashville, writes:
Like any other relationship you might have, choosing the right partner is essential. You must find someone whose opinions you trust and, ideally someone whose talents compliment your own. Above all I have learned that it is important to talk about what kind of song you plan on writing before you write it. Two carpenters would never sit down to build a house together without first discussing what kind of house it will be: How many rooms? etc. If one of you is bringing something partially finished to the table it is important for you to communicate to the other writer(s) what you are trying to say. Strong songs are foccused and incorporating too many ideas or points of view is not very productive. Decide what the message or story you are trying to communicate and THEN try brainstorming. If you trust the skills of the person you are writing with then be willing to compromise. Someone else's song can be like their child so make sure they can handle tough criticisim before dishing it out.
James D. Sarge
Songwriter from our Nations Capitol (Waldorf, MD?), writes:
I have had many opportunities to collaborate but have found that most times since I write both words and music that a song that starts out in my head one way usually ends up being a different song than the one I originally had when the process begins. The end result is that most times I end up with two songs. It's hard to collaborate with another person because it can be frustrating and hard to get the end product you want....If you just want to experiment to see what you can get sometimes it works great as long as you don't have a preconceived notion of what you want.
A Songwriter/Keyboardist in Georgia, writes:
I think that collaberation in songwriting can be a great thing as long as your partner is right for you. If you're not on the same level, it won't work. There has to be a chemistry there, its a special relationship (if you will). My roommate happens to be a songwriter as well and we sometimes work together. It works out well for us because we are able to communicate on the same level musically and can understand what each of us wants to bring out in the music. One thing that's very important is that the two people involved need to be open to criticism. The bad side is that, there would be too much disagreement between the two and nothing will get accomplished.
Mike Ethan Messick
A Songwriter from Bryan, TX, writes:
It is so difficult that I never can understand how Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards etc. pulled it off for so long. Hearing the same thing in your head as someone else is nearly impossible. I think most writers (myself included) are too protective of their work to share the process consistently with someone else; it would be like someone else telling you how to take care of your kids. Sometimes you just don't want help.
A dreamer from Maine, writes:
Collaboration. There seems to be a misconception about collaborating with other songwriters. If it's not a hit tune then the collaboration is not a good one. I think collaboration is an excellent way of getting better as a songwriter. When you sit down and write with someone who obviously thinks differently than you, you get exposed to a whole new way of looking at things, which can only make you better. There are no cons. Any experience writing with someone else will make you better and more experienced.
A songwriting rock and roll guitarist/vocalist/recording artiist from Baton Rouge, LA, writes:
I feel that in consideration of the fact that ALL of this century's foremost popular songwriters had collaborators at one point or another, it is very wise, indeed, particularly for novice or journeyman composers and lyricists, to find a like-minded foil with whom to exchange and contribute ideas. I, personally, have not had the good fortune to encounter many individuals who are very serious about making a full-time committment to music in their own lives to the point of being willing to take the time necessary to develop their songwriting skills, but, I'm planning on relocating from Baton Rouge to Richmond, VA, soon, and hope to people I can collaborate with, there. I am proficient, both, at lyric writing and composition, and, would welcome any serious comments, inquiries, or correspondence about songwriting or music, in general.
A relatively new songwriter, writes:
Speaking as one who is relatively new at seriously songwriting I prefer at this point to co-write. Partially because I am not very strong musically. Especially if I have the opportunity to write with some experienced writers such as I recently did on a trip to Nashville. Co-writing taught me several things. Probably the most important thing I learned was that I "could do it". I could write with the "big dogs" so to speak. When we came to a disagreement I could defend my position as to why I thought a lyric should stay the way it was and win. I could also give up a lyric that I really liked that just didn't fit the song for one reason or another. My first co-writing experience couldn't have been better. I met Amy Susan Foster at McSpadden/Smith Publishing at two in the afternoon on a Wednesday and we sat down to write. She was very patient, wanted to know about me, we talked for a while and then got right to writing. We took an idea and created a song in just under three hours. What I consider a good song. We parted ways and promised to keep in touch. She had been writing for six or seven years and had a just gotten her first number one gospel song. My second session was with Twila McBride. The session with her was much more difficult. Not that we didn't get along. I just learned lesson number two. Co-writing is work. Hard work. We came up with a great idea and pretty strong chorus in a hurry but just could not get the first verse down. We finaly just quit for the day. Not defeated but knowing that we were not getting anywhere and would have to work more on this one later. My third and final session was with a man named Scott Kerr. He took a song idea I had and came up with some killer music for it. We changed some of the lyrics and ended up about 75% finished after about 4 hours. Later I had trouble convincing myself that the lyrics to the second verse resolved themself in the chorus. More work needed. I then got a second opinion from my publisher(lesson three) who agreed with my concerns and added a couple of his own about the music, gave me some positive feedback and here we go again. It was great not only learning but accomplishing something as well. It is great to see someone else see something in an idea, melody or lyric you have or vice versa and begin to co-create something. Try it sometime if you haven't.
A songwriter/student, writes:
I think that collaboration can be a great way to create unique styles that can only come about by collaborating. From my own experience, collaboration works best when two (or more) writers work together equally on all parts of the song. Although I am more of a lyricist, and my partner writes great music, working together at the same time on both the lyrics and the music is best. That way, both get equal attention.
25+years songwriting/producing/singing from Texas, writes:
I have co-written songs with more than a dozen other writers across America. I believe that partnership in writing lyrics & music can be very rewarding if your partner is #1 - trustworthy, objective, serious, open minded and you must respect each other. I have determined that a 50/50 split (cost & benefits) is the most honest way to collaberate. NEVER agree on a song verbally, ALWAYS put in writing!! Thank You.
James "Figgy" Hardwick
A songwriter, comedian, Actor.... Etc...from Southern Cal, writes:
Depending on who it is... if It's some one that shares the music style as you, I think that you can write some great stuff together.. If Different... you can bump heads for days and nothing gets accomplished.
A Musician, Producer, and Songwriter from Richmond, VA, writes:
In my experience collaberation ussually depends on who your collaberating with. I have had some wonderful insights and creative impulses from collaberating with other artists it can often add an edge to your music that may not be there if you wrote alone Also, I have had collaberation go bad when the other artists are not as serious or on the same vibe as you.
John Eric Skoog
A lassoed musical volcano/wrestling coach in Lake Co. IL., writes:
I think collaberation is a blast! It can twist a meaning of work into a whole new dimension. It also is a bond between writers that can be as lasting as humanity. I favor songs that have 2 or more writers, sure it can be confusing, but when the meaning "clicks" it is unforgettable.
An 18 year old singer/songwriter from New York, writes:
I only know how to write lyrics and create a melody. I can't read or write music. I sing wonderful acapella and my tunes are quite catching even after listening to it once. A few people have offered to put music to a few, but it never quite happens. I don't think that a collaberation is a bad thing, but I do believe that you must trust your partner and if you are going to do it - do it. You never know what is best for you until you try it. Step out of your comfort zone and take a chance.
A 14-yr old Music lover from Sacramento, writes:
I think collaberation in songwriting is a good idea. People everywhere have different views, ideas, and life experiences, which are important for music today. Pros: More ideas, more songs with meaning, discovery of new types of music. Today, mixing types of music turns out quite well. Cons: Well, there will be some disagreements, on any topic or idea. Please talk it over---nothing is worth fighting over.
An historian and parodist in Florida, writes:
Collaboration is like sex -- if you can't be both tactful and explicit, keep to yourself!
A songwriter and storyteller from Georgia, writes:
Collaberation is the only way I can get a song finished - I don't write music or play well enough to do a demo . . . my problem is finding someone else (anyone else) as interested in songwriting as I am -- the musicians I end up with never FINISH anything!!
I do believe synergy happens when two or more talents converge - I've seen it work for me and my stuff. What hasn't happened for me is completion. . . So I keep looking for musicians/composers who like my lyrics, and are willing to work with me.
A new opera looking for a composer who writes lyrical music, writes:
Sure why not. Hard to find people who are not holly-wipped by an industry that thinks only about money and not great story and music. What a pitiful society we live in, where money dictates to artists. A country without a soul.
--Woah. Sounds like things have *not* been going well for you, Gene. I think you need to collaberate for a pick-me-up. Good luck! --Jodi
A musician/songwriter from Nevada, writes:
Collaberations are a wonderful thing. BUT Songwriting teams are apt to make the most brilliant ear candy. A prime example is the ever-wonderful "John Linnel and John Flannsburg" of the great "THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS"
(now that I plugged my favs') I'd be inclined to note Bjork's incredible tune "bedtime story" which the fab' Madonna does amaz-ing-ly (thats considered a collaberation , right?) : )
Aaron E. Brown
A singer/piccolo bass for Elias Khrone, Altprogwackrock, writes:
Justin (guitarist of Elias Khrone) and I usually write the backbones of songs on our own then present these to the other members at practice, where everyones ideas influence the way the tune fleshes out I have never collaborated with anyone on lyrics however because I write too fast.
A songwriter/singer from Alabama, writes:
I think that collaboration is a good thing. It adds variety to what could become a redundant or monotonous series of songs for a single writer.
A 21 year old Songwriter/guitarist from Australia, writes:
I supose the collaberation of two creative minds would definatly be a posotive as long as the two minds are of the same goal. What I mean is there is no real way someone like Janet jackson teaming up with Marylin Manson could possibly create something of any real substance worth listening to. (I dare you to prove me wrong!) Where as the Bearnie Taulbman/Elton John duo are definatly in sync as far as direction goes. As for me my career is still short although what experiences I have had as far as colaboration goes were at times enjoyable, ocassionaly productive, repeated never. Most songwriting sessions I sit in around Melbourne more often than not end up with 16 Beers drunk with every song written. Not a bad average If you were there to drink, but shithouse if you were trying to earn a crust. For reasons like this I tend to steer clear of collaberating with other while structering songs and ideas, but I thrive on constructive critisism. This is someting I cannot give myself, and the point where I find collaboration a vital "tool for the craft!".
Joey C. Phillips
A Christian Singer/Songer in North Carolina, writes:
Though I've only collaberated on a few songs, the experience is valuable. Others have more experience, different views and musical taste. This leads to any number of styles that can be devloped. I sometimes get bogged down with one style, say Contempoary, and everything I write seems to sound the same. This is where collaberation is important for me! Collaberation can help yo keep your work fresh! On the other hand, some songwriters feel that by working with someone else, thier creative flow is interrupted. I think collaberation is one of the greatest gifts God has given to songwriters!
A pop/rock singer/songwriter from Oklahoma, writes:
Personally I love to collaborate with the right people. People that have a similar vision as I. It seems true collaboration tends to result in a hybrid type of song (melody,lyrics and production). When I co-write I can hear elements of myself as well as the elements of the other composers in the song. Take for instance Henley's "End of the Innocense". If you listen closely you can hear elements of Don Henley and elements of Bruce Hornsby (melodically,lyrically, and stylistically). Even though either writer can write very well alone, the collaborative effort makes a very strong combination.
A Producer, Musician, Songwriter from Philadelphia, PA, writes:
It has it's good and bad points. From a creative standpoint it's great if one writer concentrates on music while the other focus is on lyrics. I have not had any problems with this type of union.
A songwriter from Edinburgh into traditional and contemporary folk and ballads, writes:
I like it, you have someone to bounce ideas off, and find it easier to "tighten" a song up, if you have a partner. I'm not sure I'd like to write with the same person all the time though, as I feel the output would become a bit "samey". It can be a lonely business, writing on your own, but your independant as well, and just do what the heck you like.
A songwriter from British Columbia, Canada, writes:
I feel that colaboration can be a very good thing if both or all the writers agree on the basic issues of how to write a song. I have had experiences where the other writer and myself can not get in sync and it is a total waste of time, but I have had other experiences where it has been a very good idea, with awsome results. All in all, I think it is a fresh way to look at whatever idea you are working on and turn out some really exceptional material.
A songwriter from Dayton, OH, writes:
These can be great. It can open all sorts of doors that wouldn't necessisarily be available if a person works alone. For the type of stuff I do, collaborating works very well. I am not interested in writng "formula" music that fits into a certain "format" Instead, I enjoy constantly striving for more creative possibilities wherever I turn.
A songwriter based out of Kentucky, writes:
Collaboration has its good and bad turns. Can you trust your collaborator with your song idea? Do you have a great twist and then suddenly, tell someone about it, and it ends up they collaborate with someone else and possibly leave you out in the cold, with never giving you the slightest idea that they are working on your ideas with other people! I've seen it happen to a few talented friends of mine. They've had a few successful hits, and then so-called songwriter wanna be's take the whole jist of there song and create something different in order to avoid sharing any writers royalties. Royalty and Loyalty. . . It's hard to keep a handle on sometimes. On the other hand, collaboration with people that you really have a good repore with, can be very beneficial, and get you thinking on avenues you may have never thought of before. I've had more good experiences than bad. Making new ! friends and coming up with a song and a combined point of view can make for some very fun stuff.
A performer and songwriter (and Mom) from Mississauga, ON Canada, writes:
I don't have much experience in collaberation. However I've seen the results of collaberations, and I find that generally they are better than what the individuals can do alone. I suspect that if people can get past wanting all their ideas to remain then a team effort can work, and since each individual brings his or her own strenghts to the team, in the end you'll get a better product!