Collaboration tours: Creative or confusing?

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Amber Lauder, Staff Writer

More and more of our favorite musicians are ditching the solo act and teaming up with other artists for collaborated tours.

The most recent announcement of collaboration was Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa’s “Boys of Zummer Tour” for summer 2015. Upon first hearing of the tour, I was confused. I had known “Fall Out Boy” to tour alongside artists like Paramore and Panic! At The Disco, but would never imagine the group pairing up with a performer whose music style is so different from their own.

As I discovered more about their newest album, I eventually thought of possibilities as to what they could have been going for when making the decision to co-headline with Wiz Khalifa. The band has recently admitted to DigitalSpy that they aim for their music to stay “culturally relevant” with every new album they release. I see uniting their tour with an artist from a very different genre as an attempt for them to expand their audience, which could work to their advantage, though I do not believe it will. In my opinion, the clash in genre is too strong, and although music tastes tend to change over time, fans of any artist in any genre – especially the die-hard fans of a major group and their possible legacy such as Fall Out Boy – often stand firm in what they find musically appealing.

On the other hand, as previously mentioned, this tactic could work in their favor despite my disbelief, in the case of open-mindedness in the “Boys of Zummer” audiences and beyond.

Rapper Jay-Z has had much success in touring alongside other artists. However, many of these collaborations were similar in genre, examples being Kanye West and Mary J. Blige, who are both within the hip-hop or R&B spectrum. These tours have had positive responses from both critics and fans alike. This is not to say that collaborations in the same genre are always successful, but I do think that they have a better chance at garnering greater ticket sales as well as fan and media approval than collaborating with artists from very different types of music.

It is important to remember that collaborating tours are not the same as opening acts. In these co-headlining tours, each artist is getting an equal chunk of the performance, whereas opening acts only warm up the crowd for the featured artist(s).

When I have attended concerts in the past, I didn’t really mind whoever the opening act was going to be because I knew that the majority of the show would be the artist that I came for. People attending collaborated tours would not have the same experience due to the performers having equal footing in the show. On top of this, they would have the opening act as well. Essentially, fans of one of the headliners would be paying for that artists’ performance, as well as the opposite artist – which they would not necessarily stay for – in their ticket price. This doesn’t seem entirely fair to me, regardless of whether the artists are within the same genre.

I think tour collaborations could go either way. Though I don’t always believe that they are a smart move on the individual artists’ part, I am often surprised to find that what I predicted to be a failure actually turned out to be a success – and in that, I am always pleased.

Photo by Kenzie McMullen