Music Progression

Analyzing the Collaborative Tours Trend

Whether they’re bred from necessity (increasing tour revenue) or simply based on inherent awesomeness, collaborative tours are becoming the new normal in the world of live music. Undoubtedly, the origins of this live music progression lie in the modern concert fan’s desire to get more “bang for their buck.” After all, times are tough. That’s why promoters are following the lead of festival culture by stacking concert bills with artists. Can you complain? Seeing two (or three, or four…) headline-worthy artists take the stage at the same concert can be quite thrilling. We’ll take a look into some current and future joint tours to see if this trend has legs in our first installment analyzing music progression.

“Legends of the Summer” – Jay Z and Justin Timberlake


Jay Z and Justin Timberlake Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur

This stadium tour combines two of the most widely known artists in music today. It’s strange how, despite very different backgrounds, these artists now find themselves on the same stage, sharing a spotlight. 2013 found Jay Z shedding punctuation as fluidly as his past image of “misunderstood rapper.” After a massive marketing campaign, he’s ascended into something more than just a musician—he’s now a brand. Justin Timberlake can relate. He launched a hefty re-branding campaign of his own, this time bringing back a trademarked tuxedo instead of, ahem, sexy.

All that aside, these two musical behemoths get back to doing what they do best on stage. There’s no denying that they can blow the roof off a sold-out stadium, while seamlessly weaving through “New York, New York” followed by “Empire State of Mind” into “Mirrors,” hopping from genre to genre in a way only they can. This blockbuster tour is worth the price of admission just to say you saw it happen, which goes to show that the music progression of collaborative touring is all about the sheer spectacle live music can be.

El-P and Killer Mike

El-p and Killer mike

EL-P and Killer Mike

Let’s scale things down a bit, shall we? Former Outkast collaborator Killer Mike has teamed up with talented producer El-P to create one of the most exciting success stories of the past few years in hip-hop. They demonstrated mystifying chemistry on Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music standout, “Don’t Die,” creating enough momentum to release this year’s shared LP, Run The Jewels. A collective tour only seemed natural. If you like the kind of hip-hop that makes your blood boil, or you just enjoy good music, do not miss this tour.

“An Evening With Fiona Apple and Blake Mills

fiona apple

Fiona Apple, Photo Credit:Marah Eakin

Blake Mills Picture

Blake Mills

The name says it all. This upcoming tour promises an intimate setting with revitalized singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, joined by collaborator Blake Mills to give those bare acoustic cuts a little more body. Perhaps, beyond all the star-studded hype, this is what a collaborative tour is all about; two artists balancing each other out, while providing a unique take on their source material. Picture the skeletal tones of Apple’s “Valentine” enveloping a hushed audience. Now multiply that by two. As far as the music progression of collaborative tours goes, we may be onto something here…

Honorable mentions:

Kid Cudi Picture

Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi and Tyler, The Creator’s joint mini-tour – The powerful contrast of Cudi’s “chill,” stoner-friendly rap, and Tyler’s penchant for absurdity should make a sight worth seeing this September.


“Americanarama” – This summer tour featured Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and friends. Picture a “Big Four” concert (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath, and Anthrax) only replace metal-heads with granola. Delicious, crunchy, folky granola.

Article by Nicolas White

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