For those of you who weren’t already aware, I used to be a DJ under the moniker “Viro” with vinyl releases, CDs, and some gigs here and there. Even today –although I’m not as great as a lot of the talent out there – I still dabble with music production simply because making music and DJing is quite fun for me. Even the company I founded is very much tied to DJing with the amount of awesome dance music we’ve been able to distribute since our inception in 2006.
Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time nowadays to sit down and produce a track or DJ, but I still have fond memories and oftentimes I miss some of those great moments, which is why it’s always a great piece of fun for me when I get a chance to write about EDM and its going-ons.
Forward to today, DJing, despite its huge growth with the rise of EDM, technology, and individuals having more access and ability to be able to produce without needing a studio, has gotten a bit of a bad rap, and honestly, sometimes it deserves it.
With so many ridiculous moments by DJs – like Steve Aoki who literally injures himself and even others, or, lest we forget, David Guetta who likes to bring live horses into his DJ sets, remixes children’s music and has performances more known for staring off into the abyss after one too many drugs – it is no wonder that much of the mainstream media the Internet looks at DJing as a bit of a joke.
However, even with all the silliness going on, the fate of the DJ has hope. A new technology is arriving right now that will greatly revolutionize the art form and, in my view, create new marketplaces and opportunities for content creators and businesses.
I am, of course, talking about STEMS.
I truly believe that STEMS has the potential to truly change, grow, and by the opinions of many out there, “save” dance music and even DJing in the new millennium with the concept it has created.
Many musician folks recognize “STEMS” as a music term that basically defines the elements of a song. It is essentially an entire multi-track off one track. Those who have remixed songs in the past will recognize it because it is often the pieces they need from the original in order to be able to create their own rendition of an original song from another producer.
STEMS in 2015 is now also defined as a new playable music format by innovators Native Instruments.
By their definition, “A Stem file is an audio file that contains a track split into four musical elements: A drums stem, a bassline stem, a harmony stem, and a lead stem for example. The Stem file also includes the original stereo master of the track for standard playback.”
To speed up this article and give you a video break, here’s another quick explanation:
When you take a moment to think about the concept of STEMS, you can really start to see that some of the common problems in music industry and how STEMS has the potential to really help those problems over time.
First, Native Instruments has plans to release a creator tool that will allow any producer with an originally produced song to create a stem file for anyone with the gear to play the format themselves. This changes up the entire mentality of how to pick songs for a particular show or city because you can remix hit songs with your own versions of those songs and do a heck of a lot more during a show performance. If you are a fan going nuts at music festivals, you’ll probably be going even crazier now.
Second, if you read a lot of the music industry-based websites, we constantly see pessimism over the music industry; downloads are declining, streaming is growing but not compensating artists, etc.
I’ve always thought that EDM is the one genre that will always be able to maintain some form of a download. It’s not going to fully die in the rise of streaming simply because DJs that have to play a particular track at a club, festival, and/or underground party have to download it from a blog and/or purchase it from a marketplace that caters to that niche DJ.
Even with that though, streaming is affecting EDM with some sites already declining in revenue and people just plain enjoying to listen to the music rather than wanting to buy it (even DJs).
With the release of STEMS, however, the electronic music industry has done something that no genre has been able to do. It has reinvented itself and created a new format. There was vinyl, CD, MP3, and now STEM, a new format that is not going to be reliant on streaming but rather be reliant on an individual downloading and/or purchasing to be able to play and entertain. This is truly incredible when you start to think of the music industry as a whole and how EDM rose from the rise of digital downloads. You start to really see the potential for the genre and even hip-hop (which plays a significant role in DJing) to really have a format of its own that other genres will want to imitate from a production standpoint all the way to a marketplace standpoint. That alone should make anyone excited and see the potential.
I believe this format will create new music fans. When the iTunes store was released, people weren’t used to buying singles and compiling their own “album” so to speak. They could buy a track for 99 cents and then buy another track from another album at 99 cents and so on. What this did was make everyone become a music lover. Sure, some may argue that it devalued the “album,” but if you listen to the radio today, what you hear is a constant collaboration of genres. STEMS has the potential to continue this trend, as you will be able to buy a hip-hop song, merge it with a rock song and throw it right back to a dance song. Don’t believe me? Then check out this video:
While DJing has gotten some bad publicity in recent years, there is an exciting future now with STEMS. This format is so new that there isn’t a tremendous amount of catalog created, and from a business owner standpoint, this new format is very challenging to explain to content creators who are very used to the traditional production to download concept however, although new, it will be an interesting future for DJing and I see tremendous success ahead for the format simply because of who has created it, who is selling it, and who will consume it.
Here’s hoping I’m not wrong about this one!