STEMS to the future?
So STEMS is here and as of the end of August so too the STEMS creator tool. Don’t know what STEMS is? In a nutshell it’s a new file structure that splits a track into four musical elements such as drums, vocals, harmony and guitar. This means as a producer of music you can define the four elements you want to make available in a STEM file and as a DJ you can mix individual elements instead of mixing a whole song. Speaking as someone whose beginnings in DJ’ing came from the traditional vinyl era I often contemplate how music and the consumption thereof has been transformed by the digital era. There have been plenty of technological advances made in almost every facet of music. One of the key benefits has been the explosion of creativity beyond anything we thought possible.
With STEMS the possibilities have just gone up another gear. For more detailed information about STEMS you might find this article a useful read.
Like anything however, garbage in equals garbage out, so the aspect I’ve been most interested in observing is the quality of content and the various brands and organisations who are showing a willingness and enthusiasm to support this fledging format.
Today I went through the entire Top 100 STEMS tracks on Traxsource (one of the supporting online stores) who have a section dedicated to the format. Rather oddly though, they have listed STEMS as a genre (which it is not) so although you can go through all the STEMs tracks you cannot search for genre specific STEMS e.g. Hiphop STEMS tracks. Rather disappointingly the only tracks available are all from the EDM music scene. Which makes one wonder how this format is going to get the widespread appeal it will need if it is to be successful?
Juno and BEATPORT do a better job of breaking down the STEMS tracks by genre and I was initially excited when I saw the menus of STEMS genres available. However, my excitement was tempered with the limited range of genres they had available – more Tech House it is then.
I love me some EDM but please! Where’s the other genre stuff going to come from? Why didn’t Native Instruments put a more balanced and diversified selection of genres out to market with the launch? If DJ’s can’t find soul funk, Hiphop and other genres in STEMs format will they be willing to invest in a Kontrol D2, Kontrol S8 or the recently announced Kontrol S5 ?
I’ll be keeping an eye on the content and further announcements around STEMs to see how things develop. Now that the Creator tool is available it will be interesting to see if the amount and variety of content increases significantly. It needs to if STEMS is to make its mark in DJ circles and the music creation process. #playstems
STEMS content providers