Native Instruments arguably changed the entire world of the Digital DJ with their Traktor software and most people with even a passing interesting in the world of electronic music will know of them or used one of their many controllers/sound cards.
They’ve always been keen to push on the ‘on the fly’ remixing capability offered by their software and hardware and their own remix sets offer up plenty of sample fodder for the digital DJ and wannabe Ean Goldens. They’ve taken this a step further however with the announcement of Stems – their new native file format that will allow producers to include four individual channels from each track within an MP4.
Well – the track will play as normal through any standard issue audio player but when opened in software that utilises the full format (such as Traktor), the user will be able to manipulate those individual channels – be it the drums, vocals, bass, synth lead etc etc, it’ll be up to the producer to decide which parts are included (using NI’s forthcoming free Stems creation software).
This will enable DJs to utilise particular sections of track they like in their sets – for example if they just want to take the drums from one track, use the vocal from another etc and it’ll all be as simple as loading up the MP4 and splitting out the required channel.
While it’s not something that your everyday music fan will find particular interest in, the world of bedroom DJing is huge in all parts of the world and despite Stems feeling like it could be a fairly niche product, the possibilities are endless. Big name stores such as Juno and Beatport have stated they will sell the files so they’ll be fairly easy to get a hold of.
There’s a handy wee FAQ available from NI that will hopefully answer any other questions you might have about the format.