Yesterday, Native Instruments announced a new open source music file format called Stems that will allow DJ's to manipulate tracks like never before. Stems will break down songs into four different parts like bassline, melody, vocals, and drums. This way, DJ's can now manipulate these four different parts separately with effects, cue points, loops, or whatever else one's heart desires. The new format uses MP4 coding and the onus will be on the industry producers to create these partial files in conjunction with their normal track duties when music is made. Even though Native Instruments has developed this new Stem format, they are giving it away for free for anyone to use and for anyone to develop software for the system. That means all the other big-boy DJ software can also play nice with the new Stem file format if they so choose.
This new Stem functionality makes things a lot clearer for Traktor's Remix Deck future DJ structure. I can easily see how DJ's can implement Stems when compared to the more complicated Remix Sets. Even DJ's who don't use Remix decks will benefit from Stems. For me personally, I've always wanted to have vocals and instrumentals separate to do some mashup trickery but you can't always find them separate. This format would make it so that every track is already broken down for you in a logical way. The Traktor Kontrol S8 is already setup to use the Stem function once its implemented as the Remix Deck sections of the controller can be used to manipulate the four Stems for a track. The new file format will be available for new tracks starting in June of this year. Online retailers like Junos and Beatport will be on board with offering this file type. Now we need to see if all of the music-makers will come on-board as well so that all of the music we listen to can be pushed to this format. Only time will tell... Check out the official press release from NI below for more details.