Music has always been part of my life. Picking up a saxophone in my early days turned me into a prolific consumer and helped me garner a deep appreciation over the years. So when my friend, Bruce, told me about his new music app called 8Stem, I knew I needed to find out more. I sat down with Adam Farish and Bruce Pavitt, the founders of 8Stem in the CreativeLive Podcast room for a chat about this exciting new music app.
As you might have guessed from the title, 8Stem is an app that involves the stems of songs. Stems are the different layers (vocals, guitar, drums, etc.) that come together to comprise a song.
How is 8Stem set to transform the way we consume music? Adam, a startup entrepreneur and the CEO of 8Stem, explains that 8Stem is a “format and standard for the release of multi channel audio in a way that allows it to be easily remixed, and makes various parts of audio interactive. Users can do things with it: turn parts on and off, rearrange it, and move things around with a very simple drag and drop interface.”
This app is unique because it breaks down the ‘celebrity’ that separates the artist from the consumer. Bruce, the founder of Sub Pop Records and the Creative Director of 8Stem, puts it: this app is “essentially going to allow a dialogue between the artist and the fan.” Which is not a new idea for Bruce, since the early days of the punk rock scene, he has been interested in how the notion of the “rockstar” is challenged. Through it’s intentionally accessible and community orientated design, 8Stem “is a democracy. Democracies are messy. But democracies are exciting because there is a lot more variety” says Bruce.
These two entrepreneurs set out not only to transform the way fans consume music, they are uprooting the way we imagine the music industry. How are they doing this, you ask? They are taking music from a “source centric model where someone far away decides what you can do with it and creating a user centric model where the user decides where it goes and the artist decides what people can actually do with it.” Giving control to the listener; if you don’t like those lyrics or that lengthy guitar solo – take it out or replace it with your own voice or instrumentation with the touch of the screen.
When 8Stem is live it will create a feedback loop. The artist will see the remixes and the fans will feel a deeper connection to the artist after interacting with the songs. The idea comes from “decentralizing music, which was really what the whole DIY punk culture has been doing since the late 70’s…this project is fully in alignment with that kind of vision, there will be more people remixing and reinterpreting music so that there is more variety and more options out there” explains Bruce.
The platform of 8Stem shakes up how we consume and interact with music. It changes our notions of access, community, creativity, and exploration – four of the core values here at CreativeLive.
But don’t get me wrong, this is not just an open platform to access your favorite artists’ songs. As Adam succinctly puts it, “we have installed creative controls, so that the degree of interactivity can be specified on a very granular level by the content originator. It’s not just a free-for-all…artists can specify exactly how much freedom they want to allow.”
On advice to budding entrepreneurs, Bruce calmly tells me, “if you’ve got a great idea and you’re working with someone that you enjoy hanging out with, to me that’s huge.” The biggest piece to remember through the struggle: “persistence and staying the course” says Bruce and Adam agrees by telling me with a smile, “the universal key differentiator between those who accomplish what they want and those who don’t; the people who did accomplish what they want, didn’t give up.”
So when can we expect to see this app rolling out on our iOS devices? Adam and Bruce are expecting to have a fully operational version of the app in the first quarter of 2016. If you are excited about learning more and getting a sneak peak into the sleek, user friendly, and sparkly fun interface hop onto the 8Stem website and sign up as a beta tester – I already have.
8Stem is an inspiring example of what happens when you think outside the box. Adam and Bruce are taking a chance on something that has the potential to revolutionize the music industry. I’m not the only one watching and waiting to see the waves it will make in the industry and beyond.