The Stems technology should offer a fresh revenue stream for labels. 

DJ technology behemoth Native Instruments has announced Stems, a new multi-track audio format that allows DJs and live performers to incorporate individual parts of a track in their sets.

Revealed at a presentation at Miami’s WMC last Friday (March 27), the new format allows anyone to create and distribute their own music files capable of splitting a track into four different parts. Primarily aimed at both DJs and live performers wanting to remix on the fly, the Stem file allows you to play and modify individual parts of a track, such as bass, drums, melody, or vocals.

The technology works by using the MP4 container format to store the four components in a single file, meaning that it can be played like a normal MP3 file using standard audio players, or split into individual parts using Stem-supported software and hardware.

The idea isn’t entirely new – a few years ago Native Instruments introduced Remix Decks as part of its Traktor software, a feature that let Traktor users do much the same thing. However, the function required special Remix Sets to use, which have so far only been sold by labels working in partnership with Native Instruments. As the Stems technology is open it should help the idea to catch on a little more successfully – producers, DJs, and labels will be able to create their own Stem files using a free application called the Stem Creator Tool.

Native Instruments are seeing the Stem technology as a potential revenue stream for labels, artists and digital stores, and those who have already pledged their support to the Stems format include Hypercolour, Monkeytown, Get Physical, Juno Download, Beatport and Traxsource. The format will be rolled out slowly over the next few months, and a website containing all technical specifications, source code, tutorials, and downloads for the Stems format will launch in June.

Last week Native Instruments teased its next DJ controller, for Traktor, the Kontrol D2.

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