A few days ago Native Instruments unveiled a new file format called Stems, creating a whole new way that music producers and DJs will be able to work with music files.
The new Stems file format will make it possible to store up to four separate music tracks in one file, essentially allowing producers to give DJs four separate layers to work with within each song.
For example, a typical song might be split into four individual layers (stems) – Drums, Synths, Vocals and Effects.
Right now when DJs mix songs, they typically use filters which separate the different frequency ranges in a song when for example they want to separate the bass / drum sounds from the vocals.
However, using filters is just an approximation and it’s not an ideal way to separate the different layers of a song.
With this new file format, music producers will be able to release songs with up to four layers separated out for DJs to be able to use in their sets, giving DJs a whole new level of control they’ve never had before.
Online music retailers like Beatport, Juno and Traxsource are going to start offering songs in the Stem format as early as June 2015, with many more retailers coming on board after the initial launch.
The Stem file format will use the MP4 file standard to store the multi-layer data and the file extension for the files will be “.stem.mp4”.
Traktor Pro 2 (version 2.7.4 or later) will allow you to load and play with individual stem parts, and other software companies will be able to integrate with the Stem file format when its publicly released in June 2015.
If you’d like to see a full FAQ guide to the new Stem file format click here.