If history teaches us anything it's that when Bruce Pavitt (co-founder of Sub Pop Records) does something, it's worth paying attention to.
That's why the news (via GeekWire) of 8Stem, a new digital music venture co-founded by Pavitt and Adam Farish, stirred me from my regular afternoon torpor. The extra cool thing about 8Stem appears to be that it shifts the focus from merely receiving/consuming music to co-creating/manipulating it. Or, better said:
The company is based on the idea that music fans are getting bored with buying static songs and just hitting play. 8Stem wants to launch a new standardized format, where artists release songs already broken down into separate recording channels, such as vocals in one and guitar in another. Listeners or aspiring DJs can then make changes on the fly, removing one instrument, adding another, substituting the vocals with their own, or looping a drum beat.
If I were Dave Segal, I'd be getting pretty excited. But then, if I were Dave Segal, I'd probably already know way more about this kind of thing than I do. The thing is, 8Stem isn't a new music service, in the sense of Apple Music or Spotify or Tidal any of those other bad things. It would appear he's going after much bigger bad things: the MP3, the CD, traditional notions of authorship, copyright, the notion of the artist, tradition and the individual talent, etc. I don't know much about remixing culture, but if it makes it easier to hear and build on things like this without going to stupid YouTube, I'm all for it: