We previously discussed whether "stem DJing" - DJing using not completed tunes, but constituent parts of tunes - is a viable future option for DJs, in How Multitrack Files Could Revolutionise The Way DJs Mix. But Native Instruments has just brought the idea right back into the frame with the announcement that as of now, it is to make available weekly releases of tracks deconstructed specially for DJs to remix on the fly in their sets using Traktor 2.x and the Kontrol F1.
First thing to do is watch the video to get an idea for what they're planning:
The tracks will be available to buy through Beatport, meaning you can grab a track by your favourite artist, load it onto a Traktor Remix Deck, and start "playing" it from its stem parts. Of course, these being the Remix Decks, you can, when you've had enough, just mix out of it. You can beatmix your "remix" like any other track
So will it work?
It's clear Native Instruments has put some time into working out how the parts of commercial tracks will be presented for best use within the Remix Decks, but a few questions spring immediately to mind:
- How many tracks will be made available?. It's going to be a big commitment to keep up a decent supply of releases. Presumably Native is hoping to "kickstart" third parties into also releasing their own tracks independently of Native?
- Will artists want to give away the keys to their houses? Production is not just about great sounds, it's about how they're woven together. Will producers really want to give away all their "best bits" for anyone to have a go at reconstructing, or will they worry that the ensuing mixtapes/unlicensed remixes will dilute all their hard work?
- How much fun will it prove to be? Part of the fun of DJing is being exclusive. If you pull apart a track yourself and reconstruct it in your own way that's one thing, but if you're grabbing from a limited pool of commercially available Remix Set releases, will it dull the fun somewhat?
I think it's a bold and brave move by Native Instruments, and it is good to see the company working hard on an ecosystem around its concept of Remix Decks and the Kontrol F1 hardware. It'll be interesting to see where things go from here.
So what do you think? Is this a great idea, and will it take off? Does it make you more likely to drop the cash and buy a Kontrol F1? Or will putting this kind of power into more people's hand devalue the music somehow? I'd love you to share your thoughts below.