We’re moving rapidly toward an age where we can better connect and interact with the massive amount of data we are able to create. Digital media storage such as solid state hard drives, smartphones and cloud services have enabled DJs and producers to more easily access and share their music nearly anywhere in the world. And with the development of a new format, we now have the capacity to include much more information in a single file than the Napster days. Dubseed is a new music distribution service working with this new file format — called Stems. To learn a little more about Stems, we met up Dubseed founder and CEO Rob Capelluto at the Seattle Music Producer Collective last month to see how it works. What’s a Stem File? A Stem file is an open, multi-channel audio file that contains a track split into four musical elements – bass, drums, vocals, and melody. The mp4 file plays normally in iTunes, however load it into Traktor, Audacity, or software that supports Stems, and you now have access to four separate elements of that track. With this format, a DJ can quickly and easily load up a song as normal, mute the instrument tracks, and overlay the vocal stem with the synth & bass of a completely different piece of music. And What’s a Dubseed? But it’s much more than DJs getting new toys to play with. For finding and sharing Stem compositions, we now have Dubseed, a new music service connecting DJs, producers, remixers, audio engineers, artists, and music enthusiasts. Producers and remixers now have access to a repository of high-quality Stem files as well as a marketplace to upload and share their creations. Even the non-professional will enjoy the tactile feelings derived from such close interaction with the sounds. “It’s what our generation is all about; being able to touch, feel and interact, so it’s only natural that they would want to do that with their music as well.” — Rob Capelluto However, CEO Rob Capelluto says there are still many more unique opportunities the new format enables. As an active and founding member of the Seattle Music Producer Collective — a group aimed to creating, sharing, and learning music production skills in a positive and supportive environment — Rob tells us how Dubseed redefining the progression of the music industry. The Stem composition allows you to explore music on a ‘molecular level.’ How did Dubseed begin? “It started at Western as homies hanging out, exchanging music.” Rob says. “Then became homies exchanging production tips and teaching each other with Stem files and even including instructional videos with the separated audio.” Eventually this small group started growing to what has become the Producer’s Collective. Now hosted by CreativeLive in South Lake Union, artists can sign up online to showcase a five-minute composition and then open up the floor to questions, comments and suggestions from the group. It is a highly interactive session where people ask questions like where certain samples were found or seek advice on how to make a certain cool thing stand out and sound better. If you are interested in making music, currently create or record music, or just want to listen to music with the homies, the Producer’s Collective is about supporting art and artists in the community by learning from each other. What’s next? From sharing music to exchanging tips and tricks, others how to make music has been a continuously evolving thing for Rob that ultimately lead to the inception and creation of Dubseed. Since receiving funding in early March from EDM distributor Symphonic, his Seattle startup is now on its way to establishing a national presence. Producers will be grabbing Stems for remixes, DJs doing live mashups, and more, but Rob also sees the educational value in the format. In addition to Dubseed, Rob is starting collectives in each new city they launch their service. By breaking things down to a molecular level, an artist can now choose from a much bigger palette of musical colors, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for creators and also helping others to understand how the individual parts contribute to the larger composition. How do you think the Stem format can be put to its potential? Colin Drake Colin is an electronic musician and writer in Seattle. Passionate about rave safety, music production, dark techno, and orange juice.