Inside Splice Sounds: How Sample Store Fosters Innovative Artist-to-Artist Content
Steve Martocci was on a flight one day when he received an unexpected call from deadmau5. “I’m 30,000 feet in the air, and my phone rings,” says Martocci, co-founder of music collaboration platform Splice. “I don’t know what I was more shocked by: the fact that I was receiving a phone call on a plane, or that it was deadmau5.”
Martocci, in disbelief, answered the phone, only to receive an equally startling proposition. “I have 73 kick drums I want to put out,” said the Canadian producer, real name Joel Zimmerman.
Within a matter of days, deadmau5’s Chimaera pack arrived exclusively on Splice Sounds: the platform's forward-thinking sample pack store. What’s more, outside of the 73 kick drum samples, Zimmerman opted to include 110 MIDI files of melodies, arpeggios, and chord progressions -- or, in his own words, “a collection of ideas and stuff spanning over six years of me f--king around in the studio.”
In doing so, Zimmerman had essentially provided producers with the very tools to sound like deadmau5. The package was even designated royalty-free, giving artists a legal basis to release any music created with the files (provided they had legally purchased them in the first place).
From an outsider’s perspective, the entire situation may seem a bit perplexing. Yet, within this emerging collaborative layer -- where the walls between producers small and large are quickly disappearing -- Splice has tapped into a key new market: artist-to-artist content.
Splice Sounds was officially unveiled last summer, offering a streamlined approach to sample pack purchasing. With its subscription-based service, Splice allows producers to exchange credits for individual sounds instead of purchasing entire packs. In doing so, Splice has circumvented a notoriously frustrating issue: how to get the samples you want without the excess ones you don’t need.
“It makes the old process of buying $30 sound packs in order to get 10 sounds you want seem archaic,” KSHMR says.
Since its launch, Splice’s library has grown to a colossal 1 million sounds, spanning everything from one-shot drum hits, to vocal loops, and VST presets. Perhaps even more impressive, a bustling community has taken to the store, with upwards of 1.5 million sounds being auditioned every week.
Aside from the benefits for the consumer, Splice Sounds has also facilitated an entirely new revenue stream for artists: custom sample pack retail.
“If you’re a producer with a fan-heavy following, you get to monetize streaming on pennies,” Martocci says. “But if you have 10,000 producer followers who want your pieces to work on, you get to monetize those people at dollars not pennies.”
It’s an attractive model -- so much so that a variety of established dance music producers have taken to Splice Sounds to sell their branded packs. The aforementioned KSHMR, for instance, notably delivered a 350+ sample pack to the service last July. Artists like Mike Hawkins, Party Thieves, and Vaski have all followed suit, packaging their signature sounds into branded bundles and hosting them on the platform.
Outside of pure revenue generation, these branded sample packs offer other benefits for artists as well: “My last two releases with Splice have widened my fanbase and helped link me with some incredible producers,” rising trap producer KRNE says.
It’s not just dance music artists flocking to the service either. Just Blaze, the lauded producer behind some of Jay-Z and Eminem’s biggest hits, recently took to Splice Sounds to host the official ‘Just Blaze Drumkit’: "After so many fake kits floating around for years I couldn't take it anymore,” Blaze said on his inspiration behind the pack. Hip hop phenom Lex Luger has similarly lent his signature sounds to the platform.
Ultimately, however, Splice Sounds is just one part of a larger endeavor by Splice: “Connecting this fragmented ecosystem and providing the collaborative layer,” Martocci says. “That’s the vision that drives us.”
Learn more about Splice Sounds at splice.com/sounds.