8Stem, a mobile app for remixing recordings, goes live today (Oc. 25) with a pair of deals, the exclusive release of new music from Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil and a big helping of indie cred. The Seattle-based startup, spearheaded by Sub Pop Records co-founder Bruce Pavitt and his partner Adam Farish, launches after three months of private beta and product testing with musicians and tech-savvy types.
The new remix platform is currently available as a free download in the App Store, and its game is in the name; the software allows users to strip licensed tunes to its stems, rebuild them and share the finished product on social media, with royalties trickling down to rights holders.
Soundgarden’s Thayil is among the first big names to release an original track exclusively via the 8Stem platform, just in time for launch.
“8Stem is like Guitar Hero for remixes,” explains Farish in a statement. “For the first time in music history, our users can download licensed tracks, take them apart and remix them individually or with friends, and then share the result of their efforts on social media — all while riding the bus or train on the way to work or school. We have a 10 year-old in Canada making killer remixes. It’s that simple.”
So basically, anyone who participates can unleash their inner Diplo and create a string of “Thriller” remixes, right? Well, not yet. Creators must consent to have their work remixed and they alone can submit their multitracks (“stems”) to the program. Likewise, via a partnership with online rights-management database Dubset, all streaming royalties from the remixes go to the original artists, not the remixers, but the app provides easy sharing tools (to post remixes to Spotify, Apple Music and others), and the company is also partnering with Seattle online radio station KEXP for a remix contest that begins this Friday (Oct. 26) — so bragging rights are just a click away.