The era of artists regularly releasing stems for remixing seems imminent. In the meantime, we see occasional examples of artists who get it. Radiohead have a new feature on their tune Nude, promoted with Apple. Purchase stems of a song (that’s by stem, so you pay US$0.99 * 5 stems + 1 full song if you want everything), and you get audio via iTunes Plus. Purchase the full set, and you can also download a GarageBand / Logic Pro-compatible project with all loop, tempo, and key information embedded, as pictured at top. (Unless I’m mistaken, that’s also the ideal way to get uncompressed audio for use in other tools.)
If you happen to prefer another tool for remixing (say, one that rhymes with Mabledon Dive and is often seen running on computers from Apple), these are just DRM-free audio files, so the choice is yours. Upload the finished results to the Web, and the band will review submissions and open them to votes. There are already a number of remixes up at the moment.
Hmmm, nude remixing? Brings new meaning to “bedroom producer.” Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Radiohead does specify that you can’t use these for commercial purposes; it’s too bad they didn’t choose to apply a Creative Commons non-commercial license, which would formalize essentially what they’re saying. But this is otherwise done quite nicely, nonetheless, and I hope we see more of this.
Like remixable music? Nine Inch Nails has a whole remix site, and indie label Magnatune lets you remix all their artists’ work via a Creative Commons license (though they typically don’t offer stems). Online music outlet Dance Tracks Digital goes beyond stems with full Ableton Live-ready projects, suitable for DJs. That’s just for starters; if you have other favorite remix resources, let us know.