"Be simple, easy, and don’t be a dead end. Make sure you can export it and get to work on it seamlessly." - Steve Martocci
If you are a music producer, you probably already know a little bit about Splice, but you might not know all the capabilities it offers. Splice is a digital platform that aims to solve numerous problems that producers face in the age of 'the cloud.' There are currently 5 parts to the platform; Plug-ins, Studio, Community, sounds and Beat Maker.
Splice Studio is what initially caught my eye, it is a section where you can upload an entire project (i.e. Ableton, Logic, or Fruity Loops files) and share it with collaborators for them to instantly download and make changes. This idea is a necessity for music producers and is an extremely useful function due to the way people make music today. Producers don't have to be in the same studio to work on a track, and Splice Studio increases workflow, allowing the artistic process to unfold naturally.
Splice Community offers new producers the chance to actually download the project files from popular tracks, like Tiesto and KSHMR's "Secrets" drop, or KSHMR's entire track "Burn". This allows users to inspect, rework and even study the production techniques of the worlds best producers.
Splice Sounds is a subscription based sample service that allows producers to audition, search and download from a library of over 700K samples and loops. It also has exclusive sound packs from some of the most renowned artists in the world.
Lastly, so far, is Beat Maker. A program that allows people of any level or expertise to go in and make a beat, using the samples from Splice Sounds. It can be used just for fun, but there are big plans coming for this program.
"We are always listening and talking to people and building a better experience"
Knowing all this I was extremely excited to speak to the company's co-founder Steve Martocci. Steve is a serial entrepreneur that successfully started Groupme, a group messaging app, but has since turned his attention to the world of music. As an avid music lover and software developer, he intuitively came up with the idea for Splice after a conversation with a friend, bandmate and fellow programmer who asked him, "man, where's GitHub for Ableton?" This question sparked the idea regarding the process of working collaboratively online as programmers already do, but having the collaboration be specifically implemented for musicians.
For those unfamiliar with GitHub, what was the idea behind Splice?
"We use a version control system called Git, and there's a website that hosts your Git repositories, adding collaboration features and open source sharing. So, fundamentally we knew a lot of these concepts were out there, but it was specifically missing for music. The DAWs are very standalone pieces of software, they were never designed with the cloud in mind. You're still messing around with files like it's the 90s and it's not such an easy experience. The thing is, I really appreciate the work that the guys with the DAWs have done, and we are friends with a lot of manufacturers.
"DAWs are designed to be the best sound creating tools in the world. They make great and powerful systems and the workflow and collaborative web enabled stuff is probably just hard for them to prioritize because they are trying to make the best sounding tools out there. We have entered this space from a different angle, trying to solve a lot of the fragmentation and workflow issues, but also introduce the internet and the power of 'the cloud' to music production."
How has Splice evolved since the beginning of the company?
"We have been working on Splice since 2013, when we were in private beta for over a year. Now we are in public beta and still haven't officially launched, but we're out there. At first we were trying to solve this problem with version control, and the version that's out there with Splice Studio is very functional and massively better than most workflow tools that people use to make music. The world still has a lot to catch up to in terms of thinking with the band; instead of investing more time in that, we started thinking about what other problems musicians are facing that can be powered by the internet.
"We diversified ourselves from that product and this summer Splice Sounds came out and has been very well received. We give users access to almost a million samples, loops, and presets all at your fingertips. It's not just files, all of them are tagged, making them searchable. You can listen to them and you can even listen to demos of the presets online. It really becomes another component for producers to take advantage of in order to make the production experience even better."
You have artists such as KSHMR and Jordy Dazz doing exclusive soundsets for Splice, why do these artists choose to do this with you?
"We have our own artist relations guy Brett on the team who does a lot there, and you know we talk to our users. We talk to them and hear their problems, we meet a lot of people and show them what the platform does and show them the DNA player or Splice Sounds and their eyes just light up. What’s cool about that is that these guys have been making sounds for a long time.
"KSHMR has been working on that pack for a while and he’s always wanted to bring it to the world, he particularly wants to get it out to as many people as possible. It’s not about the money for him it’s about really showing people what good quality sounds actually sound like and giving people more options to use. He is really into education and has shared a bunch of his session files on the community side of splice as well. He did the 30 seconds drop of Secrets with Tiesto, and you can go on there and grab the ableton file and see how he did everything. Also his whole track 'Burn' is on there as well and you can see everything he used and how he uses it.
"Splice really has a platform for artists to connect with fans in a really interesting way, fans that are not just trying to enjoy your music but to be more like you, learn more about you and be inspired by you. It let’s everyone take the work, learn the process and get better."
Splice has become a huge community for producers learning the craft, is that your target market or audience?
"The goal of our platform is to be there for you at any stage of your musical journey. We talk about the Splice vision, 'We want to help the world discover and reach its musical potential through connected technology.' That is definitely directed towards someone who might not know how to get started yet, because they will open up Ableton and just see a blank canvas and won't know what to do. So we give them templates, session files and things for them to work on. With building a beat maker, there's a ton of people who have never touched music before, hundreds of thousands of people, touching music for the first time. We really want to be there for them at any point in the process. What’s great about it is that if you adopt the workflow, and use the resources, it works great if you're brand new or are a super-star main stage headliner at events, it’s still extremely powerful. We want it to be easy enough for people to use and still powerful enough for people at the top."
What is Splice Beat Maker, and what features have we yet to see?
"We are always trying to figure out how the message spreads in music, and how to market and connect with people. With Splice Sounds as a newer service, we wanted to let people touch the library. We want more and more people to be open to making music and understand the power of samples and loops as well.
"At first, this version was a test, a way for us to see if we can build something that will allow people to have fun with it. We knew it was important to show the power of our catalogue and get people to share, enjoy and be social. The next thing was to take the simplicity of the Beat Maker and integrate it deeper into the Splice library so that users can find the sounds they want, see what works great together and then download it all and get the midi file so they can start actually working. We want it to be more than a toy, but something you can have fun with and then take directly into your DAW."
What is the future for Splice?
"We have done a lot of technical work on the back end, Matt is an incredibly talented engineer. One thing we are working on is the ability to show the differences between session files a user has saved. If they did one version of the section and then the next, right now you can see the sequence on the web, but users will be able to actually see who did what moving forward."
Why don't you guys let people filter between major and minor keys when searching Splice Sounds?
"You got me man, I can’t believe you got me on that one. It’s a very highly requested feature. I’m actually going to text the team right now and let them know I just got this question. Look man, your not alone. It’s a highly requested feature, we are going to get it in there don’t worry. It’s not as much a tech problem right now as it’s a data problem. We are going to have to go in and listen to a lot of those sounds. What we might do is ask the crowd, ‘hey is this major or minor’ and if we get enough good replies we can know and add it or something like that. The good news is that it’s super high on our roadmap and we will get it to you soon."
Splice is an extremely powerful tool that is only going to get more and more useful for musicians everywhere, so keep your eyes out. Thank you Steve Martocci for taking the time to speak to us here at Magnetic. You can sign up for Splice at any time, and subscribe to Splice sounds to have access to all of their samples, loops and presets!
To give input and be a part of the future of Splice, send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and your voice will be heard.