The games industry has long explored and developed computer game music that interacts and evolves with the action and scene of the game. I understand that this practice is commonly known as stems and layers.
In the computer game industry, these stems are custom written by a composer to give the game a unique soundtrack. The music is composed to work as a complete piece, but is also separated into many layers of audio files so that elements can be dropped in and out in reaction to the game play.
I know that many audio producers often find frustrating limitations using off-the-shelf royalty free music. These frustrations could easily be overcome if royalty free music was available in stems and layers.
Limitations that I often experience…. Sometimes I sync a piece of music to a video and end up realising that in order to make the scene work well, I need a few more seconds of introduction before the melody starts. In this case, a precise and time-consuming splice of a wave form is required.
Also, I sometimes find myself wanting to use a track of music without the instrument solo or random instrument that obscures the section I want. Although using quality royalty free music is a great way to minimise expense, there can be many compromises if you are trying to get a tightly synchronised video soundtrack. Sometimes the video frames have to be synced with the music to avoid this.
Can you imagine if every royalty free music library offered music in stems and layers. How great would that be?
If this concept could be borrowed from the computer / video games industry and adapted by composers, it could become a new era in royalty free music. Just a thought! 🙂
I am interested in hearing your thoughts so please feel free to add your comments. Perhaps you are a composer experienced in writing music this way?