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News / Ioná Corrêa / 28 Oct 2022

StemDrop: TikTok, Syco, Universal, Republic Records and Max Martin’s New Music Discovery Format

5 minute read

A collaboration with some of the biggest songwriters in the world, ‘StemDrop - A Song for the World’ presents itself as a form of evolution for music collaboration on a global scale.

StemDrop is a new initiative that seeks to transform and facilitate the creation, collaboration and discovery of music for TikTok users worldwide. Announced on the 19th October, but officially launched this Wednesday 26th October, the platform is the result of a partnership between TikTok, Syco, Universal Music Group, Republic Records and Samsung.

The basic idea is that, through StemDrop, TikTok creators will be exclusively provided with music ‘stems’, from which they are invited to create and produce their own original tracks. Samsung is going to be the facilitator of this, by offering open-to-all product innovations. One of those is the ‘StemDrop Mixer’, a place where users can explore and experiment with different effects, harmonies and melodies for their music.

A group of three honorable songwriters is behind yet another key element of StemDrop’s launch: a 60-second snippet Red Lights, a single exclusively released on TikTok. Users will then be able to access stems from this track (i.e. drums, bass guitar, vocal parts etc.) to record, build upon and share entirely new pieces of music. 

The team of multiple Grammy-Award winning songwriters behind the track is led by Max Martin, who has produced several Billboard #1 singles, including “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift and “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd. Joining Martin are Ali Payami and Savan Kotecha, who’ve both worked with artists such as Demi Lovato, Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, The Weeknd and Ariana Grande.

A StemDrop official profile on TikTok is also going to be created, where users will be able to have a look at some of the StemDrop process. Music curator for TikTok Ari Elkins, singer-songwriter Astrid S and digital creator Your Boy Moyo will act as the global ambassadors for StemDrop, being responsible for hosting daily content on the channel. 

“What would happen if the best songwriters in the world wrote a song for the world……?” asked Simon Cowell, founder of Syco. “We have no idea what’s going to happen. I do know there are so many incredibly talented people who are trying to stand out and I hope and believe this could make a big difference to their careers.”

Co-creator of StemDrop, Tim Van Rongen said he’s “thrilled to be a part of the next step in talent discovery”, stating that it feels like “the exact right moment to launch a music project where the creative process is fully in the hands of the creators on TikTok”. 

The stems will be made available to users in two different ways: the StemDrop Mixer, which is the in-app effect created by Samsung, or via the StemDrop official website hosted by UMG. Users can then use the #StemDrop001 hashtag to share and discover creations on TikTok. 

For artists, the implementation of StemDrop opens a significant amount of new opportunities for revenue. Since musicians on TikTok are paid based on how many times their music has been featured in videos, facilitating the access to stems and encouraging creators to use them could have a positive impact on royalties. It’s still too early to know how much of a difference StemDrop will bring, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for any future developments.

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