8Stem: a music revolution

Bruce Pavitt and Adam Farish.

The next big thing in music is here – and it originated on Orcas Island.

“What we’re doing is pretty novel. Nobody’s ever done what we’re doing,” said Bruce Pavitt. “It’s quite revolutionary.”

Islanders Pavitt and Adam Farish launched a free cell phone application called 8Stem, which allows users to remix music with ease.

“8stem allows you to pull a song apart, remix it and share it,” said Pavitt. “Eventually I can see this tech being adopted by other record labels. It would – potentially – be very popular with hip-hop and electronic dance music.”

Farish and Pavitt will be showcasing the application and talking about its inception at Orcas Center on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to everyone.

“It’s an unconventional building of a company,” said Farish. “We have a unique story even among the unique stories of start-up companies.”

Pavitt is a veteran of Seattle’s 1990 grunge scene. He founded the record label Sub Pop and signed artists like Nirvana and Soundgarden.

Farish owns The Outlook Inn with his wife, Sara, and is a musician, producer and technologist. He thought up the concept behind 8Stem more than two years ago and hired programmers in India to create a beta version before approaching Pavitt with his idea.

“We’d been looking for a way to work together for almost 10 years,” said Farish. “We just make a really good team. I’m very hard driving and mechanically minded and he’s very artistically minded. It’s a nice complement.”

Farish and Pavitt met at a fundraiser for the Children’s House back in 2004.

“Adam and I have been good friends since we first met,” said Pavitt. “I’ve just always really enjoyed his company. He’s a brilliant thinker.”

8Stem’s operations are being run out of an office on Pike and Broadway on Capitol Hill in Seattle – sandwiched between two night clubs. Pavitt said the location has worked well for the entrepreneurs, which have a team of five helping them. The pair has been working with local musicians to start building a base for the platform. 8Stem allows users to remix songs, which are in its catalog, comprised of mostly Seattle-based musicians.

“[We’re] building an ecosystem of artists – much like a record label would – that is using this format,” said Pavitt. “A new paradigm record label.”

The application also analyzes the user’s remixed songs to help suggest similar songs for the user to listen to.

“Your music will be sort of self-curated – in the same way your news feed is on social media,” said Farish. “Music is no longer a static experience; the end user interacts with it.”

The application is only available to iPhone users as of right now, but Pavitt said he hopes to have an Android beta application in time for the Upstream Music Fest and Summit in May.

“It’s all very challenging and difficult. It’s a lot of compromise and back to the drawing board,” said Farish.