Q+A With Native Instruments’ Matt Adell on Sounds.com

Native Instruments is at NAMM 2018 this year. For anyone who’s made a trip to the NAMM show in recent years, this comes as a surprise. NI usually avoids any presence at the show, instead opting for one-off meetings or private events in Los Angeles.

This year, they’ve put on a ticketed Native Summit at the convention center itself, with a number of events focused around “The Future of Sound” – including their news about NKS FX and the new Sounds.com.

Setting up the Native Summit at NAMM 2018

We were able to ask a few questions of Matthew Adell – he’s the Chief Digital Officer at Native Instruments and the fundamental driving force behind the Sounds.com launch. If his name is familiar, it’s likely because he also was the CEO of Beatport for about four years.

“We are not building an EDM platform. We’re building a platform for all music creators and music lovers, with loops and samples for all types of producers, from cinematic to hip hop. We believe this is powerful not just for professionals but also aspirational musicians, as well as podcasters and YouTube video creators.” – Matt Adell at Native Summit

Wondering about Traktor? No, there weren’t any new DJ-related announcements at the Native Summit. There was a small booth showing off an S8 and Traktor. As we noted earlier this month, all indications are that Traktor is actively being developed again.
Matthew Adell

Interview With Matthew Adell

I don’t think NI has ever had a subscription product before. What was the motivation behind building this new type of business?

At Native Instruments, our mission is to empower all music creators and we believe that lowering the barriers of entry, both in terms of complexity and costs, is key to fulfilling this mission.

Subscription models are a natural way to do that, which is also why it was important to us to offer a valuable free tier right from the start. We also believe that it is important for creators to have an easy way to manage their files in the cloud, and a subscription model lends itself to that.

DJTT: The sample and loops industry is very competitive – what will Sounds.com and NI do to stand out?

First and foremost, we have the most incredible team building this platform. They have done an incredible job of creating Sounds.com over the last months. We are also very focused on providing value to the entire ecosystem, and not just for Native Instruments. For Beta, we have over 500.000 loops & samples from over 200 suppliers on Sounds.com.

Ultimately, there are two things that make Sounds.com really unique and special. Under the hood, user search and discovery is driven by what I think is the industry’s best MIR (Music Information Retrieval) algorithms that analyze all loops and samples that are ingested into the platform. This allows users to find exactly what they are looking for when they need it.

Secondly, we are working on integrating Sounds.com into hardware and software, and not just Native Instruments’. We want to help all types of creators to find the right sounds easily and most importantly, not disrupt their creative flow while doing so.

DJTT: Will we eventually see Stems sold on sounds.com?

They are not in this Beta, but we are just now starting to learn where users see value. If you are looking for stem files, you should check out our MetaPop platform.

A Maschine expansion pack on Sounds.com

DJTT: What about Maschine Expansion Packs and similar other audio packs for NI’s digital instruments – are those exclusive content, or will some of those sounds appear on sounds.com eventually?

All of the loops & samples of Maschine Expansions are part of Sounds.com right now. In addition, 40% of all loops and samples from all suppliers on Sounds.com are exclusive to the platform.

DJTT: Are there plans to integrate hardware and software from NI directly into sounds.com? For instance, previewing a new sound directly on a Maschine before you’ve even downloaded it from sounds.com, or browsing the online library directly from Maschine’s browser?

Yes, these are all great ideas. We are on this, and want to make sure to deliver the best experience for users. That also means offering SDKs and APIs for third parties to integrate Sounds.com into their software and hardware.

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