Under the theme of “Collaborating on the Future of Sound”, KONTAKT developers, NKS partners, REAKTOR builders, and Sounds.com suppliers were invited to discuss the future of music production. The diverse, distributed, and evolving nature of the Native Instruments ecosystem played heavily on the day’s central topics.
Daniel Haver, CEO & Co-Founder of Native Instruments kicked off the first Native Summit with a bold vision for the future of music creation. A look back at NI’s history as a platform provider over the last 20 years set the tone for the two days of talks.
The keynote highlighted the importance of collaboration between NI and 3rd party platforms, with Sounds.com and NKS leveraged widely to improve the user experience.
Our mission is to inspire and empower all music lovers to create the future of music, together
He closed the session adding: “Some years ago we wrote a vision statement to define our company, and today we are taking strides towards that goal. Our mission is to inspire and empower all music lovers to create the future of music, together.”
Bringing FX to the NKS platform
Major advances in Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) are set to play a central part in the Native Instruments vision, with the big news announced today of the introduction of NKS Effects. Starting in spring of this year via a free software update, users will be able to efficiently browse and control FX patches right from their MASCHINE or KOMPLETE KONTROL, bringing the same hands-on playability that users have come to expect from their software instruments. Some of the industry’s most acclaimed effects developers have already announced support for NKS Effects, including Waves, Eventide, Sugar Bytes and Softube.
At Native Summit, developers from such esteemed partners as Output, Waves, Arturia, Sonokinetic and Sonic Faction were on hand to talk about developing for NKS, and how they’re bringing their effects plug-ins to the platform.
Sounds.com takes the stage
Attendees also learned more about the vision of Sounds.com, which represents the next frontier for both the company and the industry, empowering music producers in much the same way streaming services have changed the landscape for listeners. Unveiled in beta form for US customers just last week, Sounds.com represents another step forward to empower and inspire music creators with more accessible tools. As Native’s Chief Digital Officer Matthew Adell outlined in his keynote, “For under $10, users can download and utilize all the sounds they need in their productions — of course royalty free, allowing the creator to copyright the original work they create as a result.”
We’re building a platform for all music creators and music lovers, with loops and samples for all types of producers
In its current beta form, the subscription-based service already encompasses over 600,000 loops and samples from over 250 different suppliers, and those numbers are growing steadily. As of the beta launch, nearly half of the loops and samples available are exclusive to the service.
Sounds.com covers a wide range of styles and use cases, as Adell pointed out: “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.”
Just as important as the content itself is how users will access that content. Not unlike cutting-edge streaming music services, Sounds.com is also about discovery: NI’s MIR (music information retrieval) technology powers a highly advanced search algorithm, which uses machine learning to help users find the sounds they’re looking for quicker and more efficiently than ever. In the coming months, the service will begin to truly take shape, moving from a web-based experience to one that lives in the heart of users’ production workflows.
In a panel conversation with suppliers of Sounds.com, a diverse group of producers, composers and label owners discussed their approach in developing for the new platform. Hip hop pioneer Hank Shocklee joined Mark de Clive-Lowe, Sofia Hultquist of Drum & Lace, Donald Johnson from MVP Loops, and Jean-Marie Harvot to explain his creative process, and speak about the benefits of making his signature sound accessible to a wider audience of producers.
Native Summit’s first day of NAMM was capped off with an opening-night party featuring sets by DJ Qbert and Basic Tendencies, as well as a special live performance by OddKidOut.