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Bruce and Nirvana

Sub Pop's founder says streaming services ‘devalue’ the thrill of finding new music

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Sub Pop's founder says streaming services ‘devalue’ the thrill of finding new music

WATCH | "As a teenager, I would take the train into Chicago ... tracking down one or two singles. I would have invested an entire day tracking down a song, so I have a deeper relationship with that song."

Bruce Pavitt is the founder of Sub Pop records, an indie music label that released its first LP vinyl in 1986 and then went on to give Nirvana and Soundgarden their starts.

Today, the grunge founding father is co-founder and Creative Director of a new digital music remix app called 8Stem.

We sat down with Pavitt to ask him about the good and bad of the record industry going all in on digital download and streaming.

Do you think vinyl records still sound better than digital music?

"Frankly, I do. But don’t tell anybody -- don’t tell my business partner who created the 8Stem technology. But, yeah -- vinyl is forever."
Bruce Pavitt DJ
(Bruce Pavitt)

Pavitt has a lot of experience with vinyl. He was a community radio DJ at Seattle's KCMU in the 1980s.

Can anyone actually hear the difference between music from Hi-Fi streaming services like TIDAL and music from Apple Music or Spotify?

"I’m a fan of TIDAL. I do think that TIDAL does sound better I think there’s a difference in the sound quality between the streaming services."

Sound quality aside, what are the best and worst parts of music going away from records, cassettes and CDs and more toward digital?

"You can access the world’s libraries at your fingertips ... For fans, that’s a pretty good deal."

"The problem with streaming [music], in my opinion, is when a fan has access to millions and millions of songs, it essentially devalues the music. As a music fan growing up in the 70s, as a teenager, I would take the train into Chicago ... tracking down one or two singles. I would have invested an entire day tracking down a song, so I have a deeper relationship with that song. I think the problem right now is that fans take music for granted, so it has less value."

Bruce Pavitt at 8Stem party
(Bruce Pavitt)

Pavitt (right) with AJ Sorbello (left), a top 8Stem remixer.

How can 8Stem bring that deep "relationship" that people had with records to digital music?

"8Stem is essentially a platform that allows artists and fans to come together to collaborate and co-create music, which I think is the next evolution of the music industry..."

"Fans can download a track, remix it, customize it and share it with their friends. If you spent an hour or two deconstructing and reconstructing a song and then putting out your own custom mix, you’re going to have a deeper relationship with that song."

8Stem Love Rollercoaster Demo

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