Cover The Stem Player designed by Kanye 'Ye' West and Kano Computings (Photo: Twitter / @stemplayer)

Ye's 2.5-inch Stem Player is priced at US$200, and people are wondering if the device is worth buying. To help you decide, read on to know more about this revolutionary platform.

Upon the release of Ye's recent studio album, Donda 2, people have begun to consider snapping up their very own Stem Player, an audio remixing device and digital music platform.

See also: 'DONDA' Review: Did Kanye's Album Live Up To The Hype?

According to the artist, his new songs will not be released on any online streaming platforms and will instead be pre-installed on the device. While some argue that Ye will eventually give in to release his songs, others believe this might revolutionise the music industry, particularly on artist ownership.

But it's an expensive and ambitious move. The Stem Player is priced at US$200 (around PHP10,480), and some believe it's quite a large sum for an interactive device. The Stem Player, however, cannot be shipped directly to the Philippines at the moment.

So what exactly makes the Stem Player worth copping?

Appearance

The Stem Player, which was launched in August 2021, was developed using Yeezy Tech and Kano Computing. The device borrows from the features of the Roden Crater, a land art project by James Turrell. Ye had always admired Turrell's works. In the previous year, Turrell even gifted the billionaire a new home, following Ye's interview with GQ where he said he wanted "to live in a Turrell."

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Now, the Stem Players takes on the form of the crater, with a flesh-like colour and texture that's soft, moreover likened to a stress ball, and the size of a pebble (2.5 inches). In front are four light strips that are basically sensitive LED sliders.

Specifications

It has 8 gigabytes of storage space, a 97dB speaker, USB-C power and data, haptics, anti-static coating, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. However, you can use Bluetooth to connect it with speakers, wireless headphones, or whathaveyou by pressing and holding the '-' and '+' buttons.

The device supports the following media types:

  • .AIFF
  • .AIF
  • .FLAC
  • .M4A
  • .MP3
  • .WAV
  • .WAVE
  • .AAC
  • .ALAC
  • .MP4

You can also use midi by connecting the Stem Player to your computer using a USB.

You'll also be able to update content and software when needed.

How it Works

Listeners, and aspiring producers alike, will love the Stem Player as it's been described as a tiny mixing desk you can carry around.

The four touch-sensitive LED sliders—known as stems—control four different parts of a song: the vocals, drums, bass, and samples. You can isolate these parts however you like. For instance, you can slide down the vocal stem to only listen to the drums, bass, and samples.

See also: Are we Filipinos Because We Love Music, or Do We Love Music Because We are Filipinos?

You may even make it into your own version by adding more effects, changing the tempo and pitch, or even creating loops. There's also a fast forward and reverse button. You may even use playback to hear what you've finished making before saving and downloading your mixes.

If you're done playing around with Ye's tracks, you can upload different songs to the device to try out as well as it's designed to split any song into stems.

Why It Might Work

Many might scoff at the billionaire's attempt at selling an "overpriced" device, but many should also be talking about Ye's intention—song ownership—which artists like Taylor Swift herself has also fought for.

Ye claimed to have refused a US$100 million deal from Apple.

In a now-deleted Instagram post, he made sure everyone knew why. He said, "We set our own price for our art. Tech companies made music practically free so if you don’t do merch sneakers and tours you don’t eat."

See also: World Music Day 2021: 7 Filipina Artists Dominating the Global Music Industry—HER, Jess Conelly, And More

He continued on another deleted post, "Today artists get just 12 [per cent] of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from this oppressive system. It’s time to take control and build our own."

This is Ye's way of owning his music, and the Stem Player is made with the same intentions.

As CEO of Kano, Alex Klein, puts it: "[I]t's your music, your way."

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