by Ryu Ishizawa
Splice is an online, cloud-based platform in which users can acquire samples and diverse plug-ins with full DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) support in exchange for a monthly subscription. This all sounds fantastic considering that Splice recently compensated artists and creators on the site for a grand aggregate total of $15 million. However, the use of Splice may be affecting the way beat-makers, producers, and independent artists make and compose their music.
For instance, take a look at these two sources. The first one is a video by Splice themselves, promoting their plug-in rental system which allows users to try out very expensive plug-ins for a limited time before actually acquiring them. Pay attention to the intro music.
Now compare it to the XXXTentacion song “whoa (mind in awe)” from his posthumous album SKINS.
Notice how the main loop is exactly the same as the loop featured in the Splice video. The implications of this "coincidence" are enormous for the global music community. The accessibility of Splice’s beautifully crafted platform comes at the ultimate price of the artist’s individuality. When bedroom producers all have access to the same (pre-chopped) sounds, it is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of monotony, while removing creativity from the equation.
Tracks such as “Dancing” by Kylie Minogue, produced by Sky Adams or “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner, produced by duo Seeb made up of Simen Eriksrud and Espen Berg both admittedly used loops from Splice. The fact that these loops were implemented in top-charting songs legitimized Splice as a platform, and more importantly, normalized the use of these sounds in independent tracks. Nothing exemplifies this more than Splice’s best-selling sample pack “Sounds of KSHMR Vol. 2,” sounds which have left their prints on countless tracks around the world.
This is not to say that Splice is in the wrong. The company has done a fantastic job of creating a powerful, trustworthy platform that is able to compensate their artists and creators, something that the community desperately needs in today’s world. On the other hand, musicians today cannot afford to sound the same, or to use similar sounds to each other.
Faced with the struggle of tackling an audience with infinite access to their creations, musicians must stand out in order to make an impact. While Splice may be incredibly useful, its users must consider the way they approach the opportunities Splice provides responsibly, without sacrificing their creative endeavours in the process.