The music industry is very familiar with the all-you-can-eat subscription model for streaming. Now Native Instruments is applying it to a different audio market: loops and samples.

The company, best known for its Maschine music-production hardware and its Traktor DJing tools, has launched a new site called which will offer a catalogue of more than 500k sounds.

Musicians and producers will be able to access a selection of free loops and samples, but access to the full catalogue will involve a monthly subscription: $9.99 a month as an “introductory price” although the length of the introductory period, and the price when it elapses, have not been announced. launches today in beta, and for now will only be available in the US. The project has been headed up by chief digital officer Matthew Adell, the former Amazon, Napster and Beatport exec who joined Native Instruments when it acquired his startup MetaPop in March 2017.

“I’ve been in the music biz my whole life, and build the very first major-label-engaged music-streaming subscription service at MusicNow in Chicago, about 1,000 years ago!” Adell told Music Ally on the eve of the launch.

“I’m really familiar with ease-of-use and how people think about consuming music. But producers have a very different need. In a traditional music-streaming service, you get the value inside the service, listening to the music.”

“Our goal here is to get you what you need as rapidly as possible, so we can become part of your creative workflow without interrupting it.”

“We’re not building a community, a social media site or a platform for music collaboration, although I do find that valuable, and if Native Instruments do that in the future, there may be opportunities.”

Adell is no stranger to the world of retailing loops and samples: during his time as CEO of Beatport, the dance brand launched its Beatport Sounds store to sell this kind of content a la carte, mainly in ‘packs’ of sounds. is taking a different approach. Before talking to Adell, Music Ally got a tour of the new site from Sunny Lee, product owner in Native Instruments’ digital services group.

“We saw the pitfalls of a focus on release bundles: users hoard and can’t find the exact sounds they’re looking for,” she said. “We’re trying to strike a balance between understanding the existing conventions around release bundles, but also encouraging users to think at the ‘sound’ level.” includes collections of sounds curated by the in-house team at Native Instruments – its equivalent of playlists on music-streaming services – while there are filters to drill down by genre, key, BPM, instrument and other attributes.

How else will try differentiate itself from the competition? “We’re not just building something for people who want to make EDM,” stressed Adell.

“A lot of services have been pulled in that direction, which by the way I completely empathise with! But we want this to be valuable for producers of every kind of music. And for people who write jingles, do soundtracks, do games. We want people who make podcasts to be able to get the sound effects they need!”

To that end, includes content from more than 200 creators from the loops’n’samples world, as well as sounds from Native Instruments’ Maschine expansions.

“We’ve got exclusive access to that loop and sample inventory, but that’s less than 10% of the total inventory here,” stressed Adell. “My goal is making this work for the entire ecosystem.”

He added that is offering “only one deal” to creators in the name of simplicity: a 50/50 split on revenues, with all deals global rather than single-territory.

“We’re not dealing with geo-fenced material. There are no music publishers involved in this kind of material, no major labels. There’s no ‘Beatles’ of this market that you might think deserve more money. We have an opportunity to be transparent and consistent,” said Adell.

He highlighted the speed at which the project has come together: Lee and her team started coding in April, while only started licensing its content 100 days ago.

“We’ve got some bluegrass in the service right now! A couple of big classical labels are coming on in the coming weeks. We want the musical footprint to be really broad,” said Adell.

“We’ve got traditional creators and suppliers of this material, but we’ve also been able to get some people who’ve never done any of this work. 40% of suppliers are exclusive, which speaks to the trust Native Instruments and the team here has built.”

“We hope to bring a ton more people on board. And later on this year, anybody who can create an account will be able to become a supplier.”

If now is more of a Spotify of loops and samples, that change will make it more of a SoundCloud or YouTube in terms of widening its audience of potential creators.

That will bring challenges: treading the line between open access, and curating a catalogue that isn’t stuffed with audio flotsam and jetsam.

“That’s why we didn’t do it on day one. If you’ve ever used Amazon or Spotify, you know that there’s a lot of garbage in both platforms. But platforms succeed when they expose you to what you need, when you need it,” said Adell.

“My view is that as long as the material is legal and not hate-speech, it should be made available. Users are the best judge. But it’s true that we can’t waste your time: if you’re wasting time listening to 100 kick-drums you don’t need when you’re trying to write a song, that’s painful.”

“At the same time, I don’t want to be a censor: I don’t want the service really deciding what’s helping and what’s not in music creation. The more we open it up, the better.”

Besides the Maschine sounds, Native Instruments offers resources to get up and running that Adell thinks he’d have struggled to secure as an independent startup: MetaPop was a 30-strong team when acquired by NI, and has since grown to almost 70 people, with plans to add another 70 in 2018.

Adell also told Music Ally about some of the future plans for, once the service is up and running.

“In the coming months we are going to be integrating the library and experience with people’s DAWs [digital audio workstations] using APIs and plugins, and integrating into our [Native Instruments’] hardware with this content and these experiences,” he said.

“Ultimately, we’ll be releasing APIs that allow anyone in the industry to integrate this. Really what we’ve built is a cloud service, and what you’re seeing in the website is one point of entry for that.”

Global expansion is also high on the priorities list, including Native Instruments’ homeland of Germany.

“My colleagues tell me that very rapidly, we’re getting to the major markets in Europe, possibly towards the end of Q1 or the very beginning of Q2,” said Adell. “It’s about following the tax laws, language translation and making sure you have the right payment methods in place.”

He also hoped that could provide a useful new revenue stream for individual musicians as well as labels, even if they haven’t previously thought about distributing loops and samples.

“Symphonic Distribution, a great independent distributor based in Florida, joined up really early on and messaged all of their labels suggesting they start producing this kind of material as an additional opportunity,” said Adell.

“It might not be enough money to pay off your mortgage, but it can be part of the economic value creators can get from their work.”

“The world is evolving, and the opportunities for labels, rightsholders and individual music creators are really evolving too. For some, going into the sounds creation market will be a good opportunity. My goal for any creator has always been to expand their audience and grow their revenue.”

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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