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Using Spleeter to Unbake Finished Music for Karaoke and More!

Today, let’s do something that might seem impossible. We’re going to take a finished song and break it back into pieces by instruments, vocals, etc., as you could with a multitrack recording. Then, after you split your music you can use the results for karaoke. Or, if you’re a video editor like me, you can do some creative mixing of finished music. Of course, this is for music you own/have the rights to.

Now, before this type of Artificial Intelligence tool existed, I would have told you that you couldn’t split music from finished tracks. Or at least you couldn’t do it well. You can’t unbake a cake, but with AI you can unbake finished music.

Splitting your music with Spleeter

A music service called Deezer created an open-source toolkit called Spleeter that makes it possible to split finished music. Often, open-source tools are command line-only, leaving it to enterprising developers will to create graphic user interfaces for it. I found a GUI version of Spleeter for the Mac called MySpleeter.

For the record, this application is safe, but you’ll have to go to the System Preferences > Security & Privacy and tell your Mac that it’s allowed to run.

The rest is easy. You just add your music to the input file, and the folder where you want it to show up as the output directory.

Then press Separate!

Separating tracks in MySpleeter

Split into stems

After you tell Spleeter to split your music into tracks, you’ll get the following audio files:

  • Vocals
  • Piano
  • Other
  • Drums
  • Bass

Next, take them to your favorite tool, such as Garageband, and adjust/lower/mute any part of the music. Then export it with the vocals muted, and you have a Karaoke track.

Separated tracks in GarageBand

When I’m working in video production, a tool like this extends my music library. I can take a track where I want the drums to be just a tad louder at key points. And this means I can set keyframes and refine the music to my needs.

A new standard for splitting your music

There are competitions to improve these AI libraries. And Spleeter is the standard of how new libraries are tested. That’s how amazing it is. It’s a great open-source tool for you building karaoke or splitting apart your music to be able to remix it a little bit in post-production.

And best of all, it’s free.

Jeff Greenberg
the authorJeff Greenberg
Jeff Greenberg is an Editor/Colorist/Consultant in post. An early adopter, he sent his first email in the 80s. He chairs conferences and is a Master Trainer (teaches the “Train the trainer” classes for the major NLEs.) Most of all, he’s a Dad and Filmgeek. And hates being defined by fifty words. Just like you.
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  • I downloaded the 20200904.dmg. at Github, opened and dragged the app to applications folder. Had to allow it to open via security/preferences as you noted. In OS 10.14, it opened and I input a song and a output folder. But it crashed as soon as I hit SEPARATE. In OS 10.13, it just crashed as soon as I opened the app. Am I missing a step? A youtube how-to install on a mac uses Python. Terry

    • Hmm, hard to say Terry (about why it’s crashing). I know that the reason the app is large is that you don’t have to install python – it has its own internal version installed.

      If you’re comfortable installing python, I’d suggest looking at one of the command line methods to run this tool. It’s literally a single command on the command line. But the installation wasn’t exactly simple (although several people have shown how to manually install all of it.)

      Not sure if brew has the components for an easier download.

      • Myspleeter installed on 10.13.6 just crashes without opening but there is a large text file describing the error and message “sent automatically to apple”. I am not a computer expert so it is all greek to me.
        I tried this on my mac pro 2010 and mac mini 2011 both running 10.13.6 It crashed on both. Even though they run High Sierra no problem, maybe there is some feature missing in these old computers. Terry

  • Hitnmix RipX DeepAudio, while not free, looks to be the best ripper with the most features for creating stems and separating audio tracks. It’s not a perfect solution but the results are generally better than the other apps out there.

    • Neat tool. They seem to be using some of the Spleeter code for their initial pass (as it rips to Voice/SFX/Bass/Drums/Other) – but what I see they’re also doing is some midi analysis of the tones of the parts of music. It looks great for a Sound Editor/someone with a serious DAW (like ProTools)

  • Won’t load under Monterey. Here’s the message:
    “” cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified. macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.

    • Great point David! MacOS does an amazing job protecting us. There’s a setting in Security & Privacy that you’ll have to toggle and yes, this is 100% at your own risk.

      MacOS is set to “Allow App Downloaded from:” and the default is App Store. I like the App store but I own apps that aren’t from there, it doesn’t respect freeware/donationware and to a certain extent, Apple places some restrictions on what Apps can/can’t do. I easily have 50+ Apps that aren’t in the App store.

      There’s a less restrictive setting (still, 100% at your own risk), where you can choose “App Store and identified developers”. That has a little more freedom.

      But it still won’t let MySpleeter run.

      You have to decide if it’s safe, open the Security & Privacy pane, unlock the pane with your password, and choose “Allow MySpleeter to Run” the first time”. Once you do this? MySpleeter will work without any headaches.