Rainwave: What is Rainwave Android Auto and how does it work?

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For about a dozen years, Rainwave has gone through various processes that shaped its growth and acceptance among users. If you love music and games, here are some reasons why you could be rooting for Rainwave either using it for pleasure or for exposure…

Rainwave is an app which enables music and audio sounds. People generally see it as an interactive radio, one which allows users to listen, request, rate and vote for songs on the spot. Rainwave has several radio streams, (you can call them players) it also enables playing video game music.

Initially funded by Robert McAuley, also known as ‘LiquidRain’, Rainwave is surviving through donation efforts maintained worldwide.

Rainwave User Interface (UI) and back-end were created by Robert McAuley. The first version was known as ‘Raincast’ and it was created as a stream for IceS which became known to Icecast mailing list sometime in November 2004.

Photo Credit: Growing Produce

The Early Days of Rainwave

IceS was part of a streaming program known as Icecast, which is a streaming media project released in 1998 by Jack Moffitt and Barath Raghavan as free software maintained by Xiph Foundation. Icecast is an open source audio streaming server that anyone could modify, make use of, or even play around with.

OCR Radio got an additional second stream in summer 2008 and Rainwave became the official online radio station for OverClocked Remix (OCR).

OCR Radio is a non-commercial organization dedicated to preserving and paying tribute to video game music by re-arranging and re-interpreting the songs with new technology and software. The OCR Radio hosts over 3,000 fan-made video game music arrangements, information on game music and composers, and also gives resources to aspiring artists.

At the time OCR Radio began making use of Rainwave, it got its first major upgrade to version 2 or “R2”

In March 2009, another stream was added. Known as V-Wave, it specialized in video game music covers and chiptunes, but at times the radio featured live shows as well. Two years later, two new streams were introduced.

The first, Omniwave, hosted all music available through the Rainwave site. Bitwave, the second stream, relied heavily on chiptune music. At this time, Rainwave started presenting music streams in MP3 format.

Rainwave Features

  • Stream and listen directly from the app
  • See currently playing and other songs in the queue
  • See your favorite albums and songs
  • Login to rate songs and to find your favorite music stations
  • Login to vote for upcoming songs
  • Access library and request songs
  • Manage all your requests in a queue
  • Android Auto support also available
  • Original author          Robert “LiquidRain” McAuley
  • Initial Release           September 10, 2006
  • Stable release          Rainwave 5 / December 12, 2015
  • Operating System (OS)       Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, Linux, Windows Mobile, Android,     iPhone
  • Available in              English, French, German, Spanish, Finnish, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Dutch, Polish
  • Type                     Music
  • License                Open Source
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Rainwave Layers and functionality

The technical functionality and the various layers Rainwave is divided into can be seen below:

Lyre: JSON API which is written in Python, using Tornado

Orpheus: A custom-made software C++ app made to control Rainwave (This includes electing songs, selecting songs, request processing… others)

Eurydice: Custom-made web app paneling system made for the site

LiquidSoap: Third-party software for audio streaming

Rainwave Audio streams exist in the Vorbis and mp3 formats at approximately 96 kbit/s.

Rainwave UI Photo Credit: Playstore

Putting Rainwave to Work

As a listener, you get to steer when you listen to the video game soundtrack. While a song is playing, three potentials show up on the screen in a kind of voting style. Based on the votes from all those who are listening at the same time, the next song is on the queue or slotted in for play. The ratings apparently affect how often a song is played in the future.

A song just played will go off the air for some time. This timing is determined by its overall rating which comes in from the votes. This mode helps the prevention of needlessly repeating a song and helps to maximize songs for maximum exposure.

Over the years, Rainwave became more effective because it had more features. When it first started, the three song selection mechanism was sloppy. It did a total page reload instead of the self-updating style you see today. The nicely designed Windows interface or system has not always been there.

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LINK TO DOWNLOAD Rainwave player: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.flashsphere.rainwaveplayer

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The creator wanted a system of keeping all the original features while at the same time keeping things simpler. He succeeded and that showed up as in the requests feature and the enabling of statistics which made it possible for snappy use of the Rainwave app.

Playlist updates are simply the work of the one who manages stuff behind the scenes. It depends on how much time he or she can devote to loading songs. No regular schedule, no fixed laws as to when updates should be done. However, the Rainwave team goes over every track of each album and pick only the ones they think will go up in ratings.

Things are not always as expected because some songs which the Rainwave team thought would do better didn’t move up the ladder. Once, the team thought Parappa would be a hit with the users but it didn’t and averaged only 2.2 in ratings, forcing Rainwave to pull it.

However, others like both Quake and Wipeout games did a lot better to the surprise of the Rainwave team.

Today, Rainwave is available under separate streams. The first is the standard Rainwave stream which plays only original video game music. The second is the Ormgas stream which plays customized remixes of classic video game music from OCR Radio.

User Preference

Overall, users see the Rainwave as an amazing app. A little-added feature here and there makes it better now and then. For example, would it be so nice for users to see one or more of the previously played songs so that it could be rated after it’s been played rather than having to rate a song before it’s over?

Would you like to try Rainwave as a user? There are several things you can do on their platform. You could be a very active user and never have to vote, rate or request; you could just listen to a ton of music. But if you like to take part in everything, the Rainwave team would love to have you.

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