Blockchain 101 Community RSong

What is RSong? Introduction to Immersive Audio on RChain

Besides trading cryptocurrencies, blockchain has numerous other functions beyond finance, such as storing health records and providing security for elections. Blockchains allow people to sign smart contracts and send money, cutting out any middlemen, which has created a good deal of controversy. In my opinion, the smartest governments, companies, and brands will embrace it.
Because a blockchain is a decentralized system comprised of numerous computers that all store copies of an entire ledger, it’s nearly impossible to hack. This makes it way more secure than Facebook’s servers, for example. Just as each cell holds a copy of the DNA of your entire body, each computer on the blockchain holds the data of the entire blockchain.
A blockchain works because a globally-distributed network of computers are constantly validating that transactions are legitimate and correct. Every copy of a blockchain is updated to be exactly the same. If an error (or attempted hack) occurs, it is quickly corrected by other validator nodes on the decentralized (for example, RChain) network. The consequences (and in some cases financial penalties) for attempting to cheat the network are very high. Blockchain and moreover, RChain’s architecture, is designed to safeguard against any nefarious activity.
While I have previously discussed how a blockchain can help the music industry, for the rest of this article I want to discuss RSong, which relies on RChain founder Greg Meredith’s rho-calculus that serves as the foundation of the RChain infrastructure, making it secure, fast, and scalable. These qualities make this blockchain fundamentally important for building dApps like RSong. It means that RChain is prepared to handle tens of thousands of comm events per second, which is the kind of speed required to host something truly extraordinary.

The RSong dApp

RSong is a beta-testing portal to the future where you can listen to music in a fundamentally new way. RChain teamed up with Immersion Networks to create a dApp that delivers music in a compelling and innovative way. Immersion Networks is a research and development lab founded by some of the world’s most accomplished audio engineers and perceptual researchers, who have invented a new class of listening experience called immersive audio.
Immersive audio mixes come alive, dancing around you as if you are amongst the musicians performing the song. No longer constrained by the “left or right” of stereo, you are now inside the music. On Immersion’s platform musicians can mix audio so that it moves around, above, and below you. This experience can be delivered with existing headphones and speakers. Immersion moves instruments in 360 degrees, offering listeners any perspective they want.
RSong currently hosts sample tracks designed for playback in your existing wired headphones. Bluetooth and wireless headphones do not work with RSong since the immersion experience is dependent upon 100% locked playback phase between L and R. RSong enables immediate AB testing between standard uncompressed stereo playback and the immersive mix. Using a quick button, you can audition the old, flat mix side-by-side with the new 360-degree immersive mix.
As my violin is featured on the California Guitar Trio track “Euphoria” currently available on the app, I am blown away by the difference between these two mixes of the same source stems. The immersive mix leaps out of the headphones and makes the original uncompressed, mixed, mastered, full-fidelity WAV file sound flat and lifeless as if audio is moving from black-and-white to full-resolution color. This shift to immersive mixing and playback will change mass-market expectations for music mixing forever.  
I’m skeptical of most tech x audio innovations, but this one is stunning. RSong is just the beginning (phase one) of what’s ahead. Everything about this technology is disruptive. Currently, there is no other place where you experience immersive audio. We are looking for artists to help us develop this dApp by adding their music, as well as help us realize a payment system and financial model that works for artists. The current version of RSong contains a simple crypto wallet that is not required to use in order to beta test the dApp. It’s likely that the future RSong payment structure will involve the use of such a wallet in an expanded version.

Call to Action

As we want artists to help us develop the best experience and practices, we are focused on working directly with them until we have all agreed on the best way to move forward. After that, we will also be looking for artists to invite their fans onto the app so that they can experience this new frontier of audio mixing, playback, distribution, and tracking. For now, we are beta testing. Right now you can download the dApp and read the official white paperThe pertinent points:

  • RChain (via RSong) is able to store audio on-chain (meaning on blockchain).
  • Immersion (via RSong) provides a fundamentally new listening experience, with files that are up to 40% smaller than streaming services offer. That means files are cheaper to store and host and easier to send. Yet sound quality is not compromised. Immersive audio is a quantum leap ahead of surround sound or anything “like” that (I put “like” in quotes because there is truly nothing “like” immersive audio).

Many years ago, Steve Jobs asked us to “think different.” Now it’s time to “hear different.” Once you do, you’ll see that the applications for this new immersive audio are far-reaching, into industries such as music therapy and gaming. To start, we are focusing on artists, the people who actually make music.
If you’re interested in being included in the discussions about the development of RSong or putting your music on the dApp, sign up here. You’ll find many resources for more information as you scroll down the page.