Rave: Keeping the party going for listeners

About Rave

Rave is a social app developer that provides community music and video experiences. Through platforms including smartphones and virtual reality headsets, people can view videos and talk with family or friends. The company’s RaveDJ platform also generates dynamic DJ mixes and mashups for groups of viewers to listen to.

Industries: Media & Entertainment, Technology
Location: Canada

With Google Cloud Platform, Rave and its RaveDJ service have a versatile environment powerful enough to drive the company’s Artificial Intelligent DJ and Social Watching Apps.

Google Cloud Results

  • Reduces operating costs by 70% by moving to server virtualization and preemptible instances
  • Minimizes budget for maintaining user-created RaveDJ content with Cloud Storage
  • Cuts RaveDJ content delivery costs by 66% thanks to Google Cloud ecosystem

Produces more than 2 million song mashups with machine learning

Whether it’s an old vinyl record or the latest streaming release, music is often enjoyed in a community. This concept is a central focus for social app developer Rave – its flagship service allows groups of people to get together on their phones and tablets where they can chat and watch videos at the same time, as if they were in the same room.

Rave noticed an interesting trend among its customers: while the platform was originally built around social video watching, people were frequently DJing sessions that ran several hours. This inspired the company to develop its artificial-intelligence-(AI)-powered RaveDJ music platform. If two or more user-selected songs or a playlist, RaveDJ can merge two songs into a single, unique combination – called a mashup – or it can start a mix of many songs together by intelligently ordering and jumping from song to song in the style of a live DJ.

RaveDJ does a lot more than simply pressing play or turning on shuffle mode when someone makes a mix from his or her playlist. Like a human DJ, it chooses and transitions between tracks based on factors including tempo, song dynamics, and listener experience. This intricate, live decision-making process means that Rave has had to improve scalability to support future growth.

“RaveDJ required a platform that could handle our demanding processing requirements,” says Garrett Everding, Chief Technology Officer at Rave. “In real time, it has to figure out how to take songs apart and put them back together in a way that people can enjoy.”

Favorite hits mix sample
Favorite hits mix sample

With Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Rave has found a solution that meets its needs. Rave takes full advantage of Cloud Machine Learning Engine to serve and train its neural networks and uses the built-in network management tools in GCP to simplify workflows, support the song analysis platform, and help ensure that its customers and developers stay in a steady groove when using RaveDJ.

Creating an AI DJ

The RaveDJ app posed several challenges for Rave’s developers. A RaveDJ set has to stitch many songs flow together in a seamless audio-visual experience – presenting significant audio and video processing demands.

As part of this process, Rave had to answer two key product questions: how would it produce the songs and how would they be deployed? With GCP and its machine learning (ML) capabilities, Rave has the ideal solution.

RaveDJ has developed novel neural networks for audio analysis using TensorFlow, which runs using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), which supports the service’s API infrastructure. With GKE, the platform is powerful and versatile enough to handle the song analysis and demanding model training process for RaveDJ.

“Songs are complex to process because they all have unique structures and features. Google Cloud Platform allows us to build and support a system that can consistently perform song analysis, which has been central to RaveDJ’s success.”

Garrett Everding, Chief Technology Officer, Rave

One of the key elements of RaveDJ involves processing and analysing music to recover the structure within each song. By recovering this information, RaveDJ can make intelligent decisions about how and when to connect songs together, transitioning from one song’s chorus to another song’s bridge for example. By combining this process with matching audio-visual transition effects, RaveDJ-generated mixes can often sound better than their human-DJ counterpart and are made in significantly less time.

All of these files are kept on Cloud Storage, which allows mashups and mixes to be easily achieved and loaded. Rave also utilizes Stackdriver to monitor the entire platform and help maintain peak network performance.

For Rave, GCP offered a scalable foundation to easily go to market. With GCP, Rave could quickly integrate ML into its workflow and saw immediate gains from the move. The company has already produced more than two million mashups since launch. In the future, the developer has explored adding Cloud TPUs into its ML models and ultimately, all of these performance gains from GCP are aimed at improving the larger Rave experience.

“Songs are complex to process because they all have unique features and structures,” says Garrett. “Google Cloud Platform allows us to build and support a system that can consistently perform song analysis, which has been a central part of RaveDJ’s success.”

Reducing costs

Along with the performance advantages, GCP gives Rave several bottom-line benefits. For example, Rave relies on Compute Engine for virtual machine and preemptible instance management. Rave reports that it cut its server management costs by 70 percent, by moving to virtualization and streamlining its network architecture.

The existing Google content delivery network ecosystem has been a similar boon for Rave and RaveDJ. The company reports that it helped reduce content streaming costs by 66 percent. Without these relationships, Rave estimates that it would be paying 200 percent more in content delivery costs versus its current rates. Cloud Storage, along with its nearline and coldline management, also provide a cost-effective solution for long-term data storage and makes it easy to process terabytes worth of video and music.

“With Google Cloud Platform, basic work like site reliability, performance, and scalability is handled for us and we can focus on producing higher-quality music experiences for customers.”

Garrett Everding, Chief Technology Officer, Rave

For daily maintenance, Rave has gotten additional mileage out of GCP and its management console. With its accessible interface, Rave can easily monitor its entire infrastructure for issues and avoid adding unnecessary expenses to the company budget.

“The console in GCP centralizes everything, so we can immediately see if there are problems,” says Garrett.

The efficiencies supported by GCP enable the company to apply these gains to other areas. Because GCP makes Rave’s infrastructure easier and faster to run, the company doesn’t need to maintain expensive resources, such as a large operations staff and in-house IT support. These savings play a major part in allowing Rave to continue to scale.

Improving productivity

GCP has helped the company improve productivity. For internal server management, GKE makes it easier for Rave administrators to compact services and push out rolling cluster updates. Stackdriver helps with instance group autoscaling and network monitoring, as Rave administrators maintain approximately 50 alerting policies that track numerous metrics.

“Rave and RaveDJ are creative tools that people use for creative expression. With Google Cloud Platform and RaveDJ, we can provide music experiences that recreate the dynamics of a live DJ and connect people to their favorite music on a deeper level.”

Garrett Everding, Chief Technology Officer, Rave

Elsewhere, Cloud Pub/Sub is the primary event bus for internal network service communication and also helps with work scheduling, while Cloud SQL provides similar support for backend services such as error reporting and analytics. Outside of GCP, Rave relies on G Suite as its primary productivity solution and tools like Drive, Gmail, and Hangouts Meet are used by staffers daily.

“Google Cloud is a reliable environment that’s well designed and precisely built,” says Garrett. “With Google Cloud Platform, basic work like site reliability, performance, and scalability is handled for us and we can focus on producing higher-quality music experiences for customers.”

He concludes, “Rave and RaveDJ are creative tools for users to express themselves. With Google Cloud Platform and RaveDJ, we can provide music experiences that connect people to their favorite music on a deeper level.”

About Rave

Rave is a social app developer that provides community music and video experiences. Through platforms including smartphones and virtual reality headsets, people can view videos and talk with family or friends. The company’s RaveDJ platform also generates dynamic DJ mixes and mashups for groups of viewers to listen to.

Industries: Media & Entertainment, Technology
Location: Canada
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Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

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