Coming Soon! New Playlist Manager for BoomBox!

We have immediately begun migrating all customer accounts over to the new BoomBox Playlist Manager v3.0.1 which will allow users much more flexibility creating and managing playlists as well as introducing seamless integration of private and public music libraries. Migration is happening in the background and no service interruption is expected. Migration is expected to be completed for all customers by January 10th, 2018.

Issues Addressed:

  • Playlist and Track Rotation
  • Sequential and Shuffled Playback
  • Track to Playlist Assignment
  • Frequent AutoDJ Restarts

Features Introduced:

  • Full Drag and Drop Support for Track to Playlist assignment, File uploading and downloading, Copying between Libraries and more…
  • Upload directly to Playlist (no need to upload to music library first unless so desired)
  • Copy/Move between Personal Music Library and Playlist or even Playlist to Playlist
  • Global Music Library integration (60,000+ fully licensed, international titles)

Limitations:

Only properly tagged, file name normalized music tracks are guaranteed to playback in the autodj. Files with mangled filenames (i.e. spaces, special characters) could be skipped. Use the file naming format demonstrated in the global music library as example.

Sequential playback is alphanumerical (priority numbers then letters). If you wish a certain sequence during playback, you must edit the filenames of all files in the playlist, adding a number at the beginning of the filename representing the order in which it should be played. You must also disable the shuffle playlist setting in BoomBox otherwise sequential playback will be ignored.

Shuffled Filename Example:
Artist_Name_-_Track_Name.mp3

Sequential Filename Example:
001_Artist_Name_-_Track_Name.mp3

Licensing regulations have changed. As of January 1st, 2018, customers could be held personally liable for any music uploaded to our servers by the performance rights organization responsible for region in which said customer resides. It is therefore important that customers retain the appropriate proof of purchase or waiver from the copyright owner for any and all music uploaded to our systems.

Important Information:

This is an emergency release of release candidate software to address issues with the current production version of BoomBox. All aspects have been fully tested in a development environment and certain features (i.e. cloud drive mounts) disabled in order to afford ultimate stability. However, it is to be understood by all customers that in a production environment, some issues may occur and support should be duly notified by submitting a ticket into our support system at www.sonixcast.com. Multiple tickets concerning the same issue will be merged and tickets regarding issues with the previous playlist system closed as they are addressed by this release. Customers are encouraged to be as factual and detailed as possible when submitting tickets.

BoomBox is in “incremental release” mode meaning that stable (fully tested) patches to the software are released on a regular basis (usually daily) addressing customer and other developmental issues. We time responses to customer feature requests and tickets with said releases.

BoomBox 3.0

We are Happy to announce the release of BoomBox 3.0

BoomBox 3.0 is here and better than ever. Over 6 months in the making, BoomBox 3.0 is full featured, battle tested and sports a new faster and more robust infrastructure and interface.

As some of you may know, there have been challenges keeping up with growth and occasional service interruption due to high loads. Whitelabel partners have experienced higher than usual response times using the search API and all around system and network management has become untenable for the support team.

Migration

Over the next 3 months (September through November 2017) all accounts will be migrated over to BoomBox 3.0 (current version is 2.4). However, clients will be presented with the option to migrate at their own pace at a time and date of their choosing. Clients will be presented with the option to migrate whenever they log into BoomBox and an easy to use Wizard will step them through the process.

Migration means the hostnames will change, so it is imperative that customers make use of the relay and redirect settings on the BoomBox dashboard to ensure that listeners can find their station after the migration has completed.

Value Added Services and Features

Invariably the question will arise “What about Liquidsoap or the Global Music Library?” Both, along with other projects have been extricated from BoomBox and will be offered separately as value added services or features. This means there will be some service plan and price restructuring over the next months. We are still evaluating development costs and will announce each feature/service release and price separately.

Classic Licensing/Hosting Plans

Current (Classic) plans will retain current pricing, and will be limited to basic Shoutcast server and SoniXCast Transcoder services. These plans are geared towards hobbyists requiring minimal licensing and basic Auto-DJ features.

Professional Licensing/Hosting Plans

Professional plans, priced differently than classic plans, will bundle value added services (like APM or CML as described below) to provide more complex event scheduling and programming management features for stations desiring such operations.

Advanced Program Management (a.k.a. Liquidsoap)

The development of the APM feature required a separate development team and different operating system and as such, stations that desire APM must be provisioned differently.

Cloud Music Library (previously known as the Global Music Library)

Because of it’s dependence on the APM project, the CML will be offered in conjunction with professional plans or as an add-on feature for classic plans.

SoniXFM.Com (Radio Aggregation Services)

Recent interest from current and requirements from new joint venture partners has spurred development of the sonixfm.com website. All development resources not currently allocated to support have been re-assigned to this project slated for release in December 2017.

For the Techies

More technical savvy customers like to interrogate our methods and reasoning from time to time which sometimes leads useful revelations and we welcome the discussion (although we could all do without the breast thumping and the non-conducive ranting). Therefore, we present this high level overview of the changes to the systems and network:

Current BoomBox infrastructure relies on the use of classic dedicated servers using hardware methods to failover the IP-address to a different backup server upon failure. Despite assurances from the provider, this method has proven to be severely lacking. Particularly under heavy listener tune-in and search API loads. Often switches would fail or become bogged down (and thus crash) trying to switch from one server to another leading to service outage.

The new infrastructure makes use of virtual server instances which are redundant across 3 geographically diverse datacenters and are switched by a dedicated and self managed load balancer. On August 16th 2017 we tested the failover infrastructure by funneling 4 million requests per second while simultaneously shutting down 2 of the 3 instances without losing a single ping request. We also performed a load test sending a burst of 40 million requests (3 times our current load) and achieved a maximum average load of 77% across all instances.

For Customers

So what the heck does this mean for me?

Sometime between now and December 2017, when you log into BoomBox, you will be presented with a popup informing you that your account is eligible for upgrade. That means our support team has done the work of replicating and testing your station on the new infrastructure and only the final options must be set and the station switched over.

YOUR RELAY AND REDIRECT LINKS WILL REMAIN THE SAME AFTER MIGRATION.

New customers will be eventually provisioned on the new platform, but, for now, will also have to endure migration at a later date.

Customers have the option click “click away” the popup and plan when to migrate, but will be “annoyed” every time they log in and will be forcefully migrated if ignored for too long. That is a call our support team will make depending on time and resources.

Why All The Fuss?

We are growing too gosh darned quick for the current infrastructure to keep up. In August alone we had over 8 million hits (12 million in July) and that with 5 (we have a total of 30) server clusters disconnected from the search API.

Network hardware is coughing and sputtering under the load and our support team is spending more time arguing with marginally responsive and exceedingly difficult datacenter support technicians than helping customers.

The new infrastructure is ours alone to manage and maintain. We own it (like google owns theirs) and there is no more dorking around with some egocentric 3rd level support lacky.

New Global Relay Network Released

Now available at relay.sonixcast.com or relay.sonixfm.com!

As part of our continued commitment to provide the best global broadcasting solutions, our development gnomes have released the SoniXCast global relay network.

What it does…

The global relay network (GRN), once completed, will consist of 7 nodes (one for each major continent) that will relay SoniXCast stream services via a super fast dedicated fiber optic backbone to each location resulting in better performance and lower buffer rates.

This is especially important for mobile devices as the transfer rate of each stream service then equals that of the capacity of most 4G wireless networks. Resulting in smoother player startup and more reliable network connections.

What does this mean for Broadcasters?

Besides raising the quality of your listeners experience, the global relay network broadcasts through port 80 eliminating the problem of listening to your radio behind a firewall.

Like the current permanent url feature, each mount point receives a unique number related to the radio’s call-sign which never changes as long as you host with SoniXCast. Even if you temporarily suspend your service and re-open at a later date. In fact, the permanent url’s will forward to the actual relay mount point once network build up is complete.

Do you use a 3rd party tool or aggregator to present or collect listener statistics? Well now gathering that data will be faster and more reliable as it is presented in near real-time. That will speed up your website and thoroughly eliminates issues with 3rd party aggregators like Tune-In, and Dirble or tools like RadioToolbox. And because you can query over port 80, there is no need to open up firewall ports on your computer.

In addition to having your Radio listed on ShoutCAST.com, it will also be listed in the dir.xiph.org (Icecast) radio directory. Vanity mount points (i.e. relay.sonixcast.com/MyRadio or relay.sonixfm.com/MyRadio) will be a value added service expected to be provided in BoomBox 2.4.

What about my listeners?

Well besides the obvious faster connection and better performance, broadcasters can stream at a higher bitrate providing a higher quality listener experience without worrying about dial-up or limited network connections. Each listener tune’s into the node closest to their listening device or computer which compresses and serves the stream in an extremely efficient fashion. Making it possible to listen to a 320Kbps stream on a cell phone in the backwoods of Australia while minimally affecting data usage.

Your radio will be easier to find as Icecast’s directory service is second only to ShoutCAST’s in popularity. Also you will benefit from our partnerships with other radio services like iHeartRadio, Microsoft’s Groove, Samsung’s ANT and Rock-O-La Jukeboxes.

Other cool features…

The global relay network is a sneak preview of the BoomBox streaming media server based upon the open source Icecast streaming media server source code and customized to integrate seamlessly with our AnyCastIP network.

Additional features include:

  • Multiple yellow page support (YP) support (shoutcast.com, dir.xiph.org and pending yp.sonixfm.com)
  • RTMP protocol support (Flash audio and video)
  • WebRTC protocol support (for broadcasting from the web browser and mobile devices)
  • Integrated source client (for auto-dj features like playlist and dj management and scheduling)

Stay tuned for more features!