The word endemic means something that is specific to a certain area. With Endemic Radio, we try to highlight the specific music and musicians found in a local area. We noticed that now with large radio stations playing the same music all over the country, local musicians often don’t get the chance to be heard. To solve this problem, Endemic Radio works to highlight and find local musicians.
Also, seemed like fun to riff on the pandemic in some way, leading to the name.
What it does
Through the Endemic Radio web application, both musicians looking to get more listeners, and people looking for music can interact! The Music Gallery allows artists to upload photos of their group playing or their album covers. These images then get a chance to be displayed in the Endemic Radio image slides to be seen by others. Listeners can head on over to the Music Player and enter in which city they currently are in to discover local artists and listen to their music, right from the website! Endemic Radio fans can even buy their own portable radio to play music from local artists wherever they are.
How we built it
The Endemic Radio service includes many features. For example, the music player gallery gives listeners something to look at, this is an infinitely scrollable page that hosts visual art from the local community. These images are hosted on Google Cloud Storage and are retrieved only once they are required to be in the scrollable format.
The music selection is unique to each locality. Wikipedia has a large listing of known musicians and musical groups categorized by location. We were able to query Wikipedia’s APIs to get these listings and recurse across all of the available locations. Due to the database size constraints on Heroku, we only have a handful of Virginian cities to be listed, but in practice this would be a nationwide service.
The music played is hosted on Google Cloud Storage and called when a given song is set to play in the player. These songs will be uploadable by local talent, but for now the songs were manually inserted in our Google Cloud Bucket. Artist IDs are also acquired from the Spotify API by querying artists based on the names from Wikipedia. Using these artists, we passed through their popular tracks and built a database of their songs for the purpose of building Spotify playlists for different geographic regions. The images on the player screen are loaded dynamically, once again from Google Cloud, in an infinite scroll. Ideally, artist images will be used over the stock images presented today.
The Physical Radio
The radio body was designed using Inventor and prepared for printing with Cura. An Ender 3D printer was used with wood filament to print out a radio body that would resonate with the speaker for better sound. Speakers from an old ATH-M20x set of headphones are inside the body to produce sound. A Raspberry Pi is connected to download the songs found by the website and play them through the speakers in the radio. Originally, a Pi Zero W was intended to be used, but the hardware necessary was not available.
What's next for Endemic Radio
Hopefully we can extend this service to artists so they can upload their paintings to the website as well, replacing the stock images used in this demo! Further, expanding outside of just Virginia cities is very possible, but was not done to save on both internet bandwidth and API calls. It should be possible to index all local musicians, as logged by Wikipedia, across the country with just more time.