ACR Cloud is a Broadcast Music Fingerprinting service. It listens to your internet stream in real-time, detects the songs you are playing, and sends the song data through to a service such as MetaRadio Standalone and MetaRadio WordPress. Think of it like a always-on version of Shazam.
This guide shows you how to setup ACR Cloud to feed data into your RDS Encoders, Streaming Servers, Websites, Apps, and more. It allows live fingerprinting of every track you play on your radio station, even if the metadata isn’t available to you in your PC.
ACRCloud is a paid product from a third-party. Subscription to ACR Cloud is not included in the purchase price of MetaRadio. At the time of writing, Custom Stream Monitoring in ACRCloud costs US$26 per month.
In Version 1.5.0 of MetaRadio, ACRCloud data was sent directly to MetaRadio WordPress. Now, with Version 1.6.0 you are able to send it to MetaRadio Standalone (without needing a web server), so you can use this data in every output format supported by MetaRadio.
Before you begin, you will need to install MetaRadio Standalone on a PC at your station.
You can download a free trial or purchase a license for “MetaRadio“. When you try or purchase this app, you will be sent an EXE file (MetaRadio Standalone).
Setup ACRCloud Custom Stream Broadcast Monitoring
- Login to ACRCloud Console
- Go to Broadcast Monitoring > Custom Streams
- Create a Custom Stream project and attach the bucket named ACRCloud Music as the following image shows. Make a note of the Project ID generated for you in ACRCloud – you will need this information later.
4. Click on the name of the project just created to enter the project page. Add the stream URL to the project as the following picture shows and choose the config you need. Make a note of the Stream ID generated for you by ACRCloud – you’ll need this later.
Get an ACR Cloud API Token
In order to get the data from ACRCloud, you will need to generate an API Access Token. This is done by clicking on your account name in the top right corner of your account, and clicking on ‘Developer Setting’.
Ensure your elect the ‘read-bm-cs-projects’ and ‘read-bm-bd-projects’ API permissions.
Make a note of the generated API key for later. You’ll need it soon.
Before we can connect to ACRCloud, we need to download and install MetaRadio.
MetaRadio has a free trial available. You’ll need to tell us your name, email, and number of inputs you want to use. MetaRadio is licensed based on inputs:
- If you have one stream in ACRCloud, you only need one license – no matter how many places you want to send that data.
- If you have two data feeds (such as a separate HD2 station), you’ll need two licenses.
- If you want to take data from an automation system, satellite system, or music fingerprinting system at different times of the day, you’ll also need multiple licenses.
When you sign up for the trial, we’ll email you a license key and an installer. Save these to your computer.
Where to install MetaRadio?
The next step is to work out where you want to install MetaRadio. MetaRadio runs on Windows. You may want to install MetaRadio on a Utility PC or Server in your rack room, or even a Virtual Machine.
Make sure you pick a computer that’s:
- Always turned on and always connected to your network, and
- Has a network connection to your output systems, such as your FM RDS encoder, HD Radio exciter, DAB or DAB+ headend system, and so on.
Completing the Installation
Once you’ve decided where to install MetaRadio, copy both the installer and license file over to that PC. Log in as an Administrator, and then run the installer.
The first step of the installation wizard is to supply the License File. Once you’ve done this, you can accept all the other default settings, and complete the wizard.
You’ve now installed MetaRadio, and you’re ready to start configuring it!
Open MetaRadio from your desktop shortcut. It will open a black window showing the status, and if this is your first time running MetaRadio, it’ll also open a web browser with the MetaRadio Configuration App. If you don’t see the configuration app, the status window shows you the address you need to go to in your web browser. Any modern web browser, such as Edge, Firefox or Chrome, will work fine.
By default, the MetaRadio configuration app is available by going to http://127.0.0.1:9606/
MetaRadio’s configuration interface lets you control all settings within MetaRadio.
- The left contains the menu with various options – including the Input and Output settings.
- The centre of the screen contains information about your system, including license details, and a summary of the inputs and outputs you have setup.
The options you see available will vary depending on the version you have installed, and the license options you have installed.
Connecting MetaRadio Standalone to ACRCloud
The last piece of the puzzle is configure your ACRCloud connection in MetaRadio. You’ll need these details from the earlier setup steps:
- API Key
- Project ID
- Stream ID
MetaRadio allows you to send data from an Input (such as ACRCloud), to any number of outputs. We need to configure the inputs first, and then our outputs second.
Select the “inputs” menu item on the left, and click “Add New System”. Scroll down through the list of systems and select “ACRCloud”.
Enter a name for your station, and then enter the other configuration details you found earlier in ACRCloud:
- Name: Enter any relevant name to help you identify this system
- ACR Cloud Project ID: As found in the ACRCloud Dashboard
- ACR Cloud Channel/Stream ID: As found in the ACRCloud Dashboard. If you are using a Custom Stream, this is the Stream ID, and if you are using the Broadcast Monitor Database, this is the Channel ID.
- ACR Cloud API Token: As generated in the ‘Developer Settings’ screen of the ACRCloud dashboard
- ACR Cloud Mode: Either CustomStream or BroadcastDatabase, based on how you have setup this station in the ACRCloud dashboard
Click Save, and then click “Apply & Restart” up the top to restart MetaRadio.
Testing Your Now Playing Data
Go back to MetaRadio. If your configuration is successful, the black MetaRadio window will say “Now Playing” with some track details every time a new track is detected by ACRCloud. There can be a delay of up to 30 seconds based on the fingerprinting process.
This means your configuration is done, and you can now move onto configuring your Outputs. An Output in MetaRadio is any destination system you want to send data to – a RDS Encoder, HD Radio System, Website, Digital Radio, Streaming Server, Mobile App, etc.
In the left menu of MetaRadio, click on “Outputs”. Find your station, and click “Add Output”. Now you can select your output system from the list, and configure its settings. Our website has instructions on configuring all the most popular systems, or contact our support team if you need assistance.
Support & Next Steps
Thanks for choosing MetaRadio to manage your now playing song data needs. Make sure you explore all the features, such as station scheduling, message scheduling, and all of our advanced output options. Please get in touch with us if you ever need assistance!
If you have any trouble with this process or it’s not working, please send the MetaRadio log files through to our support team. We’re here to help! You’ll find the support bundle file in MetaRadio’s dashboard.
Can I have multiple ACRCloud Streams connect to one MetaRadio instance?
Yes. You can connect unlimited ACRCloud Streams to the one MetaRadio instance on one PC. You will need one MetaRadio license per ACRCloud stream. You can buy multiple licenses online. If you have purchased licenses separately and need them combined (so they can run one one PC), please email support your purchase receipts and we will make this change for you.
Can I disable ACRCloud Now Playing data during certain times?
Yes. This is a common request for stations that only rely on Audio Fingerprinting during certain hours, and may use an Automation System or satellite programming at other times. MetaRadio allows you to create a schedule for your automation system input. In your Input Settings, look for the “Input Settings” section. Any day/time entries specified here will disable your ACRCloud data.