By Erica Bray
Stéphane Pigeon is mesmerized with sound. The Belgium-based engineer has spent time criss-crossing the globe to document its occurrence in the world and it's led him to this conclusion: Rain has a soothing and healing power unmatched by other natural sounds.
Now he wants you to experience it for yourself, without having to wait for the next rain shower.
The next time you're stressed or need help focusing, tune into his recently launched website, Rain.today. It offers free, continuous sounds of natural rain showers that provide "background music" for meditations, work sessions and sound therapy.
The true healing powers of sound came to Pigeon, he says, after a workplace explosion impacted his hearing some ten years ago. “I thought that my hearing was destroyed,” Pigeon, 45, recalls. “Since sound was a passion, I really was concerned that my hearing could be lost forever.”
Akin to a painter on the verge of loosing his sight, Pigeon was determined to preserve his hearing or potentially bid farewell to his passion. Along with prescribed therapy, he began experimenting with white noise generators and listening to different sounds, which helped.
That led to an epiphany: Pigeon decided to program noise generators that could benefit others, such as those who suffer from tinnitus, and put them on the Internet for free. His first site, MyNoise.net, launched in 2013 and has since attracted a regular following with its assortment of synthetic and natural sounds -- everything from ocean waves to Tibetan singing bowls to African drums.
Pigeon, however, found that rain was the best natural sound that qualified as white noise, or a sound that harnesses all frequencies. So he shifted gears to focus on building a new sound engine and website to support his vision of a stand-alone, rain-focused soundscape.
He spent months capturing the audio of some 100 different rain showers and thunderstorms to integrate into the sound engine. “Every time it rains, it's always a bit different,” he says. “I like the unpredictable property of the real rain.”
In the summer of 2015, he launched his project on Pluviophile.net.
Wait … pluvio- what?
“It's very hard to find domain names,” Pigeon recalls of his choice to roll with the Latin-Greek translation for “rain lover.” He says after three days of brainstorming, he got fed up. “Pluviophile.net wasn't taken, so I said, "Okay, that is the best I will ever get.’”
The questions and negative feedback he got from friends, family and followers was immediate. People hated the name. One of them made the suggestion of www.Rain.today.
“I didn't need to think about it,” Pigeon says. “I directly jumped on it and I changed the domain name from Pluviophile.net to Rain.today.”
He says that having the No. 1 keyword for his website, “rain,” paired with a “not-com” brings tremendous value to his domain. He wouldn't have been able to do this with domain options such as ‘dot-com’ (.com) or ‘dot-net’ (.net) -- at least, not without forking over thousands of dollars.
Pigeon also programed a simple weather forecast to the website for people who are searching “Will it rain today?” in Google. The feature has boosted traffic to the website, he says.
“The plan behind Rain.today is to have something that has enough visibility to be able to sell [rain] apps from the website someday,” he says. “If you have no visibility online, then you have no chance of succeeding.”
The website remains a free repository of natural rain sounds meant to sooth, inspire focus and heal, enjoyed by people from around the world.
Visit www.Rain.today for more information.