Solu is a ToneStream and not exactly an app, AND, let's change the whole world

Why Solu is a composed-in-the-moment, always-on, internet-based ToneStream and not simply a device-based app (ie, something that can work independent of internet connections, etc.): my current take on this! And, why we and Solu are just plain NOT NORMAL.

And guys, this is such a long post—thank you for indulging me because I have many thoughts about the how and why we have developed this “product” in this way. There is nothing more important than getting this work as right as possible. I am grateful to all of you who are helping by listening, by weighing in, by being here at the foundation of Solu.

Many readers may not be familiar with me—I am Michael’s partner and remain in the way-background development for Solu.

I will begin with a story.

Once upon a future time there were some people, living very futuristically. They gathered one afternoon at a café for a meeting, a place of shining metallic walls and tables. The sun shone through tall glass windows while music played from unseen speakers. After placing their order with the joke-telling robotic server that had rolled up beside them, they pressed a button that was built into the table. Solu began to play, and they adjusted the volume using the same button. It neither interfered with the music or their conversation, and they allowed it to play throughout their meeting. Several other tables had pushed their buttons as well.

After lunch, the group broke up. One hailed a car home (was it a flying car? Maybe…) and inside Solu was playing quietly. The rider made a call on a wrist phone to report on the meeting, and as they spoke to their colleague, a stereo-effect happened, almost inaudibly, as the ToneStream in play back at the office perfectly synched with the car’s Solu ‘Stream.

Later at home and gathering for dinner, the family sent a message to both sets of grandparents—one in another country, the other set in the next town—as well as a message to their eldest daughter away at school, to turn on Solu for a few minutes if they could. As the table is set, the Tones stream about the house and all listening know that the grandparents and daughter are also listening, sharing their common moment that requires no words and no proximity. Then they eat, they watch a show on their amazing new 3-D hologram television, and head off to bed. Some listen to Solu while reading, some go right to sleep, one teen and his remote girlfriend have it playing for each other on their devices as they text, between sharing music.

In their world, Solu is so normal that nobody even thinks about it—it’s not about meditation or mindfulness or striving to get calm; it’s more of an available resource for connection to self, and all else—the ToneStream serves as a constant anti-divider for humanity, as regular to everyone as their clean drinking water and their breathable air.

And, of course, everybody in this story lived very very happily ever after. The End.

The moral? We, you and I, are in the prelude to that Happily Ever After. We are building something that is, in some ways, ahead of its time, but perfectly timed to be that. Solu is intended to grow into and with new technologies, an invention for sound and healing that is not meant to stay confined within the parameters of what we can imagine today.

The world in which Solu is launching is a world unarguably in a great deal of pain and confusion. Though Solu looks and seems like an app, it is not really that at all—it is simply parked within today’s technology to begin its mission. It uses what is available now, today, to let people begin the process of uncovering their truer selves, to unburden themselves of stress, to discover unseen connection and gain awareness that they are not alone. It is my contention that only good will come from a collective effort of this (new!) sort.

The Stream can/will/does fertilize positive group-mindedness that is motivated not by Solu but by nothing other than one’s own personal, positive growth, coupled with their own interest in using this new tool. When you feel better, you exude more confidence, friendliness and stability—world-changing for you and everyone and thing that you encounter. In other words, when you feel better, the entire world is in fact better with you, because of you.

And, you, the person reading this, is incredibly important to this work. Each and every listener is building this with us. The ToneStream is nothing without the minds and spirits engaging it—the very sounds are what they are, based entirely on the listener as the filter. Each of us experiences the sounds uniquely for all sorts of reasons: our history, our equipment, how we hear, where we are, who we are, all of which is in flux too. As more people listen, common themes are expected to develop (relaxation, focus, connection, calm), yet it will always remain personal as well.

At the risk of being too esoteric (my general state lol), we are in the creation of something symbiotic here—I want everyone who uses this Solu, for little moments and long, to understand that they are involved in something that is finding its voice and shaping its own future. This is something well beyond imagination.

Together, Solu and we listeners, are something like the ingredients that come together to make a cake. The individual components, like the flour or the eggs or the sugar, are completely necessary to the end product, and also will never be able to go back and be what they were before. Let us all eat this cake, please, and with pleasure.

If you feel today to be even a little supported in your life through the use of Solu, it is a step toward stability for everyone. This is a cause certainly worth shooting for.

But really, why are we going for something of this scope, a commodity that, even more than our n.o.w. Tone Therapy System, defies normal description or product categorization?

Because: this is what wanted to be built. We began with a future idea of what could be, not with a modern-day version of mindfulness and meditation. There is nothing normal about this quest.

Now back into today for a moment:

Michael and I spoke about what it means to bring this never-before-created Stream to people through their devices, with all the inherent limitations that come right alongside the capabilities. Internet, wifi connections, bluetooth, ios and Android, computers and phones and tablets. Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my. There is a lot of room for imperfection and flaws in that tangle of technology, technology needed in order to carry the perfection of the Tones to as many people as possible across this globe. Gah!

Just now I heard a click occur during my listen, then two, then the Tones proceed on without incident. The technology we must use as platforms to deliver this NEW experience is not perfect. But it’s not so imperfect, either; just like me. Just like the world. Works in progress. It’s doing a pretty good job already to give me sound that is playing for me in my life, as I go about doing what I want to do.

With the grand scope in mind of where Solu will go, the sounds cannot be today squeezed, for convenience, handily onto phones and other devices in the way of meditation and music apps—if we are committed to building it as this Stream of sounds, we are equally committing to the trust that the world is going to catch up and invent all the technology necessary that will carry the Tones beyond to everywhere and anywhere.

As closure, I’d like to share a dream I had months ago:

In the dream I stood in a remote location, sunny and primitive, a wide vista of dry land. It was far from the world of modern conveniences. My hand went to a metal orb-like pendant, about the size of a golf ball, which hung from my neck on a long silver chain. It was like a globe made of two halves, with a middle connecting band that was movable. I started to spin the band round and round, and this generated a vibration that powered the little globe—suddenly Solu’s ToneStream spilled forth from within the object.

I was far from wifi, internet, and any source of power, but the pendant was designed to make its own power when the middle ring was spun, and it then picked up Solu which beamed from a satellite. Do not ask me how this is ever supposed to be made, but also don’t tell me that it won’t be possible. A connection-product for everybody, which is how I see Solu, might have to find interesting ways to be available to, well, everybody. Don’t you agree?

I’m quite sure that when you work inside the future, the present doesn’t always hand you just the right tools for the job. But to begin building what can eventually be a Stream available to humanity in general helps you get resourceful with whatever is at hand.

Trust trust trust. It’s the best ingredient that we use and share in this work. Take a look at the early landing pages of any of today’s online giants (Amazon, Google, Twitter) to remember what a beginning looks like. And to think, what we hope to offer throughout eternity is actually coming in almost fully intact from the the start. That’s a little bit of the miracle that Solu is, right there.

Thanks for being here with us, bending time and sound and mindfulness and inspiration into something much more livable and beautiful, each moment.


August, 1995:

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Alene & Michael,

Of course we have to work with the tools/technology available, especially to reach a larger audience. However I would have chosen different examples of successful web based businesses. Solu’s goal is to make the world a better place. Those sighted are designed for pure profit, never mind the collateral damage.
For sure I’ve found Solu to be a great app. and I feel it is improving my mental state, however after many decades of playing and recording music as well as investing in quality HiFi systems, the best listening experiences by far are when sounds waves emanating from an instrument or environment stimulating ear drums with no man made devices in between. Perhaps centuries from now your dream of the globe could come to pass.

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I am so appreciating your share Alene. This gives me a clear idea of the 'vision.

I know my community will embrace this global n.o.w. moment in time connection. They already love the tones. This ToneStream aligns with our desire to realize our connection to one another.

I am very happy to be here, and eager for our next moment too.

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Hey Number_6–

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your first point! I was hesitant at first to use those examples (Amazon, Twitter, Google) of what the mega-giants in the world of online capitalism managed to accomplish in roughly two decades. I hesitated because they are right up there with politics–those top things that trigger our polarization, and my own personal righteousness. But they are an undeniable fact of head-spinning metamorphosis. The greener, more sustainably-minded examples I could come up with just have no metaphorical impact; they don’t live in our psyche and lives just yet. Take a look at the readership of the wonderful site and see how they compare to any other typical news source, the ones so good at feeding our fears and desire for info.

It’s plain reality that the meek haven’t quite yet inherited the Earth. WE are on track to change that, however, so check back in one decade, not (ahem), centuries from now. :slight_smile: : I must stand by my examples because they somehow outgrew the others who started alongside them, and my plan for Solu is to be just that: on outgrower. But, one that builds sustainably, impactfully, and becomes the force of personal and global expansion in the strength of positivity. Such a force can only radically shift the current giants toward something nicer. And this can only begin with a shift toward more niceness within ourselves.

Fighting just is not working, the War on Everything is never ever won, being better than or higher-minded than or more right than, it lands us in today. None of it is True, it’s all just stance. I see Solu outside of its sound, as me running around placing a teddy bear into everyone’s hands who sets down their weapon—who steps back from the desire for more riches, more gossip, more self-hatred, more neighbor-hatred, any of it. You get a teddy bear and you get to hug it for a bit, and maybe just take a break. And maybe the next guy gets this too. And maybe we all take a breath for a bit, and we see what happens. We might find that there begins Truth. And probably there, Amazon and Google and Twitter just won’t matter in the same way. But we aren’t there, yet.

My confidence in Solu’s eventual reach and effectiveness might seem naive, but I’ve been living with the n.o.w. Tone Therapy System since pre-inception. This System speaks directly, first, to your (Number_6) feelings about listening to live instruments vs anything recorded. Michael, being the type of gifted hearer that he is, was deeply concerned early-on about how to bring the sounds to people in a way that protected the integrity of the pure sine waves he created, and the intended purpose of the Tones which was to help people feel better in all the ways that might be needed by the individual. And to do this without bulky equipment and speakers and headphones, etc. The task appeared impossible at multiple steps along the way.

Many pieces came together that put the Tones into the particular two speakers that make up the Tone Therapy System that thousands of people are using. One cannot argue that live instrumental sound is better, but in fact I believe that something else is happening in that collection of Tones. Coupled then with the listeners, n.o.w. moved beyond what we’d ever even imagined. I’d said to Michael, when we were developing the System, that it had to be SO GOOD that it would create changes that went beyond what we could hope, or we should not be making the System at all. And our feedback always proves that it did, and is doing, just that.

I cannot tell you how many people told Michael he was making something that was silly, or just another calming little white noise device perhaps, or maybe it was just a pretty product to put on the shelves. Then also the expense was too high, but it came from working to preserve the sound quality inside a minimal, usable design–he built it anyway, and the people came, and damn if it doesn’t work like a MOFO without our direction! It is without a niche, which “they” also said was not the way to start a product, and it seems without limit to who and what it helps.

Hence, I am in a type of trust to where sound can go, what it can do, how quickly it can find its own market because humans want help and this world needs help, and that it won’t even take very long. People are craving peace, they are sad and not knowing how to be happy, they are fighting and perhaps wanting the way to resolution instead. We can only start with that within ourselves, but the new ToneStream appears to me to be a way to a collective for that, also. It is very different than the n.o.w. System. We listen, as ourselves, while others also will listen. And then, I believe, yet a new something else will be happening that will show up to handle the bigger picture of what this can do. It’s not a something tangible. It is that very intangible, in fact, that helps me transcend the concerns about currently clicks and stops that occur because of technology—those things that were the reason I wrote the original post. And in fact it helps me transcend the concern that live instruments sound better. Because that is true, but it’s also true that at the top of your second paragraph in your post you stated that “I feel it is improving my mental state.” Bam. That’s all we want.

Also unlike the Tone Therapy System, we are not asking for careful listening so much as “play with life,” although it needs to stand up to careful listening. Gratitude, btw, for someone like you as an early tester for Solu, for talented musicality that you describe as decades of playing and recording. This type of listener always stands out for Michael in particular. It is shaping Solu’s quality, and know that if this heads into the eternal product that I know it can be, your own contributions will be there in its forever DNA.

Now, full disclosure: I do not Tweet! But after a couple of years turning my back on Amazon and Google, I do in fact shop there too much, and I do in fact use Google very regularly because I don’t know the answer to anything and Google does. I’m only almost perfect—that is what might take centuries.

Anyway, thanks for all the thought-fodder.


Joyfulofheart, very happy to have you along with us! What I just said in a reply to another commment is true here as well: I believe we listeners, all, are influencing what is the DNA of this project/product/experience. This technology and sound is currently smarter than all of us–I hear it in what it does as I listen. This is why I want to get this is right as possible but also I do not worry about the kinks so much. Have you noticed the amazing, annoying experience of having a door close or a rock get dropped on something you are in the midst of creating? Sometimes, only after we get really, truly blocked do we find the answer that we hadn’t seen at first.

These Tones and sounds and Systems that Michael crafts and the rest of us weigh in on are made whole through his work, yes, but a hell of a lot of redirect by something invisible that says “no” sometimes. And if we don’t hear it the first time, it becomes a “NO.”

It has been the coolest thing, to start to see all pain-in-the-A** stumbling blocks as, instead and actually, a place to stop and discern the message that wants to be heard. The sounds have helped me live life more authentically that way, and continue to show many opportunities to “tune in” to what I at first resist.

I can hear that you relate to the big picture. We’re holding hands in this huge work that is not so huge at all if we stay in our lane. I think I already love your community that is with us, and we with you!

Isn’t uniting so interesting? It’s making me swell with new glimmers and joys. You use that right in your name, in fact: joyful. A thumbs-up LIKE to you!

I told Michael recently that I can see evidence of the ToneStream, and this testing group, and my own listening, bending time and building its effects. It’s already changing my future and my past (this I must save for a later magical-thinker post). Michael recently left the startup collective we cared a lot about and that brought us to Tampa, because the clarity of our mission–and its inherent integrity–doesn’t fit in a normal business model in any way. We don’t care about fund raising and exit strategies. We have become solidly mission-based without starting out that way necessarily. This THING finally got through to us!

Thanks for the Love! Let’s keep on keeping on, and stay in touch, and thanks for being here.


Thank you Alene, for all these explanations on the very essence of SOLU.
It brings me hope, light, and great gratitude for your work.
Regarding the streaming of sounds simultaneously for all users, I see a similarity with the radio.
Especially at the beginning of the radio where the orchestras played in direct for listeners who all had the same program simultaneously.
Were people more connected back then?
Certainly, for other reasons as well.

Thank you to your whole team, your desires, your beliefs, your energy invested in this project.



Hello Jean-Pierre! Thank you for your words.

One thing that struck me was your comparison to radio–Michael talks about this kind of thing a lot. In fact, after a great deal of searching last year we finally came up with a true vintage non-digital analog AM/FM radio (is it the capacitor that makes the difference? Can’t recall…), and he spent months listening to this for various purposes. Mostly for the fizz between stations and the joys of “amplitutde modulation.” We had many discussions about how programs on the radio used to connect us all in real time.

So, “were people more connected then?” I love to ponder that! We are kept so busy now, and there is always that little phone vying for attention, right there in all of our hands. I would say that in the past I took my connections for granted…it was so normal to relate with another, with far less distraction. I don’t really take anything for granted now. I feel a growing awareness and a gratitude for being alert to others that I hope to keep growing into our lives, this product, etc.

Thank you for that picture of the orchestra playing for all, way back when. Just lovely. Gratitude right back at you!

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It’s a shame that this is only internet based. I understand that you want to generate the tones randomly in real time, but that could easily be done in a stand alone app. I do a lot of foreign travel, frequently to places that have no, or very bad, internet access. It would be great to be able to take Solu with me. I think I was one of the first people to buy the NOW bells when they came out. To be able to easily take the tones with me I made many recordings and spliced them together to create 40 minutes of sound. It was not random, as it was a recording, but if I started it somewhere in the middle it may as well have been. I could just play it on my phone when and where I wanted to, the jungle, the desert, mountain tops, hotel rooms, airplanes, trains, etc. I was excited when I heard you’d be making an app, but then disappointed to find out you had to be online to use it. Oh well, at least I can still use my recording.

I think you should reconsider this limitation. It’s a deal breaker for some of us who go to places with no internet.


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Thanks for the feedback Mike. We’re trying to be as responsive to folks suggestions as possible. Dealing with the material world, and “time”, such as it is, we can’t always be as immediately response as we might prefer to be. But as you might imagine, we have discussed this online / offline topic, a lot. We don’t leave a stone unturned.

First, I applaud your creativity in creating a longer playing Tone Therapy experience by editing n.o.w.'s sound files together. It’s great that you know what you needed and how to make it happen. But as you note…a lengthened recording of the constituent n.o.w. tones (New Origin Waveforms) is not a composed-in-the-moment experience. It is a nice, long playing sequence of tones that fits your needs. But it is not n.o.w. Tone Therapy System and it is not the Solu ToneStream, and that is not our offering. To the topic of offline use…

…The times we are in call for a healing of separation.

The primary impetus for the Solu app is for it to be a shared experience. A shared experience that is live, composed-in-the-moment and offers user-defined playing time. We’re doing our part in healing the suffering of separation by making something that is a shared experience. An experience of Oneness.

Again, I respect your desire to take the tones you enjoy so much with you on your travels AND have them play as long as you desire. This is all natural. It is as natural as wanting to live a long and healthy life. But whether or not that happens is beyond our control, isn’t it?

But supporting more individuation––separation, in fact, is not something we advocate or support with the Solu ToneStream. We’re about delivering a unified experience.

However, I have thought long and hard about the question of offline use. I respect that people need to experience Tone Therapy at locations where the Internet is not available sometimes. For example, I expect the Solu app is going to be used a lot by subway commuters, commuters that may often not have WiFi available. I can imagine a person traveling to an important meeting first thing in the morning and would like to be able to center themselves before that meeting. Another good case for offline use.

The question for me, however, is: how do I respect what Solu ToneStream wants to be, (which we’re doing our best to discern), AND respect a request such as yours for offline listening?

This is why it took me four years to come up with a solution to the simple request to make n.o.w. Tone Therapy System play longer. This is technically very easy to do. But I had to come up with a solution that would respect the original, inspired intent of n.o.w.––to be an approximately 3 minute playing time experience, which, btw, it always will be because that is the PERFECT length for that “product” / teaching (If n.o.w. wanted to be 5, 10, 15 or a variable duration it would have told us to make it that way) AND respect the request of hundreds of people who asked for longer playing duration.

The answer was not to change n.o.w. Tone Therapy System, but to invent a new thing––the Solu app connected to a ToneStream, the ToneStream being a different and constantly-evolving evolution of Tone Therapy that does not present the same content as n.o.w. Tone Therapy. A new and different offering from us.

That all is a long-winded way of saying…we will, at the appropriate time, offer a mode of use of the Solu app that will play ToneStream-like content, offline. Note that I say “ToneStream-like”. Because off-line play is not listening to the composed-in-the moment ToneStream that hundreds of thousands of listeners are hearing at that moment.

I’m not at liberty to discuss the technical and compositional approaches we are discussing. But I would suggest this for now…you have the freedom to accept the is-ness of what the Solu app is, at the present time, or simply turn away from if it, if it does not meet your requirements. But this is a product in constant evolution…

We have a very clever idea we’re kicking around that just may hold the promise of being able to deliver the same online ToneStream experience (not the actual stream if you catch my drift) to offline users so that they can have the same experience as online listeners. This is a heavy lift, technically. And as I said, not our initial, go-to-market problem to solve. All things in their time.


@Zarplod To offer a small addition to @michael 's response:

I think a silent meditation retreat is a good metaphor for this app. You aren’t interacting with others, but they are there with you at the exact moment in time.

We don’t yet know exactly how to reflect that in the app, but feedback like this feedback you have provided is helping guide the way!


You are RIGHT ON, Jeff! I actually had a moment of hesitation over how to make the point of this experience being both “group,” as well as fully private.

I understand that listening off line would not be a shared experience, but having a temporary alternative way to have an individual experience certainly beats nothing at all. I’m my case, because of traveling and being in places with little to no internet connection, not having this option means the app is just not a good option for me. It’s a shame because I find the app very helpful. But, I understand that you want to design it the way you envision it regardless of whether it fits everyone’s needs or not.


Mike - that is indeed a shame, and something we will spend time thinking about.

In the meantime, are you are already familiar with the our hardware product. n.o.w. ToneTherapy?

Hi Mike,

We do have in mind a couple of solutions that could potentially enable off-line listening––while maintaining sync to the online streaming experience. Sorta magical, just might work, but we have not done the R&D on these ideas yet.

Off-line / non-sync to the ToneStream listening is much easier to do, but that is not the what we set out to deliver. We set out to deliver a live, “inter-being” experience, and that is what we’ve done.

Offline / synch’d to the ToneStream is definitely down the road as we are focused on getting our current build into the app stores. Thanks for expressing your needs.

Michael, will one be able to connect with Solu via a website or will there be an app for laptops? I’ve only been connecting using my phone, but it would be helpful to access it through a computer as well.

Mike Coyle

Hi Mike, thanks again for your forward-looking question. We are currently focused on finishing the app for iOS and Android and supporting their launch. We’re not currently working on a laptop app, but that is within the realm of possibilities. Again, largest expected audience is driving allocation of our resources.

It sounds amazing, but how do you get it to turn on? I have touched every icon, but nothing seems to turn it on