Live Coding YouTube: Organizing Streaming Media for an Audiovisual Performance

Lee, Sang Won and Bang, Jungho and Essl, Georg

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Music listening has changed greatly with the emergence of music streaming services, such as Spotify or YouTube. In this paper, we discuss an artistic practice that organizes streaming videos to perform a real-time improvisation via live coding. A live coder uses any available video from YouTube, a video streaming service, as source material to perform an improvised audiovisual piece. The challenge is to manipulate the emerging media that are streamed from a networked service. The musical gesture can be limited due to the provided functionalities of the YouTube API. However, the potential sonic and visual space that a musician can explore is practically infinite. The practice embraces the juxtaposition of manipulating emerging media in old-fashioned ways similar to experimental musicians in the 60’s physically manipulating tape loops or scratching vinyl records on a phonograph while exploring the possibility of doing so by drawing on the gigantic repository of all kinds of videos. In this paper, we discuss the challenges of using streaming videos from the platform as musical materials in computer music and introduce a live coding environment that we developed for real-time improvisation.