Musical Space: Music Videos Can Be More Than About Watching

Apr 1, 2014


Its always bothered me how listening to music can be a very passive and linear experience. Lately I’ve been checking out some interactive music videos; these might help solve the problem. Interactive Music Videos are software-driven, using input from the listener to determine the course of the images.

Arcade Fire

Bob Dylan’s recent interactive video for “Like a Rolling Stone”  is a realistic mock-up of a cable tv experience, where you use your computer keyboard to change “channels” to switch between different real television actors like Drew Carey and the Pawn Stars lip-synching to the song.

The band Arcade Fire seems to be way ahead of the curve on interactive video. Their site asks questions about where you were born, and then inserts Google maps street view images of your home town into the music video.

3 Dreams of Black”, featuring music by Dangermouse, Daniele Luppo and Norah Jones from their album Rome, is a rich, animated experience where the listener can explore and interact in a 3d space, using technology developed by Google. You can even create virtual objects in the space that other people will be able to see.

One of the most engaging is, the site for the song “Kilo” by Light Light. This is a crowd-sourced video; it gives various instructions for where to put your mouse pointer and records your movements for playback on the video along with those of hundreds of others’. The viewer finds him or herself cooperating with people from all over the world to make a dynamic image.

All of these interactive videos give me an immersive experience that MTV never could supply. I hope someday soon I’ll be able to play along with the band.