Lately I’d been sending audio of my Piano Practice Room Radio stream with live video of my streaming Astoria webcam showing the street outside. Unlike the streaming webcam you see in that previous link the video that goes to YouTube is quite smooth, not hurky-jerky like what you see embedded into a web page.

The live video stuff gets saved to the YouTube Live playlist. There are only two streams there now after I deleted some. I had a single Philip Glass recording in there that made entire 12-hour broadcasts copyright infringement material. I have no patience for that stuff, and I don’t mess with copyright bots or even human copyright trolls.

The remaining Philip Glass piece was in an .mp3 file with non-descript metadata and file naming convention. It took some time to find it but I finally found the Philip Glass music and got rid of it. This, I thought, left nothing but public domain and original music on the playlist, making it safe to stream without provoking the copyright bots.

I was surprised, then, to get a robo-email from YouTube identifying use of songs in my Practice Room Piano stream that I was not authorized to use. They claimed I was playing songs by Bon Jovi, Queen, Billy Joel, and other 1980s and 1990s era pop performers.

Not wanting to embrace the futility of contesting this accusation I prepared to delete all my piano music from YouTube. This would not have been the first time the algorithm arrived at completely bogus accusations that my performances were of copyrighted material, or that I had uploaded a commercially-released performance and claimed it was my own.

I could imagine the algorithm mistaking certain of my brasher-sounding piano tracks for something other than piano music. But the copyright infringement notice claimed I had played over 2-dozen pop music songs. I knew for a fact my playlist contained nothing but the likes of Mozart, Schubert, Liszt, and the rest of the classical piano music canon. It was unlikely to the point of being impossible that the algorithm could have made this many mistakes.

I’m still not sure exactly why this happened but I seem to have figured out how, it turns out, my classical piano stream really did get taken over my a rock music radio station from Florida. It was no hack, but that doesn’t mean I can explain it.

I use a radio software called RarmaRadio. It has served me well for finding new audio out there on the internet but I also use it to check in on my own stations. Lately I’ve used it to stream the Practice Room Radio to the OBS broadcasting software and then on to YouTube using a virtual audio cable. The audio goes straight to OBS and on to YouTube without me hearing it, so I can broadcast in the background while doing other things.

There was no problem with the virtual audio cable or webcam video setup. The glitch was with RarmaRadio.

I did not realize when I set up the YouTube stream that I had two audio streams coming through at once on RarmaRadio. Rarma is designed to stream multiple stations at once so you can listen to one at a time while recording others in the background for later playback. There seems to be no limit on how many stations you can record at once — no limit except for available bandwidth or system resource. It’s like RarmaRadio has infinite built-in virtual audio cables.

I connected to my Practice Room Radio from Rarma, then for whatever reason also connected Rarma to WGOD, a rock music station from Florida. I did not remember doing this but the history of stations I played through Rarma shows that I played it at the same time as the piano station.

For no reason I can reckon the piano music radio streamed fine for about an hour, when RarmaRadio decided it was time to switch to WROD. I have no idea why, but the piano music stream did a quick fade and then rock and roll music replaced it on my YouTube channel, setting off one copyright infringement notification after another.

I was asleep at the time, intending to stream the piano music overnight. I was restless, though, and woke up to find the computer had grinded to a halt, as sometimes happens when I stream audio and video while too many other programs are running at once on the PC. I shut off the PC by holding down the power button and went back to bed. I was not aware that rock music had taken over the YouTube piano music channel. I just happened to get up and shut off the PC as it happened.

I guess it’s possible Rarma switched stations because the stream quality from the piano music one was interrupted or maybe completely conked out. I do not know but it’s enough to make me be certain not to stream more than one station at a time when broadcasting one of mine.

I nearly deleted both the remaining live piano radio streams. I don’t think anyone listens to that stuff anyway. But when I concluded the algorithm actually did correctly identify those rock songs, and did not mistake Granados and Grieg for Rachmaninov or The Rolling Stones I felt a little better about what initially felt like another dystopian instance of an algorithm getting something wrong and there being absolutely nothing you can do about it.