Turning tennis data into tunes, in real time

Since 1992, the United States Tennis Association has teamed with IBM to develop tech platforms to entertain and help increase fan engagement, creating data visualizations from match analytics. This year, IBM wanted to do something a bit different. It worked with musician James Murphy to create the US Open Sessions, songs created from match data in real time using a unique algorithm. The tracks, which are available on the campaign’s website, are accompanied by animated graphics.

The storage, coding and extraction of data were all supported by the IBM Cloud. WebGL, Canvas, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, WebSockets and Node.js were used to create graphical representations of the music and tennis data. The IBM-created algorithm encompassed six coded “instruments” that generated different sounds depending on what was happening on the court, such as aces and breakpoints. Murphy then manipulated the sounds to produce songs. IBM used social engagement—Twitter and Facebook—to increase reach. Behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube gave users an inside peek into the production process.

After the tournament, Murphy released 14 original tracks remixed from his favorite matches. All in all, the campaign generated more than 833K YouTube views and 1M impressions on the US Open Sessions site and SoundCloud. Many major media outlets covered the campaign, including Pitchfork, Vice, Rolling Stone, Stereogum, The New York Times and Gizmodo.


Hours of tennis turned into 400+ hours of music


Original soundscapes for the album


Million listens