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What Are These Beats That Are
Taking Over YouTube?


There is a new music sensation that is taking over the internet. It’s cool, it’s hip, it’s funky fresh! And, according to some critics, it is extremely pretentious. I am talking about low fidelity loop music better known in your YouTube trending feed as: Lofi Hip Hop Beats. If you know anything about this new music genre, you know that all of your millennial friends have it going on in the background on their laptops. Also, this fad has gone global.
 

 
Low fidelity, according to Wikipedia, is: “...a type of sound recording which contains technical flaws that make the recording sound different compared with the live sound being recorded, such as distortion, hum, background noise, or limited frequency response.” Many lofi tracks and beats are made by unknown artists and obscure bands and are created, as well, by many popular bands. It has been noted that the Beach Boys made a low fidelity album in the 60s.

There may be a little scoffing and rolling about the subject of Lofi videos; and how they got to be so popular. Lofi videos have been classified as a “millennial thing”. Ergo, it must be made fun of. Because it’s another one of those fads that people now swear that they cannot live without. Yet, this fad just started this year! No one had ever heard of low fidelity, let alone Lofi until sometime this summer. It is rumoured however that Lofi got it’s start in the early 1970s in Harlem. Along with the birth of hip hop, many artists began creating these innocuous beats with low quality recording equipment that would pick up imperfections from the environment around. The background noise, along with buzzing, humming and other raw sounds meant that the recording would have a more authentic artsy quality. That meant Lofi had a lot of value back in the day when creating fresh beats was all you needed to make it big in the young world of hip hop.

Nowadays, however, that it is being argued Reddit that that authenticity has been lost. Why be authentic and make art for art’s sake when it is so easy to create audio with that signature Lofi sound and have it go viral? Videos began showing up all over YouTube and Lofi blossomed into the raving success it is now. You can find great Lofi videos under names like: Weed Machine, Lophee, Nourish, Cabvno, Chillhop Music, Chilled Cow and SOOO MANY MORE!!

All Lofi is, is just low quality audio recordings of music tracks peppered with some random dialogue that sounds cool. Then, that gets looped and a drumbeat is laid over the top of it. The video will usually be of an Anime scene. The Youtuber “Neotic” will use this strange purpled over Simpsons footage that plays over in a loop like a .gif image.

It’s really easy to make your own Lofi video. Anyone can do it if they have a keyboard or piano, a computer, and free sound editing software that you can download for free off the internet. Then just compile some random anime images. And, Volia! A soothing, chill, jazzy and very pretentious Lofi beat.

There are countless videos and YouTube accounts dedicated to Lofi hip hop and jazz. More lofi is uploaded every hour, every day. The most popular way that people choose to enjoy lofi, is through the many YouTube LIVE streams. 24 Hour LIVE streams are now a large part of YouTube’s innovative success. LIVE streaming allows for continuous playing of content without commercial interruption! Lofi has beat the system! For now at least. YouTube is really pushing its LIVE stream videos, and because Lofi is the king of the LIVE stream, it gets pushed to the top of the trending list on people’s feeds. So people see it and click on it. Then the Lofi video becomes more popular. They like it and share it even more! Then other Lofi LIVE streams and videos are connected to the first video and before you know it, there is a Lofi rabbit hole! It’s a huge vortex of videos and there is no end in sight!
 
 
Many of the titles for Lofi videos include keywords like: for Chilling, Gaming, Studying and Working. I have not been able to find any kind of “official study” about anything healthy or harmful about Lofi, but from personal experience, I find that it helps me to focus on my work and keep me relaxed. I believe that is what this type of “music” is designed for; to play in the background and keep your mind sane while you pound out the workday. I’m listening to it right now. I’ve been listening to Lofi while I work for about 2 months now. It’s just really easy to listen to or ignore. It’s your choice. Lofi is never distracting, because like spa music, the rhythms are not easy for your mind to predict. So, that part of the brain takes a rest and allows you to focus more on what you are doing.

I don’t know if the Lofi fad is here to stay or not. What do know is that there is still so much to learn about this enigma of a music genre that seeming formed from nowhere. The lack of production value and accreditation is such an alien concept in this day an age. Especially since Lofi is doing very well. Who knows, that could change. But it’s the not knowing for sure that makes life fun right? Everyone loves a mystery. So pop on over to YouTube when you are feeling a little stressed, and you have that deadline hanging over your head like a guillotine. Your brain will thank you.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 196 - October 2017
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