Does Lo-fi music help natural mood up for listeners?



The animated character videos appearing on the low-quality Lo-fi music are popular around the world.

Searching on YouTube with the keyword "Lo-fi", users will see a lot of videos, playlists or Lo-fi channels with millions of followers.  Although it is only low quality sound mixed with distorted effects of technical errors, this quiet, soothing music is being sought and enjoyed by young people.

1. Why does Lo-fi music attract millions of listeners? 

The reason Lo-fi music attracts millions of listeners

In Lo-fi videos, the images used are usually soft-style stills / ph: ChilledCow

Short for low fidelity, Lo-fi is non-verbal music that contains noises like rustling paper or tape noise - effects that are considered technical defects.  They are combined purposefully, giving a feeling of lightness, flying.  That is why people also call Lo-fi is music for "dreamers".

In Lo-fi videos, the images used are usually soft-style stills, animations of a school cartoon character, or collage anime movies.

 On YouTube channels like ChillHop or DreamyCow, Lo-fi videos garner millions of views, while year-long livestreams always have tens of thousands of followers.

 Amid the outbreak of Covid-19, more and more people turned to Lo-fi to relax.  The name of the video also contains context like "late night vibe", "music for study" or "music for relax" making Lo-fi's quiet melody become a choice for those who have that feeling.

 "While at home, many people are willing to explore content never seen before on YouTube. Lo-fi videos are the perfect 'kill time', helping people around the world find each other," said Nick Stafford, owner  Lo-fi YouTube channel named Nickolass shared.

 ChilledCow is also a popular Lo-fi music channel with more than 7.1 million subscribers.  Livestream with the image of a girl doing homework on Lo-fi music was the longest live video in YouTube history, with 13,000 hours of playback and 218 million views before being locked by mistake in February. This channel created a new livestream and still plays after 10 months.

2. Lo-fi music boost mental focus, stress relief and natural mood up for listeners

The reason Lo-fi music attracts millions of listeners

Lo-fi music boost mental focus and stress relief for listeners / ph: ChilledCow

Anyone listening to Lo-fi music for the first time will feel familiar.  "It looks like this is where I belong" said Toni Blackman, the first hip hop ambassador for the US State Department.

 Lo-fi listeners will find it easy to realize that they often contain the sounds of hip hop, soul and jazz.  In the 1960s and 2010s, the top 100 US Billboard songs that influenced the pop music genre were mostly hip hop.

 Raphael Travis Jr., a social work researcher at the University of Texas, once commented that hip hop melodies are also the melodies of contemporary society.

 Most Lo-fi music also contains the sound of boom bap - the hip hop style that dates back to the 1980s and is still popular today.  That is the reason why Lo-fi brings a feeling of familiarity with many generations even when listening for the first time.

 In addition to the familiar feeling, experts believe that the attraction of Lo-fi music also comes from their impact on the brain, helping people to focus more.  According to Blackman, the hip hop style used in Lo-fi music is a material that helps listeners focus on studying and working.

 The songs without lyrics are mixed with technical error effects, the melody is not too slow or too fast enough to avoid distraction or sleep.  Instead, they stimulate the brain to regulate stress, work effectively.

Lo-fi music is also popular with therapists.  Michael Viega, a music therapist at the University of Montclair often uses Lo-fi music to relieve stress by listening to familiar sounds to patients.  If the patient is a child living in an urban area, Viega will record loud noises of the streets and mix rhythm and add melodies.  When being given, they help relieve the child's stress.

 "Enjoying familiar melodies arranged in a new way can make listeners less nervous. In the context of an outbreak, Lo-fi is favored because it helps listeners less afraid of uncertainty", Travis shared.

 The repetitive melody of Lo-fi music also helps the listener relax.  Victor Szabo, a professor of music who is writing a book on Lo-fi, explains that repetition makes Lo-fi predictable, creating a sense of comfort for listeners.

 "The brain makes it easier to predict the next part of the piece, helping the listener shift their focus to other things," says Szabo.

3. Frigidity is an important material that helps natural mood up for listeners

While critics say Lo-fi is "monotonous music", many scientists claim that bland is the key material of Lo-fi.

 Independent studies have proven that Lo-fi music increases learning and working efficiency.  One survey found that 86% of participants said their productivity was better thanks to listening to Lo-fi music.

 According to Inc, Lo-fi music "envelops you in a soft, predictable sound that envelops your mind from the harsh and unpredictable outside world. That helps listeners relax and focus, do more work".

Does Lo-fi music help natural mood up for listeners?

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