The Rise of Lo-Fi Music

You’ve Surely Heard of Lo-Fi Hip-Hop Music Before…

cartoon character listening to lo-fi music in her room

Today, music, especially Lo-Fi, is a best friend and a daily companion for people, especially the younger ones. Whether you are riding a train or shopping in the mall, you can see people with headphones walking around. Even at home. Instead of having family conversations, young people prefer staying in their rooms and listening to music.

What kind of music do you think are they listening to? It may not be metal, pop or a ballad since some of them seem to be very relaxed. Some of them even fell asleep while listening to the music. Perhaps, they are looking to the newly popularized music genre today – Lo-Fi.

What is Lo-Fi Music?

If you have gone to a coffee shop or a restaurant that plays very relaxing music in the background, you can get that same mood when listening to Lo-Fi music. To be able to distinguish this genre from the rest, proceed to the next section for the in-depth definition.

What Does the Name Lo-Fi Stand for?

what is low fidelity music

Lo-Fi stands for “low-fidelity.” It’s the exact opposite of the Hi-Fi music that is also known by fans today.

The modern music industry strives to deliver flawless audios. But, Lo-Fi tries to show us that there’s beauty in little imperfections. While the music industry wants perfection in studio recordings, Lo-Fi seeks to revive the old days. Back when musicians used inexpensive audio equipment to produce music we heard until the late 1940s.

With the rigid polishing of music through advanced recording equipment, the human character – heart and soul – is lost. Hence, Lo-Fi wants to bring it back.

If you could only compare studio and live recordings, you can hear the big difference. Though the studio recording is cleaner and flawless, live recording is genuine and sincere.

Among the most popular today is the Lo-Fi genre. The genre’s popularity is not all about hip-hop, but instead, the modern version of the 1970s and 1990s hip hop music.

lo-fi hiphop chill raccoon
Mellow melodic beats perfect for studying, work, relaxing, smoking or focusing.

Lo-Fi hip-hop gives you a more relaxed and mellow beat, allowing you to feel the music and not merely listening to it.

Even though it wasn’t until the 1990s that this kind of music was recognized; some early sound recordings from the past still can be identified as Lo-Fi. Examples were those recorded from substandard equipment like the garage rock in the 1960s and the punk rock in the 1970s. Since people are so engrossed in getting perfect recordings, Lo-Fi music became a sidetrack.

How Did Lo-Fi Beats Get Popular?

If you want to listen to music, what’s the first platform you would go on? It’s YouTube, right? Yes. YouTube is the most significant factor why Lo-Fi music is prevalent today.

Let’s take a few steps back. Before YouTube, there were already channels focusing on the creation of Lo-Fi music.

Among which were Chillhop Music and Ambition that existed on Soundcloud. While Soundcloud rap rose to fame 2016, Lo-Fi hip hop also began to emerge. Some YouTube stations get songs from Soundcloud, create mixes and upload looped music.

Then, YouTube introduced its “live” feature back in 2011. This new feature opened to ways for YouTube stations to host 24/7 live streaming of music, instead of uploading lengthy audio files. However, it’s not until last year that Lo-Fi music began to conquer the world’s largest music streaming platform.

youtube live logo with white background
YouTube Live, which will integrate live streaming capabilities and discovery tools directly into the YouTube platform.

Today, many people know about Lo-Fi, not because it’s been listened to by many, but because we use YouTube almost every day. And, YouTube seems to be pushing this music up lately. In a September 2017 Music Report, around 1.3 billion users or 85% of total YouTube users visit the site every month.

In the same report, 76% of YouTube users listen to the songs they already know. Their repetition is not because users love the songs they’ve heard. It is because YouTube is tracking your visits and suggests your playlists. Hence, the Lo-Fi music fever has suddenly heated up the music industry.

Why Do People Like Lo-Fi Music?

People not only like the music, but they also love it because of its character. It’s not about how the music is being created or what equipment is used. It’s more on what you feel when you listen to it. It connects to your soul, and you can feel the sincerity and emotion of the music. That’s what makes it more likable.

listening to music doing housework

People can play the music while they’re doing their chores, read books or even go to sleep. Besides, YouTube channels like Chilled Cow or Chillhop offer live streaming, where users can listen to Lo-Fi music 24/7.

Another reason is its flexibility and ease of production. Check out the next section for the ways to create Lo-Fi music.

Is It Easy to Produce Lo-Fi Hip Hop Songs?

Yes. It’s easy. You don’t need to have expensive equipment with fancy features to produce lo-fi hip-hop.

Lo-Fi songs can be made with whatever musical material you have at home. You can even use your phone for that and don’t need for a studio. You can record songs in your room, in your garage or even outside if you wish to add a little natural noise to your music. That’s how versatile this genre is.

Making lo-fi hip-hop with water bottles. Video courtesy of Andrew Huang Youtube Channel.

The music somewhat emulates the recordings back when affordable audio instruments were popular. You don’t need to scavenge and find old equipment. You can downgrade your recordings to make it sound like being recorded in the 1960s. The point is, Lo-Fi hip hop music production is simple, straightforward, cheap and easy.

Why is Lo-Fi Called Study/Sleep Music?

Because of its repetitive nature, Lo-Fi helps listeners to relax and be still. When you can feel peace, you’ll be able to focus and eventually help you do well with your studies. That’s the impact of Lo-Fi music.

dog listening to music relax

Lo-Fi helps ease one’s mind; this is because the tones in Lo-Fi are cleaner than other electronic music types. Therefore, if you want to relax and think of nothing, Lo-Fi music can help you sleep. It’s like the binaural beats or the Chinese instrumental music you want to hear when you’re stressed. Very relaxing and very tranquil.

Lo-Fi music has the same effect as listening to the sound of the wind or the dripping of the rain.

How Can You Find New Lo-Fi Tracks?

You can’t find any better Lo-Fi tracks than on YouTube. You can do a quick search with “Lo-Fi,” “Lo-Fi music,” or “Lo-Fi hip-hop music” keywords. Then, it will give you the best tracks, both compiled and live streaming music. The next time you visit YouTube, it’ll suggest you new songs.

Furthermore, if you are always online, YouTube will also send you the latest Lo-Fi tracks. So, finding new Lo-Fi songs is not a problem. You can also subscribe to YouTube channels and be the first to enjoy new  Lo-Fi tracks.

The Lo-Fi Sensation Has Just Started, and Will Grow More

With its versatility and ease of production, there is an excellent potential for this music beats to live on. Besides, it’s very natural, real and sincere. Hence, it’ll be loved not only be this generation but even the next. So, whether you like Lo-Fi already or just starting to know it, you’ll surely love it and won’t stop listening to it.

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