YouTube’s lo-fi hip-hop channels are experiencing an increase in viewership as people try to find a community to hang out in this quarantine season. The community offers a place or a virtual escape for people to gather, do homework, and find comfort in the random messages of strangers that populate in live chats.
The increase in attention and viewership is as a result of the fact that people are stuck at home in an effort to flatten the curve of the novel COVID-19 infection rapidly going through the united states as well as other countries taking lives.
Now, as we’re all stuck inside due to the pandemic, those streams have become more popular than ever — not just as background music, but as ways to find community in a difficult time.
Over the past month, viewership of lo-fi live streams has grown rapidly as a report by The Verge points out.
One channel in particular that has seen a significant increase in viewership and community participation since the pandemic started is Nickolaas. Nick Stafford, channel operator comments in an interview. The channel, with just over 32,000 followers, is designed around late-night vibes and conversations. Watching it feels like visiting an old-school Tumblr blog, but with an ambient soundtrack and live chat built directly into the experience.
“I think this is a fairly obvious correlation though,” Stafford said. “Folks have nothing to do, and that leaves them open to exploring the furthest corners of YouTube. I think lofi streams are a great way to kill time and meet people from around the world too! So it’s a win-win.”
Another lo-fi channel, College Music, has been seeing an uptick, too. Luke Pritchard and Johnny Laxton, the duo behind College Music — one of the longest-running live streams dedicated to lo-fi chillhop — say they’ve seen various waves of increases since the stream started in 2016, but nothing compared to right now. Subscribers to their channel increased by 40 percent over the last 28 days, Pritchard told The Verge, adding that total channel views are up 46 percent.