20,843 hours, or nearly 868 days continuously, the equivalent of more than two years of streaming: the Lofi Girl channel holds the YouTube platform record for the longest stream. And it could have lasted even longer, if the video “lofi hip hop – beats to relax/study” cumulating more than 660 million views had not been taken down by YouTube for copyright reasons, as announced on Twitter. A withdrawal that caused a lot of reactions on the web, some honoring the Lofi Girl and their hours spent listening to the playlist to study or relax after a long day.
Because we are not talking about just any playlist: Lofi playlists, and particularly that of Lofi Girl, are among the best known in the world. Since 2017, a certain Dimitri has been broadcasting soft music non-stop on YouTube, on a channel first called ChilledCow, before becoming Lofi Girl, in homage to its main character. This channel, which is the work of a Frenchman, is represented on the stream by the drawing of a young girl studying, produced by the artist Juan Pablo Machado. We see a young girl, green sweatshirt and red collar, helmet on her head, scribbling pages. Her cat looks peacefully at the window. When the weather is nice, you can recognize the city of Lyon outside.
LoFi, this musical genre that has become massive
Repetitive music, often by unknown artists, which inspires nostalgia, against a backdrop of images from anime: the Lofi has become a distinct musical genre, recognizable among a thousand. Initially, “Lofi” means “low fidelity”, or low quality in French, to differentiate it from high-budget recordings of big pop productions. Hip-hop rhythms are slow, and the democratization of the Internet in homes in the early 2000s helped the proliferation of this type of sound, via collaborative platforms. A type of music that would help with concentration, because its repetitive rhythm, without words, would not require a proactive investment on the part of the listeners. Lofi’s YouTube channels and artists have become music labels, and accumulate hundreds of thousands, even millions of streams on the various streaming platforms.
But the confinement of March 2020 accelerated the phenomenon. Confined, Internet users around the world are turning to the Lofi girl and her peace of mind. The channel exceeds 5 million subscribers, at a time when the world is collapsing and teleworking is becoming the norm. La Lofi offers a bubble where you want to curl up, with unsurprising but comforting rhythms. The image of the Lofi Girl passes into pop culture, so much so that in April 2022, French Internet users put it forward during the collaborative project RedditPlace, which had mobilized thousands of people. And the principle is small: YouTube is full of videos to study / relax / dream, worn by characters that seem to come from a Ghibli movie (you can also create your own version here).
Will Lofi Girl ever come back?
“Lofi Girl is finally ready for her exams, and she’s going to rock them!” » ; “I hope the Lofi Girl finally finished her essay and was able to graduate. Beyond the music, live chat allowed me to reduce my anxiety several times by talking to strangers who were in the same situation as me…”; “This channel has helped me through so many stressful times in the hospital, exams, sleepless nights. Thank you for everything Lofi Girl ”… Under the last live video of the channel, interrupted by YouTube, the messages of thanks multiply, like a last farewell to a close friend.
A few hours after the live ended, the Lofi Girl channel split a long message on Twitter, announcing that while the restrictions had been lifted, the lives had not resumed. “We are shocked and disappointed that there is no protection or manual moderation for these false accusations. In the end, it was completely out of our control, and the sad thing is that there is no way to prevent these complaints” explain the founders of the chain. The YouTube team even responded to them personally, confirming that “the takedown requests were abusive” and that “it can sometimes take 24 to 48 hours for everything to go back to normal”. However, this is not the first time that this has happened: already in February 2020, the whole channel had been suspended by mistake, when it had almost a year and a half of continuous streaming.