How Lofi Hip-Hop Will Inspire New Music In 2021 – Forbes

Posted: December 28, 2020 at 1:52 pm


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PALM SPRINGS, CA - JANUARY 03: Will Smith attends Variety's Creative Impact Awards and 10 Directors ... [+] To Watch Brunch at the Parker Palm Springs on January 3, 2016 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images,)

Lofi hip-hop is here to stay. The instrumental blend of traditional hip-hop and jazz has notably made its mark on Spotify, where the Lofi Fruits playlist by indie record label Strange Fruits Music alone attracts almost four million followers seeking mellow beats to help them focus, study, relax and sleep.

The music genrerepresented by bands likeChilledCow, ChilledBeats, Chillhop Music and College Musichas also inspired a tight-knit community including the likes of Will Smith, who this past summer released his second quarantine mixLo-Fi Summertime Beats to Social Distance Toon YouTube.

As lofi hip-hops relaxing soundscapes continue to grow in popularity, they are debunking the unwritten rules of hip-hop and leading the music industry into unchartedterritory where new forms of musicare likely tocome about in 2021.

My focus wasnt necessarily on producing music myself and putting it out, says Ryan Celsius, an established YouTube and lofi artist who, as a music fan, began following emerging artists by creating hip-hop playlists on YouTube before lofi began taking form in 2017. It was really around this whole community, this idea that there is an entire ecosystem of music and artist interconnectivity that people werent aware of.

Celsius, who was recently hired by the indie record label and digital music distribution service Amuse to build the companys lofi division, says that many lofi artists likeSnw, Monty Datta, smartface, M!NT and Homieunculusare now creating their own playlists, labels and merch. They are also hosting live events and leveraging social media platforms to engage with the genres steadily growing fanbase.

The low barrier to entry and high accessibility and replay value of lofi hip-hop makes it a welcoming space for budding artists. Canadian singer and songwriterIsaiah Faber, known asPowfu, broke into lofi with his hit Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head) on TikTok where it totaled more than 4.1 billion plays during March and has been featured in more than 5.5 million videos this year.

Lofi hip-hop labels like Puebla Vista, Chill Children and Promoting Sounds are also expected to expand in the next year. Music producers are also exploring the space since discovering that, unlike traditional hip-hop music, lofi does not require collaborations with prominentand expensiverappers.

Our engagement inloficulture is a testament to the idea upon which Amuse was foundedto use music consumption data to find emerging independent artists, says Diego Farias, co-founder and CEO of Amuse. Over the past several years, our streaming data has shownlofihip-hop artists resonating with audiences, even at a very early stage in their careernowlofi is exploding in popularity and creating new models for the music industry."

As lofi hip-hop continues to debunk the unwritten rules of the music industry, Celsius explains that the age of the superstar will soon give way to new genres and ways of producing music. The industry is leaning towards a world in which music consumers are more concerned with the actual sound and accessibility of a beat rather than the method by which it was produced.

As new sonic standards takeover traditional music business rules, Celsius adds, new waves of artists and gatekeepers will come about. A more diverse creative space will actively flip the industry and provide new monetization opportunities and growth initiatives for most players. Major record labels will adapt successfully, he says, especially considering the opportunity to tap millions of loyal lofi listeners supplying streams.

ZOD1AC, an instrumental hip-hop artist based in Akron, OH who draws influences from a diverse mix of genres, including jazz, boom bap, ambient, shoegaze, downtempo and classical in addition to contemporary production styles, has found support in the lofi hip-hop community. His ties to other lofi artists grew stronger this year after lockdown abruptly put a pause on his prolific streak of new releases and live performances including opening forhip-hop record producer Blockhead.

The pandemic caused me to focus more on reconnecting with the beat community on a deeper level,ZOD1ACsaid. I have since forged a close bond with many more musicians (beatmakers, MCs and instrumentalists), and I look forward to continuing to build upon the success we've found so far, as well as helping my colleagues in the scene to navigate the ever-evolving online ecosystems that come with the territory of being an artist.

Celsius manages his own lofi channel, Ryan Celsius Sounds, with 507,000 subscribers on YouTube and 170,507 monthly listeners on Spotify. This year his streams jumped from 2.5k per day before lockdown to a daily average of 10k in July and 31k by November. This year he also worked with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smiths Westbrook Inc. media venture this year to curate and mix thelofihip-hop playlist featuring more than 36 artists to accompany Wills summertime concept.

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How Lofi Hip-Hop Will Inspire New Music In 2021 - Forbes

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December 28th, 2020 at 1:52 pm

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