What is LoFi?

Have you ever sat in a coffee shop and noticed an ambiguously odd type of music that made you feel relaxed? Have you seen one of the countless livestreams on YouTube that has an anime gif that plays over and over again while soothing your mind with some of the most chill random sounds playing in the background? Then you’ve experienced lofi! But what exactly is it? Why are people into it and what in the world is it suppose to make me feel like while I’m listening to it? As someone who just got into the genre let me share some of what I’ve learned about lofi over the past couple of months!

What is LoFi?

Lofi is a genre of music which the sound quality of music is purposefully made lower quality for aesthetic purposes. A big part of what makes lofi unique is that it has imperfections in recording, for instance in certain songs you can hear people talking in the background, or the pressing of play button on tape recorder. While these usually detract from regular music genres, it’s placed in lofi music to add to the aesthetic.

What is the aesthetic of LoFi?

Lofi is trying to provoke a sort of very chilled and laid back of mood, akin to drinking at a coffee shop in NYC on a rainy day. It can include sound clips from rap and bossa nova, to Christmas and country, yet despite the almost conflicting genres it is all blended together to create a relaxing and harmonious mood. While it can be multiple different genres, it seems as though they mostly follow the same formula to make a chilled laid almost DJ techno jazz sort of vibe.

Who is LoFi’s target audience?

One of the biggest draws is that since it’s mostly instrumental almost anyone from any region or culture can appreciate how the sounds come together to make the music. While lofi might give off a very chilled coffee shop type mood, it’s meant for anyone of all ages! While their very well might be some explicit language in certain lofi tracks, I haven’t actually run across any in the past couple of months that I’ve been listening to it. When you factor that in with the fact that the vast majority of every track is different instruments and beats being put together without any words being sung or spoken, there’s not much there that could be inappropriate even if you tried!

Where has LoFi been played at?

Lofi is mainly played in the background of YouTube videos and live streamed over a couple of YouTube channels. While it is slowly becoming more and more mainstream it is still largely popular over the internet, making places like YouTube, Twitch, and Mixer it’s main platform. It is also on music streaming apps and websites such as Spotify and Apple Music, among others. But even as it’s spread across multiple platforms and mediums, it’s still mainly a smaller genre that enjoys most of its popularity on YouTube.

Overall lofi is a chilled offshoot of jazz music, with a blend of hip hop, techno, rap, and everything else under the sun! While it certainly gives off a laid back sort of mood, for me it also finds a way to wash a sense of nostalgia from a time that I never actually lived through. If you’re at all interested I’d suggest giving it a listen!