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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

‘Lofi’ tunes help teens study

Today’s students don’t like to study in silence. A new kind of internet radio known as “lo-fi hip-hop” or “chillhop” is helping students relax and concentrate, writes Luke Winkie on Vice.

The most popular channel, ChilledCow, features a studious anime girl “sitting in a picturesque Miyazaki bedroom, writing revisions into her notebook, or reading a newspaper with a hot cup of coffee, or simply staring out of a lonely window on a rainy day,” writes Winkie. “A very particular, very millennial breed of simmering downtempo pours through your laptop speakers; muffled drum machine pitter, a few lazy nocturnal synth beams, perhaps an entranced, elliptical vocal sample sourced from self-help tapes, ancient cartoons, Nintendo 64 games, or public-access flotsam.”

The music is “calming,” a young student named Amy tells Hussein Kesvani.

“I hate studying in silence, and I know I’ll always be distracted by my phone or by Twitter. Even when I try to listen to other music, I’ll spend more time going through endless Spotify playlists, or trying to find a new album I like on Discover. By the time that’s all done, I’ve been sitting around for hours and have achieved nothing.” With lo-fi streams, Amy doesn’t have any of these problems. “Most of the music has the same kind of tempo, but it’s different enough that you won’t be bored. It’s a lot like the music you hear at Starbucks and other coffee shops—it works as background music but doesn’t distract you.”

Some of Amy’s friends use it to help them sleep or to manage anxiety.

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