Chilled Cow’s livestream music mix, “lo-fi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” is on 24 hours a day, and it has been since February 5th. At all hours of the day, the stream has around 5,000 active listeners.
How does it attract such a consistent and large audience?
1. It provides listeners with beats to relax or study to.
It’s in the name. The music sets a backdrop for any low energy activity, from riding a bike to writing a paper. The only reason to turn it off is to listen to something else, but with each song around two minutes long, there’s enough variety to keep listeners interested.
2. It uses non-abrasive visuals.
The image is a looped gif from the anime movie Whisper of the Heart of a kid doing homework at a desk. There are no pop-ups when a person donates or subscribes. The name of the current song is displayed in the top-left corner of the screen behind the kid’s desk lamp.
His actions mirror what is expected of the listener. He even has headphones on. As a bonus, the image changes from day to night based on the time of day in the streamer’s timezone.
3. There is an active commenting community.
Like any livestream, in lieu of comments with likes and dislikes, there is a sidebar with live chat. The discussion provides a space for people with the unifying interest in hip-hop instrumentals, but the chat often is unrelated to the music. The chat is constantly active and growing, and because there are always people listening, there’s always someone to talk to.
4. It offers a huge library of music.
Chilled Cow is constantly adding new music to the playlist. The most recent update added 100 new songs. With the music always changing, there is a reason to revisit.
The music is mostly from SoundCloud, so it’s a great way to discover new, lesser known music that fits into a popular genre.
Chilled Cow has created a space for people passionate about anime and hip-hop, or people who just need something calming to listen to while they work. By filling a common need and keeping it simple, any YouTuber can create a similar community.
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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching YouTube videos or teaching math, he’s chilling on a couch contemplating life.