Lofi Girl recently teased something via their YouTube and social channels getting the Internet awash with speculation on what might be happening with the intrepid study addict. Ultimately, a new stream was unveiled focussing on synthwave to game to, that’s been aptly coined, Synthwave Boy.
Now as much as I like to shit on Lofi Girl, I’m also not that much of an idiot to knock their fantastic marketing with this announcement. Let’s be honest here, having a large majority of the internet talking about your brand is exactly what any online-focused company wants, and they achieved it.
I also can’t knock their ability to create lore, or at the very least build upon lore created by fans, from what began as a screenshot of Whisper of the Heart. It’s great storytelling and a fantastic way to gain increased brand recognition.
Ultimately Dim and the team behind the Lofi Girl branding have managed to achieve here is absolutely phenomenal, but it doesn’t come without its flaws. These flaws lie specifically around the music and the artists that essentially provide a product for Lofi Girl to rely on as part of its brand.
Lofi Girl began teasing their announcement around April 10, and since then I saw a number of articles (thanks to press marketing) Twitter threads, and TikTok videos speculating what this teaser might be for. Users across the globe were pulling together all of the information they could find from these teasers, digging deep into each video, social media post, and screenshot for some morsel of what the announcement might be.
Speculation was WILD. There were talks of NFTs, some thought Lofi World could be a game (using Lofi Girl’s recent introduction to Rocket League as an example), and others correctly guessed it could be a new character. But from the threads and videos I personally saw, there was little focus on the actual music itself.
The few times I did spot music being discussed were in comments and replies to some of the TikTok videos. Some wondered if Lofi Girl (the character) was going to release an album, others were clueless that Lofi Girl had lore and was asking if Lofi Girl herself was a music artist.
The reason for this, in my opinion, is that Lofi Girl’s branding as a character and as “the face of lofi” as a whole, has transcended the music used to build its brand, and instead has just become an Idol, not unlike Japanese Idols (アイドル, aidoru) – something I find really disappointing.
As I said, I absolutely cannot knock the team’s branding of the Lofi Girl Idol, but I can absolutely see fault in how, in its wake of becoming a face of an entire genre, it has somewhat neglected the music that essentially built this brand. This is even more evident from the official press releases from its marketing company AMW Group, which has absolutely zero mention of any of the artists featured in this new synthwave-focussed live stream.
Yes, some might argue that the hundreds of thousands of streams Lofi Girl artists get via its playlists across Spotify and Deezer, or the tens of thousands of people who tune in to the YouTube stream every day is payment enough (and trust me, the royal checks these artists are receiving aren’t to scoff at). But, let’s be real for a second, the percentage of users tuning into these streams or throwing these playlists on for the artists themselves is very small, and I just find it disappointing that Lofi Girl does very little to support or mention these artists to its main user base.
That’s not to say that they don’t highlight their artists, they do but it’s done mostly via their Lofi Records channels whose numbers pale in comparison to its main channel. Though a quick side-note, even videos posted on their main channel highlighting their artists’ full releases are filled with comments thanking Lofi Girl, rarely mentioning the artists themselves.
Anyway, I digress, while having the world talk about lofi beats and its musical siblings is truly a great thing, I can’t shake the disappointment I feel from a brand that seems to easily just overlook the music and artists that put it where it is today, in favour of further increasing its recognition online and essentially becoming a lofi Idol.
Lofi Girl’s brand – while done incredibly well – in my opinion, muddies the waters of what could be an incredible avenue for finding new artists and their music and instead, the music put out under Lofi Records and featured on their YouTube channel simply becomes Lofi Girls. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, to be honest.