No Time to Sleep

A Glance at YouTube’s 24/7 Radio

It almost seems backwards doesn’t it? The unbelievable video behemoth recognised worldwide as Youtube, the first and last place many go to watch videos of all kinds, whether indie shorts, step-by-step tutorials or of course animals doing, well, animal things.It almost seems wrong that this visual giant would be a great place to hear music. You know music, that thing you hear and don’t see. Well as it turns out the brains at Youtube have unwittingly created a huge audio platform too, and now with the ability to stream non-stop sessions, eyes and ear holes all over the globe are widening.

No doubt by now you have stumbled across a video with a small red box in the corner that reads live. These live streams appear across the site thanks to the prevalence of digital content creators eager to get their product out. The difference with the music channels is that ‘Live’ may not necessarily be the most accurate term. Most of the unstoppable music streams are just large looping playlists. Live Radio stations as they are known often use software to queue up a bunch of tracks ahead of time and are then left to accrue listeners and subscribers and undoubtedly a hefty electricity bill somewhere. It seems the collective effort of having to discover new artists and the inconvenience of waiting five seconds to skip the adverts, has led to an opening. Live Radio channels have collectively amassed millions of subscribers and the flow of music does in fact seem to be unending.

The general trend is that a stream will pick a genre (often a subgenre) and stream tracks that come under that banner all day long. Just like radio you can tune in whenever you wish but will not be able to skip forward or rewind back to earlier in the stream. Again, this is an odd endeavor for an already on demand service, essentially eliminating features that no doubt brought many listeners here in the first place. Regardless, the service remains as popular as ever, some of the most popular channels appear to be relaxed genres, ambient, chill hop, chill wave and such, as it appears many use these channels as an inoffensive background to evade silence. Lots of these streams also feature the words ‘study’ in their titles to draw in the students who also have a required need to have something constant distracting their brains.

Other sought-after streams include the increasingly unavoidable sounds of EDM, gaming music – which seems to often just be dubstep with elements of chiptune, and of course progressive house.

New streams pop up every day like channels dedicated to modern covers or soundtracks, but not all of them remain permanent fixtures. Only the most loved ones last the test of time, because as mentioned previously, the owners of these have to have a device running constantly to sustain these streams. For now, this new corner of the music world seems to be saturated by the mass appealing laid back vibes that can do no wrong, but hopefully Youtube will open up the ‘radio’ side a little more to allow for more diversity. After all there are an infinite number of podcasters out there dying for a channel.


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