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How ASMR is changing the music and advertising industry

A yearning for silence in pop music

The phenomenon of ASMR first appeared on the Internet in 2009 and now lists more than 228 million entries on Google. "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response" is a largely unknown but huge trend on platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Spotify.

The sounds are meant to relax viewers and, for some, create tingling sensations on the scalp, neck and sometimes other areas of the body. These acoustic stimuli are triggered by soft whispering, touching certain materials, rustling foil or simple mouth noises.

Woman lying on the floor with headphones

"Triggers" and "Tingles".

The physical reaction to acoustic sensory stimuli is referred to as a so-called "tingle" and is described by many as a pleasant, calming and particularly relaxing feeling.

This is triggered by a so-called acoustic "trigger" such as whispering softly into a microphone, cutting with scissors or typing on a computer keyboard.

In other words, a targeted isolation and thus amplification of human or everyday sounds.

State of research

But it is not only on YouTube, Spotify and Co that ASMR videos generate millions of views; science has also been intensively studying this phenomenon for several years.

For example, the 2017 study by scientist James Cook of the University of Singapore and Goldsmiths University in London found that eleven percent of users would watch the videos to relieve anxiety.

Currently, it is assumed that watching the videos stimulates certain brain areas that are supposed to be responsible for empathy and self-awareness. However, the causes of this are still unknown or are being further researched.

However, another research from the University of Sheffield in 2018 already proved that AMSR videos reduce the heartbeat rate.

In pop music

ASMR influences can also be found in the sometimes loud, shrill and colorful world of pop music. Singer Billie Eilish, for example, is known for often whispering or singing in a quiet voice in her songs.

The music video for "Bury a Friend" begins with a shrill sound reminiscent of rubbing a wine glass, and sounds such as stepping on broken glass or a deep, long bass can also be heard throughout the song.

In his book Brain Tingles by psychologist Craig Richard, Craig describes the singer's music and its calming effect:

"Billie Eilish's singing conveys a sense of calm that is enhanced by her relaxed facial expression. She doesn't belt or push her voice out; her volume is low and her tone remains even. Her voice and demeanor convey a sense of comfort and calm that is reminiscent of ASMR artists on YouTube."

Future development

The fact that ASMR is not just a short-term Internet phenomenon is also shown by the expanded offerings of streaming platforms such as Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music. Here, ASMR has long since become a fixed component of the product portfolio in recent years.

However, acoustic "well-being" is also becoming increasingly relevant within marketing, which is why we at comevis will continue to provide further impetus in the area of Acoustic Ecology in the future. We already offer various solutions for functional soundscapes for different environments, with which you can design sound atmospheres individually.

Stephan Vincent Nölke

Managing Director | CEO

"Music has a very direct effect on people: it affects our heartbeat, blood pressure, the frequency at which we breathe, our muscle tension and hormone balance. And it makes you happy and can be a balm for the soul".

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