Last Jan. 9, one of the very first YouTube accounts to create a 24/7 livestream channel, ChilledCow, announced that the stream might close very soon.
But why? While the details aren’t clear, a little bit of internet snooping lead to one probable cause: Article 13, a new plan by the European Union to require online platforms to filter out copyrighted material in their platforms. While ChilledCow has moved on from its original loop from the anime film Whisper of the Heart, other channels and videos have yet to follow suit.
The New York Times have likened ChilledCow, College Music, Chillhop Music, and other popular “lofi hip-hop” livestreams to Pirate radio stations both due to their use of copyrighted material and their processes that counter what others would call digital streaming fatigue. Dazed has pointed out that the same channels are gradually migrating to Spotify and transforming its model to become more like a label to help the artists whose music the channels play. The same article also shared that the music has drawn people over the world, creating some sort of pocket community.
And it is true: Nice YouTube comments are rarely seen, as opposed to ChilledCow’s live chat that is reminiscent of IRC of decades past. Will this be the end of the legacy of the “lofi hip-hop” era? Probably not. But the live streams, should they leave, will be missed.