The Rise of ASMR: How Live Streaming Services Are Fostering New Communities

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This sense of interaction and community can also be seen in a recent phenomenon of group ASMR, as a means to share a relaxing experience with friends and others.

With monetization options on live streams, creators are empowered to produce the content the viewers want in an immediate and interactive way. A tip jar system can mean fans can directly support their favorite artists. This focus on viewers has since fostered a dedicated viewership, creating a more tight-knit community when compared to larger traditional media.

Artists specializing in ASMR have taken to streaming as a way to produce content through immediate means, allowing them to gain interest and viewership with funding and given a means to sustainable independent media. Viewers benefit from the established communities, given a live platform with open discussion. The content has become more personalized and tailored to specific triggers from viewers.

While there is some barrier to entry for live streaming services, its less strict guidelines and heavy connectivity to viewers have made it a very appealing platform for ASMR content. Since the rise of ASMR noted within live streaming communities, we can see that the content has evolved into a more interactive form, proving beneficial for both creators and viewers.

More generally, ASMR is simply a modern iteration of peaceful and therapeutic content. Classified as such, it has accumulated a modest viewer base when compared to larger, more traditional communities. The modern resurgence and growth of ASMR can be attributed to the rise of live streaming services. New independent internet-based media has seen a sharp increase in the use of ASMR by content creators.

A new community of creators and media has emerged, promoting content that falls beyond the scope of more traditional media. More specifically, “ASMR” or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a niche genre of media that is growing in popularity. ASMR is defined by the use of specific audio and visual triggers such as whispers and slow hand movements to invoke a physical response from viewers, ranging from tingles in the spine to deep relaxation.

The Growing Popularity of ASMR

Of course, YouTube was just the beginning. As of late, the live streaming service Twitch has seen an explosion of ASMR streams, with many members of the community giving positive feedback and noting that the unpredictability and live interaction serves as an even stronger trigger. New communities have started to spring up in various gaming and hobbyist forums that have ASMR sections for their users to share and discuss.

However, the most important factor for the growth of ASMR is undeniably YouTube. The introductions of ASMRtist channels served as a platform for the spreading of ASMR. Being able to listen to a variety of different triggers and artists with ease and at any time started to pull in the confused masses who had been experiencing something that would only officially mature into ASMR. ASMR gained a face and came into its own identity.

Online communities that revolve around ASMR have become a major catalyst for its growth in recent years. In the past, ASMR was a largely underground and unknown phenomenon. It was not until around 2012 that ASMR officially gained the attention of the public and started to spread. The tides started to change on June 20th, 2012, when a member of the Something Awful forums started a thread simply titled “Weird thing that helps you sleep”. The reception was overwhelmingly positive, and the thread grew to an unprecedented 245 pages of replies in just 4 months.

Live Streaming Services and ASMR Communities

There is a growing constituency of ASMRtists who are looking to transform their specific skill sets into a profitable venture. As live streaming continues to gain traction and become a more viable career option, ASMRtists are beginning to turn to live streaming services in order to make a living. The main ASMR subreddit, where most ASMR discussion takes place, has a thread where someone will live stream ASMR for a period of time for those who are interested. These streaming sessions do not seem to be highly publicized yet as the ASMR community is still relatively tight knit, but with the way things are going it can be expected that ASMR specific streaming communities will start to develop in the near future. This will prove to make ASMR more accessible than ever as live streams create an intimate and involved form of content consumption. Viewers are able to communicate with the content creator in real time and affect the direction of the stream. This can be a very positive thing for the ASMR community. Live streaming will provide a much more personal and interactive experience for ASMR fans and the relationship between viewer and content creator will hold a much stronger significance. The convenience aspect also comes into play for busy individuals who may not have time to set aside to watch an ASMR video on YouTube. Live streaming sessions can be much longer form than a typical ASMR video providing content for viewers to drop in and out of. With the Twitch Creative and About Live platforms providing special homes for creative/ASMR content, an emerging community of ASMRtists are set to utilize modern streaming methods to better serve their audiences.

In sum, the burgeoning world of live video streaming services in Korea has paved the way for an increase in ASMR popularity in several ways. Twitch and AfreecaTV have made it abundantly clear that these platforms provide a means for ASMR content creators to interact with their fans in a more personal, intimate way – this has become a very important part of the ASMR experience and one that differs ASMR from other forms of content. Meanwhile, the subscription feature on Twitch provides a means for content creators to receive stable income, which is likely to draw more professional and talented individuals in the ASMR community toward pursuing a career in content creation. YouTube’s live streaming feature is relatively new and has its own room for growth, but it has already been utilized by several ASMRtists to broadcast their creative processes for video production as well as real-time interactions with fans. GibiLove, TheASMRNerd, and FrivolousFox are just a few examples of creators with extremely dedicated fanbases – all three have expressed deep gratitude for their evolution from small-time ASMRtists to full-time YouTubers and particularly credit their success to support from viewers during live ASMR streams. Although they do not solely rely on ad revenue for income, these individuals are sure to appreciate the potential for further revenue through live-stream ad revenue as well as Super Chat donations. Overall, the features and benefits provided by live streaming services are likely to bring increased opportunity and overall prosperity for ASMR content creators.

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