Nightcore | Sunday Observer


3 January, 2021

When considering the relationship between music and the internet, one would usually expect it to be a win-win, mutually beneficial one, the success of one furthering the other and vice versa and, in most instances, that is the case. However, for certain artistes and certain genres, their relationship with the internet and its endless quirks are more bittersweet or even downright detrimental to their development. One such example that enjoyed memetic levels of both popularity and derision is the musical phenomena known as Nightcore.

The term is currently used to describe a particular style of Electronic music, where a certain track would have sits tempo sped up and its vocals pitch shifted, usually to a higher key with various digital effects added in. With such a simple technique, it should come as no surprise that it originated from a pair of Norwegian teenagers for a high school project.

By taking existing trance or Eurodance tracks and running them through the process of increasing the tempo and pitch shifting, the duo put together several albums under the name Nightcore, some of which ended up online. Limewire, the first real large scale file sharing client and YouTube, back when it first got popularised, was vital in spreading Nightcore’s music across the internet, though the eventual LimeWire shutdown in 2010 resulted in most of Nightcore’s original songs have been lost.

0Their music was relatively popular, for the internet’s standards back then, having most of their music discography uploaded on parts of the internet by that point, not even by themselves. However, what truly boosted the style into going viral was when the style separated from the artiste and took a life of its own. Still known as Nightcore despite no longer having any involvement from the initial duo, once listeners realised how simple the technique was, they realised it was easily replicated and as a result, many Nightcore artistes, by this point solidifying its definition as being a dance music track that is remixed, sped up and pitch shifted. Due to certain copyright issues some artistes faced on YouTube, Nightcore spread to other media streaming sites like Dailymotion and more popularly, further increasing its popularity.

While by this point Nightcore was mostly a reasonably popular music trend, what turned it into the meme that it is, was wen people started applying it to pretty much any genre of music. Deemed’ fake’ by most Nightcore artistes, this new wave of Nightcore was of significantly lower effort, taking literally any music track and simply speeding up the tempo and pitch shifting it. Due to the ease of this, literally taking as little as five minutes on certain audio software, literally anyone with even a passing interest could throw up a Nightcore version of a popular song, usually accompanied by an anime girl on the thumbnail or video, to fish for views. Also because of how YouTube copyright detection works, it did not detect these new tracks despite basically the song being only faster.


This proliferation of ‘fake’ Nightcore led to a huge backlash from other music communities. Since the memetic popularity of Nightcore at the time, most tracks got views by the thousands by virtue of simply being Nightcore, and when certain tracks outdo the original song they are ripping off while also being monetised, most people started to hate this new Nightcore, especially legitimate creators and their fans who get overshadowed by this low effort content. Because of the general confusion behind ‘true’ and fake’ Nightcore, the backlash ended up affecting even legitimate artists.

Nowadays, the meme of’ fake’ Nightcore has largely died down and while there will usually still be a Nightcore version to any popular song, not just dance music, It is usually out of a genuine desire and not for monetisation. For true Nightcore, over the past decade has slowly become accepted by the general music industry. Official Nightcore song and album releases, recognition by big name figures and even fan made derivatives of the concept.