NEW GEN Z 101: Unlock & Outlast Microtrends

Losing Lofi Girl, Bangs with Benefits, and BeReal on The Viral List

Jul 15 2022

 


TL;DR

  • False copyright claims got YouTube’s beloved Lofi Girl taken down after years of non-stop streaming
  • Bangs with Benefits are actually Korean side bangs, and this is not the first beauty trend to be appropriated without credit
  • BeReal’s authentic content is making its way onto other platforms
  • A TikToker creator is gaining popularity through their bizarre scenario videos, helping young people gain social confidence

Lofi Girl Got Removed From YouTube for Two Days and Fans Were Heartbroken

The constant virality of Lofi Hiphop Beats to Study and Relax to is hard to compete with, and even harder to match the love its 10.8 million subscribers have for it. In case you haven’t been on the internet in the last five years, Lofi Girl is a constant stream of a flawlessly looped gif of a studying anime girl which plays soft, ambient music, and has around 30 thousand viewers at any given time. The 24/7 stream has been playing for more than 20 thousand hours since 2017, but this past Sunday was taken down for almost two whole days on what is being called an “abusive” copyright claim. 

YouTube apologized Monday for the strike, but the channel and its fans are seeing this as a reason for them to revisit their claims system entirely. The company who filed the claim, FMC Music Sdn Bhd Malaysia, also says it was issued by a hacker using their account, according to BBC

Tons of tweets showed the heartbreak longtime listeners felt losing access to Lofi Girl for just a couple days, showing just how meaningful YouTube and music content can be for Gen Z and Millennials. YPulse data tells us that two thirds of young people say they use shows or videos like medicine to treat their different moods, so the absence of this calming, always available stream hit hard. Additionally, we know YouTube is the top platform they’re discovering new music on, and 70% say they “listen to music all day long,” which makes Lofi Girl the perfect intersection of everything they’re looking for.

Bangs With Benefits Already Existed Before They Went Viral on TikTok

TikTok is responsible for yet another hair style trend; this time it’s “Bangs with Benefits,” or the non-committal version of curtain bangs (which made a comeback last year alongside the shag). Hairdresser Caroline Stahl dubbed this style last month, accruing 5 million views on the initial video, but some are calling the name into question. A user commented that the style has actually been around for quite a while and already goes by “Korean side bangs.”

We reported earlier this week that beauty trends are often co-opted from long-standing practices in BIPOC cultures. “Bangs with Benefits” accidentally fell beside skincare “hacks” like “slugging” and gua sha, which are influencer-approved trends that have also been treated as brand new, but have long histories among people of color. Stahl quickly acknowledged the comment and all following posts have been labeled accordingly. In one, a tutorial, she said “In case you missed a chapter, we’re not calling it bangs with benefits anymore.” She has since posted several viral videos on how to get the Korean side bang look on different hair types including curly, wavy and fine hair.

BeReal’s Authentic, Spontaneous Posts Are Making Their Way to Other Social Apps

Since TikTok took on its role as Gen Z’s favorite social media platform, other apps have merely come and gone quietly, but BeReal is actually taking off—thanks in part to TikTok videos. Founded in 2020, BeReal allows users to create a feed with their friends and each be prompted randomly everyday to take a picture of what’s going on at that moment. Think of it like Snapchat, except you’ve only got two minutes to snap a pic of your real life and don’t get to pick the perfect moment to show. That is, unless they choose to wait for that perfect moment later instead, which delays being able to see posts from their friends. 

We first told you about the app back in April as it spread across college campuses, and it’s continuing to grow as BeReal content spreads to other platforms, where users are sharing the collection of BeReal photos they’ve taken, their luckiest moments or the most inconvenient. #BeReal currently has 500M views on TikTok—one video of a fan at a Harry Styles concert having the app freeze when he stepped in front of them got 3.5 million views and a comment from the app’s official account: “This is what happens when you leave your bereal for when u r doing smth cool.”

In addition to posting their own TikToks to recruit new users, they’re cashing in on the Gen Z audience with their Ambassador program, offering pay to full time college students to “host parties, manage a marketing budget, identify key moments on campus for us to get involved.” High school students are welcomed too, if they meet the description of “confident, you know what’s trending and you know everyone at school.” 

A Small Creator’s Day-In-The-Life Is Getting Views For “Gently Unhinged” Situations

@Zoebreadtok is popping up on the FYPs of young consumers by sharing funny situations and embarrassing interactions to bring awareness that no-one really cares about how weird you are. With 316K followers (and counting) and up to 5M likes across their page, it’s bringing young people in by filming their adventures across the U.K. in their latest handmade t-shirt and crocs. 

With the bio “i make t-shirts and a fool out of myself,” Zoë Bread’s videos usually show them visiting local locales wearing a graphic tee shirt they made for the occasion, and sharing their awkward experiences and interactions with characteristic Gen Z dark humor. You might need to watch to fully understand, but the content hold’s an interesting lesson for people suffering from social anxiety; Zoë themselves brings to light their own past of social anxiety and how they hope these videos help others overcome it. It’s also showing the impact TikTok’s nano-influencers have on young consumers as they scroll, and YPulse’s New Creator trend report found that most young Europeans are not only creating their own content but are much more likely to trust smaller influencers. 

Creators like Zoë give Gen Z the creative enthusiasm (and social confidence) missing from other platforms. As we finally find the cork, Zoë is a must-watch TikToker as they grow in popularity and as these bizarre videos gain the popularity of Gen Z, the influence of TikTok on young people’s behaviors is only going to increase. 

Links We’re Passing: 

Beyoncé’s first TikToka compilation of fan videos made with her new hit song “BREAK MY SOUL”—got 6.3M views in a single day

#ScalpTok influencers are making hair oiling mainstream even though it’s been used in South Asian cultures for, like, ever

A U.K. teen went viral for his prom dress, and YPulse data shows prom is getting big in Western Europe

Lea Michele has been cast as Fanny Brice after years of auditions and drama, and Twitterverse can’t get enough of the DRAMA

Stranger Things cast got snubbed with no Emmy nominations, despite 13 for the show

TikTok creators made tons of suggestions on how to shop Amazon Prime Day 

The internet went crazy for the first photos from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Olympic star Mo Farah has come forward to talk about his life as a child slave

Coming up:

Starting Saturday, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will use the three digit dial code 988

 

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