I’m an avid listener of ASMR videos. I listen to them when I work, when I read, when I write stuff, and of course when I want to fall asleep. Almost every day I find a new one that I like. Adding it to a huge playlist I’ve been building for several years now. For some reasons the sounds and slower talking helps me relax when I’m drowning in paperwork at my job or doing my taxes.
These types of videos also have been adopted by corporations with adverts and even A-list celebrities’ making their own videos. Cardi B made an ASMR video that was crazy popular a few years ago further introducing people to an already huge group of listeners to the genre on YouTube.
For fun and giggles, I wanted to cover something I’ve been noticing more and more in the ASMR scene as the years passed by. Videos becoming more theme focused with plots and characters as opposed to the simple sounds of sounds using objects like ice or paper. Those are still very popular but now ASMR channels have these longer narratives that not only relax but engage the viewer.
One thing I’ve been seeing pop up is cyberpunk, science fiction, and 1980s style videos. I’ve been aggressively making a playlist for these, and I’ve come across so many from 5 years ago to a ton of newer channels trying their hand at a heavily themed videos in one of these themes.
Before, I jump into my favorites and the backstory of their creators, I wanted to touch on very quickly about ASMR within the YouTube platform.
ASMR on YouTube (A Super Abridged Discussion)
There is an interesting scenic aspect of the ASMR that I won’t be diving into too much for the sake of not going too overboard but I’ll go into the basics.
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. As per Wikipedia its defined as such:
“A tingling sensation that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine”
The name and definition was proposed in 2007 as on a discussion forum post by a user named “okaywhatever”, talks about a tingling sensation they got after certain activities such as being read too.
Later on these began to be defined as “triggers”. In that certain sounds cause the person to have a physical response. These are usually calm sounds such as whispering, the sounds of turning pages, music, and so on.
In the beginning YouTube ASMR videos was not even called ASMR just yet. It was mainly meditation videos or people who had calming voices will performing a task like papercrafts and yoga instructions. They videos were not explicitly called ASMR in the title as while it was a term outside of the YouTube space, it was not something people looked up or knew much about.
However, that began to change as the platform grew. With it came the Whispering and Soft-Spoken videos that began to appear.
Whispering and Soft Spoken videos are exactly what you would expect them to be. Its also some of the first videos to be labeled as ASMR. In fact it is commonly believed that the first ASMR video on YouTube as collecting of whispering videos from the show Big Brother.
One of the first videos still on YouTube still existed today from March 2009 by a woman who goes by the name, WhisperingLife ASMR. Although she does state she was not the definite first video to come to the platform, she is credited as the first YouTube Channel dedicated to just ASMR Whispering videos. She still posts vides today 12 years later.
In the past decade ASMR has expanded to full productions. ASMR youtubers created elaborate scenarios and stories while incorporating soothing music and sounds. It’s one of those parts of online content that is not really YouTube supported but is INSAINLY popular.
ASMR generally has multiple subcategories, and these have plenty of overlap.
To break it down easily, here are the basic categories that I’ve come across the most and I think most people are aware of:
- Ambiance (A collection of sounds put together to create a mood for the listener to enjoy. These are usually 2-3 hour long videos)
- Specific Sounds (tapping, writing on paper, fabric sounds, ice, etc.)
- Unintentional ASMR (these are usually videos made for other purposes such as tutorials, recipes, and whatnot but the way they are done and whomever the host is has led to people labeling them as unintentional ASMR videos. In fact, there are entire channels dedicated to cataloguing these videos)
- Whispering and Soft Spoken (which we just spoke about)
- Relaxing/Meditation or Yoga (self-explanatory as these are videos designed with the intention of relaxation in mind which makes them ideal for ASMR listeners)
- Roleplaying or Project Focused (These are videos with a specific theme for immersion for the listener. They are usually highly fictionalized settings)
Overtime these genres came up or already existed in some degree but improved over time.
The ones I’m talking about here are the roleplaying ASMR videos. These are usually heavily themed where the creator creates a scenario and you the viewer are the silent participant. In more common ones you may have scene, you’re at a spa about to get a beauty treatment or getting your hair done. These fantasy-based ones are a little more story driven then just going to a salon. In these fantasy/science fiction videos your a client looking to get an upgrade on parts in a futuristic repair shop or listening to a captains log in distant space. Certainly a little more involved then the usual ones I have come across and are a testament to how people are getting more skilled with cinematography, photoshop, and video software in general to make real inventive videos.
Here are My Current Favorites and Ones I Really Think a lot of People should Check Out if you’re into Science Fiction themed Videos. Buckle Up and Enjoy!
Our first ASMR channel is Atlas ASMR. A newcomer who first started uploading in January 2020 and has grown a decent fanbase over the last year. I first heard about him after one of his videos blew up, Man on Train, 1890. I was very impressed by the production overall with the snow falling in the background and the gentle sound effects of the train tracks and whatnot. Not to mention the camera work and attention to detail was brilliant, not to mention the costume and props.
He started his channel with more typical fair of reading fairytales on camera in a casual setting. However, by mid-summer he started to become more experimental with his work especially with another video that caught my attention Limbo- An ASMR Short which was uploaded in July 2020.
Upgrade Shop is one of his newer videos as it was posted in January 2021. The video takes place with the creator working on various tech projects and repairs in darkened room with only what appears to be a front desk lit up. The desk itself protected by chain-link fencing similar to how some gun shops protect their merchandise by surrounding themselves in a cage with only a little window open to allow customers to talk to the clerk.
The creator and you discuss what work needs to be done while he makes various video game and pop culture references with a level of cockiness that feels natural to the character he is playing as. A futuristic repair man who’s seen more than his fair share of heroes and whatnot who needs a tune-up.
The whole video is amazing, and I couldn’t recommend Atlas ASMR enough to any discerning ASMR fan or someone who is a science fiction geek.
Nebula ASMR has been around for several years and started uploading videos back in 2014.
For the most part of her career on YouTube, her ASMR was always roleplaying focused. Her second video was her pretending to be a bookstore owner, so she has been doing this for a LONG time.
One thing she is really known for is her science fiction themed videos which are usually very elaborate with detailed backgrounds and are highly creative in the overall presentation. Over the last year or two she has been way more highly themed ones with more celebrate sets and plot lines, such as her Twilight Zone video based on the famous Nightmare at 20,000 Feet episode (also one of my favorites).
This one is part of her science fiction/cyberpunk series where you are getting an upgrade to your brain to be able to dream again by a hacker. Her backgrounds and presentation are simpler than some of the others on this list as its a room with some neon lights but also some well incorporated photoshop to set the mood perfectly. Nebula is consistent and has maintained her audience by using nothing but pure creativity and honing her story telling skills over the years. Not to mention her ideas for videos are pretty wild, which I ADORE. Again a Twilight Zone themed video is such a brilliant idea.
ATMOSPHERE first appeared in 2019 and all I can say is that this creator has some of the best production value I’ve ever seen for an ASMR channel. The creator’s name is Anastasia and almost immediately her channel blew up. The second video on this channel has 1.2 million views. That’s almost unheard off for the vast majority of channels on the website. You have to really put out something that grabs people’s attention.
Just from looking at Atmosphere, you can see why the channel blew up so quickly. There is so much effort and passion behind the set up for them. Yet the one that shocked me the most was the Aries science fiction series that is still being worked on. This is the 8th video, and the series can best be described as an ASMR movie.
I’ve been slowly seeing much longer and more complex productions for ASMR with short-medium length films coming out. I’m not talking about accidental ASMR or scenes from blockbuster films, I’m talking YouTube video over two hours long done completely in ASMR.
ATMOSPHERE is a great example of this trends of videos that go above and behind the standard fair for the subgenre. I highly recommend checking out her channel. She even has a Fantasy/Victorian series going that is also equally well produced and positively received by viewers.
Be Calm with Becca is another channel that has been online for a good couple of years. Her channel started back in 2015 with her first video being a recording of a lit candle using a wood wick to make crackle and pop noises as per the ASMR aspect. It was very simple and straight forward which is the case with most new ASMR channels. Her first fantasy roleplaying video was a few months later in November 2015 called Softly spoken Elf roleplay – Unintelligible Elvish. It was still simple but very well put together with a decent background and costume with elf ear prosthetics to boot. By the second and third year of her channel’s existence she seemed to get more comfortable with more out their role playing and themes such as Halloween, science fiction, and fantasy in general though most of the time she tends to also put out more conventional ASMR videos with a focus on a specific sound like fire crackling and tapping.
Out of all the ones in her catalog, her video Futuristic ASMR Flight Attendant, is my current favorite. The video itself is simple with a still image as her background of a spaceship and Becca dressed as a flight attendant. She plays as a holographic announcer speaking to you as a passenger on a spaceship heading to a distant planet.
Her voice and acting is just PERFECT for a hologram style of character which is why I think she should hone in on that type of content for ASMR. I really liked this idea for a video and I hope she does more. Her voice has this uniform quality to it that lends itself well to an announcer type of persona.
FrostGlow is another channel that popped up on my radar a year ago. The channel first started in late 2018 with a main focus on ambient videos. These were moistly video game focused at first with audio taken from games such as Hollow Night and Subnautica to with whatever music or white noise was in the video game such as running water or animals making sounds. Some of these were relaxing but ambient videos I usually find are made for the purpose of creating a mood of feeling based on what you’re doing and can be great for driving inspiration and workflow. I did find a few of them great for sleeping such as her video Rainy Day Reading ASMR Ambience. It’s exactly what it sounds like, just rain sounds mostly but effective in relaxation.
Her first collection of videos had no talking at all.
Sometime in early to mid 2020, she began to slowly move into some more soft-spoken videos with a distinctive narrative. Her first one was ASMR Witch Gives you Shrinking Potion. Her talking only last for just under 8 minutes with the rest of the video being her typical ambient sounds in this case nature sounds like bird song.
After that she seems to slowly be doing more and more videos with her voice which I think is fantastic. Her video I’m talking about, Planetary Survey, just came out in January 2021 and its one of the best examples of her breaking out and doing something that’s completely based on her imagination and storytelling.
I think its a fantastic breakthrough video for the creator as this video is just awesome from beginning to end especially for fans of space themed videos. The white noise, the visual effects and the story telling are top notch. I do hope the creator decides to continue with these kinds of videos as there is clearly a lot of hard work put behind them.
My final video I wanted to share is from one of my all time, hands down unchallenged favorite ASMR channel on the entire platform. [Esc]Reality. She first started posting videos in 2014. Her first video was her reading a poem in as whispering tone of voice while using visual hand motions as a means of relaxation. In the channel’s early years, she had a grunge/alternative aesthetic going on with her videos especially with the thumbnails and choice of presentation. This was something I liked a great deal as videos in the ASMR community have a tendency to be cheerful fantasy and its not the norm to see spooky or darker themed ASMR videos. Its certainly becoming more common now but in the early to mid 2000s it was something still very new and I think it may have not been preferred by a majority of viewers at the time. It was something that I had to hunt for on YouTube for a time.
Its funny as a lot of her fans (myself included) especially in the comments say she is 100% underrated by the community of which I agree. Her videos are extremely well put together with a distinctive style and way of storytelling that I think is unmatched.
The video I’m spotlighting is called White Pill Black Pill, this was as cyberpunk themed video where the audience is in a nightclub in an unnamed place in a cyberpunk themed universe. You both talk about the various street drugs scene out and about among partiers. The video also has a bit of a plot twist after the halfway point that really shows how the creator is a master storyteller. The presentation, the writing and everything in between not only helps her audience relax but is mesmerizing in telling crazy interesting plots. She also did a vampire themed video several months prior that may be in my opinion of her best videos to date. I highly recommend checking out her channel, she never fails to entertain even if you’re into ASMR her story telling and immersion is on a different level.
I hoped you enjoyed me kind of geeking about something that I really enjoy online. As you can tell from blog posts in general, I’m a sucker for quality story telling and world building. If you ask me the more videos ASMR or not that have killer writing, interesting characters and worldbuilding the better.
I do hope you take a gander at this list and maybe give a few of them a listen. The ASMR and relaxation side of YouTube started as small, 10 minutes videos with minimal props to now elaborate and creative artistic endeavors that have capture a lot of people’s attention. Including major celebrities who also did their own ASMR videos. Its kind of crazy how the subgenre blew up as much as it has into something that has garnered millions of views and channels even doing this almost full time thanks to sponsorships and other methods of earning money.
Its a bizarre yet fun part of YouTube.