Nightcore and the Virtues of Virtuality

Emma Winston


Nightcore is a previously academically unexamined music scene, which exists entirely online and operates as a unique micro-subculture within the broader context of internet-based electronic music. A scene born on the internet in the early 2000s, nightcore has recently experienced something of a surge in popularity, and now refers most broadly to hyper-fast dance music with pitched-up vocals, which is based around sped-up tracks lifted wholesale from mainstream pop, rock, and EDM, often, but not always, with additional original production. Nightcore is remarkable both for its DIY attitude to deskilling electronic production, lowering the barrier to entry for producers to a point of near-nonexistence, and for its internet-centric, yet profoundly social approach to track dissemination and community.

This article traces the history and present-day status of nightcore, providing brief multidisciplinary analyses of tracks and production styles from a musicological, feminist and accelerationist perspective, and examines, from a primarily observational ethnomusicological viewpoint, nightcore communities and live ‘shows’ which take place solely online and gear themselves towards listeners and producers from all over the world. Since this article represents the first piece of academic research into nightcore, it is by necessity broad in its scope. This article hopes to prompt further research and discussion both within the genre itself, and more generally around online musical communities and the work created within them. 


Music; Popular Music; Internet Culture; Subcultures; Gender; Nightcore; Micro-subcultures; Vaporwave

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