If you haven't come across this trend before, we recommend you pop in your headphones, open SoundCloud or Youtube, and immerse yourself in your favorite artist's repertoire. You can thank us later.
THE TREND: Before the slowed and reverb trend, there was and still is, 8D audio. The name catches you off-guard immediately, but let’s clear one thing up: audio cannot exist in eight dimensions. We’re not exactly sure where the name came from — maybe the creator liked the smiley face visual in the “8D,” or maybe they wanted an attention-grabbing name. Regardless, these tracks are addicting.
Without going into the science of sound, 8D audio mimics the sensation of sound flowing all around you. When listening to an 8D audio track with headphones, you will feel like the sound is moving around you in circles, enveloping you in the sound.
WHAT THE NUMBERS SAY: An 8D audio version of Juice Wrld’s “Lucid Dreams” has about 22 million views on Youtube, and an 8D audio version of “Believer” by Imagine Dragons gained over 54 million views. This trend has gained so much traction, there are Youtube channels catered specifically for these remixes. “8D Tunes” is a Youtube channel with over 6.8 million subscribers. They’ve created over four hundred 8D remixes over the course of two years, including music by artists like Conan Gray and Lana Del Rey.
On SoundCloud, 8D audio has picked up a smaller yet impactful following. A quick search showed an 8D remix of Khalid’s “Better” had over 13 million listens, 196 thousand likes, and two thousand comments. Even more popular, an 8D audio remix of DJ Snake’s “Taki Taki” has 16 million steams, 341 thousand likes, and almost five thousand comments.
THE SECRET BEHIND THE POPULARITY: 8D audio is a technique already used in mainstream music. The trend on Youtube and SoundCloud differentiates itself greatly from other music, however, by elevating the audio experience. Mainstream music uses 8D audio sparingly, giving listeners a quick taste of the effect. On the other hand, SoundCloud and Youtube use the effect continuously throughout a track to give a full 360° experience.
Listeners are always trying to further connect with their favorite artists and music, and 8D audio helps bring listeners one step closer to the music. Because the effect doesn’t work without headphones, listeners are already creating an environment to be encapsulated by music. The rotational aspect of 8D audio surrounds listeners from every angle, creating an immersive musical experience. The ability to be fully enrobed in music, especially soft music, helps elevate an artist's natural talents. Who wouldn’t want to experience Harry Styles’ voice moving around them like he’s in the room with them? 8D audio is entrancing and addicting, making listeners hit replay every time.
THE INVOLVED GENRES: The most common genre to be made into an 8D remix is pop, specifically sad pop songs. Because of the circulating audio, listeners feel immersed in the raw emotion of melancholic songs. Artists like Joji, Billie Eilish and The Neighbourhood have become titans of these trends because their songs’ messages and emotions are greatly amplified when effects are added.
Mainstream music missed out by not incorporating 8D audio more. The effect gives the feeling of a live performance — why haven’t sound engineers used this to their benefit during the pandemic? With a professional touch, this trend could evolve into a more interactive version of virtual performances for artists. The music industry has the opportunity here to elevate 8D audio beyond the walls of SoundCloud and Youtube into a more cinematic and personal experience for listeners. COVID-19 has shut down the touring aspect of the music industry, so maybe this trend is a step in an innovative direction. Listen below and tell us what you think.