It’s no secret that nerd culture has been evolving rapidly in the digital era. After all, the internet has allowed nerds from across the globe to come together and share their hobbies and interests with one another. This has led to massive shifts in the nerd-media landscape. It has also led to the rise of a unique music genre called Otacore.
This guide will examine what Otacore is, as well as who the prominent artists in this music genre are.
What is Otacore?
Modern music has evolved far beyond the point where a song could be classified as simply being “pop” or “rock”. Most music in the 21st century contains a mix of many different genre styles. This in-turn has led to the birth of new music genres based on their sound.
Otacore is a relatively new music genre that is a blend of many different styles. However, one prominent theme that distinguishes it from other genres is its association with anime and computer games.
Anime, which is short for “animation”, refers to Japanese animation cartoons adapted from Japanese comics or “manga”. While anime could be considered a medium for conveying different types of stories, it generally caters to a young audience that is seeking out funny, thrilling, and playful content. These styles also spill over to Otacore which was borne out of the anime medium.
Here is an example of Otacore music:
How Did Otacore Get Its Name?
No one knows where exactly the term “Otacore” comes from. However, the name itself is a combination of the terms “Ota” and “Core”.
Ota is short for “Otaku”, which means “nerd” in Japanese. Otaku are people with a heavy interest in computers, anime, and manga. One survey from 2013 discovered that over 40% of teenagers in Japan consider themselves to be otakus.
The “core” in Otacore is simply a suffix that implies the genre consists of a blend of styles. For example, the “Metalcore” music genre is a combination of Heavy Metal and Hardcore Punk music.
What Does Otacore Sound Like?
Otacore sounds like a blend of pop and electronic music that would normally be heard in anime soundtracks. However, many believe the music used in anime video games could also be classified as Otacore.
If this explanation doesn’t tell you enough, consider listening to some of the top Otacore tracks on Youtube to get an idea of what it sounds like.
How Did Otacore Get Popular?
It may surprise you to learn that Otacore has been popular for many years. It likely rose in popularity due to anime fans seeking out the music they heard in their favorite anime shows on platforms such as Youtube and Spotify. This boost in popularity helped other individuals discover this music, even if they weren’t familiar with anime the music was taken from.
Over time, the fanbase for Otacore gradually increased. Today there are likely millions of Otacore fans across the globe. Many of whom listen to this music regularly without being familiar with the “Otacore” genre label.
While nobody knows where the term “Otacore” comes from, it exploded in popularity at the end of 2020 when music-streaming app Spotify began its annual year-end “Wrapped” roundup. Wrapped 2020 showed Spotify users their most-listened-to songs and artists for that year.
It also showed users which music genres they listened to the most. Many users were surprised to see one of these genres being a new one called “Otacore”. The term then spread like wildfire and has been embraced by Otacore fans online.
This has led to the creation of multiple Youtube and Spotify playlists titled “Otacore”.
How to Make Otacore Music?
There is no set criteria for what constitutes as Otacore-sounding music. As a result, musicians may struggle to create something that fits the Otacore mold. However, they can create music that is similar to existing anime music. Such music could include dramatic instrumental melodies that pack an emotional punch and vocalists that sound like anime voice actors
Prospective Otacore musicians can also complement this music with artwork or music videos that feature anime characters and anime settings. This helps drive home the anime aspect of the genre.
Genres Similar to Otacore
Otacore can’t be compared to other music genres based on its sound alone. However, there are other music genres that feature anime-like qualities in their presentation. This includes:
Nightcore is a unique music genre that sprang up after Youtube musicians began creating pitched up versions of existing music. These high-pitched song edits take on a different feel from their original versions. Their vocals also sound reminiscent of the voices of female anime characters. Nightcore videos on Youtube frequently feature anime imagery to compliment their music, similar to Otacore.
Many of the songs considered Otacore were created by Japanese musicians who were influenced by Japanese pop or “J-Pop”. This genre gained mainstream popularity in the 1990s and is associated with consumer culture.
Some of the most popular J-Pop artists from the 90s include:
- Ayumi Hamasaki
- Namie Amuro
- Kumi Koda
- Hikaru Utada
The Future of Otacore
There’s no way to predict what the future of Otacore will be. The genre may gain more mainstream popularity in the near future, leading to a wave of artists who seek to create more music like it.
Conversely, the genre may wane in popularity, leaving behind only a few hardcore fans who listen to it religiously. However, anything is possible in the internet age. Current Otacore fans should celebrate the genre’s popularity while they still can.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.