Sep 24, 2020
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Is There Any Money To Be Made In ASMR – Part Two

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Welcome to part two. In part one we discussed the phenomenon of ASMR a web based trend of videos which relax people who experience the feeling called Autonomous Meridian Sensory Response—tingling sensations prompted by specific verbal or visual triggers. We talked about the proliferation of ASMR and its growing mainstream appeal

 

We met one ASMRtist who in the span of a few months was able to quit her day job in order to discuss content creation full-time. We had successfully answered the question of is there money to be made in ASMR? with a resounding yes but left off with one more more perplexing line of questioning: by whom exactly? For there is an uncomfortable truth we must now turn our attentions towards: in the world of ASMR women seem far more predisposed to make money off their content then men

 

In terms of ASMR content creation there were no official cui bono studies as of yet; we are only just starting to conduct formal studies into what ASMR even is and why it occurs in the brain. There have however been attempts to analyze various statistics behind the hottest ASMR channels

 

In June of 2014 Paul Artwork (a doctoral student in Psychology in addition an ASMR practitioner in his own right) published a video entitled Research at the Top 100 most viewed ASMRtists channels (not an ASMR video). The point of this research said Paul is to supply factual information…on the ASMR consumer preference; it s also to supply scientific insight about ASMR consumption

 

In his study here conclusions could be drawn: as of June 2014 of the end ten ASMR channels ranked by variety of subscribers nine belong to women. Put more succinctly here s a pie chart from the study: PROMOTED UNICEF USA BRANDVOICE | Paid Program
The Women s Vote Is A Vote For Children
Grads of Life BRANDVOICE | Paid Program
Cultivating Young And Diverse Talent With GRACE
Civic Nation BRANDVOICE | Paid Program
Students Get Creative For National Voter Registration Day This study is also borne out by anecdotal evidence

 

As Matt of ASMATTR put it It kind of feels pretty clear to me that ladies are significantly more popular than men in the ASMR community. Nichole—more commonly called Springbok ASMR—echoed this sentiment as well. In the community there are many men who put a large number of effort into what they do and they only get a fragment of the growth that a large number of the girls do

 

However this gender discrepancy does make sense to Matt. This type of gentle personal method of speaking and doing things that most content creators utilize is commonly attributed to girls in society so I’m able to understand why some viewers are not as pleased with videos done by men. Most folks male or female or any gender Nichole told me aren t used to feeling safe around male voices very very close up

 

So the assumption of having a male whispering on your ear to both men and women maybe uncomfortable for different reasons. Now do I am hoping people can get past that and realize that there are some amazing amazing men making great content? Yes. There may however be an encumbrance on getting past that —and here s where we veer into more controversial territory: I d be remiss not to talk about that some people are skeptical of the whole ASMR movement

 

On Slate. com s The Gist Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker suggested that ASMR was  bulls**t saying it coincidentally works only if presented by very specific people: females we [deem] attractive between twenty and thirty—closer to 20 would be more in the sweet spot—you know if they have a foreign accent that s great and if they re stroking something that s even better…if that something feels like an ice cream cone? Great

 

Retorted the host a puffiness of the lip a undeniable cut of the dress somehow seems to correlate to the ASMR prompting. As a straight male who routinely experiences ASMR hearing WNYC s Jonathan Schwartz (I can assure you he’s definitely not a tender woman in a dress) I’m able to refute this claim

 

Still some have a hard time distinguishing between ASMR and more lets say sensual pursuits. It is hard to appreciate Nichole told me. people say they would rather their companion walk in on them watching something like porn than watching ASMR since it s so much harder to explain. That s always variety of been the joke

 

While ASMR proper is a strictly clothes-on business—very safe for work and almost tedious in its subject matter (I fail to spot how anyone might be stimulated by thirty minutes of tapping on a table)—sometimes the lines can get blurred. Matt told me that he can definitely understand why people make that connection

 

For starters he wrote it is really easy to mistake the perceived intimacy in many videos for sensuality if you re not familiar with what s actually going on. Such things as face touching whispering on your ears etc are usually part of romantic intimacy so it can be difficult to subconsciously separate such actions from sexuality

 

Furthermore everyday objects (hairbrushes makeup scissors) presented and de-familiarized in the context of an ASMR video is also confusing for some. Latex glove sounds can be a very effective ASMR trigger for some people wrote Matt but latex gloves can also be arousing for folk with certain fetishes. Therefore it can seem only natural for the uninitiated to assume that latex glove ASMR videos are just fetish videos that made it onto YouTube

 

Nichole has some interesting additions to this theory. To most folks ASMR is a visible and aural representation of comfort—it comforts us to sleep for example. the fact that we find comfort said Nichole in soft spoken women who are right at the age of being able to bear children and are still young and vibrant…is not a coincidence: that s typically how we view our mothers when we re very very young children

 

Nichole was very quick to qualify that these were her specific views—that she couldn’t speak for what someone else feels and doesn t feel. Both Nichole and Matt also made it clear in no uncertain terms that for them ASMR is the farthest thing from sexual. As a former insomniac using these videos to drift into a state I deliberate to be the furthest from arousal (sleep) I wholeheartedly agree

 

However there are more complicated factors. It s not uncommon for female ASMRtists (a lot of them soft spoken comforting women of a undeniable age) to be bombarded by sexually frustrated trolls (see any YouTube comment section for examples). Furthermore ASMRtists tend to take requests from fans; in these situations Nichole has observed that usually commenters are trying to trick you into doing something that s erotic

 

That happens. You must be a little savvy about it. Blurring the lines even farther there is now both a homegrown Erotic ASMR community and a pornography industry looking to capitalize on ASMR by re-labeling previously made content and using ASMR within their keywords to expose up in google searches

 

Also some ASMRtists offer personalized live ASMR sessions (sometimes for a fee) and this too seems uncannily such as certain chat-rooms unmentionable within these online pages. I mention all of this since it leads to my own anecdotal conclusion: it kind of feels that ladies who are considered attractive in the parameter of our societal norms hold higher rankings—subscribers views et cetera—than those whom our heteronormative society would deem as conventionally less attractive

 

It might be uncouth and highly suspect of me to show which artists are attractive and which are not but the statistics as laid out by Paul Artwork s study consistently point to this trend. If such anecdotal evidence is indeed the case this might be problematic for the legitimacy of ASMR going forward

 

Setting aside heteronormative appraisals of beauty for the instant there is another troubling facet to the question who makes money in ASMR? This may be the looming specter of brand interference. As ASMR practitioners and subscribers proliferate so too does a growing amount of corporate interest usually in persuading ASMRtists to peddle the particular wares of specific companies

 

Ally of the popular ASMRrequests channel has been known to endorse phones microphones and electronic games (albeit objectively awesome ones together with Monument Valley). Sometimes corporate entities seek to persuade the channels themselves. Nichole wrote to me that she does get approached almost daily by companies that want to take over my channel and monetize it with targeted ads and a large number of marketing

 

That s something so alien to my experience of creating videos and is absolutely not at the table for me. Since there is this type of growing interest in the ASMR community it’s also conceivable to Nichole that full production teams capable of creating highly professional videos might imitate what is available already

 

Indeed as we mentioned before this type of crossover is already taking place in certain spheres of pornography. However Matt doesn t see this problem flourishing any time soon. A major part of ASMR s effectiveness seems to come from a feeling of non-public attention from a particular person that may be difficult to replicate on a large scale

 

All of this points to one thing: whether ASMR is borne out by science whether you find it to be creepy or relaxing whether you re someone short of relaxation or a brand seeking extra avenues to explore ASMR is definitely a growing phenomenon with multiple crossover points into diverse media outlets—music blogging internet TV et cetera

 

It might be foolish folks not to be aware of this trend to disregard where it goes. For viewer practitioner and brand alike there is something at stake here. There is absolutely money at the table—it s just a matter of tracking into whose pocket the money will flow

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