Over the weekend, YouTube mysteriously shut down a popular streaming channel that plays relaxing hip-hop music. The channel was restored the next day, but it left people with a lot of questions, and a new meme.
If you enjoy listening to music while you study, you might already be aware of the “lofi hip hop study girl”. She’s the mascot, as it were, of “lofi hip hop radio,” a popular YouTube music stream on the channel ChilledCow that plays relaxing hip-hop beats over a looping animation of a young woman studying with her cat. The animation was created specifically for the channel by artist Juan Pablo Machado.
The channel is one of many such entities on YouTube. The idea is that people can go there and listen to some relaxing music anytime they want to study or just chill out for a bit. With over 4 million subscribers and thousands of people listening to the live stream at any given time, ChilledCow is one of the more popular music streaming channels. When it was unceremoniously terminated for failing to comply with YouTube’s terms of service, its owner reacted immediately.
YouTube responded early the next morning by saying it had made a mistake and restored the channel. It also said it “shared feedback with our review team to prevent similar errors from happening in the future.”
As many people pointed out, why this happened, and what actual steps were being taken to prevent it from happening to others, is something the company failed to explain.
While people continued to argue over YouTube’s seemingly arbitrary and broken application of its terms of service, others were just happy to have their beloved channel back.
And now “lofi study girl” has become a meme, with many people making the same “guess she finally finished studying” joke.
A few people also pointed out that by taking down the live stream, YouTube might have inadvertently created the longest video on their platform.
In the short term, the problem has been solved. The channel has been restored, people got their jokes in, and a new meme star was born.
But the larger problem of YouTubes unclear application of its terms of service, and it’s apparently flawed algorithm, remain to be addressed.