As a musician passionate about creating soul-reaching sounds, I am surprised at the ingenuity of fan-based otacore music.
I understand the confusion people may have about otacore because almost everyone knows the main music genres, such as rock, country, metal, folk, jazz, and blues, but nobody ever mentioned ‘Otacore.’
Music genres exist because the themes, lyrical content, composition, and musical techniques represent a culture.
Hence, if one is to ask about otacore, the only thing they can do is scratch their head and shrug their shoulders.
This article will help you better understand what Otacore music is, refining your musical preferences, and expanding your playlist.
What is Otacore?
Coined by Spotify and Every Noise at Once project, Otacore is defined as fan-based music or music with origins in fan communities. The term is the contracted form of ‘otaku’ core, underscoring its origins in Japanese anime and manga communities.
Otaku is the Japanese term for a young person obsessed with some aspects of pop culture or computers, so much so that the person’s obsession undermines his social skills.
The term ‘core’ may allude to ‘hardcore’ or one’s unparalleled and unquestionable enthusiasm and commitment to an idea, object, or activity.
Putting the two together (otaku + core) gives you the impression of a diehard otaku fan who also happens to love music.
This description explains a lot about otacore.
Since hardcore fans love everything about their favorite, it goes without saying that they can also produce songs that venerate their idols.
Otacore music draws its popularity from well-loved computer games, TV series, and movies.
In most cases, gaming music and Anime parodies form the backbone of what music lovers call ‘Otacore’ music.
A look at Spotify’s ONLY OTA playlist suggests that Otacore can have at least four themes, including internet music, games-related music, Anime-related music, and Japan-related music.
It should not surprise you to learn that much of Otacore musical pieces come from independent artists who find a more accepting venue on online platforms.
Surviving in the competitive music industry is never easy for indies because big-budget labels have the monopoly over who can record and what music genre they can produce.
Hence, you can look at Otacore music as the independent artist’s expression of things that mainstream music labels will never want to manage.
How Does it Compare to Other Music Genres?
Professional musicians do not consider Otacore a genuine music genre if one compares it with mainstream genres, such as jazz, blues, folk, rock, and metal.
It is challenging to describe a musical style that defines Otacore, unlike other genres.
For example, rock music combines elements of country, R&B, and jazz using electric musical instruments.
Rock is synonymous with energetic performances, insightful lyrics, and catchy melodies, among others.
On the other hand, people love country because of its simple forms, elegant harmonies, and folk lyrics often played by string instruments.
Unfortunately, the only element that binds different Otacore musical pieces is their fan-based nature.
Music theorists and musical purists may not view this trait as a defining characteristic of Otacore as a music genre.
However, Otacore fans will beg to disagree.
Is Otacore a Music Genre?
Spotify classifies Otacore as a genre on its platform, dedicating a menu for fans of the style to enjoy their music.
Unfortunately, the Recording Industry Association of America, Billboard, and other reputable music organizations do not list Otacore as a genre.
Even the popular online music resource site, Music Genres List, does not include Otacore in its typology.
Claiming Otacore as a music genre can be a challenging task without any valid support from reputable organizations.
Despite this, Otacore fans consider it a music genre.
For starters, it describes the current generation of music lovers who source their playlists on the internet.
One can credit the internet’s accessibility as a major mover for catapulting Otacore’s status as a music genre.
Free from big-name label restrictions, any independent artist with access to the internet and a basic understanding of music theory can produce Otacore-worthy songs.
There is also the Anime phenomenon.
No longer is it a Japanese-only thing but has spread worldwide with a sizable number of followers in different countries.
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A case in point is the annual USA Anime Convention where Anime fans across the US get to showcase their cosplaying skills and other worthwhile activities.
It is not surprising why many people now consider Otacore a music genre.
It has a good following and it defines a generation preoccupied with extraordinary music.
If you cannot consider that a genre, I do not know what will.
What Artists Make Otacore Music?
Otacore artists come from different countries, not only from Anime-crazed Japan.
For example, the Aviators are American musicians who play the violin and guitar.
This Vermont-based group already has 11 full-length studio albums, five remix albums, 22 singles, and two soundtrack albums, among others.
There is also Ken Ashcorp, well-loved for his silly songs about cartoons, video games, and other absurdities that fail to make it big.
Even mainstream musicians have found a calling in Otacore.
A case in point is Jeff Williams, a former alternative rock band member who is now more focused on creating soundtracks for Rooster Teeth.
The Otaku Choir of Mari El Republic is a Russian music group that focuses more on anime songs, giving them a twist that stimulates the funny bone.
Other noteworthy non-Japanese Otacore artists include Tryhardninja, Mire Kroi, Starbomb, Shawn Wasabi, Boyinaband, and NateWantsToBattle.
Of course, there are always Japanese artists who do not want any other nationality to beat them in their own game.
Examples of these Japanese Otacore artists include Neotokio3 and Linked Horizon.
The Bottom Line
Otacore music may not have the industry’s backing and full recognition, but its growing number of followers do not seem to mind.
Fans of Otacore see the music as a genre that epitomizes their inherent desires, attitudes, and beliefs; after all, Otacore draws its strength from fan communities.
Because of the limited resources available, I recommend checking out Spotify’s ONLY OTA playlist to appreciate what this music is all about, and whether it is worth adding to your collection or not.
What do you think about this post?
Let me know in the comments below.