ASMR videos are a popular, if rather niche, genre of content on YouTube. They're specifically designed to provoke the ASMR responsenote in the viewer by incorporating a wide variety of what are referred to as trigger sounds, with some of the most popular being sounds of crinkling, tapping, scratching, sizzling, or even eating, as well as whispering or speaking softly. Videos can be as simple as the creator simply making the sounds, or be as involved as roleplay scenarios featuring costuming, props, and sets or greenscreen backgrounds.
Creators from across the world post videos covering a wide variety of topics while featuring tons of ASMR triggers, and many channels exist specifically to cater to ASMR fans. Some people have also discovered that media outside the ASMR community can give the same reaction and have made videos documenting this; The Joy of Painting is one well-known example due to Bob Ross' baritone voice and soft, soothing manner of speech. On the other hand, the genre does have its detractors. Many people accidentally come across the videos and mistake them for simply weird internet videos. Others may be looking for information about a particular topic but come across people unintelligibly whispering. Many people simply find the concept creepy or silly, and some react badly to the ASMR response or certain trigger sounds (misophonia sufferers especially).
Often used interchangeably with ASMR is "mukbang." Mukbang is a form of video where someone films themselves eating food (usually in large quantities) while talking to their viewers, either in a live-stream format or Fake Interactivity format. The trend began in South Korea but spread to other parts of the internet as well. Mukbang is not the same as ASMR, but many people find they feel tingles while watching mukbang due to them involving similar triggers as ASMR videos. Mukbang videos have been criticised for encouraging unhealthy binge eating but they are still popular nevertheless.
ASMR video creators with pages on the wiki:
- Amara's Audios
- Ephemeral Rift
- Virtual Barber Shop by Listening Point
- Miss Shadow Lovely
- Cyberpunk ASMR by YouTube user EpicASMR
- Sweet as Honey
- Seafoam Kittens ASMR
ASMR videos provide examples of:
- Afraid of Doctors: Inverted. Doctors' visits for things such as eye exams, cranial nerve tests, and even checks for hair lice are very common topics for ASMR videos, and are intentionally made to be as inviting and comforting as possible to enhance the feeling of relaxation.
- Bob Ross Rib: Due to Bob Ross's popularity within the community, homages created by videomakers who dress up as him are not uncommon.
- Brown Note: Some ASMR videos have effects that could hurt someone. For example, candlelight can trigger seizures for some due to the way it flickers when it's filmed. Any video that could provoke the wrong triggers will come with a warning.
- Ear Cleaning: Both the traditional Japanese manner and more modern versions have been fodder for ASMR videos, with the tools being brushed across the mic to create the desired sounds.
- Cool Big Sis: Some videos roleplay scenarios in which an older sibling does something caring for the viewer, such as "Big Sister Does Your Makeup".
- Cosplay: Artists may dress up and act as a character from an existing work or their own character for roleplays.
- Extreme Close-Up: Many videos use camera angles that zoom in on the artist's hands or face, to simulate being close enough to be touched. The artist will also often lean in very close to the camera, sometimes as part of a roleplay, other times to whisper into the microphone(s).
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: ...and Russian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, etc.
- Intimate Hair Brushing: Hair brushing is a popular theme due to its inherently soothing nature and the sound of the brush moving through the hair being a good trigger. Depending on the video, the ASMRtist may brush another person's hair, a wig on a mannequin head, or simulate brushing the viewer's hair by moving the brush around the camera and editing in the sound.
- Fake Interactivity: It is standard in the genre for the "performer" to ask questions to the viewer. Of course the "performer" never can hear any answers the viewer would give, but it gives the viewer the feeling they are communicating with the "performer".
- This sometimes factors into the theme of a video. For instance, some ASMR videos revolve around the creator being on a beach or showing off a clothing haul, which will involve the creator wearing swimsuits, low-cut and/or midriff-baring shirts, and the like. Other times, an ASMRtist will create a video cosplaying as a character known for having a fanservicey costume.
- Outside of their content, some ASMRtists will post fanservicey pics and videos to their social media or as rewards for Patreon patrons and other such supporters.
- Iyashikei: Many videos try to relax the viewer by providing roleplays in idyllic settings. However, increasing numbers of videos subvert this by combining the soft sounds with scary, dangerous, or annoying situations, usually for humour or storytelling purposes.
- Manipulative Editing: British ASMR creator Sophie Michelle fell victim to this. In late 2018 she gave an interview on Channel 4 talking about ASMR and her career making videos. The studio later edited the footage in a manner that was quite unflattering and showed said footage without her consent on Gogglebox, which led to the people on that show rudely criticizing her and her work.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Cooking, cleaning, folding towels...as long as the trigger is there, people will watch it.
- Nap-Inducing Speak: ASMR is often used as much as a sleep aid as for the tingle response, and some creators, such as Jojo's ASMR, intentionally style their output to this effect and/or mention it in video titles.
- Narrator: Some ASMR videos feature a scripted off-screen narration accompanying what the creator is doing on-screen. The aforementioned clothing haul videos are one particular instance, with the creator modeling the clothes while the narration describes how they were obtained, why they're liked, etc.
- Off-the-Shelf FX: Many ASMR performers are on a budget so they use household items, their personal property, and/or props that you could find at a "dollar store". Anything goes as long as it can provide the desired triggers.
- Pick a Card: JoJo's ASMR has several videos where he demonstrates magic tricks with playing cards, using both his whispered dialogue and the sounds of the cards moving as triggers.
- The Unintelligible: Some videos have the ASMRtist whispering or mumbling in incoherent nonsense speech to use the flow of the spoken sounds as the trigger.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Some ASMR videos build on their cozy appeal by being themed around encouraging words and messages of affirmation.
- You Taste Delicious: ASMR creators that emphasize what are generally called "wet mouth sounds" will do things such as making "ear eating" and kissing sounds into the microphone.
- On an episode of Would I Lie to You? one of the "This is My..." mystery guests was ASMRtist ASMR Angel, invited onto the program by guest/comedian Joe Lycett as he finds relaxation through watching her videos.
- On Will & Grace, Will's surrogate (played by Demi Lovato) shoots ASMR videos, and invites Jack and Karen to join her in a live podcast, where they get into a whispered argument.
- In Fate/Grand Order, during the second Halloween event, you can answer to Ibaraki's pleas by teasing her using "Shuten Douji's ASMR voice".
- Paranatural: When Isabel snoops on a teacher's computer, one of the tabs on the open web browser is titled "10 Hour Goth Barber ASMR".
- In Questionable Content, Tai says she likes to listen to ASMR podcasts while stoned.
- Ellipsis Stephens, creator of Goblins, updated her blog on the comic's site with a long post about her experiences with ASMR, including revealing that she was involved in the original discussion that led to the name and acronym being created.
- In Ennui GO!, a particularly naughty request from Sarah leads Hashim to ask if she's been watching balloon animal ASMR videos again.
- Game Grumps have an extended conversation about ASMR, and have a Ten Minute Power Hour episode dedicated to it.
- RWBY Chibi: One of the shorts is Jaune trying to record an ASMR video (an Actor Allusion as well because Jaune's VA records them), only to be constantly interrupted by other Hunters loudly barging into his room.
- Mental Floss has an article on Bob Ross and the ASMR Periphery Demographic: How Bob Ross Became an ASMR YouTube Star.
- Auralnauts Star Wars's take on Kylo Ren has a video, which he provides various forms of relaxation for the listener.
- Rhett & Link have made a few videos where they try out different forms of ASMR (sometimes featuring a popular ASMRtist) and have a video where they discuss the phenomenon.
- React has several videos with YouTubers and other celebrities reacting to ASMR videos.
- In ZeRoyalViking's "I Bought an ASMR Microphone and Tested It on My Friends", he and fellow Derpers Tom Fawkes, John Page, and frequent collaborator RitzPlays mess around with a binaural microphone doing goofy takes on ASMR video dialogue.