Home » Nissan’s Latest Lofi Stream Shows That The Automaker-Released Mixtape Is Somehow Alive And Well

Nissan’s Latest Lofi Stream Shows That The Automaker-Released Mixtape Is Somehow Alive And Well

Nissan Chill Beats Topshot
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Here’s an odd one for you: Nissan has released another lofi mix in advance of the 2023 Japan Mobility Show. Featuring a braid-rocking virtual avatar rolling through an animated city at night, it’s a relaxed mix for simmering down to. But wait, why is Nissan releasing music? Doesn’t it have more pressing matters, like the GT-R dating back to the Bush administration?

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Alright, maybe that was a bit mean, but it does seem bizarre at first glance for an automaker to be dabbling in music. However, Nissan isn’t the only brand pumping out mixtapes, and another major automaker has done so in a rather different genre. Hyundai has recently released its third Eurobeat mix set to Nordschleife lap footage, and while I can’t embed it here due to the video’s settings, you should totally check it out.

So, what’s going on here? Did a couple of interns get bored or something? Not exactly, nor is this in the same vein as old ad jingles. Songs like “See The U.S.A. In Your Chevrolet” had lyrics explicitly formulated to sell a product, while these new, experience-focused automaker mixes aren’t shilling new car smell quite as blatantly. However, mixtapes put out by automakers are far from a new concept. In fact, the car brand that went the absolute hardest for music kicked things off more than 20 years ago.

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Scion Cd Sampler

Remember Scion, that automotive label imprint of Toyota that initially attempted to hock federalized JDM economy cars to millennials? In 2002, it put out a bunch of quick CDs in collaboration with URB magazine, including one called “URB Next 100 — The CD Sampler V.1 — Scion — Welcome To The Brave New World.” Yeah, that’s an absolute mouthful, but these were early days when Scion felt like a make-work project for Toyota execs’ college-aged kids. Things would be refined later on. Featuring artists like Soul Hooligan and The Rurals, this was a properly out there seven-track sampler meant to create a vibe. Was it weird? Sure, but these early efforts were successful enough to spawn a run of more than 30 CD samplers, some featuring up-and-coming heavy-hitters like Chromeo, Flosstradamus, and the Bloody Beetroots. Oh, and that’s before we even get into Scion’s record label and music festivals.

Scion Av

So why would automakers release music for cars? Well, for most Americans, the car is a third space. It’s not home, it’s not work, and it’s reasonably private. Sure, the person next to you at the red light can totally see you pick your nose, but it’s a place to blast music, make love, or just have a little peace. Coincidentally, for many people, their car audio system is the best audio system they own. That sounds preposterous, but how many people do you see out and about with AirPods lodged in their ears? The car and music have been bonded like glue ever since you could get a Motorola in a Ford Model A, and automaker-curated mixes are all about creating an experience.

Everyone knows the jokes about how music can change how you drive. How stuff like the “Free Bird” solo will turn even the mildest-mannered motorists into Chuck Yeager emerging from the clouds at Mach Chicken, or How Bright Eyes will make you want to cruise in the right lane at the speed limit, contemplating life. These automaker mixes work exactly like that. Hyundai’s Eurobeat mixes tap into terminally-online automotive culture and memes, a version of “How do you do, fellow kids?” Likewise, Nissan’s lofi mixes tap into a broader part of internet culture, background music to ease life’s mundane moments.

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Lofi Girl

Over the past few years, lofi YouTube radio stations have gained massive popularity, with one of the biggest, Lofi Girl, sitting at 13.3 million subscribers (Nissan was, at least for a while, the exclusive advertiser of LoFi Girl). Vice described this phenomenon as “Endless, non-perishable YouTube streams that run 24/7, delivering the chillest, most amicable vibes to a legion of traumatized university students—like the perfect holistic alternative when the Xanax isn’t cutting it anymore,” which fits. This isn’t music for life’s Polaroid moments, but for laundry, late-night airport runs, and long periods of deskwork. Maybe that’s why it has such appeal — life isn’t all bungee jumps and tequila.

This Nissan playlist is part of a broader subset of alternative social media strategy. From Wendy’s’ roasts to Hankook Tire’s Instagram memes, brands desire to interact with consumers in weirder, more personal, less corporate ways. As we exit the excessively formal social media messaging of the 2010s, don’t be surprised to see more automaker-released music mixes in the future. We’re in another transition phase, so why not try something new, right?

(Photo credits: Nissan, Scion, Lofi Girl/YouTube)

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Bill
Bill
9 months ago

Murray Walker did a tape for the Montego where he waxed lyrical about how great the car was in between On The Road Again and a lame cover of Fleetwood Mac The Chain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7HIwhG8OCk

Laika
Laika
9 months ago

I dunno how far back the concept goes but I have some Ford 8-tracks from the sixties and seventies that I play in my ’66 t-bird (when the 8-track player is working). “ford motor company presents stereo for today” (all lower case, for reasons). They’re, um, eclectic.

Last edited 9 months ago by Laika
PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
9 months ago

My dad’s 1990 Suburban came with a mix tape! It lived in the glove box; I don’t remember listening to it much, but I think it was mostly country with a little rock.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago

Both times I’ve been to the ACL Fest were because Honda was a sponsor, FWIW. (Extra mega bonus points for it being the Depeche Mode/The Cure year, too. EPIC.) I guess they have a pretty firm interest in the music industry? Contrary to the fantasy world in this Nissan stream where this animation sometimes taps away at a tablet behind the wheel (not a fan of that, BTW!), what else can you do in a car without taking your eyes off the road? It’s the perfect boombox.

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
9 months ago

Cute how Nissan thinks their drivers are chillin’ to LoFi instead of driving 6 inches away from your back bumper while listening to country rap.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
9 months ago
Reply to  DialMforMiata

*Big Altima Energy intensifies*

Steve's House of Cars
Steve's House of Cars
9 months ago

We had an Oldsmobile mix tape in the 80s that included a new Oldsmobile song as well as a range of modern music and older classical music. As small children we used to love singing it and I think drove by parents only slightly nuts.

https://youtu.be/e8P-RVqWnR4?feature=shared

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago

YES!!! I still have ours. It has a place of honor on the shelf, *on display.* I don’t remember ever listening to it in the car, but it’s a neat weird car memento.

Ron, on the reservation
Ron, on the reservation
9 months ago

And for those of us that prefer less stimulating sounds….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEL42PyCFzA

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
9 months ago

Would that make this the wake-up alarm?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6UR_3ZieE4

Cyko9
Cyko9
9 months ago

Thomas, I’m pretty sure Torch quietly edited your article with some barely-believable wackiness. The Scion record label and music festivals are just too kooky. Like a ’70s novel based on a VW ad, those are not-likely ’00s titles.

I actually kinda wanted a Scion tC when they came out. They seemed more manageable than a Hyundai Tiburon.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
9 months ago

Nissan Altima SR Lofi Girl Edition when?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

I do not know what lofi is. Just kidding. No, I’m not.

Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Lofi is the anthropomorphic mascot of the baking industry. I believe she is supposed to be a sourdough.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Lofi is shorthand for “Low Fidelity,” like the sound quality you get from a record player or a mixtape. Lofi hip-hop intentionally uses this kind of sound to create a warmer, more nostalgic atmosphere – a more calming, chill vibe – hence why it makes such great study music or background noise for doing chores.

Last edited 9 months ago by Austin Vail
Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago

I represent the people of Violetia. We are highly offended that Nissan would represent our species without permission. We are suing for interplanetary cultural appropriation of our red and purple dreds, teal lips, and freakishly long arms.

Drew
Drew
9 months ago

The previous lofi was actually a pretty good ad, and running it in lofi streams was possibly a great move. You get an ad that doesn’t feel intrusive, fits with the vibe, and markets the vehicle as fitting the lifestyle. But, of course, unintrusive can also mean that it won’t stick in people’s minds.

I don’t think they’re going to get that demographic to choose branded lofi streams, but they may garner some goodwill. And that could be worth something.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
9 months ago

I remember the tape that came with one of our family’s Tauruses. The highlight was the theme from Back to the Future.

Cyko9
Cyko9
9 months ago

I remember my grandma got a cassette with her Cadillac of orchestral music. “1812 Overture” and stuff like that. I swiped it, taped over the tabs, and used it to record songs off the radio.

Paul E
Paul E
9 months ago

Nissan needs to own and embrace “Big Altima Energy” as a marketing campaign. So many possibilities and genres for a mixtape…

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

My gosh, that would be a level of anger that humanity is incapable of representing in audible sounds. You’d get a mixtape only audible to like, dogs, at which point the dogs would turn on us all. It would be the end of humanity.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
9 months ago

Lo-Fi Beats For The Finance Manager to Give You High Interest Rates To

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