There has been a lot of confusion around the Otacore music genre, with many people wondering what it is, and how it ended up on their Spotify wrapped summary.
Otacore is a term that Spotify uses to describe a kind of music that has a basis in anime & fan communities, and is heavily influenced by Japanese Anime Culture.
Otacore is not a single kind of music genre and has no set structure, BPM or style. This means you could have some Lo-Fi songs that end up being categorised as Otacore or even some electronic music that is classed the same.
This is due to the content of the song.
Click to jump to the official Otacore definition.
If it has anime, video game, TV, and film references from Japanese Culture, it can be considered as Otacore.
In this article, we’ll cover exactly what Otacore music is, and how it might have ended up on your Spotify wrapped this year.
What Is Otacore? (Short Answer)
Here’s a short description of what the Otacore music genre is:
Otacore is a term used to describe music that takes influence from Japanese culture, & has its origins in fan communities like, Anime/Manga. It’s a modified version of the word Otaku, which translates to: “geek”/ “nerd”. Ota is short for Otaku, Core is short for hardcore, Otacore therefore translates to: geek-core/nerd-core.
This means that any music you listen to that has an Anime theme, or has heavy influence from Japanese culture, can be described as Otacore.
It was a term created by Every Noise At Once Project & Spotify, labelling it as music with origins in fan-bases & communities like anime & manga.
What Does Otacore Sound Like?
Imagine rock, pop, chill, or electronic music with an anime vibe to it or Japanese culture influence – that’s what Otacore sounds like. It’s generally a heavy, happy, uplifting genre, but can really be anything, as long as it has a Japanese influence.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what really identifies as the Otacore music genre. So, instead of trying to describe the sound to you, we’ve left two YouTube videos below that will give you a flavour of what it sounds like.
As you’ll hear from the music, it’s really diverse in its speed and instrumentation, but it has a common style running through it – anime/Japanese sound.
We’d say it’s not really a genre because it sounds a lot like already existing music genres. But, it’s rather a category that houses Japanese music of all types. The western world’s current obsession with Japanese culture seems like it has more to do with this genre than actually being a different style of music.
For instance, the Rock is literally just Rock with Japanese singers. The pop sounds a lot like Fusion Jazz too.
What Does Core Mean?
Core is a word used to describe many sub-genres of Hardcore music.
There are many music genres out there that include “core” at the end of their name including: Nightcore, Raggacore, Breakcore, Doomcore, Psycore etc.
But, if you listen to Hardcore music, and compare it to Otacore – they sound entirely different.
Hardcore is a type of music that can be described as extremely harsh, fast dance music, that you’d expect to hear at a rave. It’s popular among the illegal rave scene and is often played alongside many sub-genres of it including: Breakcore, Raggcore etc.
Otacore doesn’t really hold the same electronic heaviness that Hardcore music does, and you can hear it. There are many chill, laid back Otacore songs, which makes it seem less like a sub-genre of Hardcore.
We’ve left two videos below so you can listen to other Hardcore styles of music and hear the difference between Otacore and the Hardcore style.
Nevertheless, that’s what core stands for: Hardcore.
What Does Otaku Mean?
Otaku roughly translates to English as “geek” or “nerd. It’s usually used to describe someone who is very into something like anime, card games, video games etc. Hence the term Otacore is used to describe music that is inspired by anime, and similar Japanese culture.
Otaku is also used as a word among anime fan communities to describe themselves, and who they identify as.
It therefore could be seen as quite similar to the derogatory term “Weeaboo” that’s used to describe westerners, that are obsessed with Japanese culture.
However, Otaku is much less of a harmful term than a Weeaboo in the West. An Otaku is someone who just enjoys anime and Japanese culture. They do not denounce their own race or have waifu pillows. They enjoy the TV & culture of Japan and the music that comes with it.
Otaku could be seen as an offensive word in Japanese culture, much like geek or nerd could be seen as this too, but in the western world, it’s more of a positive word to describe these communities that have a basis in anime & Japanese culture.
Is Otacore Really A Genre?
“A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions” (Wikipedia)
Going by the Wikipedia definition of music genre, Otacore would be classed as a genre on its own. There are not a lot of rules for what really makes up an Otacore song. Maybe this is due to its infancy and it will take on a new style, but until then, it’s really hard to pinpoint and define it as a genre.
Otacore doesn’t have a style that gels the music together. It can be EDM, Fusion Jazz, Metal Music, Rock, Lofi and a whole other range of things. So you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’d be able to listen to something and go “oh… that’s definitely Otacore”.
But it’s definitely a music genre!
An easy way to tell if something is Otacore or not is; if it sounds like anime music or not. If it sounds like Anime music, then it will definitely be categorised as Otacore music.
What Songs Are Otacore?
There are many Otacore songs out there that range different styles of music like Rock, Pop, EDM etc. So we’ve included a list of some songs you can take a listen to that are in the weird & wonderful fan-based music.
Here’s a list of of Otacore songs:
Otacore Artists List
Popular Otacore artists include:
- Steven Universe
- Linked Horizon
- Black Gryph0n
- Ken Ashcorp.
This article covers everything you need to know about Otacore, and what it is. Hopefully, it’s helped to clear up your queries.
To recap, Otacore is:
A term used to describe music that takes influence from Japanese culture, & has its origins in fan communities, being popular among anime fans. It’s a modified version of the word Otaku, which translates to: “geek”/ “nerd”. Ota is short for Otaku, Core is short for hardcore, Otacore, therefore, translates to: geek-core/nerd-core.
With over 8 years of hands-on experience in the music industry, Harry has run successful raves, played alongside industry heavyweights such as Max Chapman, DJ EZ, DJ Zinc and more (pictured below), had music played on national radio, DJ’d on live radio, produced until he hated every song, mixed until his ears bled, created sample packs from scratch using just a Zoom H1n and some sound design skills… and pretty much anything related to music production – he’s done it, tested it, tried it.