It’s a beautiful summer day, and Tom Jones’ voice is so close to your ear that it feels like he’s breathing on your brain, slowly whispering, “What’s new, pussycat?” No, you’re not on mushrooms — but you might be calming down.
As the world keeps getting weirder, the music industry continues to innovate. The last year or so has brought forth sleep remixes, punch tracks, Lego DJs, AI pop stars, and video-game concerts. That list of wacky developments got longer when streaming service Deezer launched a new branch of Deezer Sessions, in which musical stars create ASMR remixes of their own hit songs.
The first batch of tracks includes Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’,” James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful,” Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat?,” Ava Max’s “Kings & Queens,” and Yungblud’s “Parents.” Nigel Harding, Deezer’s VP of Artist Marketing, tells Rolling Stone that the company is on the lookout for more artists to partner with and in the midst of chatting with multiple labels. Similar to other Deezer Sessions and Originals, Harding says, his team hopes to update the selection at least one to two times a year.
Why ASMR? According to Deezer, there’s a demand. Harding, in particular, mentions the whispery content’s supposed “health benefits” and “entertainment purposes.” More than 60 percent of the 12,000 people Deezer surveyed worldwide said they engage with ASMR content, with 18 percent doing so on a daily basis. 37 percent of fans say they use ASMR to reduce stress, while 35 percent cite a desire for “comfort” as the big draw. 28 percent use ASMR content to lull themselves to sleep, and 21 percent promote its “mood-lifting” capabilities.
“It’s truly fascinating how everybody responds differently to ASMR content,” Alexander Holland, Deezer’s Chief Content and Product Officer, said in a statement, “What was once considered a niche community is now becoming more mainstream. Whether you love it, hate it or just plain ambivalent, it’s worth exploring to see if there is a right trigger for you. That’s why I can’t wait for our fans to experience some of their favorite songs as ASMR tracks. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.”