I've had a lot of comments and emails over the years regarding listening to binaural beats on YouTube.
While there's some pretty cool, weird and wonderful stuff to be found there, if you're serious about benefiting from brainwave entrainment I generally don't recommend that you spend too much time indulging on the videos there.
There's a number of reasons why this is.
So let me explain why the majority of these videos can't be trusted, and even when they can, why you probably won't get the benefits you expect.
1. Amateur Productions
The first thing to note is that the large majority of content creators are there to simply to do just that: create content that attracts views.
The more views they get the more money they will receive in advertising revenue, or potentially sponsorships.
They don't really have an ethical commitment to the end user, because what they are providing to the end user is free of charge. So if someone complains about the content they have no obligation to that user as a customer.
They are providing a free public service, not a consumer service as a private company.
There is no requirement from YouTube for the music contain the frequencies it says it does, or to meet the expectations of the end user.
This means that pretty much anyone can start a channel and start uploading content. And when it comes to brainwave entrainment music, the end user has no idea whether the content creator really knows what they are doing, and whether the content itself is what it says it is in the title.
There are very few content creators on YouTube creating brainwave entrainment music who actually go under their real name. You certainly don't have a contact number, and in most cases you cannot message the person either.
With this in mind, there is no onus upon the creator to create a professional product. You are getting something free and you don't really have a right to ask further questions or complain. It is a case of take what you are given.
In short, you are dealing with amateur producers, probably producing the content in their bedrooms, and not being wholly transparent about what they are doing.
For the most part the channel owners are just looking at which topics get a large amount of views on other channels and then copying what those channels are doing.
2. Not the Real Deal
I know that the guys who own the BinauralBeatsMeditation.com store, who pretty much invented this genre of music (combining music healing and binaural beats) have been working with YouTube to take down videos and channels who use their brand name to promote their videos.
A while back a bunch of channels were taken down and a number of channels forced to stop using the Binaural Beats Meditation name because it was misleading and violated copyright.
It didn't take long for channels to do the same again, though. It's way too hard to police this.
Anyway, this is a clear example of content creators doing whatever they can to attract views, even if that means pretending to be a company that they aren't. This is dishonest and untrustworthy and another reason to avoid binaural beats on YouTube.
3. Headaches & Nausea
Why is it that so many listeners complain of headaches after listening to this type of music on YouTube. I have received numerous emails and comments on this blog asking why a headache occurred while or after listening.
While it's true that a very small percentage of people may experience a headache while listening to binaural beats, this is usually when listening to high-frequency recordings in the gamma state, which isn't recommended for those who suffer anxiety. Occasionally this might also happen in beta, but is very rare in alpha, theta and delta.
However, the reason it happens when listening to amateur productions is potentially because of one of three reasons
- The tone/sound waves you are listening to are not binaural beats, and the creator has simply produced a very prominent tone at a frequency that is unpleasant to listen to. After a long period of time this gives you a headache.
- The musical overlay and the binaural beats frequencies underneath the music is poorly balanced and causes you to feel nauseous.
- There is dissonance between the frequencies comprising the musical overlay and the binaural beats frequencies themselves. In layman's terms this means that there is a lack of harmony between the two elements, that the elements have not been tuned together properly so that they work together as a harmonic composition. An easier way to explain this is to compare it to listening to a piece of music where a piano and guitar are playing at the same time but are out of key. After a while of listening this would annoy you and may begin to give you a headache as your brain repels the sound.
4. Thin on Detail/Evidence
Unlike when you buy binaural beats from a reputable store, there is very little information given about the frequency content of the binaural beats and why they have chosen a particular frequency or frequencies.
Often they just copy and paste information found on the Internet, or copied from other channels on YouTube that correlates with the title of the video.
But beyond that you don't know whether they actually have included that frequency information in the content or whether they actually know how to produce the content properly so that is effective.
I'm not saying that there aren't good producers on YouTube and channels that are transparent, but these are very few in comparison with just how many channels are producing low quality productions that clearly don't do what they say on the tin.
They also tend to exaggerate claims, and do not base these claims on scientific research, or even try to justify the claims through some historical reference to music healing.
The video is usually just a short description stating that the recording is going to do X, Y, and Z, and that's it.
5. Poor Quality
One of the big problems with YouTube is that even if you upload a high quality file, it is compressed by the YouTube platform, and then compressed again through your internet connection, and then subject to some compression coming through your device.
It is difficult to accurately say by how much the quality will be reduced and the level of impact on the ‘frequency following response' that triggers the brainwave entrainment, but there is certainly an impact.
Longer videos will be subject to higher the compression and therefore the quality greatly reduced. I have debated this issue with other audiophiles files and, while some don't entirely agree with me that the effects would be greatly reduced, all agree that is far better to have access to a high quality, downloadable file of a minimum of 320 Kbps Mp3.
6. Poor Connectivity
There is also the problematic issue of having to be connected to the internet when listening. It is not always practical to be connected to the Internet, and very large videos can quickly drain your monthly megabyte allowance on your data plan.
Some people may have the YouTube premium membership where you can download content and listen off-line, but again this isn't practical for videos of 30 minutes or 1-hour plus.
Depending on how strong and reliable your Internet connection is, streaming large recordings from YouTube may also encounter interruptions such as buffering, whereby the music stops and starts – which is really annoying.
I think listening to binaural beats on YouTube is a fun place to start if you're curious.
Sure, it's free, but if you are serious about getting into brainwave entrainment then you will want a professional product that you can download and share amongst your devices.
It isn't always practical to access YouTube videos whenever you want, and channels and their videos can disappear at any time, whereas the products that you download and own is a lifetime purchase that you always have access to.
But most important of all, you will want to ensure that you are listening to exactly what you think you are listening to.
You want to know that you are just listening to something that a 15-year-old kid made in his bedroom and titled it in a particular way in order to attract more viewers to his channel.
You want to know that your product is being created in a professional studio environment by music engineers that know what they are doing.
And you also want the added benefit of customer service to assist you with any questions you may have about choosing the right recordings for your personal development.
Don't get me wrong, I love YouTube. I myself am into music production and I watch a lot of tutorials and documentaries on YouTube. It's a fabulous place to enhance your knowledge of specific hobbies and to watch funny things.
However, it isn't a good place to find high-quality binaural beats music. If you want to do that, click on the link below to see my recommendations.