Cover image for What do you listen to when writing code?

What do you listen to when writing code?

cilvako profile image Silvia Bogdan Updated on ・1 min read

Listening to music usually increases my productivity when I deal with the layout of an app (everything related to HTML, CSS) but I can't really focus if I need to think about functionality/ write Javascript. The absolute no-go is listening to German lessons while writing any kind of code.

What are your listening habits? Are you going for music, podcasts, audiobooks? Feel free to share any of those (maybe some of us will also find inspiration in the things you listen to while writing code; plus, I ran out of new music :D).

Source image: Simon Noh/ @simon_noh on Unsplash


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I'm in 🖤 with Lo-fi tunes, they're usually instrumental and that helps me focusing, I made this +3h playlist that I keep updating.


Thx for sharing, Daniel.


I mostly listen to music when I'm coding, whatever I'm coding--ideally with an energetic beat to keep my energy up! (current favourite for this is Chapel's album Sunday Brunch).

When I'm studying/learning code I can't listen to anything even the slightest bit distracting though--I use Rainy Mood if I need background noise and that's about it :)


I listen songs from other languages. While writing code.
While learning no background music.


I have the same problem. That's what has drawn me to female japanese rock bands in the past months (Band-Maid, Dollsbox, Babymetal): the brain gets the energy and the focus but is not engaged in understanding, and then following/judging/think about the lyrics.
The problem now it that I've become a fan, and I really want to learn japanese to understand and sing along... 🤣

That's the buity of Japanese music ... I like Japanese lo-fi music.


Oh, that's so nice, I didn't know about Rainy Mood (rain is my favorite background noise and I'm tired of Youtube videos). It's a one time purchase or it works with a subscription? Thx for sharing!


You're very welcome for sharing! Thanks for the thread!

And the web version of Rainy Mood is completely free! I believe the app version is free too but it's been a while since I've downloaded so I'm not sure. Worth checking out at least!


I adore the sound generators at MyNoise.net! They have everything and then some.

For music, it varies depending on my mood, and can include on any given day: classical, jazz, ambient, cinematic/soundtrack, contemporary, alt rock, synphonic metal, metalcore, rap, and the list goes on. Sometimes I like lyrics—they occupy the distractable part of my brain so I can think better—other times I prefer instrumental.

Here's a couple of my regular playlists:


Oh, they have quite a music selection :D. Thank you for sharing!


Hi, I listen to Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Autechre, Four Tet, ambient electronic, future jazz, chill-fi lo-hop, and sometimes retro synth cyber punk electronic music. What an enjoyable thread. Thanks for starting this one. Also, I use a dragonfly red usb DAC and have a Tidal HiFi membership— kind regards all —FisheyJay


Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada and Four Tet are also on my playlist :D. I can recommend Burial and Public Memory, if you didn't already try them. Thank you for sharing!


Ah yes! Burial is also very good for programming :p

That’s it, I have to check out Burial right now. Lol

Yop, right after two long, boring, unnecessary meetings ... I will if ... I am still breathing, LOL


Hi and thank you. I will check them out.


I like Lo-fi / minimal tunes.

But most of the time :):


Thx for the recommendations, I also sometimes use Soma, but I didn't listen to these channels in particular. It's funny, so many radios have vintage-looking websites.


you literally described my life!


Wonderful thread, Silvia!
When I want 0 distractions, its thunderstorm white noise.
Otherwise it's ludovico einaudi or something classical.


Anything with lyrics or a catchy beat just draws me away from the code.


Yeah me too - distant thunderstorm or ocean waves as a first choice :) Will try out your classical suggestion though!


Ludovico Einaudi is a great choice!


Ahhhhhhhh, Ludovico Einaudi. Good stuff.

Ever heard Kai Engel? Wayne Gratz?


No, I haven't. Let me check them out. Thank you!
I also forgot to mention Yiruma.


I vote for thunderstorm noises also. I use those not only for when I write code but also for when I want to fall asleep.


If i have trouble falling asleep, some boring book will do :)


I listen for about 6 hours a day to music, during working hours. There are many reasons, but mostly to keep focused on my tasks and not on random stuff happening around me.

I prefer mildly aggressive music. For some weird reason, it keeps me calm and focused. The anger is in the sound, not in me. For 2019, Spotify said my top bands were Dio and Rammstein.

I tried listening to peaceful music, nature sounds, jazz, no-lyrics-music.... I was just getting stressed. So, Rock and Heavy Metal is my sin, I guess.


I used to live in a party house, I got to the point where I was putting on Slayer to block out the party sounds, I could literally sleep with Reign In Blood playing in my earphones.


I see the general consensus is that calm music goes well with writing code, but everyone is different. I know people who get sleepy when listening to it, so they prefer something more upbeat. I sometimes need to listen to D&B to be able to focus, so I get what you mean. Thank you for sharing.


Yup, that's me! That's why I prefer ACDC 😜


soft piano / soundtracks are my favorite. I rotate these 4 on the regular.

that being said, here are two personal guilty pleasures of mine


You're the second person mentioning Tron: Legacy. It's one of my favorites too :D.


I found this music for programming compilation tracks a few years back, and have listened to it a lot while working on code or in general some other work that requires focus. Check it here:


Will do, thx for sharing - the design of the website is really cool :D.


Currently listening to:
spotify galaxy of guardians playlist cover

Usually, I move from playlist to playlist in a matter of weeks. Which means that for weeks I listen to the same 10 - 20 songs. Repetitiveness helps to concentrate for me. 😅


I'm also guilty of repetitiveness , especially when I discover albums that I like a lot.


My taste in dev music is a subset of my taste in music, and there are things I love that just keep me out of programming:

  • Jazz - Been a big fan for years, but, except for the smoothest of smooth jazz, it draws my attention
  • Singers (in English) - Vocals are wonderful, even if I routinely don't pay attention to what's said, but when I'm coding, I'm thinking words at myself and those words get in the way. However, when the vocals are in another language, I can mostly just think of it as another instrument

So, my go-to musics tend to be EDM/Techno/House, especially variations where there's no singing, and "kraut rock", especially Neu!'s tracks "Hallogallo" and "Fur Immer", which hit a level of energy and maintian. The band The War On Drugs has a similar constrained energy which allows it to be "audio firewall", keeping out distractions without being a distraction in and of itself.

But sometimes I need something outside of that to get my head in motion.


One of my perennial favorites is Chet (1959) by Chet Baker. Sooooo smooth and classy.

Unrelated, have you tried the instrumental albums by Les Friction for focus?


My big complaint about Jazz as Dev Music is normally that it's Too Much, especially things like "Giant Steps". Chet, however is almost Not Enough.

As a musician and jazz lover, I dig it. But dev brain is rejecting it. Or it's rejecting my current project. I don't know.


I have not. I'll throw it into the queue.

I will suggest Steelism, El Ten Eleven, and the Beastie Boys' instrumental album, The In Sound From Way Out as well.


I love listening to anything where i dont have to focus on the lyric. This includes songs that i know well or songs without lyrics. I really enjoy metal/metalcore/other metal genres ..., rap with high energy and heavy beats, my specific playlist of well known songs with a mixture of rock, metal, pop rock.


If I know the lyrics to the song, I'm a goner - I'd have to stop everything I'm doing to finish that chorus!


I absolutely love synthwave / space music that has a good beat to keep me going, but nothing too distracting to break my programming flow. Once I get into a comfortable playlist, I have a nice work rhythm going! Here’s my favorite playlist I frequently put on shuffle: Space Phantasies


I have been listening to that playlist this morning and it's great--thanks for sharing!


Yay! So glad to share some great space vibes 🪐💫


Music is a real no-go for me when writing code, I cant not listen to they lyrics or get into the beat.

this video really persuaded me to turn off distractions.


I totally get what you mean, it's like driving and listening to music (something I still can't do... yet). Interesting video, I will give it a try since I have focusing issues. Thx for sharing.


I used to listen to alot of Classical music to prevent me from trying to sing along with the lyrics. I'm currently learning Korean so mainly Korean hip hop and RnB now


How do you feel about K Pop :D?


Are you working on any side projects?

No, not at the moment. I lack free time for some reason. You?

I'm currently working on a couple things. Its a struggle trying to find like minded to work on such things, so I end up working solo. I'm looking to develop a couple of mirco sass platforms with MRR.

Maybe create a post exactly for this - finding people to work together or projects?


I usually listen to Audible audiobooks. My personal favorites are Harry Potter and The Witcher. I also listened to Lord of the Rings, The Night Angel Trilogy (Brent Weeks), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams), plenty books by Paulo Coelho and some others :)


Hi. For me, my music choice depends on my mood and a bit on the task I have to do. These are some of the playlists/albums on spotify, that I listen to while coding:

Tracks with lower beats per minute:

Tracks with higher bpm:


Thank you for sharing, I will definitely check the ones with higher a bpm :).


If you like higher bpm, then check out the latest of Camo & Krooked. It's a live recording with a symphonic orchestra. Definitely something unique. And although in the lower bpm section, consider giving the Kruder & Dorfmeister mix a try. Fun fact: Camo & Krooked and Kruder & Dorfmeister are from Austria.


I listen to Chilled Cow's Lofi music stream as my default background music choice.



thats on half the monitors where I work :)


It's such a neutral and smooth sounding playlist that steps back and allows you to focus on what's in front of you, with it there only to stir the silence.

I've visited coffee shops with the Chilled Cow stream on their TV and it is such a relaxing atmosphere.


I'm listening to lo-fi music on the most. and this playlist from Studio Ghibli

and I created this playlist for Egyptian rap, I play it when I'm not 100% focused :D


I second Ghibli! it made me sane for the last 2 years whilst I was doing my masters!



Stuff You Should Know - iheart.com/podcast/105-stuff-you-s...
Ear Hustle - earhustlesq.com/
2 Dope Queens - npr.org/podcasts/481107308/2-dope-...


Lately I've been listening to Disney soundtracks for nostalgia.

I listen to piano music from Studio Ghibli - youtube.com/watch?v=YnWjlpTHUZw

Currently I've been listening to the Iron Giant soundtrack - youtube.com/watch?v=5c86mAmwK9A&li...

Honestly, it's whatever mood I'm in. I try to listen to something that lasts at least an hour so I don't have to divert my attention from what I'm working on and have to pick something new to listen to.


Thx for the "Stuff You Should Know" recommendation, I will definitely check it out :D.


I can't listen to audio books or podcasts while coding because I'd end up focusing on one of them and losing track in the other. For the same reason, I can't listen to complex classical music pieces. I find myself mostly keeping piano solos (Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Satie, Debussy, etc.), and movie soundtracks (John Williams!) in the background while coding.


Carla's Dreams, The Motans, Nublu


Carla's Dreams and The Motans are pretty famous in my home country.


Esti din Romanian sau Moldova? Vorbesti putin romaneste. :)

Da, sunt din Romania ;). Tu?

Asta e misto, si eu SUA.


sound of nature :) I love instrumentals that soak me up into the nature! such sounds as waterfall, waves, birds, rain drops, etc. It makes me feel more humane than punching-code machine and triggers my creativity and originality in a way.


Rain is one of my favorite white noises, so I totally get it :D. Thx for sharing.


I used to enjoy Lo-Fi but recently I found that feel-good music and EDM make me feel more productive. I can't listen to my favorite songs while working though, I always get distracted with those, so I have to listen to songs that are new or relatively unknown (to me) .


I listen to Chilledcow lofi channel on Spotify most of the time. I like vibing on repetitive music with no lyrics, so I can really focus.

When I need some big energy, I resort to my own playlist which consist of different genres like metal, rock, punk.


I listen mostly to metal. Really gets me moving, and I can translate that head-banging energy into keyboard-tapping energy.


I listen to music while coding. Usually any music works but when I need to dive deep and start debugging, I like listening to puzzle/crime/mystery game soundtracks. First thing that comes to mind is Logic and Trick from the first Phoenix Wright game - The music perfectly fits the "investigation" moments of the games, so it really works for debugging as well!



I usually listen to music which is fast-paced and upbeat. This includes mostly rock (metal, alt, prog etc.) and electronic (trance, psych etc.) music. I have my playlist set to shuffle. The lesser the lyrics, the better, though!

(Special mention: Pink Floyd)

But when I get in the "zone", it really doesn't matter what is playing :).


To be in the zone, SoundCloud DJ Sets, continuous electronic music for hours, little vocals, roughly around upper heart-beat beats-per-minute, e.g. Frida Karlo on Kater Blau (there is plenty going back years). If it feels too lonely adding some coffitivity for some background noise.


I like listening to things that will hype me up, if I need to really focus it'd have to be music I'm familiar with. In Ramadan I was trying not to listen to music and my focus really suffered 😅 I tried those hyper focus/intelligence music on YouTube but it didn't do it for me.
I also love listening to audiobooks, but only memoirs when I'm working because I couldn't focus if there's a lot of description and conversation.


Depends on what I'm doing. Instrumental for focus and music for lyrics when I'm doing mindless stuff.

These are mainly instrumental which I listen to frequently.


Did you try listening to piano?

I don't know for you but I have found it to be a very good music for me to focus. I just type piano songs on Spotify and start working right away. I guess I was used to it when I was younger and that my neighbor was playing piano back then.

And I don't even listen to piano at all! I'm most used to listen to rock music and select the best songs for when I am on my motorcycle to listen.


For me it depends on my mood but some of the stuff that gets played the most are Tron: Legacy OST (Daft Punk), synthwave mixes like this one: youtu.be/vKUVorBJHlU and symphonic metal bands. Old tracks from Eric Prydz and classical music (mostly Vivaldi) are also a coding favourite of mine :)


Tron: Legacy has one of my favorite movie soundtracks (big Daft Punk fan here :D). Thx for the recommendations.


there are two phases in coding!

  1. u know what to code and you code.
  2. u think of functionality to code. for the first one ,EDM is the best choice you can ever get to. but for the second i hear the ocean waves sound with light piano or guitar(sometimes just ocean waves)

I've been doing it! it works and hope it works for you too!

try it out


I have some playlists on Spotify that it tooks me a lot of time to build

Most of the time I follow the french Spotify community on Facebook to discover new artists (also I have a sub in a mag called Les Inrockuptibles) when they publish new playlists but the problem is that new artists don't do really good music for coding so I go back to my playlists

My account is spotify/thefailtheory and also I follow some people and I like that playlists named "special for coding" or "focusing" in their accounts


Will check them out, thank you for sharing :)!


I almost exclusively listen to either nature sounds or classical. I find myself getting into the music if it has lyrics and I end up jamming out. Also, Lofi hip hop playlists are amazing for me.


I also avoid anything with lyrics, they too distracting. Thx for sharing.


I don't know why but I usually get distracted whenever I try to code and listen to music simultaneously ! So I prefer silence :D .
I've tried lo-fi tunes , other songs as well but didn't work out for me.


I'm guessing that nobody know him, but when I'm writing code and others aren't around I listen to some NF.


Had to google the name. Is it the rapper :D?


The Minecraft Alpha soundtrack by C418 ☺️


Haha, you kill two birds with one rock.


Really helps you think about code, oh wait no, no it doesn't.


Hi, I listen to lots of different types of melodies, sounds and tones. Podcasts are a go, just like Ted talks, ocean sounds, Hindu meditation tracks. And the news really sets a tone in the afternoon.


You're the first person mentioning the news. I couldn't really focus on the code if I need to extract info from the things I'm hearing, so good for you for being able to focus :).


I'm a front-end student who loves music. Usually I used to repeat the same track while coding, no matter it takes a hour or two. I keeps me calm and focused. When I switch to a new project or idea, I simply change the track and repeat...

Currently I've collected almost 3K tracks from NCS and music sharing sites and I listen them frequently. :)


Prog stimulates my brain. The new Haken needs to hurry up and drop already.

But sometimes mellow trip hop does the trick.

Sometimes I don't want to listen to anything at all.

And podcasts (at least tech-related) throw me off most of the time, because either I miss something I want to hear while concentrating, or I go down a rabbit hole based on what I heard.


For me it's usually rock for awhile tho I was only listening to mellow beats/lofi music as well just to keep my head clear, sometimes not having the singing will help me stay more focused. I try to listen to podcasts but it usually doesn't work as well I prefer some type of beat.


I'm listening the Deephouse whe make code and enjoy. However, I'm listening the Blues digital guitar when have dinner in deep midnight) that's fabulous!


Listening youtube live playlist everytime !
Check that out : youtube.com/watch?v=5qap5aO4i9A <3


I mostly listen syntax.fm 📻


Funny but for me, music is too annoying and noise. So i don't listen to anything :D


I am listening mostly to brain.fm/ and some lo-fi tunes or minimal techno playlists. If I am working on a severe bug, I switch more to hardcore punk playlists to get into the right mood.


Lo-fi seems to be the winner today :).