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What kind of music do you listen to while working?

Robert Newton on April 29, 2018

Looking for what others find good for their productivity or code writing. What kind of music do you listen to that gets you in the zone?

For me, it can be anything from classical to metal, lofi to an entire playlist of hans zimmer.

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Michiel Hendriks

In generally I prefer not to listen to music as it generates various forms of distraction. Singing is the worst as the text affects you train of thought. But also a strong beat, or rhythm can clash with the current flow. These can affect your productivity. I mostly listen to music when there are other distractions I need to cancel out.

When I do listen to music I listen to video game music which has been created for ambiance. This music can easily dissolve in the background and not cause more distractions.

Several artist I listen to are:

  • Austin Wintory. Albums like Journey, ABZU, and Flow.
  • Ben Prunty. Especially the FTL soundtrack is good.
  • Disasterpeace.
  • Jeremy Soule. Mostly the Elder Scrolls sounds tracks, as a lot of the others are not really that ambiant
  • Garoad. A lot of good background music in the VA​-​11 HALL​-​A soundtrack.

Generally noc-action focused simulation video games and classic puzzle games have good background music suitable for programming.

Sometimes I kick it up a notch with some strong sythwave from

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Ryan Norton

I completely forgot about Ben Prunty. Thank you! So good!

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Priyansh Jain

Witcher my friend

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Landry Monga

Personally mostly progressive and house music.

I like what can be called "brain food" music. It puts me in a mood where I am 100% into my work and cannot be distracted.

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Sadra Isapanah Amlashi • Edited on

That's awesome👌 thanks, Landry 🙏

While I'm coding, I listen to these playlists too:

Beats to think I

Beats to think II

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Alec Larson

House and ambient music are my favorites. 😏

Check out this house mix:

rhymes profile image

There are some good pointers here:

I do not differentiate between coding music and music for the rest of the activities :-D.

I mostly listen to various playlists on Spotify, the last album I enjoyed was Cardi B's.

Jóhann Jóhannsson – Orphée is a favorite of mine in the soothing music department.

I've also tried listening to Max Richter - Sleep which is 8 hours of music designed to be listened to while... sleeping :-D

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Joshua Bemenderfer

Both Jóhann Jóhannsson and Max Richter are in my playlist as well. You've got good taste. ;)

rhymes profile image

Ahah thanks!

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edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

Generally death metal, doom death, dark ambient and anything else atmospheric and distant. Usually I start the day with slower material and increase the intensity as the hours pass.

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One of the few! Tempo for me is usually dependent on my mood at the moment, but I generally stick to faster death metal or grindcore while working. My "head down and focusing" album has been Cryptopsy - None So Vile.

cess11 profile image

Circle of Dead Children, Human Harvest.

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edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

Kataklysm, Valkenfyre, Bloodbath, Behemoth are part of my high intensity fallbacks.

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Sergey Kislyakov

Anything with good bass and beats.

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Alec Larson

Agreed! Here's a good mix: ✌️

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Aaron Santos

For me, depends on the mood I arrive at the office: disco, oldies, new age, pop or rock en español; but in general I preffer dubstep or music like that (with high bass, weird sounds and no lyrics) at high volume. I need to isolate from conversations or whatever are happening at the officce.
I love rock and classical music, but I find I lost focus very quickly aprecciating songs, so it's very easy to get distracted.

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Colin Morgan

All sorts of stuff!

  • EDM
  • Prog Rock
  • Metal
  • Punk
  • Alt Rock
  • Hip Hop
  • Classical
  • Folk
  • Celtic
  • Instrumental Metal/Rock
  • Stuff that I don't even know the genre of.

Often I'll just let youtube or spotify run wild and see what happens. After work I sometimes find I have a song or two stuck in my head. I'll usually dig into that genre and listen to it for a few weeks or months.

I'm not going to lie, part of why I enjoy programming is because I get to listen to music most of the day. On that note, after almost ten years of listening to music with headphones on, I'm pretty sure my hearing has suffered.

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Scott Spence • Edited on

I love listening to Drum n' Bass whilst I'm coding, I love listening to it when I'm at the gym too, really helps me zone in.

Gym and Code are two separate playlists, coding one with less distracting vocals in there and the gym one with uplifting stuff 👌

And for super laser focus time I use which uses science!


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Carly Ho 🌈

My general best working music is largely ambient electronic with minimal or unclear vocals such that it’s not distracting, but with some dissonant/jarring qualities to keep my work rhythm up. Some of my favorites are Gazelle Twin, Alec Lambert, Andy Stott, Disasterpeace, Susumu Hirasawa, and the Mr. Robot soundtrack.

If I want to switch it up, I either put on some upbeat foreign-language pop music or the communal company Spotify playlist, since sometimes I think just switching my playlist can get me out of a rut and most of my coworkers have very different and fun music taste!

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I don't distinguish between the music i listen to when coding or any other time but i try to avoid music with to much singing because that music tends to distract me. So my favorite music genre is Drum&Bass and fortunately there are many tracks with no or few vocals.

Playlists i prefer:

Run 'N' Bass 170-175 BPM

Drum & Bass Top Tracks

Technimatic's Box of Tricks

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Jonathan Lacanlale

chillhop beats! Or really any smooth instrumentals with an added hip hop snare flavor. artists like jinsang, tomppabeats, and Wun Two are especially nice to listen to. Not too distracting, not too relaxing, just smooth enough to keep you focused and calm. These are my usual playlists if anyone would like to try!

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Ryan Norton

I stay away from vocals. Mostly ambient or electronic if not just various instrumentals

I've made a list that I listen to on Spotify

Adam Young/Owl City/Port Blue
Darren Korb
Soundtracks like Skyrim, FTL, Borderlands. These tend to be designed to keep you on task. I don't have compete evidence to prove it, but it does help me focus.

Also, the Wolf359 podcast has a soundtrack by Alan Rodi that can be purchased on Bandcamp.
SO good. Very ambient and quiet. Good background music to anything you're doing.

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Ross Henderson

It depends on what I'm doing. If I'm zoning it and I know exactly what I'm doing then it's House/Trance and other repetitive music. Deadmau5 is a favourite of mine, as is the YouTube channel "The Grand Sound".

But if I'm researching or making a lot of small changes, documents, etc, then probable Rock/Metal. I've been listening to a lot of Gojira, InMe and Dethklok at the moment.

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Evaldas Buinauskas
  • Chillstep
  • Vocal
  • House
  • Gaming music

These all help me concentrate.

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Alec Larson

I've got a sweet house mix for you!

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TMcSquared • Edited on

Growing up homeschooled, I haven't had much experience with working in total silence. :P I listen to music because my mind tends to drift away and get distracted if I don't have some sort of background noise.
Mostly I listen to Celtic Thunder/Woman groups or [Southern] Gospel groups such as Greater Vision or Ernie Haas & Signature Sound.
On occasion to like to listen to classical music such as Mozart's Ein Klein Nacht Musick (probably botched the spelling)

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Adam Krpan

I agree with a lot of the comments said before this (especially the one about Ben Prunty, he's awesome); for me, I'd like to add on Electro Swing. I'm not quite sure why, but something about it tends to get me going really well. I usually listen here, although there's tons of others similar to it as well:

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Brian Kephart

I’ve been a musician much longer than I’ve been a programmer, so I tend to listen to whatever interests me. I don’t really choose on any sort of functional basis. The idea of doing that actually makes me sad because it seems reductive somehow, like turning art into a mere stimulant.

Of course, that means no one else can concentrate if I pick the music.

Miles Davis, John 5, E.S.T., Dead Sara, intervals, Chasing Furies, Bill Frisell, Bill Evans, Polyphia, Funkadelic...

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Lars Wächter

Most of the time I listen to Chillstep. For example 'Blackmill'

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Aarón Ch. Sánchez

24/7 freeCodeCamp radio - chill tunes you can code to (no ads)

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Higor Rossato

Generally Death Metal but it may vary from day to day. Some days I need more heavy music, others a little bit softer.

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Mike Vanbuskirk

Usually some kind of electronic music at 160+ bpm(footwork, DnB), but could trend into more instrumental metal as well. I'll sometimes go slower with the electronic as well.

DnB: Om Unit, Sam Binga, Fracture, Neptune, Rockwell, dBridge, Icicle, Doc Scott

160/Footwork: Ducky, Machinedrum, DJ Paypal/Teklife, Slick Shoota

Electronic: Burial, Jacques Green, Pearson Sound, Ben UFO, Boards Of Canada, Tycho, DJ Shadow, Chrome Sparks, Caribou, Ital Tek

Metal: Astronoid, Animals As Leaders

Can really vary by mood and day. Spotify does a pretty impressive job of queuing up music it thinks I'll like. Soundcloud is also a great source for mixes.

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Usually some extreme metal or trap style EDM I haven't heard before, then I make a note in the hourly break if it was really good or not.

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Fer Molina

From deep house to thrash / power metal :)

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Adnan Rahić

"Nyan cat 12h remix" 😐
Guilty pleasures...

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Adnan Rahić

Jokes aside, progressive house always keeps me focused when I'm wired in.

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Victor Bordo

This is pretty good: CodingRadio

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Chardenal Matthieu

Hardstyle/Hardcore nobody :( ?

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Thomas H Jones II • Edited on

Was coding to the three hours of a Defqon 1 retrospective, the other day.

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Saurabh Sharma

anything, but probably in Hindi, Punjabi, English

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Swapnil Agarwal • Edited on
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SidDefinition • Edited on

lofi hip hop remix - beats to relax and study to

Or Pop Punk or Pop or Metal

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Pierre Bouillon

I love listening to calm and sweat stuff. I really like music like vexento's: a kind of electro with a good rhythm and no lyrics so I can stay focus.

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Preslav Rachev

I have found out that movie soundtracks work quite well on my productivity. I'd usually start a movies playlist on Spotify, or an online radio, called CineMix while coding.

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Nicolai Süper 🍃🌧

I regularly hear Techno / Tech-House without vocals.

Progressive 4/4 beats make me instantly flow into the code. 😊

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Antonio Radovcic
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Donald Merand

For me, it can't have words - I must focus on the music when it has words.

There are a million genres that work fine, but when I need to be in the full zone, I like Squarepusher + Aphex Twin.

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Ben Sinclair • Edited on
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Bryan Baldwin

Human Music. I LIKE IT

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Nervous Juice

I start off with Classical//Opera. Then the project will change and more than likely the playlist, probably some DOOM,R.A.G.U., E-40, Grunge, CNN or the like.

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Hudson Burgess

Not music, but check out Noisli - lets you mix your own background sounds. I find it really relaxing.

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Alison Vargas

Mostly progressive rock/metal and jazz.

I really like 'the algorithm' kind of music too.

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Patrick M

Pretty lights is a great to listen to while I'm coding. No vocals and lots of melodic, deep beats. I also find the pacing to be relaxed but not slow.