Updated on March 28th, 2018
The days of antenna radios at work are over, as smartphones and apps have taken over the world. For musicians, the internet has opened up a world of possibilities to reach new fans. Musicians around the world have been experimenting with everything from blockchain to hiring digital marketing firms.
Honestly, the number one way that I discover new music is from what plays at the office. Depending on who has control of the music, the day can be filled with rap, indie jams, or classic rock. Of course, some music is easier to tune out then others and when I have control of the music I’m bound to become distracted by songs that I actively listen to.
According to a study by MusicWorks, 65% of business owners across the UK reported that music boosts their productivity.
Every business is different and composed of different people. At legacy agencies you might be listening to classic rock, while new startups may veer more towards alternative Pandora stations and Spotify playlists.
But are these the right stations to truly boost your work productivity? Much research has been conducted on what types of music help us achieve total flow and minimize distractions. Some scientists even theorize that the best music for your office is silence. Let’s dive deeper and analyze what music is truly the best for your office.
According to an article by Nature, scientists found that listening to classical music did improve a student’s abstract reasoning skills afterward. Strangely, one study found that radiologists can benefit the most from listening to baroque classical music. The Mozart Effect has been widely discredited and credited, although we can admit that it’s better than most forms of music for the office.
Classical music rarely contains any lyrics and holds a nice steady tempo. This is good for keeping the mind nimble, as most of us can tune out the sound of classical. Of course, most classical music is so recognizable, that it could end up taking up a major portion of your focus and leave you distracted.
Whenever listening to music at work, it’s key to listen to music without lyrics. Trying to memorize and listen to lyrics can take tremendous mental effort, thus distracting you from work.
You have your pick of the litter here, whether its classical music, pre-programmed beats, post-rock, some math rock, big band, or whatever. Just make sure you don’t get too distracted by the buildups and progression of an instrumental song. Aim for uptempo beats and songs with simple structures.
Sounds of Nature
According to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, listening to natural sounds can improve your mood and cognitive function. Obviously, nature sounds will relax you and can be good for tough projects that require intense mental concentration. There are tons of playlists on Spotify to choose from, or maybe you can just open the windows.
Video Game Music
Did you ever think of this one? Studies have shown that video game background music allows for a more immersive experience. Does the same apply to the office?
Video game music can improve focus and mood. It’s both designed to pump you up, while also act as a fly on the wall. For me, I’m a big fan of the Legend of Zelda and its musical scores, although there is a wide selection of games to choose from.
What about pump you up music? “Till I collapse” is still one of the most played songs of all time because it’s the ultimate gym pump up song. But in my opinion, leave “We Will Rock You” for the workout, as the lyrics and emotion of the song can be a little overwhelming for expense reports.
What About My Favorite Band?
What about listening to the music I enjoy? Sorry, but unless you listen to baroque or instrumental music, chances are that those Cardi B or Smashing Pumpkins lyrics will be a little more distracting than stimulating. If you can’t resist the temptation to sing along, then it probably is better left for the ride home.
The verdict is still out whether music improves your workflow. In fact, many scientists theorize that silence is simply better for your focus and mental stimulus. Some even suggest taking a break every hour or two to reserve fifteen minutes for music.
Every person is different and no song or genre will benefit every employee. Fortunately, that’s why there’s headphones!