There's nothing like a touch of background music to get you to focus. Music blocks out the noise that would otherwise bother you or the silence that you prefer not to listen to. Particularly for developers, who have to focus for long periods of time, music can be helpful to up their productivity.
So what music do developers listen to? I asked the X-Team community and the developer Twitterverse. Here are their responses, grouped into genres.
It probably won't surprise many that ambient music was mentioned a few times. One X-Teamer likes to listen to Pale Blue Dot by Benn Jordan to "study, meditate, work, or do art", listening to the album for both creative and repetitive activities.
Not only is classical music pleasant to listen to while programming, but it's also been shown to boost people's IQ when doing complex tasks, something that's known as the Mozart Effect. Ludovico Einaudi and Hans Zimmer were mentioned.
Jazz came up a few times too. Not the complex, experimental jazz of someone like John Coltrane, but gentle, mellow jazz, that can easily blend in with the white noise of a coffee shop. But not just jazz either. X-Teamers gave a few suggestions that seemed to blend jazz elements with lo-fi beats.
Closely related to the above playlist comes electronic music. One X-Teamer quoted Random Access Memories, the excellent 2013 album by Daft Punk. While this music is definitely of a higher intensity than the suggestions so far, for some reason it works quite well for me too.
YouTube has excellent collections of post-rock records. Post-rock is a type of experimental rock that uses rock instruments, but more to construct an atmosphere instead of sticking to a traditional chord progression with vocals. Great to focus.
So far, all suggestions have been instrumental; music that creates an atmosphere. But not all developers are alike. Some X-Teamers prefer heavy metal while programming, even with lyrics. Wolves at the Gate and Tool were two examples given.
Sometimes, it doesn't even have to be music. Nature provides excellent background noise, and people enjoy listening to the sound of rain or the sounds of the jungle.
What about you? What music do you listen to? Is there an album in particular that you like? Let me know in the comments 👇!