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Music for Programming (musicforprogramming.net)
738 points by galfarragem on Nov 1, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 427 comments

I've listened to Brain.fm since this past February, and it is truly amazing.

They have Focus, Relax, and Sleep, but I've only ever listened to Focus. It's like this steady stream of some kind of electronically generated music that changes each 30 minutes. I set it to 2 hours, and then I usually take a small break when it ends. I'll turn it on and literally get into the zone immediately; writing line after line of code without even realizing how quickly I'm working. It's like getting on a train to the Matrix or something.

Link: http://brain.fm/

Co-founder of brain.fm here. Thanks for the love!

Here's an exclusive deal on the lifetime membership for the next 24 hours.

It's a $29 deal (or 80% off) for the lifetime membership. Our best offer :)

Link: http://brain.fm/HN

Very cool of you, I was debating the $149 price tag, but at $30 I just paid before I could think of a reason not to.

Quick question: is there a way to use an audio player (e.g., Audacious, RhythmBox, VLC) to stream the music without using a web browser? The animated light curves in the background make the browser use 100% of a whole CPU core, which isn't ideal, especially when using a laptop on battery.

Eeeek we getting fixing this asap. Until then iOS app is best bet.

how about approximating those sine-wave curves with bezier curves?

ps: I'm getting my salary on Nov. 11th so could you extend your offer until then?

Plug of my own. I'm a maintainer on an OSX toolbar plugin called BeardedSpice. Simple mapping of play/pause/etc/ keys to website audio players.

I was really happy to see we already had a controller strategy for brain.fm. You guys are making great stuff.

Hey, I'm really digging the Focus music. I was wondering to what headphones are you guys tuning it. It sounds awesome on my studio monitors, but it sounds like crap on my ATH-M50 cans due to the bass going over its limit unless I keep it to a rather low volume.

I use Bose Q25s. The noise cancellation + constant noise of brain.fm are perfect for putting me in a bubble

Hey you coming out w/ an android app any time soon? Would love to try the relax while I sleep. Just bought the pro deal.

Yup! 80% done, sprinting to release it.

Whenever I hear a programmer say "80% done" I think of the contractor's version: "two weeks", from the old '80s movie Money Pit:


The joke at my old work was 'basically done'. Meaning they spent a weekend equivalent on a prototype. Management heard 'done' the rest of us heard 'not production ready'.

Here is, 'done, just needs testing'.

Great, that means you only have 80% left to do!

well generally I think however long the first 80% takes, the last 20% will take 1-2 times that.. but cool that they're working on an android version, I'm patient and can wait. Loving brain.fm it actually works to keep me focused.

So it's a paid service, but it won't tell me the price (or the limits on free accounts) until I give it my email... No thanks.

That's a great offer! I'm chiming in to say that it made it a no-brainer for me as well and I signed up. I'm also interested in an Android app. :)

Just checked out your site and it is great. The sound is superb and it really helps focusing. Also, your offer is super generous.

However, you only accept credit card payments. I would never give my credit card info to a random site just to read a month from now that they've been hacked.

Is there a reason you are not accepting PayPal or BitCoins? It seems that you are not using one of those big payment processors either.

According to the FAQs they use Stripe.

My fault. Indeed they submit to stripe. Sorry for the mistake.

The form was pointing to their own website.

That coupon code shows a negative price for the lower level memberships, not sure if that means you will be paying us for it :)

that would be a revolutionary business model

it's a tiny bug, fixing now!

I just tried it for an hour or so and it does seem great. Bummed on the lack of an Android app though... would've helped me immediately.

Anyway, I read your comments that it is nearly 80% done so I'll give it a shot and signup. The mobile version on Chrome browser works decently well so I think I'll manage with that till then.

Very cool of you guys offering such a big discount. Tried to sign-up, saw the banner (about the discount), chose lifetime subscription (even without trying) but my card still was charged $149.99. ;( Is there a way to fix this? I mean it totally maybe worth it, yet I wasn't ready to spend that much.

Oh, I just got refunded. Thanks!

Impulse purchased this last night without really knowing what it was but boy was i impressed! Incredible really what you've done here and the developement team here loved it to! Well Played chaps!

I just spent 50 bucks for a yearly subscription to one of your competitors a week ago. My biggest complaint about them is that I can't get a list of tracks that I've really enjoyed and there's no upvote, play more like this feature. I don't care about social "likes" but some songs in an otherwise great playlist are just really grating and throw me right out of the focus window. It would be nice to say "don't play this again"

Signed. There are some other feature requests in this thread so I chime in:

- As someone else commented, the helicopter-like tremolo on some tracks can be quite irritating. When I find it, I skip. Unfortunately sometimes it starts later in the track and breaks focus. It would be nice to customize track preferences.

- A minimal web mode, no animations, no inspiring quotes.

- Android app but I hear you are working on this...

- Downloadable/offline tracks (if that's not part of the mobile app already; haven't tried iPhone).


I'm a little late to the party. I bought the lifetime license from an earlier link that had it at $40.

My question is, is the tremolo/pulsating nature of the chords (sort of sounds like a helicopter) on most of the music a side-effect to the AI generated sounds, or is this by-design? If by-design, are there settings I could tinker with? If not, feature request. :)

I'm starting to find this a bit unnerving after extended periods, but it could be a personal preference.

Only some of the tracks have this. It's by design.

Previously I was cleaning cookies / local storage (to have more free sessions). Then I downloaded MP3 and created playlists. At $29 I have no other option but to buy it... HURRAY! . . . . brain.fm is like matrix, I admit!

Extremely cool of you to do this. Discovered the service yesterday, tried it, was amazed (hopefully not placebo) and today signed up (lifetime deal).

Is it possible to have a similar deal again since from the comments seems there are a lot of developers interesting in your service ? Thanks!

When is an Android app coming?

Clicked it, tried it, impulse bought. Seems worth it so far :)

Assuming theres no Android app?

Any ETA?

I think you can still run it in the browser. Not quite the same, I know (the iOS app is nice), but I think it might do for now.

Awesome. Subscribed!

I have also been loving Brain.fm—no other "focus music" I have tried has worked so well.

If anyone here tries it and likes it, there is actually a pretty good discount on various subscription types that expires in a few hours: https://shop.theawesomer.com/sales/brain-fm-lifetime-subscri...

The discounts are not actually as steep as the site claims (for example, lifetime is normally $150, not $200), but they are still quite good.

"Lifetime" subscription? What does that mean? The lifetime of brain.fm?

No. It means if you're the last living customer of brain.fm, they will be forced by the authorities to operate their service till your children decide to take you off of life support.

Yes. Lifetime of the company. Companies have the ability to ditch nearly all obligations in bankruptcy.

Currently the Digg Store has a lifetime subscription for $39: https://store.digg.com/sales/brain-fm-lifetime-subscription

I have never used the Digg store, they sent me 10% off though for signing up. So got it for even less expensive.

thanks for the link, purchased!

Just like that it has rained

Thanks for the link. I really liked the music so ended up getting it.

Thank you. Tried it out, liked it a lot (felt improved from when they first launched), viewed the regular pricing and was trying to justify it... then found your link. Just purchased!

Well I'm trying to love it but it just sits on Loading Brainwave audio whilst Stephen Hawkings @ Cambridge Uni reads the email.

Cant handle hacker news bandwidth requirements?

Seems to like any email address I give it, perhaps Bill Gates might like some brain.fm instead... as if..

I don't hear any music. I click to start and it pops up a login page.

Same here.

Seriously, while I think some people might dismiss your comment as snark, I genuinely was interested in this service, but am unwilling to create an account just to get a sample. Sites need to realize that "creating an account", while it appears as simple as supplying a few bits of information, anyone that cares about their time or security will find a few snags.

First, the email address. I don't give my email address away without thought as to whether this service will contact me in the future, how often, and about what. If I'm just trying to get an idea what you offer, I don't want to have to worry about you abusing that address in the future. My inbox is busy enough, thank you, I don't want to have to deal with you later if I've decided I'm not interested.

Second, the password. When linked to a global identifier like an email address, I'm stuck with the choice of using an easily remembered password or password template that I reserve for low interest sites that the accounts don't really matter on and the reduced security this entails, or coming up with a unique secure password (which either entails my trying to be random or a tool).

Now, I could generate a fictitious email and password just to try out your site (because I'm sure as hell not going to go through the effort of making a real separate email for you), but that entails me making a random email that isn't already used (what do you want to bet foo@example.com is already taken, or that domain is barred because they use it in testing?), and I don't want to have to think about that, I'm trying to get a quick idea about your service.

So, to site developers who gate examples of their service too aggressively, keep in mind every time I'm mildly interested in your service and you gate more info with a free account form, I groan internally. Of the mild interest I felt, and the feeling that made me groan inside, which do you think wins in the end?

In this case also just their interesting approach to privacy.

I'm not telling a random internet service for no reason my proper first name, my age or my gender. I can see that there's maybe a reason for age and gender when suggesting music (even though it should be optional nonetheless), but my first name? Are you going to suggest me songs where people chant my name or something?

And because they insist on this ridiculous requirement of entering my first name, it also just becomes much less credible that they actually need my age and gender, and are not just collecting that to sell it away.

I have a domain with a catch all account that I use for these things. I give "thisdomain@mydomain" as email, random password from lastpass (and before that, just random banging and storing in browser list or not storing at all).

Well worth the minor hassle in setting it up, and you get an indication about which site leaked your password or was hacked. I use thunderbird, which even lets me type a from address for emails to make this more useful.

Other than the very confused reactions when I have to give one of these custom aliases in person, I will never go back to giving my real email address.

Waaaay back in the day (probably 99 or 2000), I had the same with myspamstopper.com as my personal spam catching domain with the same idea (to know who was leaking). Alas, I accidentally let it expire and it was immediately sniped, and I never bothered to set something like it up again.

I do the very same. It works superbly!


Not arguing against your general points here, just wanted to say that using a password manager (I use KeePassX + Dropbox) has made the 'invent password' part of the whole process that much easier for me.

Yeah, I was actually thinking about that while writing, but forgot to include it. I've still not gotten on board with the password manager systems besides what's included in the browser (but I should), and those, if they include automatic password generators, which hadn't occurred to me until I was writing the bit about a tool above, probably make that a lot easier.

Although, the fact that there are popular tools available to work around the extra cognitive load imposed with account creation and tracking is a very good sign that a free account is much more of an impediment to the general person than these sites seem to realize.

Also, it doesn't affect the fact I still don't want to give away my email address before I've decided a service is worth having an account for.

It's a shame, because I am interested in seeing what the service is like. The problem is that my interest is part driven by wondering how similar it is to my current technique (put on my "Glitch Mob", "Zack Hemsey" or "Carpener Brut" stations on Pandora), wihch means I'm interested if it's slightly better, because I'm not unhappy now. I am at the same time very likely to use their service if it's good, but unlikely to jump through hoops to find out, since I have a solution that to my knowledge works sufficiently, and I've even decided it's worth paying Pandora for. Not exactly the type of customer they want to keep from seeing their service in action.

Somebody below posted https://brain.fm/app?v=0000#!/trial

That link gets you straight to music.

There is also https://www.noisli.com/

I signed up when they first launched. I cought lifetime membership for $25. The beta version ran my CPU to 200℅ because some funky animation on the website. That added ab ambient white noise layer from the PC fan. It's was a feature :-)

Glad someone else had the same experience, was trying to figure out how to disable that tacky animation.

The lifetime subscription is currently available for $40 over at TNW deals, ending in 6 hours from the point this message was posted. So if you like the service, this is probably worth it.

As a musician, I can guess this works on a base level because I like "white noise" type things too when working - specifically the laundry. If I have laundry going, I can focus and write / work on clay / draw with attention that music just simply won't allow for some reason. I guess what I'm inferring is that Focus is probably more aligned with white noise than an actual music listening experience.

I tend to always keep a fan running for the same reason. Even when the weather doesn’t make it necessary – I just put in a corner of the room facing against the walls. Its noise helps.

With music, instead, the less I know a piece the more attention it draws. I can’t work with background music for this reason. But Brain.fm barely has this effect on me, curiously.

If you like white noise, it might help you to save on electricity turning off the fan and trying one of these two aliases I keep around for noisy places:

Pink noise (not sure if it's actually pink noise):

    play -c 2 -n synth pinknoise band -n 2500 4000 tremolo 0.03 5 reverb 20 gain

    play -n -n --combine merge synth pinknoise band -n 1200 1800 tremolo 50 10 tremolo 0.14 70 tremolo 0.2 50 gain  -10
The play binary is provided by SoX (sox.sourceforge.net). Worth mentioning that I did not create these, but I cannot recall where exactly I got them from.

Or with USS Enterprise background

   play -c2 -n synth whitenoise band -n 100 24 band -n 300 100 gain +20

I guess the difference is that music for listening is intended to capture attention, whereas music for focus should direct attention to where you want.

Is the website generally slow OR it's getting hammered with HN traffic?

Apologies! We're getting hammered with HN and Product Hunt traffic. The team is on it.

- Junaid

Looks like it is getting hammered with HN traffic and they posted their iOS app on Product Hunt yesterday too. Their iOS app eventually comes around to working (crashes sometimes when trying to listen to music) -- but they just released it + HN/PH traffic so its a good problem to have

I love brain.fm as well. Use the focus music. I have hearing aids and a wireless transmitter so people don't even know I am listening to anything.

When I do mindless stuff I put on google play and listen to whatever I feel like. Might be Buffet, Hot Tuna or even just environmental music.

Wow, great link. This is just what I've been looking for. One does wonder how much of it is expectation effect. I mean if I didn't know the Benny Hill tune and it was labelled "focus" would it still work?

I don't think it is a placebo effect for me, because there were times when it was less effective, based on the track that it started with - or when I would hear a specific set of tracks too many times and begin to recognize the patterns too closely.

At a point mid-summer, the effectiveness wore down for a while - I even asked Aaron (one of the founders, but also available via their little support window in the corner) about adding new tracks to Focus, which I'm sure others had also requested, because they added a bunch of new tracks and it became even more effective than before. They also seem to have removed some of the tracks that weren't very effective.

Just started listening to it. The Focus tab so far sounds like a simplified version of music by early electronic composers of the german school: Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, etc.

My thoughts exactly. Seems like a cool service but nothing that a well made Spotify/Apple/whatever playlist couldn't cover.

Krautrock is great for working, just keep type type space type type type space type type type space

Do they have any examples of what it sounds like that I can hear without creating an account?

Yes, you can use the trial: https://brain.fm/app?v=0000#!/trial

I just tried it today. It does seem to help keep me focused on work. However, the music is a bit too anxiety inducing for my taste. Even "relaxing focus" was causing a little stress.

I agree that it's like short circuiting into the zone but I am afraid of using it too much and it losing its effectiveness.

Fantastic app... I've been looking for something like this and appreciate you pointing me in the right direction :)

I have always just used the same hour long mixes on repeat. But will try this out and see. Thanks!

Trying it, pretty cool! thanks

Does anyone know of any actual conclusive studies in this area? Like most here, I have my own rules and preferences. The main rule seems to be it must be familiar, in fact it's best if I've heard it a thousand times already. But there are only three kinds of music that work for me:-

1. Music I first got into during my teenage years when I was sitting up all night coding assembler (OK, I admit it, Pink Floyd) works well because I think my mind is conditioned in an almost Pavlovian way to go into programming mode when I hear it;

2. Ambient EDM works well because it is very repetitive and doesn't have any strong lyrical structure - my trouble is, as an old fart, I find only a very small subset of the vast range of EDM that I actually like.

3. A certain kind of loud, wall-of-sound rock music which is very heavy on distortion with subdued vocals works well but only at night.

Received opinion says classical music is good for cognitive tasks, and I've tried over the years but never good great results.

I can only speak from the angle of memory/attention research, but a couple lines of study struck me.

1. Irrelevant speech / sounds tends to reduce memory capacity for the task at hand[a].

2. People with ADHD self-stimulate by, e.g, squirming. Music can help them with attentional tasks by providing stimulation [b].

Overall, I'm not that familiar with studies specifically on music, but I'd guess that it's a trade-off between arousal (e.g. rock music or something to pump you up) and dividing attention. Music could also set a context (e.g. put you in programming "mode"), which tends to have a small positive effect on performance on a number of cognitive tasks.

[a] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrelevant_speech_effect

[b] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_arousal_theory

I have ADHD, and it's really difficult to describe to people how the "self stimulation" works.

It's almost like I need to keep part of my brain busy so the other "quieter" part can work.

Music, driving, pacing around, and to a lesser extent fidgeting or tapping can all "placate" that part of my brain so the other can actually do work. I'll even do things like play music while listening to a talk or presentation while working, because without the music keeping me "busy" I just can't focus on the topic of the talk.

I think that explains my taste in "focus" music. Most of the "focus" playlists are ambient or classical. The ambient stuff is just there; it doesn't really engage my brain. It's like traffic noise. Classical is... I don't know, too structural? I find it distracting. My brain switches on when I'm listening to stuff that's challenging - dissonant, rhythmically odd, fast paced, changing tempos. But I've thought the same thing, that kind of music engages some part of my brain so the part that's more linear-thinking can get on with business uninterrupted.

So my "focus" playlist is post-bop Jazz with things like Chick Corea (especially Three Quartets), Steps Ahead, Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio stuff, early Wynton Marsalis. Some Coltrane, but not so much his meditative stuff - things like Giant Steps make my brain engage.

I can't multitask like that though - I can't have two auditory sources. When I'm talking to people, I have trouble picking out voices when surrounded by a crowd, or with several people talking at once. It's like I'm trying to make sense of all the background noise and can't pick up what's being said directly to me.

It's very similar for me. My music is EDM like many other coders, but it's more live performances, as they just don't end. Generally i'll grab a playlist of like 3 or 4 live shows from the same producer and i'll play them back to back.

But the multitasking thing is a bit different for me, it's more one-sense-at-a-time for me. My wife has laughed at me before because she'll come home and i'll be watching a youtube talk on one screen, playing music over the speakers, and programming something mundane all at the same time, but if 2 people are talking at the same time I have trouble hearing anything.

this. I find stuff like brain.fm too minimal, and not engaging enough, personally.

Interesting how everyone has a personal threshold of not engaging enough / too engaging.

I wish there was some reliable resource I could go to to find 3-5 hour blocks of edm type music.


What about soma.fm?

Great phrasing of the feeling. I started listening to e-books, fiction, after finding that my programming thoughts don't really intersect my verbal thoughts. The benefit being I don't get distracted reading anything else because my speech center is already occupied. The only time I have to pause the music is during a planning session where I do have internal dialogue.

ATTN paki123: I can't reply to your comment but you should visit and read http://addforums.com/ for support, drug reviews/experiences and tips

Holy shit, I do this too. Is there a resource(besides adderall) that can help me deal with this and understand this better?

I "vouched" for your comment as it was showing up dead for some reason...

I can second sosuke, addforums.com was a great resource. I haven't been there for a long time though.

It probably showed up dead because of automated anti-spam tools that pick up on spammy keywords. Naming a scheduled medication by name is probably more than enough to trigger something like that.

I don't think that's quite it. All of the comments in their user profile are marked dead back a few hundred days.

I read them over, nothing looked overtly spammy or troll-ey, so I vouched for this comment as it seemed genuine.

I do think it's an anti-spam or anti-troll measure, but it looks like it's a mishit in this case.

That being said, is there anyone where we read up on what vouching/dead/etc... means on HN? Maybe one of the mods or someone can help explain some of it (or let me know that they won't explain it for anti-spam purposes...).

You probably saw this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10298512

That doesn't explain exactly how vouching works, and I think the "strength" of a vouch might be changed per-user (it no longer seems to do the same thing it used to, for me, at least).

I have not been diagnosed with ADHD, nor do I think I have all the symptoms of it (the way I see people on ADHD subreddit talk about), but I totally understand the thing you're describing.

I do have a problem with focus while working. One thing which really helps me is if I put on some audiobook I don't really care to focus on too much about, or some podcast or lecture, but it helps me focus. Not all the time, but say I am working on solving a coding challenge, then the part where I figure out which solution would work, I can't listen to anything and I need to focus, but the part where I actually implement the solution(especially if I have implemented something like that many times) then I can only do it if there is something else to distract other parts of my mind.

Exactly, I don't get the people that listen to whale music for coding. It's just... boring and makes me want to sleep...

If I need silence let there be silence, otherwise I enjoy some podcasts or music that pumps me up.

Those things really resonate with me. In some ways it feels like a person riding an slightly unruly elephant, and the music is to appease it.

For (a), you say "speech/sounds" but link to a source that only mentions speech. Is the effect definitely there with non-speech sounds. I assume it is, if we include sounds like a jackhammer, but does it apply across the board?

Subjectively, I find that instrumental music is much better for me than the alternative.

I grabbed this from the first review article that popped up on google[1], so buyer beware. It says that non-repetitive sounds in general may create the effect:

Concerning tasks that do not involve auditory targets, studies with adults have consistently shown that especially short-term memory is sensitive to negative effects of noise. Immediate serial recall of visually presented verbal items is reliably impaired by task-irrelevant sounds (for reviews see Hughes and Jones, 2001; Beaman, 2005; Schlittmeier et al., 2012). Impairments occur with single talker speech and non-speech sounds such as tones or instrumental music, but not with continuous broadband noise or babble noise. This so-called irrelevant sound effect (ISE) occurs reliably even with low-intensity sounds, with meaningless speech (e.g., speech in a language unknown to participants), and when sound presentation is confined to a rehearsal phase after encoding of the list items. However, the ISE magnitude is determined by inherent properties of the irrelevant sound. Recall performance is specifically impaired by sounds with a changing-state characteristic, i.e., by auditory streams which consist of distinct auditory–perceptive objects that vary consecutively. For example, irrelevant sounds consisting of different syllables or tones evoke an ISE, whereas steady state sounds, e.g., continuous broadband noise or repetitions of single syllables or tones, have a minor or no effect.

In general, I've seen the argument that removing the effect can happen through habituating to repeated sounds, but also seem to recall some people showing that prolonged exposure to the irrelevant speech/stimuli before a task can also remove the effect--so maybe people wouldn't suffer as much with stimuli they're familiar with playing in the background. (there's also the issue of the things people actually do vs laboratory tasks).

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3757288/


Thanks for the info. Sounds like I might have some level of ADHD based on those symptoms, esp. the squirming, which I've never been able to explain before!

No problem! I can stay still for hours on difficult tasks, but am all over the place for mundane things. Just considering the spectrum of things people use for ADHD (accountability w/others -> stimulating music -> caffeine -> prescription drugs) has been helpful for figuring out ways to power through boring things.

I have made a strange observation. Okay, "strange" is relative, so maybe I should say "interesting" to be as fuzzy and generic as possible.

When I program in my favorite roastery and coffee shop (http://www.roesttrommel.de/info/laufer-gasse.html) I want people, noise and background music. I can concentrate on my my code very well.

However, when I'm at home and I have to concentrate - on the exact same code - I need complete silence. If I leave music running or anything else I can't concentrate.

So there seems to be higher-level processing involved in the brain so that the complete context matters, and not just something as simple as "music/no music" (medium level processing).

Weird, I'm the exact same way. I can concentrate perfectly fine in a coffee shop, but at home it is difficult unless I have absolute silence and total solitude. The presence of one person (even if they're not bothering me) is enough to completely derail my ability to concentrate. I think it's because in the back of my mind, I know that person might interrupt me, and just the "threat" of interruption is enough to prevent focus.

I wish I was like von Neumann sometimes. He was known to do his best work on quantum mechanics in the living room with his whole family sitting around talking and the television blasting.

I have a feeling that quite a lot of people are like this... If the study hasn't been done yet - I'll contact some researchers I know who would be willing to do the study. Anyone here is welcome to help design the experiment. I'd recommend tracking a few more variables including EEG, pulse, w/ & w/o Adderall, w/ & w/o caffeine, ... Just brainstorming for now.

One aspect that probably plays a role: I'm feeling good because I kept busy, but I've been pretty isolated due to an extended health issue (heavy metal poisoning) that takes loooong to recover from (but it works fine thanks to chelators), and I deliberately work a low-paying job from home. While I'm not an extrovert I'm no introvert either, I enjoy talking and even presenting and got very little of that the last few years. So the reason I go to the coffee shop is - people. While I don't talk to anyone (because that only very rarely works here in Germany) somehow just being in the crowd feels good, it satisfies some deep desire. Somehow merely having "noise" at home, even if the source is people, is not the same. The brain is not that easily tricked, it knows the context. It's more complicated though since having people talk does help even at home, but it's different, different brain circuits are exercised, it's not a replacement for the 2-3 hours in the coffee shop.

Perhaps on some level you believed you were performing for an audience?

It can be a confidence builder for me to "successfully perform" in a noisy, busy setting. Perhaps someone looked at me working just now, but I didn't flinch! Knuckling down and blocking out the world in a setting like that may help get you into the productivity zone.

I've noticed that in my open office plan just putting my headphones on helps me concentrate, no need for music. I know others will be less apt to interrupt me because I have signaled to them that I'm shutting them out and getting work done. I can devote less awareness to others and more to my tasks.

I love classical music, but not for coding. It's too musically interesting and it pulls me off task. I'll be fine and then it gets to that one part, and then I'll notice that I've been actively listening to the music and not coding for 10 minutes.

I tend toward electronia (usually) without vocals. I'll find a suitable artist and get several of their albums and listen to all the albums on loop. For me this is enough to quickly gain that familiarity you mention, hearing the same songs in the same order all day long.

You should try something like "Baby Mozart"[1] which has with fewer dynamics. Then again you might fall asleep. :)

[1] e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEEizbmU-hU

My experience is a lot like yours (especially "must have heard it a thousand times").

I apply one more trick, that I got from some self help book once: my energy level is not always the same, and too little energy is a problem for concentration but so is too much energy. If it's just right, I'll likely be able to find the flow and then the music matters less.

Rage Against the Machine and Rammstein can improve energy levels. Very quiet music (current favorite Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens) can quiet me down so I can concentrate.

Rammstein makes sense. I suppose my preference for the loud stuff at night comes down to stimulation and energy levels. Never actually thought of it in that way until now, thanks.

For me it is very related to what I need to do. Wringing out 1000 LOCs in a day -Nitzer Ebb, Ministry and Rammstein it is. EBM in general is really helpful. And interestingly this specific song by U2: https://vimeo.com/41133252

For me I actually avoid music I know/like and just go for straight up instrumental (usually piano or acoustic guitar playlists on Spotify). If it's music I know I'll get distracted by trying to find a song I like more than what shuffle gave me. But with instrumental I can work and enjoy the music at the same time effortlessly.

I have to clarify: in which of the possible meanings do you use tge term "EDM" here? The Skrillex type of post-brostep, pop deep house inspired top40 bangers, all electronic club-friendly dance music or all electronic music in general?

Like "techno" or "dubstep", this word can mean very different things for different people.

Yes, I find the sub-genres hard to describe. Future Sound of London. Burial. Four Tet. Boards of Canada. Some DJ Shadow. Suggestions welcome, actually, it's all a newish field for me...

You've got some really great selections there! I've picked a fairly random list of albums and EPs from a range of electronic music, I really hope you find things you like amongst it. Also I don't want to be the genre police but I wouldn't call any of this EDM, that term seems to have been adopted by a type of music of which, I guess I'll just say I'm not a fan. In no particular order:

Arovane - Tides (2000)

Tim Hecker - Virgins (2013)

Donato Dozzy - K (2010)

Autechre - Amber (1994)

James Holden - The Inheritors (2013)

Andy Stott - Faith In Strangers (2014)

Jon Hopkins - Immunity (2013)

Recondite - On Acid (2012)

Lemon Jelly - Lemonjelly.ky (2000)

Max Graef - Rivers Of The Red Planet (2014)

Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise (2010)

Plaid - Reachy Prints (2014)

Rival Consoles - Sonne (2014)

Shlohmo - Bad Vibes (2011)

St Germain - Boulevard (1995)

Traumprinz - Mothercave (2013)

Valerio Tricoli - Clonic Earth (2016)

Romare - Projections (2015)

Space Dimension Controller - Orange Melamine (2016)

Actress - R.I.P (2012)

Massive Attack - Mezzanine (1998)

Rob Clouth - Clockwork Atom (2014)

And shouts out to Datassette who appears to have done a bunch of the instalments on the music for programming site (mixes/playlists, whatever they are. I've never listened to any of them). This EP is gorgeous:

Datassette - The Aviatrix (2009)

Thanks for the list! The Massive Attack album is one I already love, so I'll check out the others.

If you like Burial, you'd do well to explore dubstep further. A good starting point would be the Dubstep Allstars series (especially volumes 2, 6 and 7.2 – they're all on YouTube) and the realdubstep subreddit (they happen to love Burial on there).

Shackleton is the king here. Three EPs, Fabric 55 and Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs are dubstep at its best. Experimental, dubby and has occasionally having the step beat.

> works well because I think my mind is conditioned in an almost Pavlovian way to go into programming mode when I hear it

I agree with this a ton, there are certain songs and albums where I've listened to them hundreds of times and familiarity plays a huge role in helping me focus.

> A certain kind of loud, wall-of-sound rock music which is very heavy on distortion with subdued vocals works well but only at night.

Couldn't agree more! See my other comment:


We should trade music!

My go-to programming music is psytrance/goa [1]. It's high energy in the bass drum/bass line category, but the other melodies are often ethereal or even ambient sounding. It's repetitive enough to slot into the background quite easily for me. I found it by accident one night back when radio was still a thing and it took me 10 years to even turn the sound that I was hearing into a genre name. I find it to be as effective as caffeine, which is very interesting to me.

[1] Example: http://streamer.psyradio.org:8030/ And make sure you have headphones with a good bass response or a subwoofer. I find the music loses a lot without its bass line.

Same thing here. I listen to music I listened to when I first started spending 6+ hours after school coding. It's not what you'd guess. I know the music so well it puts me into a comfort zone that always allows me to just get shit done. Brain hacking at it's best.

Bonobo radio on Spotify is a great starting point for laid back EDM that isn't anxiety-inducing but keeps energy up.

I love all forms of jazz too much to listen to it while I work, because I start listening critically and getting into musician mode not coder mode.

Thanks, I'll check out that Spotify channel.

I think I know what you mean by 'Wall-Of-Sound', spent half of my PhD writing with Propellerheads DecksNDrumsNRockNRoll and quite a bit of commercial programming with Ostkreuz 'Motor' https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NzkxZfhgHso Guess I need to lock out the world with some well known(!) and impervious sound.

2. Have you tried some German labels, like Perlon, Ilian Tape, Ostgut Ton or from the jazz side ECM? I bought the Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer Re: ECM album yesterday and it's two cds of experimental smooth modular jazz electronica. Perfect for concentration!

Wish I could help with the studies, but if you're interested in more anecdotes, I can help there.

Your #1 and #3 definitely work, especially in harmony, but I have found that I do well with songs in langauages that I don't know at all but I like the general style. For example, when I need enegry and work, I listen to Rammstein or The Pillows (Japanese). If I need to relax a bit and work, Seeed (german reggae) or something french are my go to. There's a lot more and sometimes I just put on a Spotify international playlist. The randomness and lack of understandable lyrics helps me, as long as I don't try to learn what they are saying.

Some recommendations for you sir.

EDM) Menno de Jong

https://soundcloud.com/mennodejong/menno-de-jong-live-at-luc... https://soundcloud.com/mennodejong/menno-de-jong-cloudcast-0...

Like other continuously mixed, mostly-ambient EDM but favors minor mode and affected arps that keep my brain occupied in it just enough to avoid distraction.

Japanese Drums) The Ondekoza, or any competent group


Pure rhythmic impulse, monotonic yet with remarkable complexity.

Classical) Glenn Gould's Bach, Mozart


Julian Bream, Bach, Lute http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/julian-bream-plays-j-s-bach-...

Jonas Nordberg, de Visee et al, Theorbo https://itunes.apple.com/es/album/jonas-nordberg-visee-weiss...

Perhaps too much for deep flow sessions but extremely stimulating for more inspirational, breaking-down-the-problem "aha" moments.

When it comes to `classical` music, keep in mind that the term encompasses hundreds of years of evolution and dozens of genres or utilities that the music was composed to serve. For our purposes, we may want to stick to "salon" style solo or small ensemble compositions which were made by the masters with the express purpose of stimulating the logical and emotional mind. Church music and large symphonies for example are a completely different animal, but get unfortunately rolled in under this catch-all term.

I started my first programming job back in 2000 and was reading Cryptonomicon at the time and came across this little gem in the book:

"When Randy gets back to his cell, he sits crosslegged on his bed with the Walkman and begins dealing out the CDs like cards in a solitaire game. The selection is pretty reasonable: a two-disc set of the Brandenburg Concertos, a collection of Bach organ fugues (nerds have a thing about Bach)"

So I thought 'why not' and got a two-disc set of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. And sixteen years later I still listen to it when I'm working and have never tired of it. Great music for focus.

I'm not mad, but I just got spoiled that Randy apparently goes to prison. I'm at about chapter 40, finally listening to Cryptonomicon on Audible (thanks Amazon Prime).

On the bright side, I'm now listening to Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and grateful for the explicit choice in music for my afternoon. I'm EDM-d out lately.

spotify link to the Japanese Drums Track above : https://open.spotify.com/track/3nrOApaAfsD61XYZ2T4zX6

Closest I've seen has been Brain.fm's stuff: https://brain.fm/app?v=7827#!/learn/BrainFMWhitePaper.pdf

Personally, it doesn't really matter what the music is, but it's best if I'm already familiar with it, otherwise I get distracted investigating new artists.

One key search term to look is "“Irrelevant Sound Effect”" . I forgot the details, but here's one very interesting study to start:


Your phrasing made me realize, this is probably why I listen to things on loop a lot while working. I really am hearing it a thousand times... so it isn't overly distracting.

"A certain kind of loud, wall-of-sound rock music which is very heavy on distortion with subdued vocals..."

Sounds like you're describing My Bloody Valentine...

Certainly MBV is one of my favourites in that genre, yes. Slowdive, Lush, Mazzy Star... that kind of thing is my "night programming" playlist.

I have been a fan of Mazzy Star for a couple of years, as well as of Hope Sandoval's solo work, she just has an awesome voice.

Lush, I only discovered about four weeks back, but I went in head over heels, they are just great.

And, yes, I agree, there is a certain affinity between this kind of music and dim lighting. It doesn't work in broad daylight. ;-)


    alias dronezone='mplayer http://somafm.com/dronezone130.pls'
    alias groovesalad='mplayer http://somafm.com/groovesalad130.pls'

Requires an explicit '-playlist' tag on recent (?) mplayers, otherwise it aborts due to potential security issues.

    alias dronezone='mplayer -playlist http://somafm.com/dronezone130.pls'
    alias groovesalad='mplayer -playlist http://somafm.com/groovesalad130.pls'

Multiple Soma FM recommendations in the thread. That's great to see. I pay for a monthly "subscription", because it's one of those things that, if it disappeared tomorrow, would be upsetting and impossible to replace. I use it daily.

Yes, extremely happy that it's available to those of us outside of EU|US unlike that other popular music service appearing on this thread.

Yes; tunnel, VPN. But why?

you might also like http://oem-radio.org/

http://somafm.com/player/#/now-playing/dronezone is my favorite for writing code.

Secret Agent is where it's at!


Thank for the recommendation. I created an iTunes playlist with all the SomaFM stations, in the highest bitrate available.

(File > Library > Import Playlist)


Before Apple sold music, iTunes had an Internet Radio tab that listed several SomaFM stations.

It still does. It just gets more and more hidden with each release. But it's still there.

Radio It's still in there but disabled, just enable it

Do you have to sign up for Apple Music to listen to these radios ?

No, No signup or login needed, free.

I'm listening to GrooveSalad as I type.


What's its bandwidth use like? If there's 20 people in the same office listening online, Youtube, etc. can get a bit heavy on the bit-flow.

Depends on the station. Go to the station page and check out the streaming options. Example:


AAC: 64k 32k MP3: 192k 128k

Mission control is my favorite.

I recently discovered the work of Laurie Spiegel, whom I now have great respect for. My personal favorite song by her is the opener from her only album "The Expanding Universe":


Regardless of whether you fall in love with the music, it's worth knowing about her as a pioneer of computing. And yes, she also happens to be a woman.


> Best known for her use of interactive and algorithmic logic as part of the compositional process, Spiegel worked with Buchla and Electronic Music Laboratories synthesizers and subsequently many early, often experimental and prototype-level music and image generation systems, including GROOVE system (1973–1978), Alles Machine (1977) and Max Mathews's RTSked and John R. Pierce tunings (1984, later known as the Bohlen–Pierce scale) at Bell Labs, the alphaSyntauri for the Apple II (1978–1981), the McLeyvier (1981–1985).

Wow! Excellent. Thanks

A few other redditors and I maintain a playlist of Downtempo (mostly) non-vocal electronic music specifically targeted towards developers. It's an open playlist so feel free to contribute!



This is great! I was looking for some new playlists.

I have been listening to the "Perfect for coding & Design" playlist.


Since it was well received the last time I mentioned it in a similar discussion I light as well showcase my "Early Morning Tales" - Playlist containing ambient/drone/downtempo which I think is very suitable programming and other tasks that require focus.

Listen here: https://open.spotify.com/user/michaelfeihstel/playlist/10IcC...

is there a way to see the list without logging in to spotify? Non-vocal electronic seems like my cup of tea for when I'm working.

This is awesome! thanks for doing this!

Also I should note that because it's an open playlist sometimes some music gets in that I personally don't agree should be on there but I can see why maybe someone else would put it there. I don't aggressively police it the list but once in a while I'll remove something that obviously doesn't fit

I have two rules when I’m listening to music while programming:

1. My favourite genres are K-Pop and Industrial – it helps that they are also very energetic genres — and my rule is that I can only listen to them while programming. Helps to really put me in the “you’re working now” space (thanks to Julian Shapiro for this tip)

2. I pick one song and repeat it for the entire day, sometimes for several days in a row. I’ve listened songs in the above genres so much that the lyrics don’t become much of a distraction, including new ones.

>pick one song and repeat it for the entire day

I also do this, one or a very short playlist of very similar stuff. Seems to help keep my mind locked into a particular state all day/work period. Currently long Daft Punk tracks are doing it for me.

I sort of do this, but I pick one CD. Usually it's Keith Jarrett but Bach works as well. Especially the harpsichord concertos.

or Keith Jarrett playing Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues?

Oddly enough, I don't own that. I must have about 30 Jarrett CDs, and quite a lot of Shostakovich (all the symphonies and string quartets), so there's really no excuse ;-)

The Alive '97 album is perfect for that if you like Daft Punk.

Hey, way too good an album to listen to while coding :)

> 1. My favourite genres are K-Pop and Industrial – it helps that they are also very energetic genres — and my rule is that I can only listen to them while programming. Helps to really put me in the “you’re working now” space (thanks to Julian Shapiro for this tip)

I never consciously did this, other than I obviously went to the music and pressed play, but since about 10 years ago, when I really need to focus on work, I listen to a playlist of what I would call prog trance/house trance, a genre I would absolutely never listen to for the enjoyment of music. It's really weird but it soothes me when working, and it doesn't distract (by me getting too into it), nor distracts me by being annoying.

It reminds me of when I was a teen and I was an extremely tuned night person (still am, but conformed), and was really hard to wake up. Slept through alarm clock at highest setting. I scheduled a playlist on my computer, and allowed it to wake up from hibernation for scheduled events to play through connected speakers. It however ruined any music I used this way, so I had to pick music I didn't like to begin with.

Also try psychill / psybient if you want a calm, ambient soundscape. Good for deep concentration.

I listen a lot to ambient as well, but I liken it to drinking tea, which I normally do, and save coffee (the bpm stuff) for crunchtime.

My ambient go-to:s are (in no particular order):


Harold Budd

Tim Story

Brian Eno

Roger Eno



Deaf Center

Message To Bears


Everything Is


Build Buildings

The Echelon Effect

I'd never heard of Roedelius. Kind of an interesting minimalist piano style. Very likeable. I'm listening to "self-portrait" (or at least that's my translation of the German).

Not sure if that counts, but I really like Bohren & Der Club of Gore. It's not Ambient per se, but super-downtempo jazz-ish music. I highly recommend Sunset Mission!

Thanks! Reminds me of the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, especially Space Lion.

Have you tried ambient techno?

Boards of Canada


Ulrich Schnauss

Fisk Industries

I'm not sure I've registered the genre name, but the artists you mentioned, sure! They're great!

> Ulrich Schnauss

Ulrich Schnauss is very, very good at what he does. Highly recommended.

All doing remarkable ambient techno at some point in their career.

Aphex Twin


Function & Vatican Shadow

Sandwell District




Speedy J

The 7th Plain


can you share some of your favourite tracks?

Carbon Based Lifeforms - Super Seed

Carbon Based Lifeforms - Tensor


Really most CBL is good.. :) but the best albums are


World Of Sleepers


Hydroponic Garden


Theres also artist like



Solar Fields


Aes Dana

Sync24 (side project from one of the CBL guys)




Other good artists but a bit different ambient genre would be


Abakus (This dude is super productive and his shit is awesome !)





If you like your downtempo more pop then try




Catching Flies





That was a short list on the top of my head :)

Good list. I'd also add:

Vibrasphere, Kaya Project, Random Rab, Easily Embarrassed, Beats Antique, Entheogenic, Shulman, Tripswitch, Bluetech, Gaudi

Here's a Spotify Playlist with lots of good stuff: https://open.spotify.com/user/redconfetti/playlist/03bKMoeCx...

Sometimes, if i read Comments like that.. i want an favorite Link here too. Thanks for Sharing!

Stellardrone is missing from your list: https://stellardrone.bandcamp.com/ :)

Great compilation! I listen to maybe half of these already, but curiously not while working generally. I especially like Emancipator, Tycho, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Kiasmos.

> Really most CBL is good.. :)

I seem to re-discover them about once per year and I am amazed every time. Twenty Three works great for me when programming.

Really surprised I had to scroll this far to see Tycho! I enjoy most on your last list, I'll have to check out the ones further up.

I'm surprised not to see Murcof's downtempo piano-heavy work on this excellent list

I actually didn't know about him.. i'll check it out for sure !! I actually also like to listen to piano heavy stuff.. My favorite by far is Ludovico Einaudi. My favorite albums from him is "Divenire" and "In a Time Lapse". The list should be much longer :) this was just what i could remember right off the bat.

Number 2 sounds like hell

You can give it a try with the amazing Infinite Jukebox! Here's a perennial favourite, "Call Me Maybe": http://labs.echonest.com/Uploader/index.html?trid=TRORQWV137...

(I will not be held accountable for your resulting lapse into total insanity after 20 minutes or so.)

Omfg is that awesome! °-° Can i also Upload or use my own Files? Or is this somewhere Open sourced?

Looks like they removed the "upload" button: http://labs.echonest.com/Uploader/faq.html

And it doesn't appear to be open source, sadly.

You used to be able to upload your own tracks on the front page, but you really need lots of similar sections for it to skip around - Gotye someone that I used to know also worked well.

I remember spending a shift (in a kitchen) listening to nothing but "Going Loco Down In Acapulco". The challenge being to not break before someone else did.

You gotta just commit to the song.

The only song I can do this with is "My Favourite Game" by the Cardigans. Spent too much time as a kid playing long races on Gran Turismo 2, and it was always my favorite track.

I think it's because there are really only about 2-3 parts to the song. It doesn't really build up or down... it's a bit flat. And given that it's flat, you almost don't notice when it loops.

I think it more about placating part of your brain so the other bits can get on with the task at hand.

Number 2 is the default way I listen to music - I put a song on a loop and change it when I grow tired of hearing it. For new songs this means couple of hours to couple of days; for the ones I'm familiar with it's usually something around an hour.

I've done 2(repeat same song or a couple songs) for a few hours with early foo fighter while coding.

Repeating "X-Static" and "Exhausted" which have a slow plodding droning kind of sound worked for grinding out some lotus script (that was a while ago....)

I can’t recall if it was like hell getting into this habit at first. But it’s so ingrained now that it’s kind of like greasing the pan before you start cooking.

I've been doing the same for a long time - J-Pop / K-Pop is the way to go.

This is a great way to listen online: http://www.japanaradio.com/

Man, Japanaradio is still around? I remember listening to those shoutcast streams back in like 2003 or something (RIP Winamp).

I've actually found that when I get an itch for J-Pop I will scour TuneIn for a "real" radio feed from Japan. Japanaradio was always just a playlist on shuffle (or so it seemed), and there's something about listening to an actual radio station (with commercials and interstitials) that makes it feel less cold and automatic.

Oh - I haven't heard of TuneIn. Any recommended stations that you've found there for J-Pop?

I don't have any particular station recommendations, unfortunately. It usually takes a bit of hunting around for a station that's playing music (though sometimes the talk radio stuff is fun as well, at least for the tiny parts of it I can understand based on my rudimentary Japanese knowledge). I usually just go here[0] and start trying out different stuff.

[0] http://tunein.com/radio/Japan-r101255/

"My rule is that I can only listen to [my favorite genres] while programming. Helps to really put me in the 'you’re working now' space."

This sounds insanely unpleasant. Why would you do this to yourself?

Do you have any recommendations on some high-energetic k-pop?

Probably these ones I’ve been listening to lately

치타(Cheetah) - Crazy Diamond https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnWtu72LaBg

HyunA(현아) - '어때? (How's this?)' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y882AFjrSOM

4MINUTE - 미쳐(Crazy) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nCLBTmjJBY

The pace isn’t quite as energetic as you’d find in EDM or Industrial, but it’s enough for me to get into flow easily.

my wife finds it odd I listen to 90's Ministry/Nine Inch Nails to focus :)

also Underworld's Second Toughest on the Infants album is always my go to music.

I recently discovered Second Toughest via a colleague and it has become one of my favourite programming music album too. And yes, I have also listened to NIN/Ministry to focus in the past. Not so much any more though.


If you liked that one, get the one called NUXX, very long mixes of that album.

This is run by a friend of mine, John Datassette (not real name). He's a bomb game dev, squirty electro peacock and all round Little Lord. Check out his fiendishly hard game "Space Rubbish":


I made one of those mixes. Guess which one and i'll fax you some handmade congratulations.

Wow! The Datassette album is one of my favourites - Minus Fourteen is the first song on one of my favourite work playlists.

I have bumped into his name so many times , but never once though it was a made up name ! Is he a game dev himself ? Can I ask for the list of games he made , would love to check them out .

Yeah, he puts all his game stuff out here http://slakinov.com/. But I think his server is still down after Hacker News crushed it, ha.

I have my own "playlist" for programming and studying. I've found the key to not being distracted by the music is to avoid anything with singing and stick with stuff that's already familiar. My choices include a lot of ambient electronic and classical music. Oddly, metal also seems to work when the lyrics are completely indecipherable growls and screams.

Music in a foreign language works for me almost as well as instrumental music. If I hear Finnish, I somehow must listen to the words, but even though I'm proficient in English, I can just let the words go by without thinking about them.

I'm sure this phenomenon has a name, but I don't know it. Another aspect is that I can read English (focusing on that) and listen to Finnish at the same time, and I'll remember both what I heard and what I read. Doesn't work the other way around, or if both are the same language.

> I've found the key to not being distracted by the music is to avoid anything with singing and stick with stuff that's already familiar.

For me it's just the latter; vocals don't distract me as long as the song is something I've listened to 20+ times before.

Curiously, I need to match the music to my mood, not the other way around! Any disconnect between how I feel and what is playing gets me distracted very quickly. So some times, I'll be listening to calm ambient, other times I'll be blasting power metal (or even playing some nightcore from youtube). But it's always the mood that sets the music, not the other way around.

I've been a long time fan of the music produced by autechre.

When I really need to isolate myself from the outside world to concentrate on a difficult problem, the go-to choice is Incunabula.


I'm not sure whether it's my absolute familiarity with the album, or that fact that it bears listening to on repeat.

Have you listened to Warp Records more than just the Autechre releases (which are of course superb)?

Every single album in the Artificial Intelligence series (including the first Autechre) are genre-defining classics.


Yes, Warp have influenced my music tastes a great deal. ae, BOC, plaid, aphex twin (and his many guises), squarepusher and µ-ziq are all staples.

Another album I listen to a great deal whilst working:


That said, I have varied taste, grind-core, industrial and doom all feature in the mix.

edit: added plaid - can't believe I missed them out, as they're one of my favourite artists.

Plaid's new album The Digging Remedy worked for me pretty well, even though it had a bit of mixed reviews.

Agree with Aphex Twin - you may dislike it, but it's hard to call it uninteresting. Not sure if that album would work as work music for me though, it's not quiet and calm - it's just varying and loud enough to attract my attention but not quite beat-y to keep me going either. It's interesting to see different opinions on this :D

The ambient works albums do the trick for me - the music melts into the background whilst working, yet is still enough to keep me alert.

I really, really recommend https://mynoise.net/ instead of music. They repertoire of sounds is amazing. You can even customize every soundscape to your liking.

One of my coworker has a real bassy voice that overlaps over music in my headphones. With that website I can easily create a soundscape that cover his voice and all the surrounding noises.

It's free too!

Calling musicforprogramming music in the sense that you're probably imaging isn't quite accurate. It's much more of a soundscape.

I really like to listen to dub techno while programming. It is repetitive, no vocals, long songs (8-10min), relaxed vibe with not a lot of going on, yet very nice and ambiental.

Chain Reaction Records FTW


If you want it more boring even than that you could go for some drone music from the likes of Thomas Köner or Celer, or Gas.

Beyond that lies field recording.

I don't listen to much electronic music. Compared to real instruments, which usually have a lot of softening qualities, the high part of the spectrum (the calabash?) sounds extremely harsh and trebly, to the point of painful.

That's a modern trend, due to the loudness-war arms race: brightness in that 2-5k area is perceived as loudness and clarity. Also it helps things pop through on the tiny speakers in laptops and mobile devices. Some speakers and headphones have their own bump in this region to increase perceived clarity and sparkle, so things can get very harsh and brittle very quickly.

"EDM" is particularly guilty of this.

EDIT: also this may be bothering you excessively if you're listening on a system lacking in sub bass: in electronic music, the crack of the snare is often set to balance the (often enormous) boom of the kick, so if you're not hearing the bottom of the kick the snare might stick out way too much.

I'll try that I guess.

For now I use trance, anything that is happy or energetic, harmonic and wih no words.

I have a long playlist that someone created on Spotify with this kind of trance.

For trance (or a lot of other electronic music genres), [di.fm](http://www.di.fm/trance/) is nice for when you can't be bothered to select a playlist etc.

Edit: [ah.fm](http://ah.fm/player/) is also good for trance.

Here is my playlist, give it a try: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3UrAoLiXuqI_3Cre-cQp...

I like it a lot for night coding :) Hope you enjoy.

After years of visiting this website to listen to good remixes while I write code I feared the day when someone would link it to HN because I knew before hand that it would make it inaccessible. Go damn it people! Y U Do Dis ಠ_ಠ

If there's something on the internet you love, you should make a (local) copy of it. Online content can disappear anytime.

I think it was posted on HN before. I think I recall that was how I first found it.

Their tracks are also available as podcasts. I've downloaded several and shuffle between them.

I have favorited about a month worth of continuous listening on Soundcloud [1] but I hardly ever listen to it because there's something new presented in my Stream every day. The trick to Soundcloud as a steady source for programming music is to follow other users (for programming music you'll want mixes instead of tracks, so follow DJs instead of musicians), but it does take some time to build your Following list and it also takes some commitment to scan through the music every day. When that becomes a distraction, I just turn on SomaFM as mentioned by others [2] where my favorite stations are Space Station Soma, Deep Space One and Illinois Street Lounge.

[1] https://soundcloud.com/wiredearp/likes

[2] http://somafm.com/

I like to listen to stuff like minimalistic Detroit techno mixes from people like Jeff Mills or Robert Hood. Loopy simple techno that slightly changes over the course of minutes while blending in and out of the previous and next song in a subtle way. Yet it's quite hard and energetic compared to most Berlin styles of minimalistic techno.

Lately I've been picking up on retro Wave kind of music, I see Com Truise is on the list as well. It's slightly less annoying for other people since there's still something like a melodic component but it doesn't have too much of a build up to a massive drop thing that most EDM has. It rather continues all the time in rhythm.

I really get inspired by the ideas of Detroit techno that they put into the music. Especially Jeff Mills, he really is an artist in the broadest meaning. It is curious that Detroit techno never really became popular music for the programming scene, since it's themes are related.

>Detroit techno is also scary music, scary precisely because its unforgiving repetition reminds us of our immersion in remorseless mechanised, computerised systems. Detroit fetishises this relationship: take drugs, jack your body to the rhythm of the machines

From Techno Futurism (1998) http://www.harikunzru.com/art-and-music/jeff-mills-techno-fu...

Detroit techno was extremely popular in Europe, still is. We wouldn't have Berlin in its current cultural state without the Detroit stars. How it never became a thing in US is another question, where I can just guess the real reasons. Maybe dance music needed a whitewashing before it became a trend.

Detroit-y, but not from Detroit: Aril Brikha, who recorded for two legendary labels Transmat and Peacefrog. Both of his albums are great.

Kenny Larkin, whatever he released, must have.

Again not from Detroit, but sharing the same vibe: Luke Slater and all his monikers, like Planetary Assault Systems, L.B. Dub Corp and The 7th Plain. All classics.

Some less played, but still great Detroit stars: Claude Young and Octave One. Dig in! https://hardwax.com/detroit/

Yes to all of these. Especially Octave One. Best live set I've ever seen! Watching a video of them perform live has the same mesmerising quality as watching Jeff Mills in The Exhibitionist. I should understand what they're doing technically but half of the things they do are almost to subtle to hear.

As an outsider I like Omar S and that group of people as well, but that's not the typical machine techno. There's some great house coming from Detroit as well.

Omar S and Moodymann for sure! Also the old Carl Craig is great house from Detroit.

I saw Octave One in Fusion festival 2010, was also one of the best live gigs I've seen.

Their Boiler Room is good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW6lxLUBu64

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