How I found the best music for programming

In my whole life I always had something to listen to while I was doing work and I’m sure most of you guys are listening to something in the background all the time. We all have our best music-activity combinations but I’ll share my experience about how I found the best music for programming.

Where am I coming from?

Mid teen’s, I was the typical passive music listener (through tv, radio) and my family didn’t have strong connection with music either but then… I got my first computer and I played loads and loads of Age of Empires 2/3, Prince of Persia Warrior Within, Need for Speed UG2/MW and GTA : Vice City and my taste in music started to form containing hiphop, metal, rock, classic and ambient. The new music genres and the fact that I was filled with hormones was a good fit for my first application in C#. I was struggling, I was angry but I enjoyed cracking seemingly impossible problem and my first Hello World console application has been created.

Around 20 brought the most changes. I’ve met Hardcore, EDM and trance. It was the most wonderful time. HC was the best for hotfixes and tasks with short deadlines, EDM was good in general and trance, I felt like I was able to solve any problem. I’ve started to work on a project while I was still in high school which became my main income after I finished. Since I though that Uni/Coli is not necessary for my career, I stayed at home with my parents and started to save for moving out.

The problem with HC and trance that you will reach the end pretty soon if you like diversity. EDM is a different story but I think the general quality peaked around 2010 and since then it gets less and less interesting. Isn’t that funny that in movies they usually use trance of metal for good programmers?

Mid 20’s I moved out and started to focus on melodic techno, lounge jazz, lo-fi hip-hop, chill, downtempo and music with hard to define style. I got to say, these are the best music genres for work yet. I feel like I’m getting wiser and wiser every day and I like simple yet detailed music with small interesting notes that only becomes visible when you are looking for them.

If you are looking for music or simply want to increase productivity, the joy or programming I highly recommend looking for them and trying them.

You can check out my “On Repeat” and “Repeat Rewind” playlist on Spotify and you might find something you like.

How do I find music I like?

This will be the most important part for you.

  • RATE AND SAVE those that you like and algorithms will bless you with similar music, especially on Youtube. You will have to press thumb on the ones you like and thumb down the one that you despise.
  • Listen carefully to movies and series and use Shazam religiously when you find something you like.
  • Search for playlist made by other people (eg on Spotify).
  • Search for mixes in case of electronic music (1001tracklists).
  • Search for different musicians at the same festival stage, clubs, venues where your favorite performed.
  • On Bandcamp/SoundCloud checkout random people’s collection.
  • Start radio from your favorite music (eg on Spotify).
  • Start your own playlist with similar track on it and check out recommended additions (eg on Spotify).
  • Open threads if you can’t find similar music, it’s pretty neglected but people on Reddit and Facebook closed groups are really helpful.

What is the absolute best for my productivity at the moment?

My most recent favorites are Jan Blomquist, Makeness, Max Cooper, Be Svendsen, Christian Löffler but what absolutely mops the floor with my procrastination and fear and puts me in the flow instantly is Viken Arman.

Viken Arman beyond genius. His music is not too slow or fast, not too dominant yet gives a frim “get shit done” motivation power, repetitive yet contains the right amount of variation. I always loved electronic music but when it can be played on regular instruments, that’s the gold.

I know you have few music that you listened to million times in a row and for me, Viken Arman made the most of those music, my work steroid (strictly speaking of music of course).

It’s like I have a book worth of things to say yet I’m not able to. I’ll really have to work on my publishing skills because I have lot of stories to tell, lot of programming tutorials to show you guys even though this is seemingly not one those.

The point of this article to find someone who is in the same shoes as me.

Choosing the unknown