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Does Listening To Music Improve Productivity?

Topics: Music | 3 CommentsBy admin | September 24, 2009

Well, not if you’re a terrorist and someone’s playing Metallica and The Barney Song 24 hours a day.


Apparently Chatter Blocker Also Makes You
Spontaneously Levitate In Your Cubicle

I got into a conversation yesterday with some of my smarty-pants friends about whether or not music in the workplace improves performance. The answer we arrived at, after a lot of pseudo-science was tossed around? Yes. If listening to music improves your performance. Although playing Metallica and Sesame Street music at high volume 24 hours a day will reliably make just about anybody insane, and playing music and feeding beer to cows will cause them to produce more milk*, most things about the experience of music are extremely subjective, and hard to research because of “self-reporting bias”. A classic example is that although mp3′s intrinsically suck as an audio format, they are actually preferred by many of today’s listeners. So if music doesn’t drive you crazy while you work, go for it. Apparently the Mozart Effect has some scientific basis. If you’re looking for some interesting alternatives, this LifeHacker article offers up some ideas. It’s where I found the Buddha Machine Wall, which I listened to while I typed all of this, and it’s also where I discovered Chatter Blocker, which, while an interesting piece of software, would probably be more useful for creating walla for your next movie than improving your productivity. By selecting the “Cypress Goats” and “Male/Female Chatter” settings, I was totally convinced I was at a Turkish Bazaar haggling over the price of my wife-to-be, rather than sitting at the computer. LifeHacker also mentions ambient music like Brian Eno’s Music for Airports. I’m personally pretty partial to this kind of stuff. In fact, I create it myself. Check some of my ambient stuff here (especially calming are “On The Eve” and “Redshore”). People compare it to Stars of the Lid, but in fact that should be the other way around. My stuff is older than their stuff, and both owe a lot to Fripp & Eno’s Evening Star, if anything, nanny nanny. So put on some jams and get back to work now. No-one’s paying you to read stupid web sites, okay?

Buddha Machine Wall is a virtual version of The Buddha Sound Machine

Apparently Chatter Blocker is so calming that you levitate in your cubicle:

* As far as we know, there was no control group to see if beer alone would’ve done the job.

Read Comments

  1. Posted by kristin on 09.25.09 5:29 pm

    i wish white noise was available in all offices so you don’t have to listen to your colleagues chew or crack gum, snort back loogies, hack in a tic-like fashion, ect. if it’s acceptable to do these things in public, why isn’t it okay for me to listen to what I want to at a volume that’s good for me (like turning it up to “11″?

    yeah, i’ve got issues :)

  2. Posted by admin on 09.26.09 8:12 am

    I would go NUTS in a regular office. I’d be like Milton from Office Space: “I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she’s filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I’m collating so I don’t see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven…

  3. Posted by » Procrastination Is Like Masturbation* - Dissociated Press on 10.03.09 11:02 am

    [...] off one of (!) the phones, cleaning out the inboxes, not having lunch with you, putting on some productivity sounds, and looking forward to a non-existent “to do” [...]