Music is a powerful tool. It conjures emotion, helps relieve stress, and improves our concentration. In fact, according to a recent study in the Harvard Business Review, music can be used to boost our productivity while we work.


As such, it’s not surprising to learn that upwards of 94% of employed people prefer to listen to music while they work, whether that’s music played in their workplace or on their own personal devices.


To get a better understanding of the songs and artists people just can’t get enough of while they work, we’ve analyzed nearly 4,000 work-related Spotify playlists and over a million songs to find the tracks that appear most frequently.


Using these findings, we found that Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” is the most popular song to listen to at work. Eminem has the most songs included on work playlists, with five of his tracks being heavily featured, and Harry Styles had the most songs in the top ten, with two.




The Top Ten Songs to Listen to for Workplace Productivity :


  1. Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me) – Train
  2. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
  3. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  4. Blinding Lights – The Weeknd
  5. Watermelon Sugar – Harry Styles
  6. As It Was – Harry Styles
  7. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston
  8. Closer – The Chainsmokers
  9. Circles – Post Malone
  10. Flowers – Miley Cyrus
  11. Sunflower – Post Malone
  12. No Scrubs – TLC
  13. Adore You – Harry Styles
  14. Hey, Soul Sister – Train
  15. Take On Me – a-ha!
  16. Shut Up and Dance – WALK THE MOON
  17. Yellow – Coldplay
  18. Till I Collapse – Eminem
  19. Work From Home – Fifth Harmony
  20. Africa – TOTO


The top songs people like to listen to while they work include a mix of both classic and more recent tracks, and while most of the songs are upbeat and fun, they also span several genres, from classic rock to hip-hop.



In addition to the top songs for productivity, we also wanted to know who the most popular artists to listen to in the workplace are. Using our combined list of 150 songs that appear most frequently across work playlists, we found the following artists to be the most popular.


The Most Popular Artists to Listen to at Work Include:


  1. Eminem – 5 songs
  2. Ed Sheeran – 4 songs
  3. Hans Zimmer – 4 songs
  4. Harry Styles – 4 songs
  5. Coldplay – 3 songs
  6. Post Malone – 3 songs
  7. Red Hot Chili Peppers – 3 songs
  8. AC/DC – 2 songs
  9. Billie Eilish – 2 songs
  10. Bruno Mars – 2 songs


Similarly to the top ten tracks, the top artists include both older and newer musicians who span various genres. Perhaps the most unique person on the list is film score composer Hans Zimmer, whose music appeared frequently on work playlists with an emphasis on focusing.



Why Do Certain Songs Boost Productivity?


While we were keen to figure out what songs and artists people like to listen to while they work, we also wanted to learn more about what makes these songs so great for productivity in the workplace.


We spoke with music theorist and founder of the music hub AllAxess, Joel Smith, to find out what makes these songs so good for productivity. According to Smith, there are five components of these songs that make them ideal for the workplace:


  1. Tempo


According to Smith, the tempo of music can affect the mood of the listener. While downbeat and slow songs tend to make a person relax, upbeat tempos can be energy boosts. He says, “Moderate to upbeat tempos can increase energy and alertness. ‘Blinding Lights’ by The Weeknd and ‘Watermelon Sugar’ by Harry Styles provide rhythmic patterns that can boost the listener’s mood and, in turn, their efficiency.”


  1. Lyric Content


In addition to tempo, Smith says the lyrical content of a song can help to improve listeners’ moods and create a comforting ambiance in the workplace. He says, “Songs with positive, uplifting, or nostalgic lyrics can improve mood and motivation. ‘Drops of Jupiter’ by Train or ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac tap into emotions and memories that might provide a comforting backdrop on a workday.”


  1. Steady Rhythm


Smith says that rhythm, like tempo, can greatly boost moods and increase productivity. He says, “A consistent rhythm, like in ‘Closer’ by The Chainsmokers or ‘Circles’ by Post Malone, can help individuals go into a ‘flow’ state, a mental state of immersion in an activity.”


  1. Repetitive Structures


There’s comfort in repetition, especially in music, says Smith. This can aid concentration as the listeners’ mind doesn’t need to predict what comes next. He says, “Repetition can be soothing. A song with a repetitive chorus or melody, like ‘Flowers’ by Miley Cyrus, can provide a predictable and consistent auditory environment, aiding concentration.”


  1. Recognizability


Lastly, Smith says the familiarity in song, like a repetitive structure, helps to create a sense of comfort for the listener, enabling them to focus on the task at hand. Smith says, “Songs that are widely known and have memorable melodies can create a sense of familiarity. This helps reduce feelings of stress or isolation in a work setting. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ by Journey and ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ by Whitney Houston are great examples.”


Other Ways to Boost Workplace Productivity


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We used the digital tool The Playlist Miner to analyze 3,960 public Spotify playlists that include the terms “work playlist,” “office,” “office playlist,” “work from home,” and “work focus.” This analyzed 1,057,908 songs to find the ones that appeared most frequently within these playlists. We combined the songs that appeared most across our search criteria to find the top 150 songs.