“Focused” Music

I know everyone has their own unique taste in music, but I am building some “GET STUFF DONE!” playlists and I was wondering what your go to artists/albums are when you really need to lock in and do some serious focused work. If you’re like me, you have more than one kind of focus work you might be engaging in and each requires different music (e.g., reading/writing/studying vs. building a website). Feel free to include music for different categories!

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MyNoise.net is fantastic. It’s not music per se, but has dozens of sounds that help me with focus. Some of the sounds are music-like, like the Blade Runner tribute Implanted Memories. MyNoise has sliders, so if there is a part of a sound that you don’t like, you can turn it off. It can also animate the sliders for you.


My favorite working playlist these days is a mix of the “Stanger Things” and “Halt and Catch Fire” soundtracks. That wouldn’t be too good for reading or studying, though. For that sort of thing, maybe Max Richter’s “Sleep” or Soma FM’s Drone Zone station.

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Weightless (Ambient Transmission, Vol. 2) by Marconi Union works well for me.
There’s also a 10 hour version.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste but I enjoy music by The Caretaker (not on apple music) when working too.

I’m subscribed to an email list called Flow State which offers daily recommendations. Not everything works for me but I’ve discovered some great stuff. They offer both a paid and free version.


I currently do my best work when listening to metal, but once in a rare while I’ll put on a Joe Satriani playlist I made to mix it up, and jazz always makes it into the rotation from time to time…

A friend of mine finds one song that he really likes and listens to it on repeat all day every day for weeks while he works – I always thought that was really strange but I did try that a few times (but not for weeks lol) and there’s something about it that “does it for me” for certain things…

Summarized: Metal.


I’ve started listening to more and more heavy metal and hard rock genres without singing (Pelican) and evening heavier stuff if the music is really deep and resonant (Rosetta). But lately have been listening to Hum’s new album Inlet on constant rotation. Before this I was still using Rain Rain app, lol

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I tend to use an ambient-sound app or site (I have a few on Mac and iOS), usually coffee-shop noises. But I noticed that MacStories just gave a good review to this new Mac/iOS app:

Otherwise I’m listening to something in a language I don’t know, opera and Italian pop stations being a go-to. I tried to listen to music like Sigur Rós but it just made me sleepy - which led me to ‘Sigur Rós presents Liminal Sleep’ as a fantastic album to fall asleep to.

I really like http://generative.fm.

The soundtrack from Skyrim is epic. :slight_smile:

I’ve been using Brain.fm for years. While I sometimes listen to other audio/music while working, Brain.fm is my go-to source of audio when it’s time for deep, focused work.


+1 for Max Richter, such an amazing composer.

Memoryhouse would be a good album to listen too.

Also, Jóhann Jóhannsson, particularly Fordlândia, which has an interesting history too.

Both write great soundtracks, which generally don’t have vocals, which works well for me.


I’m a huge, huge fan of Focus@Will, that I’ve been using for years with a lifetime subscription.



Great choice. I like Soma.FM for similar reasons occasionally.


This is one area where I should probably stop looking. Initially, I previously use Spotify for this but than I found that it was messing with my Spotify recommendations. It got so bad that I had to create a new Spotify account, because it kept recommending only focus music.

Over the last 5 years, I have used the following

  • Focus at will
  • Brain.fm
  • Endel

Basically, I move between all three of them (lifetime for all three). There are times when I cannot be bothered so I just play the Westworld tv show theme soundtrack on repeat.

Sometimes, I am super lazy, so I just say, HEY SIRI, Play rain sounds and my HomePod comes through for me.

As you can see, when it comes to focus, I need all the help I can get.

Another vote for brain.fm and I also listen to a battlefield 4(?) EA video game soundtrack.

I guess I need to check out more video game soundtracks, I didn’t know they were so popular!

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There was a bit of a Soma lovefest here about a year ago!

I’m a bit weird and like listening to techno when I’m trying to focus (Dave Clarke, Derrick May, Cajmere and the like).

Basically electronic music with no words and a decent beat :slight_smile:

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Drone Zone is what keeps the Soma app on my phone. It reminds me of “Music from the Hearts of Space” which I used to listen to Sunday nights on public radio.

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