An African American women wearing a yellow top listens to music while she works. Freelancing

What Is the Most Popular Work from Home Music?

When most think of what the ideal work from home music sounds like, your mind might go to a one hour playlist of ocean sounds, a soundtrack on ambient music with no lyrics or laid back acoustic music. 

However, after seeing the results pour in from our most recent survey of the most popular work from home music and artists, that stereotype has been flipped.

Pop music is the most popular work from home genre, and Taylor Swift, the country-turned-pop superstar, is the most popular musician.

But why?

In this blog post, we’ll break down the survey and what makes ideal work from home music. 

The Top 10 Work from Home Musicians

Working from home has become more common for many Americans. According to the Pew Research Center, the majority of those who can do their jobs remotely, choose to work from home some or all of the time.

To learn more about the music helping Americans through the workday, Voices looked at which artists and songs appear most frequently on Spotify users’ work-from-home playlists.

Like we mentioned above, Taylor Swift came in at number one. But here are the rest of the top 10:

Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd and Rihanna rounded out the top five; while Imagine Dragons (6), Drake (7), Justin Bieber (8), The Beatles (9) and Maroon 5 (10) all made the top ten. 

The Top 10 Work from Home Songs

Great Britain completely dominated the work from home top 10 song list.

Harry Styles, the Redditch, England native, took three of the top five spots and had a total of five songs in the top 25 (the most of any artist). 

Other English bands, Glass Animals and The Beatles, ranked in third and fifth place.

  1. As It Was – Harry Styles
  2. Watermelon Sugar – Harry Styles
  3. Heat Waves – Glass Animals
  4. Golden – Harry Styles
  5. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
  6. Peaches ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – Justin Bieber
  7. I Feel It Coming – The Weeknd
  8. Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man
  9. Blinding Lights – The Weeknd
  10. Circles – Post Malone

The most shocking part of this list is not a single instrumental song made this list. Spotify listeners clearly have a strong preference for listening to lyric-filled pop music while working remotely.

The Top 10 Work from Home Genres

Speaking of lyric-filled pop music; it should be no surprise that Pop music was the clear number one genre for work from home musical genres.

Pop songs made up 30.3% of all work from home songs, at least 10 percent more than any other genre. 

Here’s the full top 10 work from home genres:

  1. Pop (30.3%)
  2. Dance/EDM (17.8%)
  3. Rock (16.2%)
  4. Hip-Hop/Rap (12.2%)
  5. R&B (7.8%)
  6. Folk/Acoustic (6.1%)
  7. Country (3.3%)
  8. Easy Listening (1.8%)
  9. Metal (1%)
  10. Classical (0.8%)

Scientific studies suggest that upbeat songs can improve athletic performance and decrease perceived effort, especially during endurance training. Maybe these work from home listeners experience similar benefits for their mental tasks as well.

With classical music making up less than 1% of the playlists we analyzed, and easy-listening tracks accounting for only 1.8%, it appears that many people prefer music that creates an exciting atmosphere for getting work done at home.

What Does a Work From Home Song Sound Like?

It’s hard to lump every work from home song into one category but there are some trends among the work from home songs that we analyzed. The results are fascinating.

Using Spotify’s API we performed a technical analysis of the instrumentals, valence, and energy of the top work from home songs. 

Here’s a technical look at how workers’ music sounds:

  • 20% of WFH songs were emotionally negative, while only 17% were emotionally positive. 
  • 69% of WFH songs contained lyrics, while only 23% were instrumental. 
  • The median tempo of work-from-home music is 118 beats per minute (BPM).

It might be shocking that only 23% of the songs we studied were instrumental, considering the tendency of song lyrics to be a distraction from work. 

But as we pointed out above, lyrics aren’t an issue for remote workers. It could be that they are less concerned with music that maximizes productivity and more interested in playing the music they enjoy. 

We also found that 24% of songs were high-energy, while 19% were low-energy, corroborating our earlier findings of workers preferring upbeat music. 

However, most songs were more likely to be emotionally negative. This could be a microcosm of the state of popular music, culture and several other global trends, as opposed to anything related to working from home and productivity. 

What do you think of the results? Click here to read the full ‘Sounds to Work To’ Report.

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