I love music playing in the background while I work, but not just any music. It has to be music I love, but not music that distracts. I could say it has to be instrumental, but that’s not true—I write and draw to songs just as well. The music doesn’t have to invoke any special mood, though I prefer mysterious melodies.
I used to input all my CDs into my iTunes, and just play music from my computer, but years ago when I switched computers, I lost all my non-Apple purchases, and I just couldn’t face downloading them again. I’ve made Genius playlists which work for me for a while, but eventually, I get tired of them.
I have a CD player in my study, and for years I put in a CD when I sat down to write. But there are problems with that strategy. There are always a few cuts I’m tired of, or which never appealed to me, or which disrupt my attention, and I have to stop working to click past them. Or the CD stops and I don’t notice because I’m so absorbed with my work. Often I listened to the same CD over and over because I didn’t want to take the time to put in a different CD.
I don’t subscribe to a music streaming site, which would probably be the ideal solution for people who want unlimited beautiful music to create to. I do have Amazon Prime, so I often listen to music I like there, or to their pre-compiled playlists. Their playlists have the disadvantage of including pieces I don’t care for. You can make your own playlist on Amazon Prime, which I haven’t done yet, but plan to do.
Instead, I made my own playlist on YouTube, which has its own advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, I can share it. If you’d like to listen to it, it’s located here. (You can also subscribe to my channel. I plan to add creativity-related content eventually.) The main disadvantage is unless you pay a monthly fee (which I don’t), you have to deal with ads every video or two. You can skip most of them after five seconds, but that means you have to stop what you’re doing, go to your YouTube window, and click the little rectangle. The ads also disrupt your concentration. One other feature, which could be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your point of view, is that you can add and delete videos from the playlist, which I intend to do as I tire of some and come across others.
YouTube Music also has a new player which I have not yet fully explored, but it looks like it could be a good thing.
Do you like to play music while you work? What sort of background music do you prefer? (I have eclectic taste in music, from classical to bluegrass to Balkan to pop.) Have you made your own playlists? Share in the comments below.