Our B2B music streaming company focuses on delivering the right song at the right time to the right person. Last year, Feed Media Group (FMG) served 550 million songs to 6 million unique users including customers of iFit, Mirror, and Tonal, and non-fitness brands including American Eagle Outfitters and the Mayo Clinic. We’re obsessed with understanding the powerful relationship between music and behavior. But even we were surprised when recently asked “what’s the best music for coding?”
To the Google machine! Accordingly:
- 96% of software engineers listen to music at least some of the time;
- music without lyrics but with complex sounds–styles like electro and deep house–helps engineers maintain an effective pace; and
- programmers who listen to music while coding might actually have an edge.
These findings seemed valid in terms of the vast scientific studies about music and on a gut level. As professional curators working with an ever-growing Engineering Team, we decided to go straight to the source:
What do FMG’s uber-talented coders listen to when they work?
CTO & Co-Founder Eric Lambrecht, who built the first version of our music platform and leads the development of tools, scripts, tech, and automation, had a one-word answer: Battles. Setting aside the perfection of a lead engineer who savors battles, this was no surprise as Eric is a gunner with a tremendous amount of controlled energy. Asked to elaborate, he shared a preference for working to soundtracks–citing Bad Robot and the Dust Brothers’ classic Fight Club in particular–rock, and electronic music.
Music for Coding, V1 – Immersive Textures
- rhythmically textural and very mechanical
- music that feels immersive
- “not big into distracting vocals”
Software Engineer Matt Sandler joined FMG two years ago, quickly earning props for his friendly, unflappable approach to solving complex problems as our resident R&D expert. After disclaiming that he enjoys Radiohead, They Might Be Giants, and Muse in his non-work time, he frequently listens to workout music when coding as he has found similarities between both of these focused, endurance-oriented activities. He doesn’t want distractions when working, instead preferring “songs that are unabashedly non-pretentious.” He listens to lots of female-powered dance pop, some of it in foreign languages like K-pop so his biological CPU can concentrate effectively.
Pro tip: Matt plays many songs on repeat, sometimes listening to one “until I’m sick of it in order to bang out a coding deadline.”
Music for Coding, V2 – Upbeat Rhythms
- upbeat dance pop with driving rhythms
- include up-and-coming younger artists and poppy hip hop
- “club beats but not EDM, more middle of the road”
One of our newest hires, Solutions Consultant Joey Arowcavage is a legitimately great house DJ, quickly impressing colleagues with his musical taste and turntable skills. As with many other FMG employees–including CEO & Co-Founder Jeff Yasuda, funk bandleader/singer-songwriter/guitarist of the Fuzz Collective; and President, COO & Co-Founder Lauren Pufpaf, who is an accomplished house DJ–Joey exemplifies the vital role of work-life balance in our company’s success. When focused on prospect and customer SDK/API implementation, Joey stays in the zone with a variety of non-mainstream electronic music. He often prefers longer tracks (6+ minutes duration) to minimize distractions.
Music for Coding, V3 – Groovy Lo-Fi
- quirky lo-fi drum and bass, groovy/minimal house, dark techno, breakbeats
- mostly instrumental music
- no Top 40, pop, or hip hop
For the 11-person Engineering Team that powers FMG’s acclaimed streaming APIs, music provides a jumping-off point for connecting with colleagues and increasing productivity. Their pathbreaking, innovative work is directly changing the music industry while contributing to our company’s open-minded, fast-paced, and empowered culture.
We’re hiring! And, for those of us fortunate enough to call FMG our professional home, we’re given the agency to play a highly creative role in bringing our music products to scale more broadly. Please consider joining us!
Thanks to: Juan Hernandez-Cruz and Matt DiGiovanna for their contributions to this article.
Feed Media Group is for businesses that need licensed popular music to create the most engaging customer experiences. Unlike navigating complex, time-consuming negotiations with music labels and publishers, Feed Media Group’s proprietary streaming platform and SDKs deliver pre-cleared music—compiled by the industry’s best curators—complete with user analytics, payments to rightsholders, and legal indemnification for our customers.
Feed.fm powers music for the world’s leading brands including American Eagle Outfitters, Mayo Clinic, Mirror, Nautilus, and Tonal; and up-and-coming startups use Adaptr to create unique music-based experiences. Our music partners include Warner, BMG, and Merlin.