New Spotify Study Shows Audio Is the Number One Productivity Booster

The new normal isn’t so new anymore. With many approaching a year of being at home, we’re all eager to find new ways to maintain our focus and productivity—something that means much more than getting things done at work. According to a recent study commissioned in the U.S. and UK by Spotify, 87% of people believe productivity touches every aspect of their lives, from work and creative pursuits to managing a home and caring for a family. 

The study also found that, no matter the task at hand, audio is a key part of people’s productivity tool kits. It helps individuals achieve certain moods, transform their environments, and get into the right frame of mind. Audio is the number one productivity booster, with 37% of respondents citing it as the key driver to success during productivity moments. This played out on Spotify too: Over the past year of social distancing and spending more time at home, we’ve seen a 26% increase in user-generated “focus” playlists created on-platform globally.*

Looking to find the right audio to help you get in the zone? Read on for some additional key recommendations from the study,** as well as the most popular sounds that might be useful as you get into a task or project.  

Fit the sound to the task

Nearly 75% of respondents agreed that the type of audio they stream needs to be tailored to the activity they’re doing. So whether you’re working on your desktop, going for a walk to clear your mind, or going for a drive to run errands, make sure you have the audio to match. 

  • Study and chill: 69% of respondents said ambient or chill music is better for studying, with 67% indicating ‘slower’ beats are key for their study sessions. The top three most popular playlists within the Spotify Focus Hub across the globe include: Peaceful Piano, Lo-Fi Beats, and Instrumental Study. “Chicago Freestyle (feat. Giveon)” by Drake and Giveon is the top-streamed chill/ambient track, followed by “Mariposa” by Peach Tree Rascals, “Yellow Hearts” by Ant Saunders, “Into the Unknown” by AURORA & Idina Menzel, and “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. 
  • Foster home improvement: 64% of respondents said that when doing housework or making home improvements, they prefer to listen to high-energy music with a faster BPM. Looking for the perfect jams for just that? Check out Spotify’s “Get Chores Done” and “Housewerk” playlists.
  • Fuel creativity: 43% of respondents said they are more likely to listen to instrumental music when writing creatively or analyzing data/information. 

Get in the right state of mind

The largest barrier to being productive is internal stimuli—things like stress, mood, and level of tiredness. Roughly 80% of respondents said listening to something helps them focus, tune out distractions, and create their own space. 

  • Use audio to help you fight the afternoon slump: Spotify found that streams of its Focus Hub are highest in the afternoons, between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. 
  • Find the right track for you for the moment: Searching for the perfect song or podcast for the moment can be tough—nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents said they struggle to find the right content—but personalized playlists like Spotify’s popular Discover Weekly or Brain Snacks playlists can help you find the right audio, made just for you.
  • Switch off when you need it: Audio isn’t only for laser-focused task completion—it can also help you decompress. In fact, 87% of respondents reported using audio to help switch off and relax. Updated twice daily, the evening edition of Spotify’s Daily Wellness playlist is built to get you ready for a good night’s sleep so you can slip into one of the most crucial acts of wellness and self-care. Or check out Happier with Gretchen Rubin, where Rubin provides practical, manageable advice about happiness and good habits. 

Ready to get in the zone? Find all this and more in Spotify’s Focus Hub.


*All Spotify data collected from February 4, 2020 – February 4, 2021 unless otherwise specified.

**Survey was conducted with 4,000 adult respondents across the U.S. and UK, exploring what productivity means to each of them and how they manage productivity in their daily lives. The survey also included a qualitative diary with six American participants.