Musical
Motivators

The most popular working from home songs, according to Spotify

In 2020, working from home became a new way of life for over 60% of the UK workforce, with an increasing number of businesses planning to make the move permanent when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

When it comes to productivity, recent statistics suggest that music is one of the biggest motivators when working from home, with 75% listening to their favourite songs to keep them focused and energised.

Using the Spotify API, we analysed 5697 playlists and 576,322 tracks, to reveal the UK’s favourite working from home songs and artists.

Not only this, but we teamed with Shane Beales from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, to find out whether the most popular tracks are musical motivators, or whether we need to switch up our soundtracks to help us boost productivity.

In 2020, working from home became a new way of life for over 60% of the UK workforce, with an increasing number of businesses planning to make the move permanent when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

When it comes to productivity, recent statistics suggest that music is one of the biggest motivators when working from home, with 75% listening to their favourite songs to keep them focused and energised.

Using the Spotify API, we analysed 5697 playlists and 576,322 tracks, to reveal the UK’s favourite working from home songs and artists.

Not only this, but we teamed with Shane Beales from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, to find out whether the most popular tracks are musical motivators, or whether we need to switch up our soundtracks to help us boost productivity.

Blinding Lights by The Weeknd is the most popular WFH song, appearing in 442 different playlists

Taylor Swift is the most popular artist overall, appearing 3,795 times across the playlists

Fleetwood Mac classic ‘Dreams’ came 3rd perhaps as a result of the viral TikTok video

The top 10 working from home tracks

Whilst it may come as no surprise that many of 2020’s biggest chart toppers appear in the top 10, Blinding Lights by The Weekend is officially the most popular working from home track, featuring in 442 playlists overall.

Two hits from Harry Styles also made the list, including Watermelon Sugar and Adore You, both appearing more than 300 times.

Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams – Remastered 2004, takes third place, as it seems fans still cannot get enough of the iconic soundtrack.

Explore the table below to see the tracks which feature in more than 50 playlists, along with the number of times they appear.

Most popular WFH songs

An Analysis of 5,697 WFH Spotify Playlists

Rank
Song
Artist
Count
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The most popular artists

Global superstar, Taylor Swift, is the most popular artist in our study, due to the recent success of her album, Folklore. With 1236 entries, her most featured tracks include ‘Exile’ (245 listings), ‘Cardigan’ (204 listings), and ‘The 1’ (194 listings).

Interestingly, German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, is the ninth most played artist, suggesting that remote workers also enjoy listening to classical music, alongside mainstream artists. Hans Zimmer came 43rd on the list, whilst Mozart is the 86th most popular musician.

Iconic stars including The Beatles, Dolly Parton, Elton John, and Whitney Houston also made the top 100, with their releases appearing over 500 times.

Use the table below to see the full list of popular artists.

Use the table below to see the full list of popular artists.

Most popular artists

An Analysis of 5,697 WFH Spotify Playlists

Rank
Artist
Count
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What does the expert say?

Shane Beales

Lecturer at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

We teamed with Shane Beales from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, to find out whether the most popular tracks are musical motivators, or whether we need to switch up our soundtracks to help us boost productivity.

The top 10 songs

"One element that all of the top 10 songs have in common, aside from their popularity, is that they contain short two, three or four chord progressions, which in nearly every case repeat for the entirety of the song.

This repetition provides a predictable pattern that listeners can quickly absorb, enabling their attention to focus on other song elements. These songs are full of short, repetitive, and memorable hooks that are designed to catch and maintain attention for their duration - and in some cases for a long time afterwards."

"we perform better if the music makes us feel good."

Are they good for productivity?

"we perform better if the music makes us feel good."

"Studies show that music does appear to induce a small and temporary improvement in some kinds of cognition – but the mechanism has nothing ‘musical’ about it. Rather, we perform better if the music makes us feel good.

"Psychologists have long known that cognition is dependent on mood and arousal, and stimuli we find interesting and pleasant can give us a boost. So, any music that raises spirits will no doubt be beneficial for a lot of people working from home."

Expert recommendations

"I tend to appreciate working to instrumental music, as I often find lyrics distracting. So, for more mellow moods I heartily recommend The Magic Lantern’s ‘My Soul Is A Strange Country’ (2020) and Erland Cooper’s ‘Landform’ (2020). For a more upbeat and energising mood I enjoy Mr. Scruff’s ‘Keep it Unreal’ (1999) & Moses Boyd’s ‘Rye Lane Shuffle’ (2018)."

Mellow Moods

Upbeat & Energising

Musical
Motivators

An Analysis of WFH
Spotify Playlists

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Using the Spotify API, we analysed 5697 playlists mentioning ‘working from home’, ‘work from home’ or ‘WFH’ in their titles or descriptions, and 576,322 tracks from those playlists. Listings of alternative versions of tracks (e.g. remastered versions, appearance on compilation albums) were combined. Data taken from Spotify on 24 Nov 2020