Video game music: the secret weapon of the most productive people?

It’s a proven fact that music has a significant effect on your brain, your mood, your concentration and your ability to endure even the most boring of tasks. But it might surprise you to find out that it’s video game soundtracks that are the most effective productivity-boosting tunes out there.

Read more: 6 sites for all your video game sheet music needs

Why does music help you be more productive?

Even the most cursory search on Google will reveal a whole host of research on the effects of music on your brain.

Take one study from the journal of Applied Ergonomics, for example. Researchers found that playing background music to drown out unpleasant machine noise made workers complete repetitive tasks faster—and I’ll bet it’d work on unpleasant coworker noise as well.

But that’s just music helping you to get into the groove of something you could do in your sleep; what if you needed to actually use your brain? Music can help there too. Stanford University found that music helps you concentrate, discovering that within the brief silence between songs (or ‘symphonic pauses’, to be exact), your brain starts anticipating what’s coming next. That anticipation makes you pay more attention.

Music can also make you happy, keep you calm and even put a stopper in death make you more creative. Seems like there’s very little that music can’t do to improve your work or study…

What about video game music?

So music is awesome, right? But before you go turning that new album you love right up to max volume, you have to understand that it’s #NotAllMusic that has these effects. In fact, playing the wrong kind of music can do the exact opposite of what you want, as anyone who has been working on a project while their neighbour blasts grindcore through the walls can attest to.

In fact, the requirements for productivity-positive music are so specifics that it can be extremely difficult to find a set of songs that have them all. Depending on what you want to get out of the experience, you might need:

You’d be hard pressed to find an album that ticks all those boxes. But thanks to the diversity of video game soundtracks and music, it’s not as difficult as it once was.

In a single OST (original soundtrack) of a game, you’ll find fast-paced combat music, slow atmospheric tunes, a few epic orchestral pieces and probably more than a few bangers that you just love outright. What’s more, nearly all of them are going to be instrumental, which is easily one of the hardest hurdles to overcome in the modern music scene.

What is the best video game music to listen to while working or studying?

Depending on what you want to get out of the music, you have a few options:

Getting stuff done


Rocket League

Command & Conquer Red Alert 2

To engage your brain

Final Fantasy



To ease stress

Legend of Zelda


Ori and the Blind Forest

Stardew Valley

I hope this helps you concentrate, relax or smash through that next project, assignment, or piece of homework!

Have I missed out a great soundtrack that should be on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Video game music: the secret weapon of the most productive people?

Add yours

    1. Ah yeah I forgot the Philharmonic did video game themes as well. Really awesome, and a very clear signal of the sheer quality of the music in the gaming industry.


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