Good Music for Working & Getting in THE ZONE


Share your playlists or suggest radio stations to have on in the background while working or when you really need to concentrate.

  • Purple Current - an online radio station (also a phone app) that plays just about every song from Prince’s catalogue, as well as songs from musicians who inspired him and musicians that he inspired. I like this tagline of their’s: “the roots and the fruit of the purple family tree”. I loveeee that they play more than like 12 of his biggest hits. They play everything, even his 15-minute song called “Cloreen Bacon Skin”, lol. Lots of soul & funk here. Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, those early 90s rap songs, ALL of his proteges, and new music too. Lizzo! Okay I’ll stop now.

  • basically any chill / lo-fi mix of video game music on YouTube. My most recent favorite is this Zelda one.

  • Tales of Relaxation - these are playlists I put together a few years ago of the chill “Tales” music without the scary boss fight music: Graces, Vesperia, the Abyss, Robotics Notes (<-- not a Tales game, I just like the music).


I really enjoy listening to the Rocket: Robot on Wheels OST when working, it’s just a great jazzy soundtrack that’s not sleepily slow but also not super distracting. Plus it has those sweet N64 vibes. I also really like listening to the Phoenix Wright and Ghost Trick OSTs, although I usually filter out the more intense stuff like the objection themes. I unfortunately don’t really have any links to playlists for those, though, sorry - I have the OSTs downloaded to my computer so I just have a local playlist.

I also find this guy has lots of great lo-fi hip hop tracks.

I’ve never played any of the Tales series but I really like the music in those playlists - will definitely have to add to my rotation!


I usually listen to boring old people music on account of I’m boring and old. Mahler’s ninth symphony is great “in the zone” music, to my thinking, as is nearly anything by Bach. Also partial to Chopin for work music.

On the other end of the boring old people music spectrum, I also listen to a lot of jazz. Lately I’ve been big on the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Kenny Burrell – his song Listen to the Dawn has always been a favourite of mine. More on-topic, perhaps, I’m entirely too partial to Gyakuten Meets Jazz Soul, which has the most amazing cover of Great Revival that I can even imagine.


When I don’t have a video running in the background (gotta catch up on GDQ runs) I usually just like to listen to video game music. I don’t mind if there’s some upbeat stuff in there, I actually kinda prefer that. If there isn’t a specific song/ost I’m in the mood for I’ll usually just put on Rainwave, which is kind of just a video game radio channel. It works on voting for upcoming songs, and allows requests. They’ve also got a couple stations on there, if you’d prefer remixes, chiptunes, or a mix of everything.

I know most people probably prefer chill stuff while working, so that’s probably not for you.


Yep, I also love to work to video game music, especially Final Fantasy piano pieces (either the official Final Fantasy Piano Collections or fan stuff). I also enjoy working to piano jazz or jazz trios (Oliver Jones and Oscar Peterson are good starting points) and dance / electronic stuff (Samantha James, Late Night Alumni, etc.).


I’ve been listening to Japanese jazz stations through an app called Radio Japan. They have a huge selection of good stations to pick from, but recently I’ve been mostly listening to one called Shonan Beach FM 78.9.


Roland - thanks for sharing that Robot OST. Been listening to that and it’s really nice! I’m slowly going through everyone else’s suggestions too.

Rainwave is also something I listened to allllll the time. I discovered some really good artists with that, like Dale North.

I also got a Calm subscription recently. I the soundscapes, especially evening campfire (crickets and a crackling campfire).


I just found this really good post-rock album by Hyakkei and in my opinion it sets the perfect mood for when you’re trying to focus and get some desk work done. I like it so much I may try to hunt down a physical release of the album!

Edit I’m gonna add two more things I’ve been listening too while working.

I think this music was made exclusively to be played at the Kirby Cafes in Japan, but it makes for some really good background music for getting stuff done.

And this is the full 25th anniversary Kirby orchestra sound track.