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How to create the perfect work from home playlist

Expert tips from Aaptiv’s expert DJs.

Some people like to work in monastic silence, others want to be in a cocoon of extreme sound. But if you worked in an office before the pandemic, chances are you’re used to at least some background noise. Which means working alone at home can be weird, to say the least. One way to recreate the low background hum of the office (or coffee shop) is with music, but after all this time of remote work, you’ve probably had enough of your go-to playlists. (You had a good run, Coffee + Chill.) So what’s the best way to keep the tunes fresh? And how can you discover new work from home music now that you’re unlikely to run into your impossibly hip work friend with impeccable taste?

We asked our friends from the music division of fitness app Aaptiv (access the on-demand fitness app for no cost with the Haven Life Plus rider, available to eligible Haven Term policyholders) for some tips on how to find the best work from home music

In this article:

Advice from Chelsey Anderson, Aaptiv Senior Music Manager

Create song/artist/radio playlists.

“Love a song so much you’ve played it to death? Create a ‘song’ radio within your streaming service (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.), and it will suggest similar songs and artists for you to enjoy that you might’ve never discovered otherwise.”

Note that these playlists are updated regularly and automatically, so this is a great and easy way to ensure you’re constantly exposed to new music based on your tastes and moods.

Diversify your streaming platforms.

“As a curator, I use Apple Music, Spotify, and a few other music platforms, as oftentimes their algorithms differ, meaning different artists, songs, and playlists are suggested, depending on the platform. If you only prefer to pay for one streaming service, I suggest using it in addition to YouTube and SoundCloud. They are free and often populated with great artists.”

Note that SoundCloud in particular is a place where artists in the music industry upload new songs which may not yet be on the likes of Spotify and Apple, making it a kind of digital underground.

Follow Curation profiles and specific playlists

Topsify, and Filtr are just a couple of places that house professionally curated playlists that are updated often and can be opened within your streaming service. They do the hard work of sifting through all the latest music so all you have to do is listen and add to your own playlists. My guilty pleasure playlists include Lo-Fi Beats for stretching, cool downs, and working from home.”

Spend time searching for new music

There was a time, not so long ago, when going to physical record stores and discovering new music was a common leisure activity. Try taking that approach to your playlists for remote working.

Says Chelsey: “As a curator, I love utilizing my free time discovering new music, but understandably most don’t have the time.” She suggests “taking 10-15 minutes,” before sitting down to work, to “sift through your favorite playlists. Try adding at least 3-5 new songs, then hit shuffle and enjoy. These new additions take little time and effort and provide a nice shakeup to your normal routine.” Also, don’t forget that adding that handful of songs will further train your streaming service’s algorithm to refresh your “radio” playlists with songs you’ll like.

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Advice from Faybeo’n Mickens, Aaptiv Music Curator

Let the DJ do the work

“DJs are your friends, so in addition to YouTube and SoundCloud, I would suggest MixCloud,” which is an endless online repository of DJ mixes both old and new. Numerous independent radio stations also host their programs there and it’s easy to follow DJs, stations and shows. Also, says Faybeo’n, “It has a wonderful discovery tool that allows you to search for new tunes by categories,” which is helpful when you’re looking for music to go with a certain mood (such as “still working from home”).

Go to a gig without leaving the house

“One of my favorite ways to discover new music is to experience it. Obviously with COVID and quarantine, that’s been a bit of a challenge; however, Twitch has provided a wonderful platform for musicians and DJs to share music and mixes.”

If you only know Twitch as a gaming platform, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that a wide variety of musicians and DJs in the music industry have also been using it to stream live performances. The more festive ones include live video feeds that cut from the performer to viewers who have got dressed up and are dancing along in their homes. The comment feeds are often very active, too. Put Twitch on for some background music while you work and your imaginary office will start to feel a lot more lively than your real one.

Buy after you try

“Last but not least,” says Faybeo’n, “with major labels being in such an interesting position, AudioMack is another space to grab new music and so is Bandcamp.”

AudioMack has plentiful playlists, especially for fans of hip hop, R&B and Afrobeat, while Bandcamp is arguably the best place online to buy music. It’s where a huge cross section of independent artists and labels go to sell their wares in every file format imaginable (including MP3s for regular folks, and high quality FLAC and WAV files for the audiophiles). You can listen to full songs without purchasing them, so it’s a good way to discover independent artists, as well as to potentially support them.

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There’s more great content where this came from.

And one tip from us

Don’t forget the radio. In many workplaces, the radio is already part of the background hum, and if your current “office” is actually your kitchen, at least you can choose the station. Don’t limit yourself to what’s local. Listening to online specialist music stations from the UK (NTS, Worldwide), France (Nova) and other parts of the US (such as KCRW in California and WFMU in New York) will expose you to a whole new world of music, much of which you can add to your playlists. Also, those stations feature DJs who talk as well as play tunes, which will help your home office feel more populated. And these days, a little background noise can go a long way.

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About Michael Davis

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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

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Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

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