What do you listen to while coding?

Sometimes I hate listening to music while programming… but sometimes I love it. I cycle between those moods every few days or so.

Back in my PHP days I had Hammock - Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save Your Life on repeat for months.

With crystal, I mostly like songs by Boys Like Girls and Shiny Toy Guns. The nostalgia seems to drive a motor in me to continue to code. Hard to explain, but boy does it feel good.

And then for long sessions, I love Hans Zimmer - S.T.A.Y. (Madis Remix) and Cisco’s Default Hold Music

I’m curious what music you all enjoy listening to?

I’m currently listening to my Christmas playlist, including traditional and modern Christmas songs performed by various artists like Bryan Adams, Twisted Sister, Helene Fischer, Coro Diocesi di Roma and others.

Nice. Bryan Adams is amazing. Love Summer of '69.

I’m listening many metal or folk-metal bands.

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I would go nuts if I constantly listened to a small number of albums, or even a small number of artists.

When programming I generally switch between music which has lyrics, and electronic (but not “dance”-specific) music which has no lyrics. And most of the lyrical music is progressive rock or older classic rock. So today I’ve listened to artists: Dezperado, Cosmic Ground, Jon and Vangelis, Johan Tronestam, Steve Miller Band, Jeremy, and Lunatic Soul.

I’d also make the point that for programming I want electronic music which has some kind of driving beat or melody. Not the really ambient electronic music, which is more likely to put me to sleep (especially if I didn’t get much sleep the night before).

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$ beet stats
Tracks: 8846
Total time: 3.7 weeks
Approximate total size: 262.3 GiB
Artists: 1355
Albums: 871
Album artists: 340

Everything on shuffle :)

Mostly post-2000 electronic music and it’s myriad subgenres, a fair bit of prog rock, etc.

last.fm’s genres are a bit dubious, but this gives a good idea of what I listen to:

$ beet ls -f '$genre' | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr
   2483 Electronic
    880 J-Pop
    465 Ambient
    292 Trance
    278 Rock
    256 Classic Rock
    221 Progressive Rock
    206 J-Rock
    188 Chillwave
    174 Lo-Fi
    148 Synthpop
    125 Dubstep
    122 Indie Rock
     97 Happy Hardcore
     96 Chillout
     88 Orchestral
     85 Electro House
     83 Pop
     78 Idm
     77 Techno
     72 House
     62 Electro
     51 Electropop

262.3 GiB

Just wait until you find out about the Touhou lossless music collection

Oh, you have to share with me those artists/songs! I really enjoy Japanese music though I don’t know much about it (I mainly listen to songs/compositions by Yoko Kanno).

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@girng Aha, amusing you mention that Cisco hold music - I wonder if you know the story behind it?

My own familiarity with that track came from an episode of the This American Life podcast that discusses this particular piece of music while covering a broader theme. Definitely give it a listen if you like podcasts, TAL is excellent.

There is also a transcript available (ctrl+f “music” to get to the specific part about the hold music)


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My collection is somewhere over 84,000 songs from 8,200 albums by 2,000 artists, providing 316 days of playing time. My “older collection” is mostly ACC @ 256 kbps, using up 860-gig of disk space. I’m rebuilding a “new collection” which has almost everything as apple lossless or FLAC, and that’s already up to 790-gig even though it’s only 22,700 songs. A small number of those are digital-downloads in higher-than-CD quality sound files.

I also have CD’s where I haven’t had the time to rip even once, so they’re not in the “old collection” even though I own them (and I have played them, back when I originally bought them). I still have some vinyl records, too.

That’s why I’m looking to “decluttr” my collection a bit. It’s way more music than any one person can justify!


I knew someone would come along and one-up me! My music collection isn’t even that large among people I know.

Personally, I can never justify throwing away music. There’s some music in my collection which is so obscure, I know for a fact that nobody has it except for me. Including the artist. So I make sure to take good care of my collection and it’s backups!


Well, I’m not going to get rid of any of the really obscure albums that I have! (not unless someone is willing to spend quite a lot to buy them from me!) And I do have some pretty obscure recordings, mostly by artists that few people have heard of. :slight_smile:

A few months ago I contacted a friend and top fan for an artist who has something of a cult following, and who has about a dozen official releases. I had a recording of some of the artist’s earlier songs, which was given to me by someone I worked with as a “thank you” for something I had done for him. There was one song where I just could not figure out what the lyrics were, so I contacted the friend of the artist. She had never heard the song before, even though she has been following the artist at least 20 years. So she contacted the artist about it.

Turns out it was a song that the artist had recorded the first time she was in an official music studio back in 1984. The artist clearly remembered the song, and responded with “Huh, I could have sworn I eventually released that song, but I can’t find it anywhere”. So, the artist might release that song on her next album (which might happen this year), taking it from the copy I have. So that’s why I’m being pretty vague here. I’m supposed to keep quiet about it until that album is released.

So I tracked down that previous coworker who had given me the recording. Turns out he had been in the recording studio (working basically as an errand boy) when the artist was recorded those first songs. And the artist was so excited to have an official recording that she gave him one of the five or ten cassettes that were made of that session. Later on he transferred that cassette to CD-ROM, and gave me a copy. And a few years later some minor catastrophe hit such that he lost all his copies. The artist doesn’t know what happened to the other original cassettes, so it’s pretty likely that the copy I have really is the only remaining copy.

So that’s my coolest story tied to an obscure recording.

The second-coolest is that I have the original test pressing of one of Steven Wilson’s first albums. Bought from Steven. The Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, and who is also now highly sought-after for making 5.1 remixes of many progressive rock classic albums (Yes, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, etc).


That’s an incredibly cool story! Thanks for sharing!

I’d also say that I have two friends whose music collections are much larger than mine…


I credit my time spent coding to dramatically expanding my musical taste (for the better, I think, but some music nerds might argue otherwise ;)). I used to basically only listen to and know about what I heard on the radio (ie top 40 in whatever genre the stations deemed to play). I started with a tuned Pandora mix which naturally found its way toward vocal-less electronic - not so much “ambient” but more steady driving funky beats.

I use Spotify now and have a station that I mercilessly tune as I code, and some of the artists in heavy rotation (that I’d never have discovered otherwise) include Professor Kliq, Overwerk, Prototyperaptor, K-Theory, and most recently Ugress.

Links below if anyone wants to check them out - maybe it’ll make you as productive (ha!):

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Coding and listening to

I’m in heaven. Can’t get any better than this!

If you like post rock, try maybeshewill '08 and the american dollar, also '08.

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I’m a big fan of the Symphonic Metal/Power Metal subgenres. Mainly the likes of Epica, Sleeping Romance, Nightwish, Brothers of Metal, Within Temptation, Delain, Orden Ogan, and Beyond the Black, etc.

I can give some recommendations for each if anyone is curious.

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