Writing and good music go hand in hand for the vast majority of us authors. Here’s a list with some of the best places to discover, organize, and enjoy your favorite writing music.
But first, let’s take a moment of silence to remember Grooveshark. R.I.P.
Disclaimer: I’m not an Apple product user, so I can’t vouch for anything that starts with i-. If you use iTunes or other Apple services and programs to find writing music, tells us about it!
Arguably the best music streaming software available, Spotify is a ridiculously useful tool for writers as well. Use it for creating personalized playlists based on mood or even entire books.
- Save custom playlists with ease
- If you let it, Spotify will automatically play additional songs based on your current playlist
- Find recommended songs based on your history and tastes
- Features most epic music and trailer music groups (looking at you, fantasy authors)
- Free to use and very user-friendly
- Offline options
- You need a premium account to get rid of ads and maximize offline usage
- Some music (especially soundtracks or composers) can’t be found on Spotify. If it’s old, obscure, or foreign (Nintendo music, for example), you may not find it.
Think of Pandora as a writer’s radio channel. Create a station based on a song/genre/artist and let the software do the work for you.
- Completely free (someone correct me if I’m wrong; I don’t actually use it).
- The music never stops. Just click once and start writing.
- Great way to discover new soundtracks or artists.
- Tweak your station’s content by liking/disliking songs.
- Not available in many countries outside of North America. Talk about playing favorites!
- No way to save specific songs or playlists (that I’m aware of).
Youtube is my catch-all option for finding writing music. It’s not the best, nor was it designed to be primarily a source of music, but it gets the job done every time.
- You can find absolutely anything on Youtube
- Access to long medleys and compilations of your favorite soundtracks or composers
- Hours of music mixes based on speficic moods (just search ‘scary ambient music’ and get to work).
- Save custom playlists
- Recommended music at your fingertips
- Completely free (adblock recommended)
- Distractions everywhere
- Depends on internet connection
- The Google Play Youtube app is the worst
Miscellaneous ‘Mood’ Websites
There are dozens of random websites that let you stream music based on filters (mood, genre, tempo, etc.). MoodFuse is a popular one. If you want something you’ve never heard before, or you just want to try something new, these might be a good option.
- Highly customizable search options
- Brand new content (no mainstream music)
- A bit time consuming to find and learn how to use them.
- The music is hit or miss. Some sites are great, some are rubbish.
If you can afford the monthly premium bill, I highly recommend using Spotify as your main source of writing music. In my opinion, it’s the overall best. For those times I can’t find the music I’m looking for, Youtube is my go-to second option. I use Youtube mostly for those long medleys and ambient mixes I mentioned earlier.
And remember to listen outside the box! Hans Zimmer and TSFH are fine, but there are so many more amazing music creators out there. Start exploring!
(Random personal recommendation: try video game soundtracks. Specifically, anything by Nintendo. Even more specifically, Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild, if you write fantasy/adventure like me.)
So what kind of music do you listen to when you write? What software do you use to discover new creators? When will Pandora finally let me stream in Spain? Let me know in the comments!
In the meantime, have a great day.