Let me start off by saying that creating a playlist that everyone in the office is going to enjoy isn’t just hard, it’s impossible.
Here at Radish, we’ve tried a few different approaches to addressing the office music debacle. (Debacle because everyone generally agrees that they want music playing, but we haven’t always agreed on what to listen to). We’ve tried having a team playlist that anyone on the team can contribute to whenever they want. This is nice because everyone gets to throw in songs they like, but this also means that the songs can jump from The Clash to Kanye to Bon Iver all in a matter of minutes. Not ideal for focused work. We’ve also tried having a different person assigned to control the music each day, but that just meant we went without music because people get intimidated by the responsibility and op out.
We now have a system that works pretty well, and it’s just that we stick to certain genres. If you get tasked with making the office playlist, there are a few things we suggest you keep in mind.
- Language. There are few work scenarios more awkward than volunteering to DJ for the office and having a song come on full of b-words and f-words. Plan ahead! Don’t impulsively play that new Nicki Minaj song for everyone, listen to it in your headphones first. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.
- Vibe. Is it 9 am on a Monday or 4 pm on a Friday? Is your team hyped on new projects or feeling tired and overworked? Is the weather beautiful and bright, or is Seasonal Affective Disorder ravaging the team? All of these things should also factor into your music choice. Music has the power to create the ambiance you want.
- Genre. I’ll listen to just about anything and naively assumed I had a good sense of what would be appropriate for the group. For example, I thought playing “Coffee Table Jazz” would be a safe option. I was wrong. Take a poll! See what people like!
Now that I’ve given examples of what not to do, I’d like to share some of the songs and artists that garner the fewest complaints in our office. Every office environment is different, but we’ve found our most successful playlists are the ones that can be described as “chill” or “easy listening”. We’ll play it softly in the background for ambient noise, then, when we have a team lunch or 5 pm rolls around, we change genres and crank things up!
Artists (in no particular order)
- Andy Shauf
- Maggie Rogers
- Hope Tala
- Charlie Burg
- Lake Street Dive
- Hand Habits
- The Tallest Man on Earth
- RIZ LA VIE
- The Lumineers
- Rainbow Kitten Surprise
- Ultimate Indie
- Infinite Acoustic
- Chill as Folk
- Indie Rock Road Trip
- Hanging Out and Relaxing
- Your Favorite Coffeehouse
- Relax & Unwind
Of course, there are days when Andy Shauf is lilting softly through the office speaker and I’ve got my headphones on because all I want to listen to is Young Thug…