At the end of my last post, I promised that I’d share some resources you can use to discover music for focusing on work or studies. I did a bit of exploring over the course of the past week and found a number of streaming services and apps that provide musical suggestions not just for concentration, but for various types of activities or moods.
Today I’d like to feature eight examples of the many resources available:
8tracks has hundreds of mood music playlists curated by the site’s millions of users. Users tag their playlists with genres, moods, and/or activities. You can then search tags like “feel good,” “calm,” and “happy” to find the type of music you’d like to hear. Check out users’ comments and likes to see which playlists others have generally found effective. 8tracks is available online and for most types of mobile devices, and you can access it for free or as a subscription service without ads.
Habu, a free app available for both iOS and Android devices, draws from the music in your existing library to create playlists for different moods. The app classifies music into 25 mood categories and 100 sub-categories through the Gracenote MoodGridTM, which uses an algorithm to identify the mood of a song based on characteristics like rhythm and timbre. Habu displays your playlists in a grid with two dimensions, calm-energetic and dark-positive, to help you easily spot the music that matches how you’re feeling.
Moodagent creates mood-based playlists from a selected song, feeling (sensual, tender, happy, or angry), mix of feelings, or tempo. Once the app provides an initial playlist, you can manually adjust your chosen mood mix for further customization. Most mobile devices support a free, ad-supported version of Moodagent, and you can also access it through Spotify. The mobile version pulls music from your device’s library and recommends additional songs with similar characteristics for purchase. On Spotify, the app can curate playlists incorporating any of the songs in the Spotify library.
Moodsnap provides playlists that correspond to images. Algorithms and other users contribute songs that match the unique mood of each photo on the user interface. In addition to providing feedback to tailor the playlists you personally hear, you can nominate more songs for existing playlists or use the Instagram and Twitter hashtag #CaptureMusic to submit photos for future playlists. If you live in America, you can download Moodsnap for free through the iOS app store, but you currently need a Spotify Premium account to access the app outside of the U.S.
Pandora has a number of mood and activity stations available. For instance, in classical music alone you can find stations for studying, working, relaxing, and commuting. Pandora also offers stations for chilling out, cooking dinner, partying, road trips, and working out. With each of these options, you can preview a list of songs representative of the music playing on that station. People in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand can access Pandora for free or as a subscription-based, ad-free service.
Pulse by BioBeats is a free app that senses your heart rate through an iOS or Android device and then provides electronic music that matches your BPM. It can also supply music designed to take your pulse up or down to a target heart rate. In the future, BioBeats plans to release a new app called BioMuse, which will curate playlists based on a user’s respiratory rate as well as his/her pulse.
Songza, a music streaming service available online or as an app for most mobile devices, offers a variety of playlists developed by DJs, musicians, music critics, and musicologists. Based on the day, time, device in use, location, and weather, it automatically suggests playlists for several types of activities. For instance, when I visited the site Wednesday afternoon, it featured several choices: brand new music, working (no lyrics), having fun at work, working to a beat, and keeping calm and mellow. If you don’t want to listen to any of the suggested offerings, you can instead search playlists by choosing an activity, genre, mood, or decade. You can use Songza for free or purchase it to enjoy ad-free listening. Google Play subscriptions now include access to activity-based radio stations curated by Songza as well.
Spotify’s browse feature includes music for many genres and moods, including party, focus, and sleep. Each category includes playlists designed by Spotify’s musical experts, as well as top-rated playlists from other users. Classical music fans may also want to check out the app Classify, which you can access only through Spotify. Through Classify, you can explore classical music by selecting a playlist, instrument, era, mood (dramatic, fast, happy, relaxing, romantic, sad, or dark), or theme. Like many of the other resources listed in this post, Spotify is available both for free and as a subscription service that includes more features like the ability to listen offline and no advertisements.
Do you have a favorite mood music app that I didn’t mention? Share a brief description and link in the comments so that everyone can check it out!