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The 50 Songs (and Albums) to Listen to at Work

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When I was a staff writer at Rolling Stone in the mid 90s, listening to music at work was part of the job description. But back in those days of yore, we had actual [gasp] stereos that played CD's, even at times, cassette tapes!

But while technology has radically changed, one thing has remained constant: Music in the workplace equals happy time. So whether it's a rainy weekend day or a raucous office party, ambient techno or stone-cold classic rock, music is necessary. Here's what you should listen to while on the job.

Music to Play on a Long Flight to China

You finally found a manufacturer that can handle your demand at a reasonable price. But it's in China, which requires a flight nearly a day long to get there. These albums will put you at ease, whether you spend the flight sleeping or working. So get them onto your iPod quick, before that cabin door closes. Playlist

CEO Playlist

Susan Gregg Koger, founder and CEO, Modcloth

Songs That Spin in Circles by Lullatone

"Originally written as lullabies for a newborn, these two-to-four-minute songs are meant to play seamlessly on repeat. I find that playing one of these softly really helps keep me asleep on long flights."

Music to Get You Pumped Up Before a Big Meeting

Congrats. You scored a meeting with one of the largest potential clients that you've ever pitched. These songs will help get your team in that let's-go-in-there-and-show-them-what-we've-got-because-we're-awesome spirit. Playlist

CEO Playlist

David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, founders, Pretty Ugly

"Get Back" by Ludacris

"We actually listen to our song after the meetings."

Music to Jam to at a Company Party

It's time to let your hair down and show your employees that you know how to have a good time. And you'll win some serious cool points if you add these songs to the playlist. Though you might want to practice some moves in the mirror before breaking them out on the dance floor. Just a thought. Playlist

CEO Playlist

Eric Demby, co-founder, Brooklyn Flea

Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980 by Blood and Fire

"Everyone loves covers and soul music, and this is an uptempo reggae collection of '60s R&B by Jamaican artists, one of my favorite records of any kind of all time. Milton Henry's 'Gypsy Woman' is a killer."

The Soundtrack to Working on a Quiet Weekend

OK, so you overdid it at the company party and were completely useless the next day. Now you need to spend some time making up the work over the weekend. These albums will help you focus and be productive. Playlist

CEO Playlist

Sean Carasso, CEO, Falling Whistles

Bon Iver by Bon Iver 

"His new album is unreal. Also I love the soundtrack to Les Miserables. It's my favorite book and the songs help me dream great dreams.

The Sounds for When You Want to Unwind

Sometimes you really need a weekend to relax. So download these songs, grab a good book, and feel the week's stress just melt away. Playlist

CEO Playlist

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, founder and CMO, GILT Groupe

Any album by Buena Vista Social Club

"They are always a great go-to album, and [it] brings me back to my Cuban roots!"

Music to Listen to Before Making a Tough Decision

You face tough choices on a regular basis as you navigate the path of entrepreneurship. For those times you might need some musical motivation or just a song to clear your head. These songs will do just that. Playlist

CEO Playlist

Tyler Balliet, founder and president, The Second Glass

"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor

"Rocky is the eternal underdog. This song is used in his training montages. I rock this song when I want to fly past all the hard work, montage style, and just get to the women, booze, and glory part! Rocky is every start-up founder!"

What You Want to Hear After Bringing in a $1 Million Account

Eminem did the trick: Your pitch went well and you signed on your biggest client yet. Time to celebrate. Just don't go as crazy as you did at the company party. No one wants to see that again. Playlist

CEO Playlist

Ian Cohen, co-founder, Wexley School for Girls

Anything by Eddie Money

"What business owner doesn't like to hear the beginning of ["Money" by Pink Floyd]? Or anything by Eddie Money, 'cause that just makes business sense."

Last updated: Jul 18, 2011




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