Listening to pop music can make you more productive, apparently.

This is according to new research commissioned by MusicWorks, “a joint research initiative between PPL and PRS for Music to demonstrate the positive effects of music and the benefits it can bring to businesses.”

Mindlab International conducted experiments requiring 26 participants to undertake a series of online tasks over five straight days. “The tasks were slightly different each day, but always included spell checking, equation solving, maths word problems, data entry and abstract reasoning tasks. Each day participants were either asked to listen to a playlist as background music (genres: dance, ambient, classical and pop) or not listen to music.”

The results, according to a press release:

• 81% of people work faster when listening to one of the four music genres
• 88% of people work more accurately when listening to one of the four music genres
• 58% of people worked faster when spell checking and entering data when listening to pop music

This surprises me since I am totally incapable of listening to music and working at the same time. I get way too distracted by the music. It was a constant battle in the nearly two decades during which I worked as a music journalist (as one might imagine).

Classical music was found to be most effective for improving task accuracy and solving math problems, pop music increased work speed on data entry tasks, and dance music increased proof-reading and spell-checking speed.

According to the release, Neuropsychologist David Lewis, founder and Chairman Mindlab International, said:

    “The MusicWorks experiment revealed a positive correlation between music and productivity – overall it showed that when listening to music, 9 out of ten people performed better. Music is an incredibly powerful management tool in increasing the efficiency of a workforce. It can exert a highly beneficial influence over employee morale and motivation, helping enhance output and even boosting a company’s bottom line.”

Other research released earlier this year found that music can also pump you up before the job interview. Those findings were that bass-heavy tracks made subjects more confident, and the study got lots of media play because outlets were probably excited to use headlines like “Listen to 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’ Before the Job Interview”

“In Da Club” was one of three tracks researcher Derek Rucker at Kellogg School of Management and his colleagues compiled into a “high power playlist.” The other two were Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This.” The researchers found that those who heard the pumping tracks felt more powerful (or, for the purposes of the study, wanted to go first in a debate).

Speaking of how these findings could be put to use, Rucker is quoted by Kellogg Insight as saying, “Just as professional athletes might put on empowering music before they take the field to get them in a powerful state of mind, you might try [this] in certain situations where you want to be empowered.”

Like a job interview.

According to Kellogg Insight, Rucker’s previous research found that feelings of power lead to better performance in interview situations.

Rucker said, “Empowering music might be used strategically to get us in the right frame of mind.”

Back to the workplace study, here’s an infographic from MusicWorks.