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Everyone could use a bit more focused time. While movie soundtracks and classical music (not to mention the invaluable Rainy Mood) have their place, recently I’ve found new music to enjoy in the background of focused work: lo-fi. Named for the term “low fidelity” (as opposed to “high-fidelity” pop music), lo-fi music imitates the casual sound of scratching records in the background of peaceful, steady beats and simple, repetitive melodies with roots in jazz and hip-hop. 

Though lo-fi music comes in many forms (check out this podcast episode to learn more), currently a popular format is YouTube, where lo-fi curators like Chilled Cow put together musical compilations from indie artists with art pieces (my favorites are reminiscent of Studio Ghibli). The art that accompanies the music often has small animations—a cat’s tail moving back and forth, a steaming coffee mug—and the effect is that the video feels almost like a quiet companion, the perfect background to a long afternoon of work. 

Though we normally publish playlists in Spotify form, lo-fi is an unusual genre, so here I’ll offer a few YouTube gems to get you started—enjoy your focused time!