New research shows music hits the right notes for business success

New scientific research published today has revealed that listening to music in the workplace radically improves speed and accuracy of tasks such as data entry, proof reading and problem solving skills.

Music works infographic
  • 81% of people worked fastest when listening to one of four music genres
  • 88% of people worked most accurately when listening to one of four music genres
  • Pop music is best for working quickly and accurately
  • Classical music is most effective for solving mathematical problems
  • Ambient music improves data-entry accuracy
  • Dance music enhances proof-reading skills
  • Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis discusses ground-breaking new study alongside research participants:

In an office-based experiment, 88% of participants were found to produce their most accurate test results when listening to music, while 81% completed their fastest work when music was playing.

When listening to a selection of different genres, classical music was found to be the most effective for improving the accuracy of tasks and resolving every-day mathematical problems with participants achieving a 73% pass rate. When listening to pop music, 58% of participants completed data entry tasks much faster. When proof-reading, dance music had the most positive impact, with participants increasing their speed by 20% compared to proof-reading tests undertaken with no music at all.  Dance music also had a positive effect on spell-checking with a 75% pass rate compared to 68% when no music was played at all.

The research, undertaken by Mindlab International, was commissioned by MusicWorks, a joint initiative of PRS for Music and PPL, the organisations that between them, represent the rights of thousands of composers, performers, publishers and record companies in the UK. 


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.

Dr David Lewis, chairman of Mindlab International

The research also showed that when people did not listen to music, they made the most mistakes while solving equations and spell-checking. Ambient music worked best for accurate data entry tasks, with participants scoring a high pass rate of 92.%.


The results of this experiment are a clear indication of the value music can add to the workplace. Music is a key tool for business success.

Christine Geissmar, Operations Director, PPL

The increase in levels of productivity when music is playing is striking. This project provides a refreshing reminder of the multiple benefits to be gained from listening to music at work.

Paul Clements, Director of Public Performance Sales, PRS for Music

For further information, interviews, footage and images, please contact:

Olivia Chapman
Media Relations Manager 
PRS for Music
020 7306 4229


Nazneen Nawaz 
Media Manager 
020 7534 1121

Notes to Editors

  • Research was conducted in September 2014, by Mindlab International on behalf of PPL and PRS for Music. The experiment required 26 participants to undertake a series of on-line tasks 5 days in a row. 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.
  •  These latest findings are part of the joint MusicWorks campaign from PPL and PRS for Music. Since being founded in 2009 by both PPL and PRS for Music, MusicWorks has been at the forefront of valuable research highlighting the financial and emotional benefits that music can bring to business, across sectors. More information on the project can be found at: #MusicWorks
  • If businesses ever play music on their premises for customers or staff; for example, through radio, TV, CD, MP3 or computer speakers, or at live events they may be required to obtain a PPL and PRS for Music licence. For more information contact 020 7534 1070 (PPL) or 0800 068 4828 (PRS for Music).
  • Mindlab International is an independent research consultancy based in Brighton. Using neuroscience and psychology they offer the most effective research available by finding out how people feel as well as what they think.
  • Dr David Lewis is founder and Chairman of Mindlab International® a UK leader in the neuroscience of consumerism and communications. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, the International Stress Management Association and the Institute of Directors and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. In addition to scientific work, Dr David Lewis has published more than twenty books including: Thinking Better, The Secret Language Of Success, Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It,  The Soul of the New Consumer and The Brain Sell: When Science Met Selling.
  • PPL licenses the playing of recorded music in broadcast and public places on behalf of performers and record companies. PRS for Music represents UK songwriters, composers and music publishers. Both organisations ensure that performers and creators are paid fairly for their work. Both have a long term commitment to working together, and have a number of joint initiatives in place to assist businesses in acquiring licences.
  • PPL and PRS for Music have a long term commitment to working together, and have a number of joint initiatives in place to assist businesses in acquiring licences.

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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