- Need for Speed’s Soundtrack Revealed
- Are songs getting faster these days?
- How to work better and faster — listen to the same song on repeat all day long
- Why is song repetition such a powerful tool?
- Song choice has a direct effect on successful outcomes.
- You’re not weird.
- Here’s my Spotify playlist.
- The benefits of not listening to music while running
- The benefits of listening to music while running
- We’ve heard music can help you run faster—is that true?
- How can beats benefit runners?
- Is there a type of music that is most effective for improving performance?
- Is it okay to listen to music during every workout?
- What beats per minute (bpm) range is best?
- What are some songs on your playlist?
- Matt Kurton: ‘I take much more notice of what’s going on around me and of the way my body is working’
- Sean Blair: ‘Music helps a majority of runners enjoy their exercise’
- Music and coaching podcasts:
Need for Speed’s Soundtrack Revealed
Electronic Arts has released the full soundtrack listing for the upcoming Need for Speed “full reboot” in development at Ghost Games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The 64-song soundtrack offers a big variety of genres, including EDM, rock, and rap. The song “Elektra” by punk band Refused is also featured.
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Check out the full Need for Speed soundtrack below.
Need for Speed launches on November 3 for consoles, while the PC edition has been delayed to 2016. Codes are being sent out now for the game’s console beta test. In other recent news, Ghost Games has revealed the game’s complete achievement/trophy list. You can also learn more about Need for Speed’s five ways to play.
For more, check out GameSpot’s new hands-on preview for Need for Speed.
What do you make of the soundtrack? Let us know in the comments below.
We all know a good song can be a total game-changer when you’re riding the workout struggle bus. (You’re definitely good for somethin’, Kanye.) That bumping in your ears definitely makes you feel more badass during that last mile—but can the right song actually help you pick up the pace?
According to a recent study, hell yeah it can! Researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada told participants to run as hard as they could for 20 minutes while listening to slow music, then again while listening to quick tunes, and once more with zero music (a.k.a. our personal nightmare).
“When participants listened to fast music, they ran at higher speeds and had higher heart rates,” says the study’s author Derek Kimmerly, Ph.D. Bonus: They didn’t feel like they were working any harder. Sweet deal, right?
“Music with more than 100 beats per minute (or BPM) jacks you up,” says Carl Foster, Ph.D., the director of the human performance lab at University of Wisconsin La Crosse.
“The average person takes about 90 strides per minute while running,” says Foster. Our brains respond to hearing a beat and our bodies naturally want to follow along, he says. Hence why tunes with more than 100 beats per minute make you push harder.
Now all you have to do is create the ultimate beast-mode playlist—and we’ve totally got you covered.
If you’re not super picky about what tunes you pound pavement to, you can use Spotify’s “running” mode. The feature creates playlists, like “Top Hits Run” or “Fun Run,” and adjust the songs on the list based on the steps per minute your phone detects. (Yay, technology!) You can also choose a faster the tempo if you’re looking for an extra push—and since you’re reading this, we’re guessing you are.
If you’re a bit of control freak about your workout music, you can check your favorite songs’ BPM on the interwebs, like
On the other hand, if you’re lazy (no shame), in a hurry, or trust us enough to DJ your next sweat sesh, we’ve made a run-perfect playlist of our own, using songs with 125 to 145 BPM (which was the range used in Kimmerly’s study.)
Alyssa Zolna/ Jennifer Pena
Try it out for yourself!
Lauren Del Turco Lauren Del Turco is a writer, editor, and social media/content manager, who has contributed to Men’s Health, Women’s Health, The Vitamin Shoppe, and more.
Are songs getting faster these days?
Online streaming is making it quicker not only to play music. A new study finds that pop songs themselves are getting faster as listeners’ attention spans diminish.
Instrumental openings to songs have shrunk dramatically over the past three decades and, to a lesser extent, the average tempo of hit singles has been speeding up, the research found.
Hubert Leveille Gauvin, a doctoral student in music theory at the Ohio State University in the US, analysed the year-end top 10 on the US Billboard chart between 1986 and 2015.
In 1986, it took roughly 23 seconds before the voice began on the average hit song. In 2015, vocals came in after about five seconds, a drop of 78%, he found.
In a study published in Musicae Scientiae, the Journal Of The European Society For The Cognitive Sciences Of Music, Gauvin linked the trend to the rapid rise of Spotify and other streaming sites that give listeners instant access to millions of songs.
“It makes sense that if the environment is so competitive, artists would want to try to grab your attention as quickly as possible,” he told AFP.
“We know that the voice is one of the most attention-grabbing things that there is,” he said, pointing out that people seeking to concentrate often preferred instrumental music.
Arctic Monkeys’ I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor (2005): Intro – 25 seconds
A 2014 study of Spotify listening habits found that 21% of songs get skipped over in the first five seconds.
As an example of the shift, Gauvin pointed to Starship’s 1987 hit Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, which takes 22 seconds for the vocals to begin and more than a minute for the chorus.
On the 2015 hit Sugar by Maroon 5, Adam Levine gets to the point within seven seconds with the lines, “I’m hurting baby/I’m broken down”.
Gauvin doesn’t claim inside knowledge of record industry secrets and he doubts that many pop stars are clamoring in the studio for shorter intros. Instead, he sees a steady evolution in songwriting conventions.
“I think it’s partially voluntary, but I think it’s just adapting yourself to your environment whether you’re aware of it or not,” he said.
He connected the trend to scholar Michael H. Goldhaber’s concept of the “attention economy” – the quest to hold attention in an internet overflowing with information.
Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine (1987): Intro – 1 minute 32 seconds
“You can think of music as this double role. Music has always been a cultural product, but I think that more and more songs are also advertisements for the artists,” Gauvin said.
Live performances have increasingly been the key money makers for artists, some of whom complain that they earn little from streaming – which last year accounted for more than half of the US recorded music industry’s revenue.
Despite the overall trends, Gauvin pointed out that there was still diversity in song structures. Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know, the chart’s top song for 2012, has an instrumental introduction of 20 seconds.
As the study looked only at big global hits, it did not take into account genres such as indie rock in which market forces function much differently. – AFP Relaxnews
Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk (2014): Intro – 16 seconds
Justin Bieber’s Sorry (2016): Intro – 13 seconds
How to work better and faster — listen to the same song on repeat all day long
About 10 years ago, I started listening to songs on repeat while doing creative work. I’ll listen to the same song for days at a time and often for the entire length of a project (weeks). Or sometimes I’ll listen to a slower song in the morning and maybe a faster song later in the day. I’ve discovered that this approach makes a significant impact on the quality and the volume of work I produce. This practice will work for designers, writers, programmers, or anyone who’s involved in intensely focused work.
Why is song repetition such a powerful tool?
Studies suggest that when you listen to music you like, the brain releases the chemical dopamine that can have positive effects on your mood. Fast music can actually increase your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, while slower music tends to have the opposite effect.¹
By listening to the same song on repeat, you are altering your physiology. Over time the song starts to fade into the background. That’s when you begin to transcend from actually listening to just feeling the music.
I’m using music to literally put myself into a trance-like state.
And that place is where I’m able to do my best work. Anything that helps me focus is a huge benefit when fighting the constant distractions of open offices.
Song choice has a direct effect on successful outcomes.
I like songs with different tempos and styles, and these can have a dramatic effect on performance and altering your mental state. Almost all of my work is deadline-driven and they’re usually hard deadlines. The projects I work on are typically broken up into a few different phases.
The first is the creative ideation phase. I try to ensure I have enough time during this part because I usually listen to slower songs. Often these are melancholy songs that can be linked to memories. I’m trying to mine the past for ideas that were never uncovered. If I’m writing, I listen to songs without lyrics. Words paint pictures, and my mind wanders into the story of the song.
The second part is the actual design, presenting, and revisions phase. I’m a bit more open to what I listen to here. If I were really digging what I was listening to during the first phase, I’d keep playing it. If I’m collaborating, there will be lots of stops and starts, and I use different songs to jumpstart my focus.
Unsplash — Samuel Bourke
The last phase is the roll-up your sleeves and work as fast as humanly possible right up until the project ships. Fast tempo songs work best during this time, especially if I’m working at night and trying to stay awake.
You’re not weird.
At times I’m a bit embarrassed by my song choices e.g., Britney Spears Toxic. I usually don’t tell anyone about this habit, but sometimes my secret gets out. One day I was wearing my Sennheiser headphones that leak a bit of sound. A coworker sitting across from me looked up and said, “are you listening to Wicked Game on repeat?” “Uhhh, yes,” I timidly answered. “Oh, I love that remake by James Vincent McMorrow” she happily responded. “Yeah, me too, cool,” I said while quietly turning my music down…
Here’s my Spotify playlist.
The playlist is in no particular order and I almost always click on a few different songs until I find the one that feels right. I’d love to hear how this works for you and I’d also love some new song suggestions.
Songs on repeat to get shit done
And please don’t judge me by my song choices. ; )
The benefits of not listening to music while running
Sundried recently ran a poll and found that 62% of people listen to music when they run. But can losing yourself in your headphones have negative effects on your performance? We take a look.
It stops you rushing and helps you keep a steadier pace
Studies have shown that listening to fast music can make you run or cycle significantly faster than if you don’t listen to music at all. However, this can have its downfalls as it may make you sprint off faster than you intend and then mean you burn-out before the end of your training session or race. By not listening to music you are more likely to keep a steady pace and not rush off too fast.
You can enjoy the sights
When you’re lost in your music, you miss out on looking around and taking in your natural surroundings. Some races, like the Paris Marathon, go past several famous landmarks and have lots of wonderful things to see and experience as you run. By not listening to music you can really enjoy what’s around you and being fully immersed in the moment.
You can appreciate the support at races and Parkrun
If you listen to music during races and events like the weekly Parkrun, it’ll mean you can’t hear what’s being shouted at you by supporters and marshals. It’s considered more socially polite to not run with music at events like Parkrun so that you can appreciate the support and even reciprocate by thanking the marshals. Hearing your name being called or being cheered on by friends and family can really spur you on, so it’s important you can hear them!
You will be more alert to hazards like traffic
This one is a safety issue. It’s very rare that cyclists listen to music while on the road because it isn’t safe, and sometimes this is the case for runners too. If you are fully alert and aware of your surroundings, you will be more safe and less likely to end up in an incident.
You can focus on your natural rhythms (breathing, stride etc.)
If you are training for a big race or you’re a serious runner, being able to focus on your natural rhythms is paramount for peak performance. Listening to music can put you off your natural rhythm and prevent you from finding your stride. By not listening to music, you will be able to fully focus and be in full control of your breathing, pace, and strides.
It’ll prepare you for races that don’t allow headphones
If you’re new to running, you may not be aware that a lot of road races do not allow runners to wear headphones due to safety concerns. It’s always important to check before you race as some organisations will disqualify runners who are caught listening to music. If this is the case for your race, you don’t want to end up feeling bare without your music because you’re so used to running with it. Running without music will help you to prepare for this feeling and won’t mean you’re caught out on race day.
The benefits of listening to music while running
It can help increase your pace
Research suggests that listening to fast music while running can increase your pace by up to 15%. By compiling that perfect playlist of fast, motivating songs, you could potentially beat your PB and run faster than you would without music.
It can motivate you
One of the best feelings is having a completely fresh, new playlist of songs you haven’t listened to yet and hitting the open road to listen to them while running. It completely takes your mind off the running and can allow you to jog along happily for hours while you focus on enjoying the music. Not only this, it can motivate you to get out of the house in the first place because you’re looking forward to experiencing the new music.
It can help pass the time
Especially for endurance runners, spending hours out on the trail or the road can be a chance to unwind and be alone with your thoughts. However, for some people, listening to music or even podcasts can be better as it helps to pass the time. It also means you are less bothered by sounds like your own breathing and your feet hitting the pavement, and can therefore help you to lose yourself and run without thinking. This is great for recreational runners, but not so good for competitive runners who need to be aware of these things for performance.
It can improve your performance
Studies show that listening to music while running can block out the pain signals being sent from your brain and reduce the feeling of fatigue. This, in turn, can mean your performance improves as you are not focused on the pain and can instead just run.
We asked sports psychologist Dr. Costas Karageorghis about the power of music—and it helps even more than you would think.
Music’s ability to positively affect mood is upheld by science. (We performed an experiment with Beyoncé on our Jambox just to be sure). But when it comes to running, is it better to pump up the beats or move to straight silence? Women’s Running checked in with Dr. Costas Karageorghis, author of Inside Sport Psychology, a new book which covers this very topic, to gain some definitive answers regarding music and running performance.
We’ve heard music can help you run faster—is that true?
Under certain circumstances, music can, in fact, help you run faster. The way music can be used most effectively is in a synchronous mode. This means that you synchronize your stride to the rhythm in order to gain a performance-enhancing effect.
How can beats benefit runners?
Our studies have shown that music can help running performance on many different levels. It reduces the perception of exertion, making running feel less strenuous. Music can enhance positive aspects of mood, like happiness and excitement, while reducing negative aspects, such as anger and confusion. By engendering a more positive mindset, it inspires people toward higher levels of performance.
When we use music in the synchronous mode, it appears that music makes you run more efficiently as well. There are energy gains of up to 7 percent when you coordinate your movements with music. Essentially, it has a metronomic effect in regulating your stride.
Is there a type of music that is most effective for improving performance?
There is no Holy Grail. Music is very personal. Preferences will depend upon your social-cultural upbringing and the type of musical influences you had during your formative years. The key components in a running context tend to be fairly loud music, with a high tempo, a rhythmically constant beat and affirmative lyrics.
Is it okay to listen to music during every workout?
Running with music all the time will cause a desensitization effect, which means that you derive less benefit from it over time. My research shows that conducting two sessions with music to every one without seems to be the perfect balance for maintaining an ongoing benefit. The music program (i.e., your playlist) should also be churned every couple of weeks.
What beats per minute (bpm) range is best?
Tracks with a tempo of 150 to 190 bpm are ideal for running one step per beat. If you prefer one stride cycle per beat, use tracks in the range of about 75 to 95 bpm, because you can complete a whole stride cycle with each beat. If you are going to use music in the background (i.e., not synchronizing your stride rate to it), the “sweet spot” tempo for running is 120 to 130 bpm for low-to-moderate intensity and 130 to 140 bpm for moderate-to-high intensity.
What are some songs on your playlist?
As I’m mentally preparing for a workout, I enjoy a song like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams at 80 bpm. The music puts me into a positive mood and prepares me psychologically for the workout. While I warm up, I might use a track like “Mas Que Nada” by Sergio Mendes, featuring the Black Eyed Peas. It has a strong, syncopated rhythm and inspiring lyrics and is incredibly energizing.
As I get into the belly of my workout, I’ll use one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs, such as “Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’.” It has a tempo of 122 beats per minute, an incessant baseline, a driving rhythm and uplifting lyrics.
Matt Kurton: ‘I take much more notice of what’s going on around me and of the way my body is working’
Several years ago, blogging here about training for the London Marathon, I wrote a post comparing running without music to watching a film with the sound turned off. At the time, music was a fundamental part of my running routine: I was no more likely to head out of the door without my iPod than I was to go running in a spacesuit.
But then, one day, without really knowing why, I went for a run without music. The next day I did the same thing. A week later, I was halfway around a 15k route before I realised that I hadn’t even thought about picking up my iPod – and a couple of years on, I couldn’t even tell you where it is.
From a performance point of view, I know I may not be doing myself any favours. After all, plenty of studies have shown that music increases concentration, lowers perception of effort, provides ongoing stimulus and generally leaves you feeling more positive. Put on a pair of headphones, the thinking goes, and running feels easier and more enjoyable, so you get better at it. The only bad thing researchers seem to be able to say about running with music is that you might damage your hearing if you turn it up too loud, and the solution to that one seems fairly obvious.
But, like most non-elite athletes, performance gains are only one small part of why I run. For me – much as I love to see my times drop – it’s more about the joy of running for its own sake than it is about constant improvement. I’m sure those lab-based test results are true, but I’m not sure they really matter to me.
So now I’m listening to birdsong and rainfall rather than Bill Withers and Radiohead, I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I’m still focused and motivated, and I’m happy too, not least because I no longer spend half of each run swearing at the headphones that have just fallen out of my ears.In fact, the longer I have run without music, the more music has started to seem like a barrier to running, rather than an enhancement. I take much more notice of what’s going on around me and of the way my body is working. I’d feel cut off if I raced or trained with headphones on now, and I’d also be less likely to notice if I was landing strangely, or if my breathing was tight.
Sports scientists differentiate between runners who are “associators” – people who prefer to focus inwardly during a run – and “dissociators” – people who spend their runs looking for ways to forget what they’re putting themselves through. But I think running without music actually helps me flit between both states. It gives me space to explore the world around me and to explore whatever is going on in my head.
So I’ve come to think that music acts fundamentally as a distraction. And if I hated running, that might make sense – but I don’t. I love it. And whether I’m sliding through mud, or sweating as the sun rises, or tearing down a rutted hill, or desperately trying to keep up with the guy at the track who used to leave me for dead, I don’t want anything to interfere with that sense of pure pleasure.
Sure, my interval sessions might suffer because I’m not listening to Rage Against the Machine while I do them, but I’ll live with that. Running for me means freedom. It means a clear head. And, over the past few years, it’s come to mean a rare and reliable chance for genuine peace and quiet, too.
Sean Blair: ‘Music helps a majority of runners enjoy their exercise’
Running with music is an emotive subject. Some love it, others hate it. But the facts are that running with music helps a majority of runners enjoy their exercise. A Runner’s World survey (of 3,523 runners) revealed that 75% of respondents were “for running with music”, while other surveys show even higher results.
The science is more revealing. Professor Andy Lane, a sports psychologist from the University of Wolverhampton (and a three-hour marathon runner himself) undertook a project seeking to understand the effectiveness of music to help (1,100) runners regulate their positive and negative emotions. The findings showed motivating music helped improve performance.
In another research project at John Moores University, 12 people rode an indoor bike at a pace they could sustain for 30 minutes while listening to a song of their own choice. In the second trial they rode again with the tempo of the music variously increased or decreased by 10% without the subjects knowledge.
The findings showed riders’ heart rate and mileage decreased when the tempo was slowed, while they rode a greater distance, increased their heart rate and enjoyed the music more at the faster tempo. Though the participants thought their workout was harder at the more upbeat tempo, the researchers found that when they exercised to faster-paced music: “the participants chose to accept, and even prefer, a greater degree of effort”.
Professor Costas Karageorghis from Brunel University, a respected authority on the subject, says: “in some instances we have seen performance benefits of up to 15%. As well as enhancing performance, music lowers the perception of effort. It dulls or masks some of the pain associated with training. We know from scanning the brain that when athletes are played loud upbeat music there is an increase in activity in the ascending reticular activating system.”
But, of course, music is often used in a haphazard fashion – leaving your iPod on shuffle could serve up a vast range of music that might help or hinder a run. So how do you make sure your playlist will help your performance? Lane suggests there are five conditions that runners might consider: Tempo, genre or vibe, lyrics, the memory triggers the music can make and finally the structure or compilation of the tracks.
Uptempo, upbeat tunes with motivating lyrics that trigger positive emotions should, naturally, make you feel great. Classic running songs such as Chariots of Fire or the Rocky theme tune may do the trick.
But there is another role MP3s can play in helping people run better. By adding coaching to the music, we at Audiofuel have found runners are willing to follow instructions that improve running form – vital for staying injury free. They may speed up while interval training, or slow down – taking walk breaks during long marathon training sessions when necessary. Having a coach, or indeed a world champion, yell at you to hold your form for just 60 seconds more can really make a big difference – and after all, holding strong for the final 60 seconds of a three-minute hard interval could mean a 50% increase in performance.
Surveys, research and anecdotes all show that running and music rock. Some still hate it for themselves and that’s absolutely fine. But for purists who look down on people running with headphones, consider this: we know people don’t exercise enough largely because they don’t enjoy it. So if music can help people to run, or run for longer, then music is contributing to the health of the nation, and that is worth a more than a sneer. Perhaps instead a smile and a cheer.
Music and coaching podcasts:
• Free Couch to 5k podcasts from the NHS: Begin running with music and coaching with this nine-week programme.
• Free 5k+ podcasts from the NHS: Move beyond 5k with the 5k+ podcasts from the NHS and AudioFuel.
• AudioFuel Running Music: Running music with coaching.
Do you run with music, or does it ruin the experience? And if you do, is it just for training or for race day too?