Brain fm

Brain fm: functional pulsations for work


The author of this article has undergone neuromodulation. Right now, he’s listening to special sounds that apparently make him more productive. And here’s what he has to say.

I live in a world of distractions. Before getting to work at the office, I check my Twitter feed, select a mix on SoundCloud, and read all my messages on Slack. In other words, just getting started is difficult. In the next few hours, I’ll endlessly switch between Google Docs, Trello and OneNote, and this will have a terrible effect on my productivity. It will drop by 40 %.

I’m sure you know of different ways to focus, like closing your browser tabs and working on just one task, disconnecting from the internet, or choosing upbeat music.

The makers of the productivity app Brain.fm think that one Deep Focus playlist on Spotify isn’t enough. In their opinion, ordinary music is written to draw your attention, and therefore doesn’t suit our workflow. Brain.fm, on the contrary, created music that allows you to focus on work.

Brain.fm is a website or app for iOS and Android, where AI generates music for three purposes: sleep, rest and work. With each, listeners choose between different genres. My favorites are electronic, elevator music, and lo-fi. A single track can be half an hour long, or even last a whole day.

The music on Brain.fm is different. It is muffled or suppressed, it pulsates, and it doesn’t change much over time. In other words, it doesn’t have those amplifications that distract you from your work. The app’s AI analyzes the music written by composers and applies filters that create soft stirring beats, so that attention shifts from sounds to work.

Why I loved it?


Helps focusing quickly

Easy way to find great background music for any occasion.

This is called functional music. It can have or not have artistic value but it always has some practical significance. This term has been known since the 1930s but, at different times, both totalitarian anthems and jazz were classified as functional. Today, functional music is about playlists for training and breakfast

What made me frown?


Some tracks are annoying and not helpful

Long sessions are tiring

Brain.fm doesn’t try to distract, it tries to stimulate. The brain constantly produces oscillations, which are an alpha rhythm in a calm state, at a frequency of 8 -12 Hz, but when focused, the frequency rises to a beta rhythm or 12 – 38 Hz. Music from Brain.fm creates beta rhythms artificially, using the rhythm of the music. This approach, developed during the company’s own tests using electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging, is called neuromodulation, and shows higher brain activity compared to conventional music and white noise. However, it must be remembered that there is little independent research on this, which the developers of Brain.fm themselves admit, so it is too early to draw conclusions.

Who will benefit most?


This application will be useful for those who need to get the job done fast, such as news editors or coders who do on-demand work. Brain.fm also helps before an important presentation when I want to concentrate and remember the main takeaways. Of course, it’s a good tool for anyone suffering from procrastination.

I’ve been listening to Brain.fm for two days and I’m not sure if the app has significantly increased my productivity. After one or two hours, functional music tires you, after three hours it puts you to sleep. But it’s great for getting you up and running quickly. I prefer listening to Brain.fm for the first half an hour of the day to find a daily rhythm, but then I switch to regular music.

Productive work is not the only activity you engage in. Brain.fm also plays music for relaxation and good sleep. The music swiftly flows from one earphone to another and this rolling, as the app’s creators say, has a calming effect. One example when it really worked is the captain of the American Greco-Roman wrestling team, Robbie Smith, who could not fall asleep after intense training. Brain.fm’s music music helped him cope with insomnia in just a few months.