To Listen or Not to Listen: Music vs. Productivity

By: Gracie Covarrubias, DePaul University organizational and multicultural communication major ’18 and Career Center communications assistant

It’s hard to imagine a world without music nowadays; we’re determined to find the right song for every moment—even the job search requires a special playlist. Spotify and Apple Music have completely revitalized the way we approach music, especially when it comes to playing tunes in the workplace. In the academic world, however, there’s a raging debate as to whether or not listening to music while we work will have positive or negative effects on our productivity.

So, what exactly are experts saying about the dispute?

Don’t always listen to music with lyrics

This debate in particular is central to researchers. Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford University, states, “Music with lyrics is very likely to have a problematic effect when you’re writing or reading.” It makes sense; when you’re focused on a comprehension-heavy task, the lyrics to your favorite song are likely to distract and therefore impede your success. However, music with lyrics may not affect mathematical tasks due to the decreased reliance on the language parts of the brain, according to Nass. In that case, perhaps you’re much better off listening to lyric-filled music when formatting a resume as opposed to when you’re creating content for a cover letter.

Understand your mood and pick music accordingly

Studies have proven that listening to music affects your mood drastically; researchers have even gone as far as sharing the benefits music has on individuals coping with depression.

Now, if you’re desperate to listen to music while working, it’s important to assess your mood before picking that perfect playlist. For example, let’s say you’re faced with a complex multi-step task at work that’s making you anxious; in this case, researchers would suggest electing for a calming musical playlist and saving Skrillex for later. If you’re feeling upbeat and want to keep the momentum going on an assignment then a jazzier playlist would perhaps better suit your situation.

When it comes to music and the way it impacts your productivity, it’s not a matter of just playing your favorite playlist; it’s more about consciously catering your music choice to your mood and the assignment at hand. Don’t know where to start? Check out 100 Most Uplifting Songs Ever on Spotify, for those days where you’re conquering job applications and updating your resume. Need some motivation to get you through the workplace hustle and bustle? Try listening to At Work. Need some calming vibes because the job search is stressing you out? Listen to Relax and Unwind.

At the end of the day, music is going to have a profound impact on your productivity and it’s up to you to channel that impact into the momentum you need to finish a work assignment or power through the job hunt. One thing is for sure—the soundtrack to your life should be filled with the kind of motivation that best suits you. Make sure you take the time to identify what does and doesn’t work for you!

DePaul Diaries: Life as a Music Intern

By: Renee Radzom, DePaul University graduate, former University Internship Program (UIP) assistant

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.

Eileen Peltier, an Economics major, decided to pursue her interest in the music industry and complete an internship at Music Dealers, LLC. Eileen found her internship by searching online for music-related opportunities.

At Music Dealers, Eileen’s main responsibility is to find unsigned artists whom she thinks would do well with a music license. She then connects with the artists to see if they would like to pursue a contract with Music Dealers.

“I love when I get to offer opportunities to a band that I’ve just found and am really passionate about. It’s also been great to meet like-minded people,” Eileen said.

Eileen gets a lot of freedom to pursue artists she likes and believes would do well with the added exposure the company could provide.

With all of this hands-on experience, Eileen said she’s learned quite a few new skills, while having the opportunity to meet and work with a large variety of people. She’s also witnessed how different aspects of a company need to work together to achieve goals. For instance, cooperation and being a team player are especially important in music licensing and the overall movie/music/advertising industry.

Of course, Eileen didn’t want to limit her experience and education to just her internship – she also took UIP 252: Creativity as a Change Agent in the Workplace. The class really brought together the concepts she was learning on-the-job, like collaboration and effective marketing. Also, since she took the class online, she really enjoyed the flexibility of simply logging in to work on assignments.

“The class really helped me articulate what I’m looking for in a creative career. I’m glad I had the opportunity to write about what I’m looking for in an organization; I think it will help me when searching for other opportunities after this internship,” Eileen said.

With all of these great experiences laid out for her, Eileen said she didn’t even think about the fact that she wasn’t paid for her internship. She said, “It allowed me to really see if I was passionate about what I was doing.”

As a final statement, Eileen shares this piece of advice for future interns: “Ask questions and remember that you can learn from anyone, not just the people in your department or your industry.”

Want to learn more about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to  Need help finding an internship?  Visit, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.


Get Real With: Bloodshot Records

By: Olivia Alfaro, DePaul University health sciences major ’18

Gettin’ real with Sales and Distribution Manager Pete Klockau of Bloodshot Records. In this employer spotlight post, get an inside look at what it would be like to intern with a record label.


monochrome hipster vintage label , badge " let's rock " for poster , flayer or t-shirt print with plectrum, starburst and rayBloodshot Records is a record label dedicated to helping passionate and talented musicians in their path to creating memorable and exciting music. Bloodshot helps musicians who create music in various genres such as punk, rock, country, soul, and other genres. If you have a love for music, enjoy working hard, and are interested in pursuing a career in the music industry, an internship at Bloodshot would be excellent. Pete Klockau, sales and distribution manager of Bloodshot, has shared with us what it is like for interns to work at their company, what they should expect, and what Bloodshot looks for in the interns they hire.

An intern at Bloodshot must be a hard worker ready to devote one full day of their week to work. Interns will get the feel of running a record label. “The more inquisitive and ready to learn about the nuts-and-bolts they are, the better,” Klockau said. When going in for an interview, they want potential interns to be knowledgeable about their label, and demonstrate a true affinity and excitement for the their artists.

Bloodshot is supportive of the bands they work with, and the employees are always eager to work. The most exciting and hardest part about working here is to see how a, “small and efficient community the independent music industry can be.”

Just how small you ask? Well the company has a total of six employees. Due to the small staff, each member has many important tasks including communicating with the bands and answering emails and phone calls. They also create spreadsheets, generate mailings, “and due to the tiny DIY nature of the indie biz,” they stuff envelopes and unload trucks themselves. The environment is laid back, but with all those tasks it can get hectic, yet that is all part of the fun.

Klockau shares that the intern’s various tasks, “range from helping stay on top of our radio, press, and social networking and helping talk to record stores, to helping with promotional mailings, posters, and postcards. We try to tailor each intern’s experience with where their interests lie.” This business is not just a place to get a real hands-on experience, that is helpful for undergraduates down the road for graduate school, but it is also an educational experience where interns are encouraged to ask questions and retrieve as much information as they can during their time there.

When it comes to skills, Klockau mentioned, “The most crucial thing is really just experiencing and knowing more fully what it takes to work with bands and promote a record at a full-service record label in the modern era.” If an intern thinks working in a record label is glamorous, they’re mistaken. It is a lot of hard work, but those who truly have a passion for this type of work must love it and believe in what they’re creating. The staff work to, “paint a realistic picture for what to expect after college should they choose to pursue the indie route.” Many of the staff at this record label started off as interns, and now THEIR interns pursue many different jobs within the industry.

Even though landing an internship can be difficult, it can also be one of the best and most rewarding decisions. Klockau‘s advice for people pursing their dreams is, “No matter where you work, make sure you love what you’re doing, love what you’re promoting and embrace it, wherever you are.” He also says to never be afraid to ask questions because it is the only way to learn and is the smartest thing you can do. So, interns, make sure you get the best out of what you are pursing and love what you are learning.

No matter where you work, make sure you love what you’re doing…

Inspired and interested in finding a job or internship in the music industry? Check out Handshake for new career listings!