Driven to Work: How to Create a Motivating Commuting Playlist

Written by: MT Team

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

While the pandemic has forced a majority of people to become telecommuters for a while, things are slowly going back to the way they were last year. But some people are not happy about it.

It’s estimated that around 150 million people commute to work five days a week. Out of those 150 million, around 65 million would like to work remotely even after the coronavirus is cured. 

That’s because commuting can be tough. Since a lot of people will be forced to keep commuting, they need to find a way to make their commute feel more enjoyable. 

The solution? Create a commuting playlist that will motivate you for work. In this post, we’re going to discuss:

  • How music can help you in the morning
  • How to know which songs are good for commuting
  • What you need to do to create your own playlist

Without further ado, let’s dive right in…

How Can Music Help You in the Morning? 

Top 3 streamed artists during commuting hours, according to Lease Fetcher.

Music in the morning can work as a mood, energy, and dopamine booster. It can help you relax enough to feel your surroundings and live in the moment. At the same time, it can give you a similar energy surge as a cup of coffee.

That’s why experienced drivers recommend you have a commuting playlist that will get you prepared for the work environment.  

How can you do this? If you’re working in a highly competitive environment, perhaps you want to calm down before the office. You can use the music from your childhood to trigger certain emotions and memories to calm you down. 

On the other hand, music is a known motivator. If you feel like commuting lowers your energy to a point where you don’t want to work, create a playlist filled with eye-of-the-tiger level motivators. 

How to Pick Songs for Your Commuting Playlist?

We’ve come to the tricky part. How do you pick your songs for commuting? Should you choose new hits or old classics? How long should be your playlist anyway? These are the questions that trouble most commuters who wish nothing more than to hear some good music before work. 

Ok, the situation isn’t that dramatic. Nonetheless, here’s how to pick songs for commuting… 

1. Choose the Songs You’re Familiar With

While most people simply listen to the radio on their way to work, creating a list of songs you’re more than familiar with will do you more good. Recent research suggests that if you hear new, challenging music, your brain will automatically start releasing the stress hormone, cortisol

2. Make the Playlist as Long as Your Trip

You can customize your playlist as much as you want. That’s the beauty of it. If you want to have a perfect trip, try to make the playlist as long as your trip. Of course, a trip to work won’t be the same length every morning. If it takes longer, you can always listen to some songs again. 

3. Let Spotify Choose the Songs for You

If you don’t want to waste time picking songs, you can always let Spotify do it. You can use the “Your Daily Drive” option to create a playlist, which combines news, talk shows, and songs to create a great morning experience. 

Top 3 biggest commuting songs in 2020, according to Lease Fetcher. 

How to Create Your Own Commuting Playlist

Let’s be honest, you probably won’t use the “Your Daily Drive” playlist any time soon. You want to pick and choose your own songs. But where to start? If you’re still a bit confused, don’t worry, LeaseFetcher has done the dirty job for you.

Using the Spotify API service, Lease Fetcher collected data on more than 1.1 million songs across 11,000 playlists. 

Then, they distilled the information using keywords like “driving” and “commuting.” Once they found tracks that appear in most commuting playlists, they calculated the average song features. You can use this information to pick your songs and create a playlist of your own. 

Here’s what Lease Fetcher discovered:

1. Most Commuting Songs are Easy to Dance To

According to, danceable means something “appropriate or conducive to dancing” and that’s exactly what your morning songs should be. When it comes to danceability, on a scale from 0 to 1.0, commuting songs have an average score of 0.6.

Feeling groggy in the morning? A good danceable song can cure it. Australian scientists have recently discovered that melodic dance tunes help you wake faster and easier. They increase attention, cognition, and arousal, making you feel less groggy in the process. 

2. High Energy Songs Will Help You Energize

What do you need more than a boost of energy in the morning? That’s why most of us can’t keep our eyelids up before we have a sip of coffee in the morning. The fact that people like high-energy songs in the morning isn’t a surprise. Commuting songs have an average energy score of 0.66.  

While coffee, sugary snacks, and energy drinks help you feel more energized through the digestion process, music can help you wake up almost as easily. Researchers agree that high-energy songs have a similar effect as coffee on your body

3. Up-tempo Songs Make the Commute Shorter

In the morning, no one’s up for a slow jam. BPM stands for “Beats Per Minute.” The measure was originally used to determine heart rate, but it works for music perfectly too. An average commuting song has a BPM of 122 beats per minute.

 We need something more up-tempo to get is in the mood for work. Perhaps try to find some feel-good songs, Research from the University of Groningen found out that Queen’s hit “Don’t Stop Me Now” is the perfect feel-good song, so that could be a perfect start to your playlist. 

The formula for the perfect commuting song, according to Lease Fetcher. 

Start Creating Your Spotify Playlist Now!

And that’s how can you create your commuting playlist. Remember, don’t just insert random pop songs into your playlist. Put some thought in it. 

Just to sum up, here’s the anatomy of a perfect commuting song:

  • Pick something energetic to wake you up
  • If the song is  danceable it’s always a plus
  • An uptempo song will get you in the working mood

Now that you know everything you need to know, go out there and create a perfect playlist for your drive to work. Put some back into it and you’ll make your commute even more enjoyable. 

About MT Team
Posts on all things related to instrument education, gear reviews, and so much more. Written by the MusicianTuts editorial team.

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