Someone once told me that radio stations never set out to play the best songs. They only want to play the songs that will make the fewest people change the station.

He went further and said that they actually use polls for to figure this out. That is, they have people listen to songs and rate them on a scale of one to ten or something like that. The catch is that if a song is extremely highly-rated, they don’t play it. (The same goes for lowly-rated songs too, but that’s kind of assumed.)

Supposedly, their thinking is that if a song is consistently rated a 9 or 10 that it will be polarizing and some non-trivial amount of people will change the station. So instead, they play the songs that are just a little above the middle. The inoffensive. The just-barely-not-too-milquetoast songs.

I have no idea if it’s actually true or not, but for where I’m going with this, it doesn’t matter.

I’ve long heard that if you listen to music while working, it’s best to listen to songs without lyrics. Lately, I’ve taken it a step further, and I’ve started listening to meditation music while working.

Not only does it not have words, but it reduces the urge to skip a song or change playlists to almost zero. It’s so utterly and completely neutral that it can just keep going no matter what song comes next.

No interruptions. No distractions. It’s just reliably there to break the silence.