Most of the developers I know work much better with soothing tunes playing in the background or through some good headphones. Now this may be because programmers are artists and artists appreciate good music, but it may also be because most of us work in loud cubicle environments that are conducive for many things but deep concentration is not one of them. Therefore music helps drown out other people’s conversations, coughs, sneezes, moving around sounds, tapping on their desks, phone calls from home, etc., etc.
Now I personally have many different moods I go through while writing code and the style of music I want to listen to also changes. Often times I may get bored with my personal collection of music and really desire new music that is in the same style as what I’m listening to…but different.
Well if you feel the same way, you are in great luck. There is an online service call Pandora that does this exactly. You browse to their site, login, enter a group or song that you like and Pandora will play songs from the selected artist and also songs that it thinks are similar. Very cool app. It is a flash based app that runs in the browser but overall it is pretty good. The original intention was to charge a minimal yearly fee, but that seemed to go out the window in lieu of a banner add on the site. Either way good music abounds.
Check it out, you may find some new bands that you never new existed (I know I have). There are also other services out there that are similar. One that comes to mind is Last.FM. So take one or both of these for a a spin and see what you think.