Does Weed Help You Make Better Music?

You’ve heard the theory: “Smoking weed helps you make better music.”

But is there any validity to that? Is it just a theory, or can we call it a fact? Continue reading

The Most Important Things To Know About Using Headphones

Like many studio rats, I spend a lot of time wearing headphones. Recording, editing, mixing — you know the drill.

But sometimes I wonder — are my headphones too loud? Should I be concerned about my hearing?

Continue reading

You Get High All The Time And You Don’t Even Realize It

You don’t need pot to enjoy music, as some people I know believe. Your brain chemicals make sure of that.

Music and the brain
Country singer Willie Nelson smoking weed (photo via midliferocksblog.com)

Right now, I want you to listen to one of your favorite songs.

Go ahead. Pull up Spotify, YouTube, or whatever app you use and listen to, say, 30 seconds of a song.

I’ll wait…

If you need help choosing a song, I’d listen to Coldplay’s “Fix You.”

Okay, now that you’re done listening, I have one thing to say:

You just got dopamine’d. 

While listening to that song, your brain just released chemicals — good ones like dopamine and oxytocin — which made you feel something. Something good.

The New York Times says “the idea that reward is partly related to anticipation (or the prediction of a desired outcome)” is an established fact in neuroscience.

Basically, when you listen to a song, your brain is constantly (and automatically) trying to figure out what’s coming next. And your brain rewards itself when it gets it right, and also when it’s wrong.

Anticipation in music is the key. It gives you a high. A different high than pot does, but still a high.

So the next time you’re at a concert or listening to music in the car, remember what your brain is doing.

It’s working hard to get you high.

Advertisers Are Controlling Your Brain With Music

You may not know it, but your brain is not your own.

Music in advertising
Basically what advertisers think about you

Your brain is Nationwide’s and McDonald’s and Oscar Meyer’s.

They use music to influence you to buy their products with jingles.

Ohio State University explores this concept in a study called Music in Advertising: An Analytic Paradigm.

The study finds that “music tends to linger in the listener’s mind … even when the mind is an unwilling host.”

This is what we call an earworm.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Get Rid Of Earworms

“Thus,” it goes on, “the association of music with the identity of a certain product may substantially aid product recall.”

And advertisers are serious about getting you to identify their product with earworm-y music. They must have your full  attention.

“…Advertising music is perhaps the most meticulously crafted and most fretted-about music in history,” the study says.

“Nationally produced television advertisements in particular may be considered among the most highly polished cultural artifacts ever created.”

Companies ain’t messing around when it comes to controlling your brain with music.