Music has many benefits for your daily life as a business owner. You might use it to focus on your work of the day, get through chores or help you relax after handling the stresses of running a business. The power of a good song can push you to get going and give you the chance to refresh.
Music’s effect on productivity is one way it benefits businesses, and songs also play a big role in motivating business owners and executives. Check out our curated list of 50 inspirational songs recommended by successful entrepreneurs.
These inspiring songs are favorites of successful business owners, CEOs and other entrepreneurial-minded executives. These tracks are great for increasing your motivation, productivity or resilience. Keep reading for the full recommendations and music videos.
Compared with the average worker, entrepreneurs often face more obstacles and must dedicate more resources, energy and effort to their jobs. With many odds against them, anything that can help entrepreneurs stay focused, motivated and resilient may give them a much-needed boost. Listening to music while completing business processes can foster efficiency, lower stress and allow you to focus on the project at hand. You can even use sound to drive sales.
Music has been shown to boost creativity, which is a key part of the entrepreneurial process. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE measured divergent and convergent thinking as some participants listened to happy music and others worked in silence. Those who listened to music had an increase in divergent thinking, meaning they were more apt to develop and create new ideas, compared with the people who worked in silence.
As such, entrepreneurs and employees who harness creativity to generate business concepts, solve problems and maximize resources may want to consider playing music at their next brainstorming session or offering employees playlists as they tackle different projects. [Check out these creative business ideas for entrepreneurs.]
We asked entrepreneurs to share the songs that inspire them the most. The responses cover nearly every genre, including rock, rap, country and classical. Keep reading to find out how the songs affect these businesspeople and to watch the music videos. You may want to play them at your next company meeting!
“On difficult days, the song I blast from my speakers is ‘I Hope You Dance,’ by Lee Ann Womack. It reminds me that bravery is an option I choose, in business and in life. The lyrics ‘Never settle for the path of least resistance / Livin’ might mean taking chances, but they’re worth taking’ inspire me to take the next step, reach out to the next person, keep trying to be heard over the noise that surrounds us.” – Hope Saidel, president of Golly Gear
“I cannot think of a song that fires me up and encourages me to dig deeper more than Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way.’ As entrepreneurs, sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. We have regrets but too few to mention, as we are people who are willing to take risks and put ourselves out there. I guess the ending is most appropriate: ‘To think I did all that / And may I say, not in a shy way / Oh, no. Oh, no, not me / I did it my way.’ There’s not much more of an entrepreneur-spirited line than that.” – Julie Busha, CEO of Slawsa
“One song that really inspires me, and which is still on my workout playlist, is ‘Going the Distance,’ by Cake. I’ve always liked the song, but I’ve identified with it more and more as I’ve really learned what it is to be an entrepreneur over the last [few] years. I’m sure some teams get lucky quickly, but usually, endurance and determination are the biggest keys to success. Entrepreneurship is usually no trophies, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine. But going the distance in the face of adversity will eventually lead to reward.” – Tadd Spering, founder and CEO of Stylinity
“Being an entrepreneur means being all in, every day, despite the odds, because the reward is worth the effort. One song that reminds me to literally never give up is George Benson’s ‘Never Give Up on a Good Thing.'” – Alison O’Brien, co-founder and CEO of JWalking Designs
“It’s from one of the greatest albums ever but was a B-side track, so it’s an underdog song to begin with. And I feel, as an entrepreneur, you are playing the role of underdog a lot against bigger, more established companies. Also, the song is about remembering to enjoy the journey that is life and not getting burnt out, and that, to me, is the essence of being an entrepreneur.” – Scott Paladini, founder of Bear Mattress
“Whenever my twice-daily dose of coffee runs out and all my daily stress catches up to me, I like to listen to ‘What a Wonderful World,’ by Louis Armstrong. It has such a beautiful message and reminds me why I decided to start my company in the first place: to spread positivity to everyone’s day. It inspires me to continue doing what I love, no matter how hard it can be at times. The world is a beautiful place, as Mr. Armstrong says, and this song reminds me of that when I need it most.” – Arianna DiMatteo, owner of Aria Bella Candles
“The song that inspires me is ‘9 to 5,’ by Dolly Parton. It’s a great, upbeat song [and it] makes me laugh. I pour myself a cup of ambition – aka coffee – and get to work.” – Kelly Burnett, CEO of Promotional Bridge
“A song that inspires me is ‘Supergirl,’ by Anna Naklab. I always listen to it, and I think it’s the mental visualization of being a ‘supergirl’ and having strength to continue. I do think the song is more about love in some parts; but it’s very melodic, and her voice is beautiful. I think this song is very inspiring, especially for young women entrepreneurs.” – Julia Avalon, founder of Avalon Medical Spa
“The song that inspires me the most is ‘Let It Go, Let It Flow,’ by Dave Mason. There are too many times when I am doing everyone else’s decision-making for them because they are not doing it for themselves. It cuts into my day, my work and my thought patterns. When it gets too much, I blast that song at full volume and remind everyone else that they have to do it, and I have to let it go. Let them make the choices. Let the ideas flow from someone else. They always get my point.” – Roberta Perry, president and owner of ScrubzBody
“I’ve been an entrepreneur for … years now, and Britney Spears’ ‘Work B**ch’ is most definitely my inspirational jam. The beat pumps me up, and the message is clear: If you want results, you’ve got to hustle – in life, in love and most certainly in business.” – Petrina Hamm, owner of Petrina Hamm Fitness
“As an entrepreneur, my most inspiring song is ‘Drive,’ by the group Incubus. The lyrics are all about being independent, facing uncertainty, fearing to take action, going along with the crowd or doing what you’re meant to do.” – Francesca Montillo, founder and owner of Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures
“The song that inspires me is Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight.’ The beat of this song just inspires me to push and never give up. I listen to it when I feel like giving up on a project or am unmotivated to do something that I am supposed to do.” – Zondra Wilson, founder and CEO of Blu Skin Care
“I start the day off right by listening to a short playlist of inspiring songs that power my day. My current favorite is ‘Paris,’ by Erica Chase. It’s powerful, personal, heartfelt and helps me take on the day.” – Jaimie Hilfiger, co-founder of The Jaimie Hilfiger Collection by La Curcio
“A song that inspires me is ‘I Smile,’ by Kirk Franklin, because owning a business has its successful and challenging moments. Even when I feel like giving up or question why I started my business, I am reminded to smile and keep moving forward when I listen to [that song].” – Ashley Hill, CEO of ALH Group
“Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ inspires me because it’s an oldie that [reminds me of] my past, when I set goals that were dreams, and today my dreams are a reality as a business owner.” – Kelley Kitley, owner and therapist at Serendipitous Psychotherapy
“I have go-to rally songs for many events in my life, from business to marathon training. As an entrepreneur, my inspiration song for several years has been ‘All of the Above,’ by Maino featuring T-Pain. I identify with nearly every line and lyric – and who doesn’t love an underdog story?” – Jessica Mehta, owner of Mehtananda
“It’s a trance song with no lyrics. It has so much energy, and it gets me going and motivated. I have it as my ringtone as well.” – K.B. Lee, founder and CEO of Ever Bamboo
“I’ve been a dating and relationship coach for … years, and one of the songs that keeps me inspired and also helps inspire my clients is ‘Believe,’ by Cher. I like the themes she includes: taking care of yourself by leaving a relationship that isn’t good for you, knowing you qualify for a relationship that’s so much better [and] believing you can finally have a great relationship.” – Christine Baumgartner, owner of The Perfect Catch
“My hype song is ‘Just Fine,’ by Mary J. Blige. It puts me in the right state of mind, helps me not stress about the dumb crap and dance past the stupid people. It always reminds me that I am my own compass and that, at the end of the day, I have to trust my instincts. Sometimes I’m right. Sometimes I’m wrong. But either way, I go with my gut.” – Joy Donnell, co-founder of the Center for Intersectional Media and Entertainment
“Miley Cyrus’ ‘The Climb’ inspires me to look past my own troubles and seek and celebrate everyday women [who] are pulling up their bootstraps and putting one foot in front of the other, no matter the crap they are standing waist-deep in, and share their stories with the world.” – Donna Marie Post, founder of I Admire U
“‘I Will Survive,’ by Gloria Gaynor, inspires me because it reminds me that even in the hardest of times, you have to believe in yourself and your ability to get through whatever difficulties are in your path.” – Marianne O’Connor, CEO of Sterling Communications
“‘You Gotta Be,’ by Des’ree, is my entrepreneurial anthem. The lyrics seem to sum up what being an entrepreneur means to me. When I left my job to pursue my private speech practice full time, this was part of the playlist I created of songs to drive me.” – Jann Fujimoto, owner and speech therapist at SpeechWorks
“‘Bathtime in Clerkenwell,’ by The Real Tuesday Weld, [is my pick], because it is simply impossible to be anything but giddy while listening to it, no matter what kind of day you’re having.” – Maria Rapetskaya, founder and creative director at Undefined Creative
“My inspirational song comes from my birthplace of South Africa. It’s called ‘Weeping,’ and it’s not only the music, but also the message, that inspires me as an entrepreneur. I often play it in my car, and I have it on my running mix, too. My favorite recording of it is by Vusi Mahlasela, but it was written by Dan Heymann and was a commentary and protest against the apartheid government and the 1985 state of emergency in South Africa.” – Alexia Bregman, co-founder of Vuka
“A song that totally inspires me and my business is ‘Exactly,’ by Amy Steinberg. Not only does the song totally rock all aspects of my life; it inspires and reminds me that I have an amazing purpose in life, and that purpose is helping people through the work I do in my business. No matter how frustrated I may get at times with my business, I still know this is exactly what I need to be doing.” – Dina Garcia, owner of Vida Nutrition
“The song that inspires me is ‘Survivor,’ by Destiny’s Child. Owning a business can be tough, with many highs and lows. Only the strong survive, and when you do, it is the most rewarding feeling, knowing that you did not give up.” – Tosi Ufodike, founder and CEO of Hair Yum
“The song speaks to the notion that we can change the world with our own two hands, but we have to take action. We can make the world better, brighter and safer if we all take accountability for the energy we put into the world. My career and purpose for being is to inspire people to create the life they want to lead, and this song inspires me to do so.” – Merrick Rosenberg, CEO of Take Flight Learning
“My entrepreneur wake-up song is ‘I Lived,’ by OneRepublic. It reminds me to take risks, put my day in perspective of my entire life and never regret the mistakes that inevitably befall a young business owner.” – Gabrielle Bosché, founder and president of The Millennial Solution
“[They] get my blood pumping and mind working, almost better than espresso.” – Aaron Keller, co-founder and managing principal of Capsule
“I love being the underdog because it gives you the opportunity to prove to yourself that you can win or build something great when the odds are against you. This song portrays that struggle perfectly.” – Chris Cardillo, owner of Castle Windows
“This song has been with me throughout every stage in my entrepreneurial career and reminds me to live my life the way I want, and to approach every situation all or nothing. ‘When you got a job to do, you gotta do it well / You gotta give the other fellow hell,’ inspires me to always be the best that I can be and to always disrupt the competition.” – Chad Hetherington, co-founder and CEO of The Stable
“Whenever I’m in need of motivation or encouragement, I turn to Katy Perry’s ‘Firework.’ The fast-paced song instantly lifts my mood, but the inspiration goes even deeper. I greatly value hard work, perseverance and a no-excuses attitude. Sometimes I need a reminder that ‘there’s a spark’ in me. I do have the ability to dig a little deeper and go the extra mile; I just need to ignite the motivation.” – Monica Eaton-Cardone, founder and chief operating officer of Chargebacks911
“One of my favorite songs is Björk’s ‘It’s Oh So Quiet.’ It’s less about the lyrics and more about the crazy, creative, unusual energy. It’s the kind of song that motivates me to dance like no one is watching.” – Katy Martin, web designer, developer and marketer at Tall Poppies Design
“I’ve been an entrepreneur … and a song that inspires me is ‘Hold On,’ by Alabama Shakes, because it’s a song of perseverance and patience.” – Melissa Golebiowski, freelance writer and editor
“The song that has inspired me the most in my life is by country artist Travis Tritt, titled ‘I’m Gonna Be Somebody.’ Being from a very small farming community in Kansas, I listened to this song while cruising Main Street in high school and dreamed of being a big success one day. Well, by the standards I grew up with, that has happened many times over.” – Gregory Serrien, author and business consultant
“‘Shake It Out,’ by Florence + the Machine, is my go-to song when I need to smile, when I need motivation or [when I] feel overwhelmed during my day. The lyrics in conjunction with the instrumentals are nothing less than invigorating. When I rock out to that song, I stay in the present and positive. I feel empowered, young and ready to show the world what I am made of.” – Sophia Hyder Hock, founder and CEO of Papilia
“One of the greatest rock songs ever written is ‘Stairway to Heaven’ [by Led Zeppelin]. ‘Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.’ So, whatever’s wrong, whatever’s not working out, whatever you’re not happy with – in yourself or a situation – take the initiative and fix it.” – Shaun Breidbart, comedian and executive director of The Ivy League of Comedy
“St. Lucia’s … song ‘Paradise Is Waiting’ is played on loop daily while I get work accomplished. It’s a very joyous and purposeful song. It makes me want to break from work and clap along because of the rhythm. It’s a great feel-good song, which I think we could all use during the workday.” – Caitlin McCarthy-Miranda, owner and founder of C|Louise PR + Marketing
“My favorite song is Kip Moore’s ‘The Bull.’ I’m a huge fan of the song because, as any entrepreneur knows, you will constantly get no’s and go through numerous setbacks. This song focuses on the other side and views setbacks as motivation.” – Theo Lee, CEO and co-founder of KPOP Foods
‘”Come Alive’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ soundtrack is my jam for one of the most inspirational songs regarding small business ownership. With its uplifting and positive message about shining fully by embracing your talents, taking your dream to reality, proving yourself and thriving – that’s the essence of entrepreneurship.” – Melissa St. Clair, owner of Paper Chaser
“It gets the blood flowing and motivates me to accomplish my goals for the day. It plays through for the first 30 minutes of my day. I am so pumped after [the song] that, even if my day has obstacles, I still feel like I can overcome anything, and usually, I reach my writing goal or my engagement target that translates into sales.” – Janice Elliott-Howard, owner of J.E-H Publishing
“My favorite song is ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ by A Perfect Circle. It has an interesting time signature and powerful lyrics regarding being accountable for the state of your own mental health. Although written from a perspective of hopelessness in helping another, it reminds me not only that it’s not possible to fix another human being but that I need to mind my own demons and attend to my own mental and emotional soundness before I can help another. It helps me to stay grounded in my role of teaching coping skills and supporting my clients’ processes of healing while trusting in their own capabilities to help themselves in their own time.” – Lori Araki, founder of Equinox Horse Foundation
“I have not had an easy road to entrepreneurship. I have had to overcome many obstacles in my life – born to immigrant parents and the first in my family to go to college; worked overnights for many years in television; suffered health challenges, including a bout with cancer; [had] tough bosses, failed jobs; the list goes on. I started my business … literally with a small loan from a family friend, a laptop, a phone and a prayer in my dining room – with a family to support, hoping I knew what I was doing. Today we are growing and working nationwide … This song encompasses my work ethic and constant dream to never give up. There are late nights, battles and sometimes it seems there will never be an end to the struggle. … This song inspires me to keep going every time.” – Michelle Mekky, founder and CEO of Mekky Media Relations
“My favorite song … is Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down.’ The song is about fighting for yourself in the face of adversity and not backing down in situations that come along. This can apply to work or other life challenges that you may feel are difficult to accomplish. One of the verses says, ‘I’m going to keep this world from dragging me down.’ To me, that one line says a lot. The reason I find it so inspirational in my work is that it’s a simple message in a very well-written song. For me, it says, ‘Don’t give up.’ Success in business is about not giving up, and I feel like this is the No. 1 rule for entrepreneurs … to stick with it regardless of what challenges come up. There will be ups and downs, but no matter what, don’t back down.” – David Hawkins, founder and CEO of YourSongmaker
“My favorite entrepreneurial song, which I listen to regularly, would have to be ‘Roll With It,’ by Oasis. Not only are they from Manchester, where I am based, but I also like the theme of the song, [which] is ‘Don’t let anybody get in your way.’ As an entrepreneur, I’ve met a lot of challenging people that don’t always want me to succeed. This song reminds me that whatever obstacles, challenges or problems I face, I never let them get in my way of growing my business. I also love the attitude of Liam Gallagher throughout the song, which is basically, ‘Get on with it.'” – Alexander Winston, co-founder and CBO of PPC Protect
“‘Girl on Fire,’ by Alicia Keys, is my go-to song to put me in the best mood before I begin working and while working. It’s so inspirational and powerful. Anytime I feel like I’m stuck or can’t handle a situation, I play this song and feel like I can take on the world.” – Marissa Chiechi, director at Coded Agency
“No matter what the situation, this song calms the trouble. It is just under seven [minutes] of pure relaxation, letting qualms slip away, allowing me to get back to work without inhibitions. You can listen to the song before working, during and after. It is the closest thing I have to a restart button during the day.” – David Barbour, owner of Mighty Ad Works
“My favorite song right now is the ‘Backyard Party’ remix of Khaili Conway’s track ‘EnTwined.’ I love it because the beat is fast and uplifting and builds to an awesome crescendo, which reminds me of the journey I’m on as an entrepreneur, grinding out every day to build something great. Plus, this particular version has no lyrics, which means I can listen to it while I work, without the words of the song distracting from the words I’m writing.” – Dave Bowden, founder of Irreverent Gent
“My favorite song to pump me up before [work] is an old progressive hit by Genesis called ‘Behind the Lines.’ I listen to it every time before doing an interview or making an important sales call. The music is so powerful, it really helps to pump me up. Hearing the song also brings me back to when I was just 18 years old, which is a time when we have our whole future ahead of us.” – Vincent James, co-founder of Keep Music Alive
“In the context of business, a really great song that is very applicable is Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way.’ I say this because businesses are like relationships – always changing, always evolving and especially always back and forth, good and bad, much like the band’s relationship toward one another at that time.” – Robert Graham, owner of Sticky Monkey
As these entrepreneurs have demonstrated, music is a powerful source of inspiration. Listening to a motivational song could give you the energy to power through the day, change your mindset or help you concentrate on the task at hand.
With studies also suggesting that the right tunes may boost productivity, efficiency and creativity, you may want to consider the role of music at your company. Your business has a lot to gain from some time spent with a killer song and a good pair of headphones, or a great sound system for all to enjoy the music.
Sammi Caramela and Brittney Morgan contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.