Work is Where Music Happens — To Slack, With Love

Sync Music Bot. Now Available for Slack.

If the title didn’t tip you off, fair warning: you’ve stumbled onto a sort of love letter to Slack, the team messaging app that’s grown to 4 million daily active users. We at Sync Project recognize that by admitting to this geeked-out affair, we may fail to maintain our cool. When it comes to Slack, we may even gush a little bit. We’re okay with that.

Naturally, all this poetic waxing comes from a somewhat selfish place. We want to introduce you to Sync Music Bot for Slack. We’ll get to that.

First, let’s ruminate a bit on the time Before Slack, otherwise known as, well…BS. A fitting label, since so much of our time was spent fussing around with work email. Consider the whole CC, BCC thing. Sweating over long emails, carefully including the right people in the CC list, and nervously adding the other — somehow more secret! — people to the BCC list? Ugh. So very 2013.

With Slack we get simple and intuitive group messaging channels. So now instead of sending letters to each other all day, we carry on with topic-relevant, searchable, threaded conversations. Aaahh, that’s better. We’ll summarize with a haiku:

Thanks to Slack channels
Messages flow so freely
More time for coffee

So really, it’s no wonder we’ve chosen Slack as the go-to platform for introducing Sync Music Bot. With nearly 750 apps in the Slack directory, Sync Music Bot is the first music delivery bot that helps you work, relax, and even exercise better.

If you’re a Slack user, then you’ve probably heard the mantra, “Slack is where work happens.” We think it’s fair to say that work is where music happens, since so many people code, read, write, and design while wearing headphones. A contributing factor here is the growing popularity of open-office floorplans. Sure, they’re great for keeping costs down and making space for the office air hockey table, but less than ideal when it comes to unwanted distractions and noise. In these environments, jamming our favorite tunes in headphones offers a safe bubble of control where we can at least pretend we have a little privacy…and try to get some work done.

But what happens if we step back from our usual listening habits? What if we take a beat to ask ourselves — what am I trying to do? How will this music affect me in this moment?

Music and mood aren’t as easy to correlate as one might think. Maybe you’ve noticed, sometimes music that sounds sad can make you feel uplifted. With music analysis, we study valence as one indicator that can lead us to a greater understanding of how these very personal, individual reactions work.

Coders, for example, seem to favor music with moderately high tempos and a lower valence; music that to other people might be interpreted as more somber, sleepy, or even boring! Does a lower valence somehow contribute to a coder’s ability to find flow state and stay in the zone? That’s one of many mysteries we aim to unravel.

Clearly, it’s not just the type of music we choose to listen to that affects our minds and bodies, it’s the nuanced qualities of music that can assist or distract. At Sync Project, our technology is designed to analyze those complex musical characteristics and put them to work.

We created Sync Music Bot, in part, to understand more about how music fits into our working lives — and where better to do it than Slack? A quick conversation with Sync Music Bot will set you up with a personalized work playlist, delivered every day, at whatever time you like. You can try the bot’s recommendations or just type something like:

code to miles davis, john coltrane, bill evans

…and Sync Music Bot will deliver the songs by those artists that are most likely to be good for coding, plus a few related tunes and artists to round out the set and keep you in the zone.

Right there. In Slack.

One of the things we love most about Slack is the lack of formality. There’s a casualness that encourages genuine collaborations; ideas are more openly shared and important discussions are actually -gasp- fun. Being a music-centric company, we may be a little biased. But we know that music is innately social. So we’ve made Sync Music Bot with teams in mind. When you ask to work to Anderson Paak, Tycho, and Bon Iver…and Sync Music Bot delivers a set that just totally puts you in the zone? That’s a gift that keeps on giving. Share it – and any song you want — with your team, in DMs or channels.

Ratings and reactions add to the social fun, while teaching Sync Music Bot more about what works and what doesn’t. Any daily or on-demand playlist can be rated, which means enhanced personalization and, over time, more effective music for you.

In life and in our working worlds, so much of what we create and achieve depends on what we experience together. And music is singular in its ability to be both a private and shared experience; we might retreat into the relative privacy of our headphones when we want to get stuff done, and yet we may all be walking around with Uptown Funk playing in our heads.

We hope you’ll add Sync Music Bot to your team, and then share your musical experiences with us. We’re always listening!

Sync Music Bot is available for Slack this November, 2016. 
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