When you’re feeling down or uninspired, how many times have you turned to music? If you’re anything like us the answer is “all the time!’

A new type of music startup, brain.fm, understands this and believes it has found a way to make that audio inspiration a lot more efficient. Blending the artistry of mind music with the scientific rigor of cognitive research, the platform is an intriguing blend of the creativity and technology intersection that we like to explore.

brain fm model claims

Image via brain.fm


The founders and neuroscientists behind brain.fm believe that the decades of clinical research poured into their platform’s algorithm holds the key to maximizing the performance-boosting effect of audio stimulation. Backed by more than 180 research studies and a wealth of anecdotal evidence, the company and those like it could be poised to revolutionize the way we use music to think, focus, and even how we heal.

“In my work as a neuroscientist I have tested dozens of passive audio stimulation methods, and none worked,” explains Dr. Giovanni Santostasi, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine and lead research mind behind brain.fm. After putting the program through its paces with a variety of tests of its effects, Santostasi concluded that “tests and analysis to show it really efficacious and not a gimmick. I highly recommend it.”

He’s not alone.

Audio as a soothing countermeasure to stress has been around as long as whale song CDs and personal mixtapes. Meanwhile, music therapy is increasingly recognized as a valuable supplement to medical treatment, be it in a recovery setting like a hospital or even end-of-life hospice care.

The American Music Therapy Association points to a variety of positive effects for music played in such environments, from reduced muscle tension and anxiety to increased verbalization and improvements in interpersonal relationships.

What is new is the ability to take complex algorithms and apply them to make the healing power of music even more potent.

Though brain.fm aims primarily at focus and productivity, the wider applications for crafting the perfect personal anti-stress soundtrack, or finding the most effective audio selections to soothe someone in pain, are the next logical steps down the line.

As streaming music services continue to throw up legitimate questions about the use of songs and adequate compensation for artists, it’s heartening to see an application that brings together technology and creativity in a way that could help others to heal.