New research published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology claims to have evidence that listening to music reduces creativity and that people performed better during test conducted in silence rather than with instrumental, pop-radio tunes or foreign language audio.
The research paper summary states;
“Background music has been claimed to enhance people's creativity. In three experiments, we investigated the impact of background music on performance of Compound Remote Associate Tasks (CRATs), which are widely thought to tap creativity. Background music with foreign (unfamiliar) lyrics (Experiment 1), instrumental music without lyrics (Experiment 2), and music with familiar lyrics (Experiment 3) all significantly impaired CRAT performance in comparison with quiet background conditions. Furthermore, Experiment 3 demonstrated that background music impaired CRAT performance regardless of whether the music induced a positive mood or whether participants typically studied in the presence of music. The findings challenge the view that background music enhances creativity and are discussed in terms of an auditory distraction account (interference‐by‐process) and the processing disfluency account.“
Creatives will often have music playing in the background in some cases to inspire further creativity, but it seems that may be counterproductive.
Furthermore when the participants were played the background noise of a library this did not have the same negative effect.
For the full study with findings read more here.