If you’re someone who has to have music to study to, preparing playlists can take up more time than the actual learning. Particularly if you want to have control over what kind of music you’re listening to, most music services require a great deal of fine-tuning.

Pandora, though excellent if you don’t need to focus, builds playlists on artist characteristics rather than moods. Because it’s curated automatically, it can sometimes wildly miss the mark–tossing up “Boy Named Sue” when you want unintrusive music for other activities.* Grooveshark‘s great, and its selection can’t be beat, but it requires time-consuming curation. It’s a fabulous option if you want control over a party playlist, but it’s too time-intensive for study background music–the same issue as iTunes playlists, which have the added downside of being confined to music you actually own. And, though Frat Music crosses over most of these issues, it isn’t quite what you want to study to.

Enter Stereomood. This online streaming service provides user-generated playlists put together by mood or activity. The playlists run the gamut from vague (sweet) to the oddly specific (lost in Jamaica). There are even a few organized by time periods–particularly nice is this 60s playlist. Of course, for finals week, you’re probably looking for study music–and the playlists are good.

Because the playlists are human-curated and meant for specific activities or moods, they’re generally much closer to the mark than the playlists that an automatic service would create. Because they’re created by other people, you run a high chance of stumbling across music you hadn’t heard before. Finals studying: now educational in ways you actually care about! Finals studying may be a pain, but now you can at least suffer with an excellent soundtrack.

* This has actually happened to your author. Good times.