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Don't Sleep on Wearables...a Primer for Digital Fitness

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on May 14, 2020 1:17:42 PM

As discussed in our recent whitepaper, Content, Community and Technology: Digital ecosystems for fitness brands, we've found that there are five essential pillars of a unified digital fitness experience. This article follows the first in a series -- Time to Focus on Your App [LINK TO https://blog.feed.fm/time-to-focus-on-your-app] -- to spotlight the second pillar of digital fitness: Your wearables.

Wearables are here to stay

Even before COVID-19, fitness and digital had been on a path of convergence. As remote fitness takes root more deeply, wearables are quickly transforming from basic data capture tools to sophisticated feedback devices that responsively support a broad population...encompassing people with medical conditions to professional athletes and everyone in between.

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Topics: Customer Engagment, Fitness

Fitness Will Never be the Same - Time to Focus on Your App

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on Apr 14, 2020 6:16:58 PM

The last decade saw major transformations to the fitness industry, with an explosion of new digital fitness companies spurring the old guard to adopt digital engagement strategies. Yet even the most farsighted would likely concede that the future has arrived much quicker than expected. COVID-19 is already seen as a tipping point in the merging of fitness and digital. As discussed in our recent whitepaper, Content, Community and Technology: Digital ecosystems for fitness brands, fitness customers increasingly expect that all brands provide convenient, high-tech options for exercising remotely.

There has never been a more pressing need to get your content online. Our recommendations seek to balance this expediency against the considerations that can deliver long-term ROI to your business. At Feed.fm, we've found that there are five essential pillars of a unified digital fitness experience.

  1. Custom-built mobile apps
  2. Integration with wearable health-tracking devices
  3. Professional-quality video content and hosting
  4. Training content
  5. Music integration

This article focuses on the first pillar of digital fitness: Your mobile app.

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Topics: Apps, Customer Engagment, Fitness

Sweat Equity: Building Fitness Communities that Last

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on Apr 10, 2020 1:58:40 PM

As discussed in our recent whitepaper, Content, Community and Technology: Digital ecosystems for fitness brands, the community aspect of digital fitness is key to building a sustainable fitness business. Factors including technological advances, more varied living arrangements, and decreasing participation in organized religion (especially for millennials), are driving people to create community in different ways than in the past.

For many, their fitness community plays an increasingly important role, helping to create connections, purpose, and accountability. Even when your customers aren’t in the same building, they should feel connected to your brand and part of something bigger than themselves. It’s not just about driving a stickier user experience, but building community that can foster deep relationships and help people reach their full potential.

At Feed.fm we work with fitness brands across the consumer landscape and we’ve seen a wide range of community-building strategies employed. To help get the gears turning on how you can implement features of your own, we’ve gathered 4 innovative and proven examples from companies that excel at promoting community.

1)  Strava - Though created primarily for cyclers as a way to document their biking miles, Strava has expanded their scope to “be the center of [exercisers’] active life. The popular app (more than 8 million activities are uploaded per day) has expanded from its commonly-known cycling & running footprint to court Peloton subscribers, rowers and other athletes, and former CEO James Quarles sees it more as a social network for fitness: “We think Strava plays a role for people not just when they’re recording an activity but before and after, right?” he says. “You can find routes, you can find groups to join, people to go with. Then, once you post the activity, you can talk about it, post photos, tag friends, and memorialize and relive the event.” Members say that being connected to cyclists of similar interests and abilities allows them to discover new routes, which helps keep them invigorated in their training routines.

2)  Studio - Billed as a “boutique fitness studio in your pocket”, the Studio app offers treadmill, outdoor running, strength training, and stretch workouts led by top trainers. Head instructor Lisa Niren had this to say about the prioritization of community: “Our members are the lifeblood of our company and community is central and integral to everything we do. I like to say that our fanatical member base is a mix of a little bit of luck and also a LOT of nurturing from the entire team. It is non-stop 24/7, but the most rewarding part of the job.” While it may seem obvious, the number one recommendation is being present and getting to truly know your members, which is a massive time commitment. Niren puts it succinctly: “I make it my personal goal, and the goal of everyone on my team, to be deeply rooted in our community and members. Caring, getting to know them, being present on social media & in Tribes is the key to our success and really making members feel at home when they are with us. Especially now, during a trying time, they come to us not just for physical fitness but also mental and emotional fitness, support and time away from everything else going on.

3)  Pharos Athletic Club in Los Angeles has achieved renown in a fitness-obsessed city for the strength of their community (the owners of other gyms regularly work out at the 20,000 square foot facility.) Three times a year, Pharos hosts a “Limitless Challenge,” in which members are grouped into teams coached by Pharos’ full-time Personal Trainers, take multiple group fitness classes together, receive one-on-one consults throughout the challenge and have their vital health stats (weight, lean body mass, body fat percentage, etc.) tracked on a weekly basis. Combining teams in a competition format creates a balanced environment that pushes participants while maintaining camaraderie, and all participants (there were more than 50 in the latest Limitless Challenge) celebrate with a group outing following the five-week competition. The latest Challenge, which ended in early March, resulted in 122 pounds of muscle gained and 331 pounds of fat lost. More recently, as Pharos (along with most gyms in Los Angeles) has temporarily shuttered in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, its trainers have begun conducting multiple free classes daily via Instagram Live. In the words of Pieter Vodden, one of the club’s owners, Pharos was “started by community and it will survive by community.”

4)  Mirror - Described as a “Nearly
Invisible Interactive Home Gym,” Mirror is a unique piece of fitness hardware - it’s a mirror that hangs on the wall, but doubles as a wireless video screen through which you can participate in workouts remotely, both live and on demand, with top fitness trainers from across the country. The fast-growing startup has received a ton of buzz for its adoption amongst celebrities, and the community aspect of their workout is played up in every press mention - “everyone in the class can see the names and locations of the other people in the class, displayed as bubbles that pop up on the screen when they join.” Participants can also share injuries or questions with the instructors - who can’t see participants - anonymously, maintaining privacy while still allowing for a community feel. Instructors also have access to heart-rate data to ensure sufficient motivation and impact for each workout. Much of the community-building takes place on Instagram, and instructor Gerren Liles has even created his own sub community, Team 100, which is all about giving 100% of your effort every time you show up. Mirror engages with the community on social platforms to get to know them, then references users during live workouts, which brings the studio feel to a digital environment.

Whether you’re looking to build a community from scratch or make your member’s bonds stronger, there’s a lot of great inspiration available right now. To summarize, successful brands (physical and digital) recommend:

  • Offering ways to memorialize exercisers’ efforts and easy ways for them to connect post-activity;
  • Taking the time to get to know your community and be present for them on social media;
  • Bringing people together with common goals, celebrating the wins together; and
  • Referencing personal facts and user names during live digital classes to bring the studio feel to life.
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Topics: Apps, Customer Engagment, Fitness

Why Music Now? Top Reasons Your Fit Tech Company Cannot Afford to Wait

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Dec 11, 2019 6:24:40 PM

Feed.fm works with the world’s leading fitness companies to provide legal, curated music integration in their apps and digital settings. While each brand has unique considerations (development bandwidth, customer acquisition challenges, competitive pressures), we consistently hear from customers that "I wish we'd done this sooner."

From our vantage point of working across the fit tech sector, we can see there is a clear opportunity cost to waiting on music integration. So we tallied the Top Reasons for “Why Music Now?”

REASON #1 — Exerciser Impact

The world’s leading authority on fitness and music, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, has proven that music can improve running performance by 15%; it can be a sedative or a stimulant; a nerve calmer or focus inducer; a pre-workout entryway into flow state; a mood enhancer; and an agent that reduces perceived effort by up to 10%.

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Topics: Apps, Music streaming, Music as a Service, legal music, Customer Engagment, Fitness, Music for wellness

Make “No Excuses” for a Lousy Workout Soundtrack: 1000s of Exercisers Vote on Their Top Workout Songs

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Aug 21, 2019 2:37:48 PM

The past five years have seen significant growth in the fitness tech sector, transforming how many people exercise. One thing that isn’t changing? The need for fresh, inspiring music, which has been shown to enhance athletic performance for professionals and amateurs alike. A detailed study by the Sports Medicine – Open journal found that people work out 28% longer per week when they have the right music.

As a B2B music company, Feed.fm is on the front lines of this fit tech groundswell, handling music licensing, curation, and integration for more than 40 different fitness customers. The specific exercise programs offered by our customers (Fitbit, 8fit, Tonal, Mirror, and others) differ greatly. That said, there are a few workout music stations that are always winners regardless of activity.

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Topics: Feed.fm Blog, Music streaming, Customer Engagment, Fitness, Music for wellness

The 2 Yoga Music Mixes You Should Know About

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Apr 23, 2019 2:35:08 PM
According to the National Institutes of Health’s 2017 NHIS, the popularity of yoga is growing dramatically, with 14.3 percent of U.S. adults practicing yoga in 2017 compared to 9.5 percent in 2012. Some of this growth can surely be attributed to the stressful political climate. Another contributing factor is the increased accessibility of yoga: practitioners can choose from a great variety of online/in-app classes in addition to those offered at yoga and fitness studios.
 
With more people making yoga part of their daily lives, it’s no longer a given that classes will be practiced in silence. There are plenty of silent yoga options for those who would choose only John Cage’s “4’33” for their mix, but many students find that music enhances their practice. A Google search for “yoga music” yields countless results, and tons of recommendations are also available on Spotify or your streaming service of choice.
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Topics: Music streaming, Music as a Service, legal music, Customer Engagment, Music as content, Fitness, Music for wellness

Music Licensing for Fitness

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf & Eric Stensvaag on Mar 21, 2019 1:03:21 PM
Feed.fm seamlessly integrates music into consumer experiences for a variety of fitness companies and brands. One of the most common questions we hear is, “What kind of licensing does my business need to legally use music?” In order to successfully answer this question, we need to get more specific about the different ways in which music is used to create fitness experiences.
 
1. Group Fitness Classes at a Physical Location
 
An example of this use case is a spin class at your local cycling studio. In order to legally play music in a physical location, the studio needs public performance licenses from four organizations: ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and GMR. Additionally, the instructor should not be playing music directly from their personal music accounts.
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Topics: Music streaming, Music as a Service, legal music, retail music, Customer Engagment, Music as content, Fitness

Introducing Tiffany Sirikulvadhana, Head of Customer Success

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Oct 4, 2018 2:51:06 PM

We’re thrilled to introduce Tiffany Sirikulvadhana as the newest member of our team. A customer success veteran with six years experience, and a former plaintiff’s attorney, Tiffany is uniquely qualified to serve as our Head of Customer Success. Tiffany describes Feed.fm as her “dream company…I get to work with exciting customers using music to drive stronger results. And as an attorney, I understand the intricacies of music licensing and know Feed.fm is providing an essential service to our partner companies.”

After graduating from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Tiffany spent the first four years of her career practicing law, with an emphasis on disability rights. Her skillful client advocacy prompted a friend to lure her into the tech world, as customer point-person for a mobile startup. As someone who’s always been interested in tech and consumer trends, Tiffany developed a strong track record working at a number of SaaS companies.

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Topics: Feed.fm Blog, Customer Engagment

Music Streaming & Curation, Circa 2018

Posted by Dario Slavazza & Eric Stensvaag on May 22, 2018 2:31:58 PM

How do you decide what music to listen to? Since streaming is now America’s dominant form of music consumption, we’re guessing Spotify or Apple Music are helping make this choice.

Both these companies and their competitors rely on algorithms to manage an increasingly large variety of music playlists. So…a robot is picking your music? Well, yes and no. Even a tech titan like Apple recognizes that machine learning has its limitations: most streaming companies employ music experts who fine-tune playlists combining computer data with essential context and personal taste.

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Topics: Feed.fm Blog, Music Business, Music streaming, streaming services, Music as a Service, Customer Engagment, Music as content

7 Articles You Should Read about Smart Speakers

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Apr 25, 2018 8:09:28 PM

There’s been lots of buzz about smart speakers, voice activation, and AI assistants over the past couple years. It’s a great time to tune in if you haven’t been paying close attention. 20% of U.S. Wi-Fi households currently own smart speakers, and manufacturers are pushing for introduction in the workplace.

As voice activated experiences continue to proliferate, individual users and a vast array of businesses stand to benefit. Amazon and Google are currently investing heavily in smart speaker production and defining the user experience.

With even the terminology still in flux, the following 7 articles should get you up to speed quickly on smart speakers and voice activation.

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Topics: Feed.fm Blog, Music Business, Music streaming, streaming services, Music as a Service, Customer Engagment, Music as content