We're motivated by the power of music to impact experiences in ways big and small. No surprise, we've written a lot on the subject and have always gravitated to the concept that "Music is Performance-Enhancing." While the claim may seem hyperbolic, it's no empty boast. Many groundbreaking research studies and neuroscientists have demonstrated the positive effect of music on one's mood, the impact of pairing music and fitness, and its power to impact neurological and physical recovery. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
At Feed Media Group, our team of highly-skilled curators manages hundreds of bespoke music stations for our business partners. This curation is at the core of what we offer as a B2B music integration platform. While technology and analytics play a critical role throughout the curation process, it’s the expertise, inquisitiveness, and ability of our curators to put the world around us into perspective that make our music stations so effective.
Many consumer-facing businesses—fitness companies, retailers, conferences, etc.—have migrated online or doubled-down on digital over the past year. Regardless of how the pandemic ends or when the “new normal” arrives, it’s certain that fierce competition for attention in the digital landscape will remain. One of the proven differentiators that can significantly increase customer “stickiness” is music, and the demand for legal music integration has never been greater.
Fitness has permanently changed. Since COVID-19’s arrival there’s been an explosion of online content, with brick-and-mortar gyms pivoting swiftly into digital programs their members can access at home, and digital fitness brands driving record growth. As coronavirus spikes across the country, the fitness industry continues transforming...even as gyms and studios consider safety precautions that will eventually allow users to return in greater numbers.
One of the essential qualifications for any successful entrepreneur? Perspective, preferably lots of it. Before pivoting into the music sector and co-founding music-as-a-service company Feed.fm, Jeff Yasuda spent the first decade of his career as an investment banker and VC. His experience on both sides of the fundraising table has made the challenging job of securing and structuring financing a little easier for our company.
The process and tools used to create workout soundtracks have evolved over the years right alongside the way we consume music in general. Early VHS tapes had background music recorded in studio, workout compilation CDs blasted from speakers in aerobics room, and most recently, streaming from personal Spotify/Apple Music accounts has taken over.
Super Abbreviated History of Music Listening
In the 1980s, mixtapes were recorded, painstakingly, one song at a time. Then we had Now That’s What I Call Music! compilations in the 90s, Napster mp3’s burned onto CD’s at the turn of the century, and iPod shuffles in the mid-aughts. The unifying thread amongst all these methods of playlist construction is that they were human created. It wasn’t until Pandora, Spotify and iTunes Radio hit the mainstream that AI-driven music curation played a significant role in the discovery process for music fans.
Now however, AI curation has become the norm, with BBC reporting that “an algorithm...will decide what you hear–and critically, what you’ll hear next.” People still create customized playlists for special events, and DJs–though they have been forced online recently–still play an important role in music listening and discovery. But in general, how often are we or another human choosing the next song, as opposed to an algorithm?
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%.
In 2017, Feed.fm began delivering music for Fitbit’s in-app fitness programs. Nearly three years later, we wanted to get Jeff’s perspective on venture capital in the fitness space, which has grown to dominate our music as a service business.
Feed.fm has worked with many of the top fitness companies, so you’re in a unique position to connect the dots. Tell me about some overall trends you’re seeing in fitness.
Fitness is an incredibly hot space right now. Consider 1) the amount of financing that has taken place and 2) the recent Peloton IPO. VCs like seeing a market where companies can exit, either via acquisition or offering shares on a public exchange. When there’s acquisition and companies going public, it’s indicative that the business segment—in this case fitness—is healthy, and investors want to participate in the upside.