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%.
As we reflect on the most popular, breakthrough music of the 2010s, an interesting trend stands out. A lot of ink has been spilled over the idea of “post-genre” pop - pop that subverts traditional genre definitions and blends different styles in a way that makes it difficult to categorize. Put simply: pop songs that are genre mashups (think “Old Town Road”). We were inspired to pick 13 of our favorite “post-genre” pop songs of the decade, describing why they fall into this non-category and why we love them.
Before getting to our top picks...
What the hell is “post-genre” pop?
Let’s agree on a loose definition, that post-genre pop is popular, often top-charting music that doesn’t neatly fit the definition of today’s Billboard categories.
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.
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.
Valentine’s Day, Valentine's Day, what are you doing for Valentine's Day? If you're single this year, it's a good bet the answer is "nothing." As Saturday Night Live reminded us with this cheeky song from last weekend's show: "Valentine's Day is for lovers."
We decided to flip the script for this year's holiday, creating a list of 10 Valentine's Day Songs for Single People. Unattached? No problem!