Fitness technology is big business: Peloton’s $30.9bn market cap (at the time of writing) is proof of that, as was Google’s $2.1bn acquisition of Fitbit; Apple’s burgeoning Apple Watch business and new Apple Fitness+ service; and Amazon’s Halo activity tracker and subscription service. Music is core to some of these services, while fitness is one of the most popular playlist categories on the big streaming services.
Two relatively small news stories today play in to the bigger picture of fitness and music. First, Peloton has a new partnership with livestreaming brand Verzuz, hot on the heels of the latter’s acquisition by Triller’s parent company. Peloton is creating a series of Verzuz-branded workouts (‘classes’) based on Verzuz events. Each will feature the music of two artists, starting with Brandy vs Monica yesterday (29 March), with exercisers encouraged to pick a side to support by adding the relevant hashtag to their profile.
Spotify, meanwhile, has enlisted some fitness instructors and brands to create new playlists for its Workout Hub. Its listeners can now work out to playlists like ‘Home Workout HIITS with Sworkit’, ‘Samantha Jade Radio’, ‘Elevate Your Vibration with Melissa Wood Health’, and ‘Zumba Beats’. They sit alongside Spotify’s existing suite of fitness playlists, and some celebrity mixes from the likes of The Rock and Michelle Obama.
It’s perhaps no surprise to see Spotify looking for more external curators: as Chartmetric’s Chaz Jenkins explained at an event we co-ran with the BPI last year, “gymfluencers” have been one of the few groups of third-party playlisters who’ve managed to build significant audiences on Spotify. Meanwhile, a number of brands in the fitness space have launched playlists on streaming services.
Small news, as we said, but a bigger picture. Our industry talks a lot about streaming services (often personified as Spotify) needing to raise their prices. The ‘it’s well overdue’ argument is fine, but realistically limited to a dollar or two in extra revenue. So, what if fitness offers another path for streaming services to offer ‘premium-plus’ subscriptions, increasing both their revenues and the royalties they pay to music rightsholders?
You can see this model emerging with Apple One Premier, the $29.95 monthly subscription that includes both Apple Music and Apple Fitness+. But with Spotify having already dabbled in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts in its Spotify Pumped promotion, is it really such a stretch (lateral, quadriceps or calf) to imagine the company not just providing playlists for workouts, but the workouts themselves too – complete with video and instructors – as an in-app feature for which a premium could be charged?
As an industry, we understand that Peloton is a music streaming service as well as being a fitness service, so the idea of a DSP expanding into fitness isn’t absurd. But even if Spotify opts against an ambitious move (from ‘audio first’ to ‘cardio burst’ strategy!) there are clearly plenty more partnerships to be struck between these two industries.
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