Feed.fm Reveals Top 5 Fitness Music Trends and Tips for 2022

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The provider of rights-cleared music to the world's leading fitness brands, Feed.fm, releases its top five trends, tips and takeaways pulled from 550M songs served to 6M unique users in 2021 to help focus your fitness efforts in 2022.

Feed.fm's expert music curation team has packaged their findings to help you fine tune your music strategy for 2022.

"As music curators, we’ll be thinking deeply and carefully about fitness music and invite you to apply some of these pointers in your own business,” says Feed Media Group senior curator and writer, Eric Stensvaag.

As a new year begins, many of us are still striving towards a renewed sense of normalcy, particularly in our exercise routines. To help achieve this, Feed.fm, which powers music for the world’s leading fitness brands - including Mirror, Nautilus, FightCamp, Class Pass, and Tonal - has compiled its findings. They served up 550 million songs to 6 million unique users over the past year and identified five unique fitness music trends and tips that will prepare us for 2022.

“Come January 1st, we are hoping life will continue stabilizing,” says Feed Media Group senior curator and writer, Eric Stensvaag. “We and many others will continue making time for workouts that anchor us in our bodies and our breath. As music curators, we’ll be thinking deeply and carefully about fitness music and invite you to apply some of these pointers in your own business.”

Feed.fm reports seeing a continued increase in usage over the past year, which provides a valuable glimpse of what to expect this year. With entertainment options still restricted and high-quality workout programs available at the click of a button, fitness will continue to provide an unbeatable value proposition. While it’s been amazing to see the variety of programs people have used to stay productive and healthy throughout 2021, unsurprisingly, says the team at Feed.fm, music has been the common denominator, especially considering that 93% of people say that music makes or breaks a workout, and the right song at the right time is proven to help your mood and performance.

Regardless of whether you’re building out music for an app, site or studio, here are five areas to focus your fitness efforts in 2022:

(1.) Familiarity is Key

As fitness curators, the team at Feed.fm tends to focus mostly on songs people know and love, sprinkling in a smaller amount of lesser-known tracks. Part of the fun is seeing which of the latter are most liked, but they always expect the majority of best-performing songs to be upbeat hits with “four-on-the-floor,” consistent rhythm. A half-million fitness users can’t be wrong. Here are takeaways from our Top Workout Songs of 2021:

  • Pop is on top. Most people want uptempo, feel-good pop - songs they’ve heard for a while but not so long they are stale.
  • Hits from the past few years work great in fitness stations. For example, the increased familiarity of Miley Cyrus’ biggest 2020 hit gave it an edge over her latest single.
  • Female artists inspire strong workouts. With the sole exception of “Hot Girl Bummer,” all of these songs are powered by women including Cyrus, Dua Lipa, and Carly Rae Jepsen.

(2.) Pop is Perking Up

Feed.fm originally reported on this welcome trend in December 2020, and the trend has continued over the past year and likely will this year. It’s been exciting to pick from an energetic crop of current hits to keep our music stations fresh. Check out the infographic for some of the favorite new fitness songs, a mixture of uptempo pop and mellower jams (ie: “Beautiful Feelings,” or “Spaceman”) that people couldn’t get enough of.

(3.) Trap is Everywhere

While it originated with 1990s Southern hip hop, slowly growing to dominate today’s hip hop charts, the synth drum/triple flow stylings of trap music has fully crossed outside its original genre to encompass many others. Trap is often heard simultaneously as a slow groove and a double-time faster groove. It’s a fascinating rhythmic structure, but curating with trap poses unique challenges to consider, including:

  • Determining the bpm (beats per minute) for trap songs is so subjective that one curator may hear 72 bpm while another prefers 144 bpm. Because of this, we recommend going with one’s gut, picking higher intensity trap songs for fitness. (If you’re stumped, focus on the relative loudness of a song or the speed of a vocalist’s delivery.)
  • Trap-influenced music usually pairs best with asynchronous activity like strength training versus running or cycling where the music’s tempo is synchronized.

(4.) Chilling Out is In

The past year also saw an uptick in yoga and stretching workouts for decompressing from pandemic-induced and everyday stresses. There’s an abundance of research demonstrating the physiological benefits of listening to relaxing, therapeutic music, and Feed.fm’s curation team spends much of their time developing music stations that pair well with various yoga styles. Here are a few Yoga music tips:

  • This is a fitness modality where well-known artists and songs are not needed. With the exception of some downtempo, more acoustic pop, consider steering clear of the charts.
  • Instead, focus on slower-paced, mostly instrumental music with soothing tones.
  • There’s ample room for creative curation, but most people don’t want music that’s too busy (lyrically, rhythmically, or in terms of sonic density) during their time on the mat.

(5.) People Want Choices

Many of Feed.fm’s fitness partners give users a choice of music in addition to the choice of workout. This often takes the form of various music stations (Pop, Hip Hop, Throwback, etc.) that a user directly selects. But even in instances like these, one person’s hip hop jam is another person’s nonstarter.

  • It’s important that you survey fitness users periodically about their musical preferences. Learning that most of them love Lizzo but dislike Justin Bieber might translate directly to higher retention and usage. If you’re able to incorporate a feedback mechanism into the music interface, you might realize that users love Lizzo during high-intensity cardio, but prefer some of Justin Bieber’s mellow songs during vinyasa.
  • The most common way to do this is by offering exercisers an option to skip songs mid-workout. Feed.fm makes it easy with their pre-built music player that integrates with minimal coding. The result is a customizable player with flexible playback and skip features.
  • For Feed.fm’s curation team, evaluating monthly skip rates is essential for them to optimize and refine music stations. They regularly add and remove songs, often replacing big hits that we know and love when the data proves that they don’t pair well with fitness.

If you are a digital fitness company interested in adding popular music to your dynamic workouts, Feed.fm would love to hear from you.

About: Feed Media Group is for businesses that need licensed popular music to create the most engaging customer experiences in their digital apps and physical spaces. Unlike navigating complex, time consuming negotiations with music labels and publishers, Feed Media Group’s proprietary streaming platform and SDKs deliver pre-cleared music—compiled by the industry’s best curators— complete with user analytics, payments to rightsholders, and legal indemnification for our customers. Feed.fm powers music for the world’s leading brands including The Beachbody Company, American Eagle Outfitters, Mayo Clinic, Mirror, Nautilus and Tonal; and up-and-coming startups use Adaptr to create unique music-based experiences.

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Jamie Diamond
J. Diamond PR & Associates