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Beginning in March of 2020, millions of people around the world have been staying at home to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this prolonged period, not only online exercise classes became a go-to, but the need for calmness and reducing stress in general has increased significantly.
In the face of what we’ve started to call this “new normal,” wellness apps have increased in popularity tremendously. And music actually plays a pretty important part of why these apps are so effective.
In recent years, the stress reducing effect of music has been scientifically proven. This academic study shows that music has the same effect as medication when it comes to reducing stress. Many of the most popular wellness apps on the digital market utilize music for their lessons, exercises, and other activities.
And this is great news for musicians, because it means that there is demand for different kinds music to be commissioned, licensed, and used in advertising. So, in this post, I would like to explore four ways yoga and wellness apps can provide opportunities for musicians.
If you’re interested in actually working towards getting your music licensed, you might benefit greatly from a four-week coaching session with a pro like Rafael Torres — a Soundfly Mentor who’s ready to get you better acquainted with the industry, give your music expert feedback, and offer you learning prompts to get you closer to your goals.
1. Release Original Music on the Apps
In the streaming age, finding ways to use music beyond the traditional listening experience can be very rewarding. Streaming apps are already accommodating artists who want to integrate their music with our daily activities (reading, running, working, sleeping, etc).
In this way, health and wellness apps can be a wonderful new medium to release some music that fits that mood. Spotify announced that 40% of its users utilize music and audio for managing stress these days, alongside a big boost in streaming chill music since this pandemic started according to this article.
Calm is a meditation and sleep app primarily, and they have worked with Moby, Kygo, Ellie Goulding, Sigur Ros, Sam Smith, and Keith Urban. In fact, Moby and Sigur Ros both went so far as to release complete albums on the app. Similarly, Headspace has just appointed John Legend as their “Chief Music Officer” to create original new content.
These are early efforts to bring in musicians to direct corporate musical projects, and it looks like this practice isn’t going away anytime soon. But not every tech company can afford giant stars like John Legend or Keith Urban, so indie artists like yourself might want to start sending proposals out to different apps and platforms you come across.
+ Read more on Flypaper: “9 Music Collaboration Apps We’re Digging Right Now”
2. Curate Playlists for the Apps
There are many wonderful “Focus” playlists out there to help people focus for work or studying, and entire YouTube channels dedicated to collecting songs in this realm as well. “Focus” can mean very different things for different people, so there are playlists compiling everything from minimalist piano to lo-fi hip-hop beats, and classical music.
And what does that mean? Opportunity.
Why let random YouTubers and Spotify playlisters curate music to help people focus? Go ahead and create these playlists yourself! Add your own music, some of your friends’ music, and remember to cater to very specific user activities, like yoga, fitness routines, meditation, sleep, focus, etc.
If your fans actually end up using these playlists, it’ll enhance your ability to serve the community you’ve created, beyond the traditional music release format. In this sense, there is something really special in an artist sharing the essence of their songs to help someone’s healing experience. I think that’s about as real a connection can get when it comes to establishing relationships between artist and fan.
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3. Perform in Virtual Classes
Before in-person classes were almost completely cancelled, one of my favorite gigs as a guitarist was playing live music in yoga classes. Yup, it’s true — I did that and it was a ton of fun.
While most classes have gone virtual nowadays, it is still possible to play or record music for fitness classes.
Performing live in a wellness or fitness class is truly a great learning experience for any musician — it is a completely unique performance setting compared to that of a live concert. You are really creating an environment in the space that the class is operating within, and that experience can be very powerful, whether it’s cycling or yoga.
Plus, this is all happening in real time, so you can monitor the results instantly. It’s truly a magnificent experience, and also a nice way to create some extra revenue!
4. Think About Future Partnerships
Beyond music, there are many other ways artists can establish relationships with wellness and health apps.
A few years ago Beyoncé created her own nutrition line and integrated this project into her artist brand. By creating this brand, she helped to associate herself with “healthy living” in general, which might not initially make sense musically, but it does make sense from an investment perspective.
She invested in the marketing potential of her future projects, and opened up optical avenues that weren’t necessarily there before. By associating herself with a healthy lifestyle, she’s also helping her fans to achieve their health goals. Not only did she position herself with a positive message, but she created an interaction point with her fans that goes beyond song lyrics and beats.
Obviously independent artists can’t expect to scale up to the level of Queen Bey, but there are important lessons from what she did that could be applicable on a smaller scale. Think about associating yourself with a lifestyle or cause, and by doing so, you will not only give fans a new context to connect with your music, but a new potential class of merchandise!
I think that there are wonderful opportunities for musicians in the health and wellness area, and these are only going to grow as the future approaches. For me, the biggest takeaway has been to think more deeply about my own song catalog and reflect on how this music can be used to accompany someone else’s experiences.
Of course, you can create new and original content for wellness or fitness routines, but also think about what you already have, because you could already be sitting on a goldmine! Always look for opportunities to network, keep an open mind, and be open to different partnerships as the demand for music in the health and wellness space increases in the future.
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