Mega-platforms like Spotify and Amazon Music tend to dominate music industry headlines. But Tuned Global is quietly helping the fitness industry deliver customized streaming music experiences for classes — while avoiding the potential pitfalls of today’s complex licensing landscape.
If you’ve never heard of Tuned Global, then their behind-the-scenes model is working. Since 2011, Tuned Global has developed customized streaming services for major labels, global corporate brands, and world-renowned superstars including Warner Music artist Ed Sheeran, all the while working in the background. Aside from crafting customized music streaming platforms, the company also guides clients through the complex licensing landscape. The model aims to fill the gap for major brands, telcos, streaming companies, or even startups, all of whom need serious music solutions but lack the expertise and resources to make it happen.
Now, Tuned Global is supporting fitness tech, a fast-growing market spanning everything from smart watches to interactive workouts and everything in between. The fitness industry’s pre-coronavirus gains have multiplied as millions of fitness and wellness businesses work to bring the health club into the home. Heading into a locked-down 2020, one study estimated that the health club industry alone generated $96.7 billion in global revenues.
To be sure, Bowflex owner Nautilus has seen its per-share stock price jump from less than $2 to well over $20. Peloton, for its part, has achieved record earnings and several all-time-high stock prices on the year, including a boost from under $30 per share in January 2020 to well over $150 per share in January 2021. The value of the fitness-tech industry itself has exceeded $26 billion, according to one recent estimate.
But a few obstacles have accompanied the fitness sphere’s 2020 gains, especially on the music-licensing front. Peloton incurred over $60 million in legal fees before creating a tailored agreement based upon direct licensing deals. The multimillion-dollar setback would have proven devastating for less-established companies, and some observers acknowledged that the missteps may well have stemmed from genuine oversights on Peloton’s end.
For most fitness-oriented companies, the options for building serious music solutions are fraught with problems. That includes clunky Spotify tie-ins and half-baked Facebook Live classes, none of which work seamlessly or reliably for serious workouts from both a technology and licensing point of view. These bigger platforms are geared towards mass audiences, not customizable solutions for businesses.
Nevertheless, the continually growing market opportunities associated with connected fitness equipment, gym software-as-a-service (SaaS), online fitness classes, and wearables create ample incentive for new brands to enter the scene. It also spurs existing players to bolster their offerings with music-streaming solutions and strategic partnerships.
Having put its aforementioned licensing woes behind it, Peloton recently unveiled a unique agreement with Beyoncé, for instance.
Now, drawing from a deep understanding of digital-platform infrastructure and the nuanced licensing space, Tuned Global – which has offices in the United States and the United Kingdom, in addition to Australia – is offering brand-specific music management and streaming solutions for mainstays of the fitness business.
Last year, Oslo-based ACX Music tapped Tuned Global to build UFC Ultimate Sound, a full-service streaming platform that facilitates brand interaction (particularly during workouts) and enables leading UFC athletes to share music-driven experiences with fans.
More recently, Tuned Global inked a deal with Psycle London, a boutique fitness brand with more than 70 active instructors. Those instructors can now access a playlist app filled with pre-cleared commercial tracks, a critical component to Psycle’s interactive on-demand and live-streamed video classes. Perhaps more critically, Tuned Global is handling all of the backend licensing, reporting, and administration chores with labels, publishers, and PROs, while enabling the integration of future catalogs ahead.
“These features were key to offering a great and integrated music and fitness experience to our members,” said David Watt, Psycle London CEO.
With the ability to deliver a fast-to-market music resource through either a brand-new mobile app or direct API integration into a current system, Tuned Global also helps exercise-industry clients equip their products and platforms with hundreds of fitness-centered tracks, including works curated for spinning, cardio, and yoga classes, ready to go with cleared licensing, publishing and PROs.
Tuned Global’s mobile app and API-integration options underscore the idea that all music and fitness projects are different. That means enabling new and existing fitness platforms to create and distribute their video content with a licensed catalog of commercial music.
Between supplying content and rights management and advising on overarching agreements to avoid costly setbacks like those Peloton previously faced, there’s something to be said for the peace of mind that derives from trusted experts’ guidance. Part of this is also giving the ability to these fitness companies and their instructors to be able to curate their own playlists for their digital classes, with tracks that are licensed and properly reported back to labels, publishers, and PROs.
Likewise, promptly crafted apps and API integration choices, customized to fit the needs of clients and their members or users, are essential. Whether for exercise classes, fitness functionality, or other cutting-edge workout assets, music-related resources must be fully operational and user-friendly out of the gate, relative to the high bar set by user demands. In order to meet these industry expectations, Tuned Global has expanded its features to include live streaming, BPM and tempo-based matching, and options like customizable crossfade.
The focus on fitness could easily shift the trajectories of two industries. While immediately beneficial for fitness-technology brands, the music industry, and fans alike, the quick-evolving union between digital workout experiences and song appears poised to spur especially impressive numbers moving forward. Exercisers are continuing to trade their gym passes for the convenience of connected equipment and the in-home digital fitness experience, and that means embedded music is set to enjoy more impressions and more listens. Current figures are encouraging, and all signs indicate that even bigger things – and potentially game-changing results – are forthcoming.