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Sounds of Fitness

“Fitness companies are increasingly getting into the music business,” reports Katherine Rosman in The Wall Street Journal (2/5/13). “We are a fitness company, but we’re a music company too,” says Alberto Perlman of Zumba Fitness, “which has developed a globally popular Latin-inspired dance fitness program. The company sold more than one million downloads of its original and specially remixed songs on iTunes, and says 14 million people take at least one Zumba class per week globally.”

Some boutique fitness centers are hiring music producers and DJs to “help orchestrate” a “music strategy” intended to “help generate loyal student followings — and online buzz.” Thanks to this trend, Rob VanWinkle — better known as the 1990s rap artist Vanilla Ice — has enjoyed something of a revival, having remixed his hit record Ice Ice Baby, adding “a Latin flavor and Zumba-friendly tempo.” Rob says that Zumba reaches so many people that it’s “like MTV was back in the day.”

Certain studios post playlists on Facebook and Spotify, while others, such as SoulCycle, plan to sell “branded playlists” as well as “stream classes on the web for its clients who have purchased their own SoulCycle indoor bikes, which retail for $2,200.” Others are offering live music during classes. Not everyone likes the music, though, with some complaining that yoga, for instance “was never intended to have any soundtrack … beyond one’s own measured breath.” For those who prefer relative quiet, SoulCycle offers “ear plugs, free of charge.”