Music Business

How to build a music career in fitness

Ever wonder who is in charge of the pump-up music in the background of workout videos? These three representatives from The Beachbody Company, CITYROW, and Aaptiv Division at PEAR Sports talk about their music careers in the fitness industry.

by  Eric “Stens” Stensvaag of FEED.FM

Embarking on a Music Career in Fitness

Feed.fm interviewed representatives from three of our digital fitness partners–The Beachbody Company, CITYROW, and Aaptiv Division at PEAR Sports–to understand “Who’s in charge of music?” These workout music decision-makers have diverse expertise, both music and non-music job responsibilities, and creative sensibilities resulting from unique experiences in music, career trajectories, and connections to fitness and health.

As these vets can attest, there’s no one path to embarking on a music career at a fitness company. The common threads? Proactive adaptability; commitment to keeping trainers and users happy and engaged; high-quality, competitive product; and top-tier music curation, licensing, and tech.

What if your digital fitness company doesn’t have someone in charge of music? No problem. There are many paths to a music career in fitness, and people with a variety of responsibilities have successfully built music strategy and oversight into their jobs.

Jaclyn

Jaclyn Alterwein
Se​nior Manager, Music and Content
THE BEACHBODY COMPANY

Jaclyn joined MYXfitness two years ago, in a music curation role. Her tenure has directly overlapped the pandemic era’s digital fitness gold rush, with the company being acquired by Beachbody. In the midst of this change, Jaclyn has kept her focus steadily on the needs of her company’s trainers. She recently contributed to the launch of Beachbody’s live and on-demand BODi (BOD Interactive)

Jaclyn started her career as a professional dancer and choreographer, for which “your music is your best friend.” This included six years as a Knicks City Dancer (KCD) and behind-the-scenes work with event production companies and artists including Sheryl Crow, Flo Rida, and Cheap Trick. 

After returning to fitness as a dance and strength training instructor, she fell in love with indoor cycling. Jaclyn cites her cycling instructor experience with honing her curation skills, during which time she became renowned for her playlists. While the specific tools used to manage music have become increasingly sophisticated–as KCD Captain she recounts constructing performance playlists on cassette tapes–she shared it all comes down to feeling.

“My job has always been expressing how music makes you feel, and getting the audience to feel the same way.”

In addition to overseeing Beachbody’s music library, Jaclyn’s job is tech intensive, from her formative on-the-job training with MYXfitness to ensuring an optimal music experience across the vast quantity and variety of BODi’s workouts. 

Lauren

Lauren Burbank
Senior Manager of Production & Content
CITYROW

In 2016, Lauren joined CITYROW part-time as an instructor. Two years later, she pioneered a production coordinator role while also balancing the roles of instructing and customer service, “putting it all together.” Eventually, Lauren told the company’s Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer that there was an opportunity for fitness production and content to be a full-time role, resulting in her current position.

As with her own trajectory, Lauren described CITYROW’s growth as very organic. “Being in a startup environment, it’s scrappy, you have to be really smart about where your time is spent, while keeping your ear to the ground on what tech solutions are available.” The company realized early on that they did not have the infrastructure to handle music licensing or app integration, and Feed.fm’s turnkey solution was ideal. 

“The stations that we have picked for classes like HIIT style workouts are updated every month by the Feed.fm curation team. That’s a huge benefit of having them as our partners: it’s wonderful to take some of the work out for our instructors, for our team.” 

Handing-off the music integration and curation to Feed.fm allows Lauren to focus on production, engagement and conversion, and managing CITYROW’s instructors and production teams.

Teff

Stephania (Teff) Martinez
Content Director – Aaptiv Division
PEAR Sports

Teff joined Aaptiv in early-2021. Her music career began in audio engineering with a background in live sound, broadcast, production, and post-production. When she learned about the company’s Content Director position, she felt compelled to apply as it encompassed everything she loves about content creation while allowing her to improve the lives of people through fitness and wellness.

Teff earned her Music Engineering & Technology degree from the University of Miami and honed her craft as a recording studio engineer. Her 3-year tenure with ESPN–which included working with the creative teams to curate music for shows–is where Teff “fully understood the power of choosing the right music for specific types of content and the licensing process that happens behind the scenes.” She next joined Chewy, building their audio department from scratch while reshaping their sonic branding.

Even for someone with Teff’s expertise, Feed.fm has made the major label licensing process “a lot easier by not only offering music that is current and fresh, but also allowing us to expand our in-app offerings, creating an even better experience for the users.” Similar to Jaclyn of Beachbody, Teff works closely with us to identify popular songs that pair most successfully with Aaptiv’s workouts.

“The flexibility that Feed.fm’s music API brings to the table is also a huge selling point…our stations can be quickly changed and customized to reflect holidays and special occasions, making things more interesting for the user while never sacrificing the quality of the music.”

We know the unique pressures of Q4 will soon vie for your attention, but it’s no time to fall behind on your music strategy. As you refine your New Year’s acquisition campaign, considering the needs of your content team and strengthening your music strategy is critical to ensuring you actually retain those valuable customers throughout Q1 and beyond.

“Music is a moat for fitness, both digital and in-studio. Like an all-star instructor, good music will continue to pack classes and boost subscribers” – Anthony Vennare, Fitt Insider

Keep building that moat. It’s proven to directly drive your retention in the New Year.

Time to bring in reinforcements?

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