photo via: spiralwellness.com
How many times are you in yoga class, you hear a new song and think, whoa who is this? I love this! I must hear it again! The XX? We rest our case. As it turns out you’re not the only ones scoring on the new (or sometimes old) tuneful finds, music labels love it! And they’re finding out how much yoga teachers do too, which could open the gates to a whole wide world of soundtracking our lives, and our yoga. Meet the new MTV.
Since no one really listens to the radio anymore and MTV is a reality show graveyard, the music industry has been looking for alternative ways for you to contract the incurable earworm. TV shows, commercials and movies (under ‘how to play a song into the ground’ – ie. Florence and the Machine “Dog Days are Over” in Eat, Pray, Love or Lumineers “Ho Hey” in Silver Linings Playbook) have made some headway but where are they really reaching a captive audience? Yoga class! And Zumba of course, and cycling and any other group fitness class touting a hip and cool “rockin’ playlist” and locking you in a room where you’re forced to listen to it. (Note: Music in yoga class has been an ongoing debate. If you’re not a fan, you probably will not enjoy this new reported trend. Our advice: invest in earplugs or Om loudly, very, very loudly.)
The Wall Street Journal is all up in this business:
Fitness entrepreneurs say they are investing hours in training instructors to create compelling playlists that will help generate loyal student followings—and online buzz. Music labels are pitching their emerging talent to instructors and cutting deals with fitness chains. And exercise businesses are trying to cut licensing deals with music companies in order to package and sell workout songs in much the same way that film and television executives do with soundtracks.
So, sure, Zumba – the trendy fitness craze more or less reenacting our teenage Madonna dance parties – is focused all around music. Selling some one million downloads of their special remixes on iTunes is nothing to sniff at. Besides that they could very well be responsible for Vanilla Ice’s comeback comeback (the first one didn’t count) playing a Latin-flavored, upbeat version of “Ice Ice Baby” in class resulting in the sale of over 17,000 copies.
“Zumba reaches so many millions of people, it’s like MTV was back in the day,” Mr. VanWinkle says.
Mr. VanWinkle of course, being a very happy Mr. Vanilla Ice 2013.
So are yoga teachers the new music tastemakers, too? Surely we all know plenty of teachers who spend quality time crafting the perfect playlist for each class. We’ve already seen the power of music in yoga, whether it’s pop or kirtan or karaoke. We have yoga+music festivals like Wanderlust (who, honestly, kinda dropped the ball on this) and musicians who are yogis and vice versa, a la MC Yogi or DJ Drez. (Adam Levine, we’re just waiting for your duet with Krishna Das already, geez. Could you imagine?) Dear lord, yoga playlists are the new MTV. Or at least, VH1.
The article points out the growing concept of live-music yoga classes as part of the ‘yoga and’ wave, like yoga and wine, yoga and chocolate, yoga and skydiving…etc. Also getting popular are the in-class DJs “spinning records” right there next to your mat aka pressing buttons on a latpop aka probably updating their facebook status. Kidding. It’s an art, we get it.
Clearly yoga is different from regular gym and fitness classes, but the line is getting increasingly blurred. Yet, there is still some resistance:
Some yoga purists complain that the practice was never intended to have any soundtrack—however meditative—beyond one’s own measured breath.
(Side note, pet peeve: Yoga Purists. Can we even define what that means anymore?)
In any case, music is an integral part of many peoples’ lives. Sometimes it carries over onto the mat. And if music labels have their way, it will be carried off the mat home with you so you can buy it. Don’t get us wrong, we love music! Just don’t be surprised when those digital jukeboxes park themselves next to the filtered water fountain at your favorite yoga studio. Or better yet, with your mat and towel comes a pair of personal headphones and ‘purchase’ button courtesy of the RIAA. Hey, shouldn’t you get commission for this?