Seven years ago, when Simon Sollberger was launching the online health/fitness coaching app Pear Sports, record labels wouldn’t play. It was impossible to license music to accommodate cross-fades between songs, and snippets of tracks that could be jumbled into a workout were out of the question. Says Sollberger, “It was like, ‘Let’s see if you can get an appointment with the labels,’ and the appointment was six months out. The writing on the wall was, ‘It’s going to be a nightmare to get them to agree to this format.’ ”
Then, three years ago, Peloton broke the dam, licensing music for over 13,000 online fitness classes for its exercise bikes — and today, labels and publishers are aggressively seeking new frontiers for licensing beyond TV, movies and advertisements. “The thing that gets me up in the morning is nontraditional categories,” says Bryan Stone, Universal Music’s senior vp digital strategy and business development.
“It has been expanding for years,” notes Primary Wave founder/CEO Larry Mestel, who’s working with Shinola on an upcoming line of Smokey Robinson watches.