Peloton’s music ambitions go much deeper than motivation

Peloton Grateful Dead Music

Every Sunday evening, I take a look at the upcoming Peloton schedule for the week and map out which classes I plan to take. I prefer live classes, but on-demand at a scheduled time is my second favorite as it gives me that extra push on the leaderboard. While I was looking at the schedule this week, I noticed a 45-minute Grateful Dead ride with Jenn Sherman. I’ve listened to a little Grateful Dead in my life, but I’ve always wanted to dig into the band more, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

I just finished up the ride a few minutes ago, and it was one of the absolute best Peloton experiences I’ve had to date. Was it my best ride? Far from it, but I think it was quickly in my top five on overall experiences. Throughout the ride, Jenn told stories how various ways The Grateful Dead had impacted her life, talked about how she got into them, and how she wished she could have seen them live back in the 1970s. As I listened to her stories (and tried to keep pedaling), I thought about how Peloton has a real opportunity with music. While I love the integration with Apple Music and Spotify, I think there is more they can do in the future.

It’s ironic that I am thinking through Peloton’s role with music as well. Peloton recently named a new Music Chief (Gwen Bethel Riley).

We do a lot of rides around an artist’s catalog or a music theme. Our instructors create narratives around these events. They’re not just doing their 30-minute HIIT workout programmed around Lady Gaga. It’s also a story that happens to be personal to the instructor about the first concert they went to or something fun from a music video that brings the music alive and becomes a narrative for the session. In some cases, like with Billie Eilish, a lot of members might not have had a chance to listen to her catalog before the Grammys. So it’s also a great way to offer our membership an artist experience they wouldn’t have necessarily asked for, but suddenly they’re superfans. That’s what happened with Lizzo. We ran Lizzo quite early, on the cusp of where she totally blew up and we also used her in an advertising campaign. It was really amazing to see that kind of conversion.

What if, in the future, an artist does a live ride with an instructor on Peloton to debut a new single or entire album?

Connected fitness is a relatively new category in general. We’re not a DSP, we are a digital music platform, but this is not a passive listening experience like turning on your Spotify and doing whatever you’re up to. This is really an active engagement where you might be choosing a class because you scanned the playlist and liked it.

The attention that Peloton garners is unlike anything on the market at the moment. Even when people are watching Netflix, they can often be scanning Instagram or online shopping. When people are in front of a laptop, they can easily switch between email, social media, etc. When you are clipped into your Peloton bike, your full attention is on that class, that instructor, and their playlist.

If you think music is just a minor part of Peloton’s future, you aren’t paying attention to what is coming.

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