Music Minds: SoulCycle As a Music Curator

Music Minds is a collective I co-founded last year that brings together creative intellectuals in the Boston area to hack problems in the music industry. This month, we all did a ride together at SoulCycle in Boston to consider new ways the fitness industry is helping consumers in the music industry discover and hear new music. See notes below about how Nick, Blaire and I ran the discussion session afterwards at the Harvard Innovation Lab.

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Leading the Music Minds discussion at a hive in the Harvard iLab after we had all finished the ride

Prior to the discussion, I asked the group to read the following 3 articles SoulCycle as Music Curator SoulCycle and Music Discovery | SoulCycle Instructors as DJs.

Music Minds / SoulCycle Discussion  


  • why do people go to the gym?
  • How do they access their music when they go to the gym
  • What do they need when they go to the gym
  • What is the “job to be done” when they go to soulcycle/the gym?


  • Immediate reactions?
  • Why was this experience from other spin and group fitness classes you have experienced?
  • What worked what didn’t?
  • How did their model differ from other fitness experiences
    • How did it cater to the rider’s emotions?
  • What were the memorable moments that stuck with you?
    • How can artist’s capitalize on how attached riders become to certain songs in certain moments?
    • How can you immediate reaction to the song be monetized – is this more valuable to the listener, SoulCycle or the artist?
  • How do you think SoulCycle sources and creates its playlists?

SoulCycle as a venue for breaking artists:

  • Emotional attachment to the song versus sterile playing the song
  • Talk about listening party experience at Interscope
  • If you were an artist and read a tweet that someone heard your song in SoulCylce, what would your reaction be? How can artists use SoulCycle more wisely to break music?
    • Why might a launch party at SoulCycle be a good idea? Why are the labels breaking artists on a bike?
    • What is the importance of context ? Besides working out and partying, are there any other obvious moments when people are listening to music? Why might context augment the value of the song to the listener? How can the artist capitalize on this immediate connection the user has?
    • What are ways artist can engage professionally with SoulCycle? Will Spotify’s idea to have live DJs spin, work well? What needs to happen for it to be a good idea? Financials


  • Why does music augment the fitness experience?
  • What are the different roles music plays in an athlete’s life?
  • How does context play a role in which the music is enjoyed or appreciated?
  • Where are the places people consume music? What jobs are to be done?

Music & Fitness:

  • What are the points of strategic interaction (aka the points at which value is unlocked for both) between the music and fitness industries?
  • How can the user continue to interact with the songs they heard in SoulCycle beyond when the actual class finishes?

Idea Pitch:

  • Examples of other companies engaging fitness and music?
  • How to unlock new forms of value for both the music and fitness industries?
  • Drive towards 3 new biz ideas that engage music and fitness.


Some Ideas that came out of the discussion:

– record release parties in venues that give the users a place to move to the music: aka a bike

– breaking new music in a place where fans are having an amazing time so they positively associate their feelings and emotions with the song and keep playing the song going forward because of nostalgia and excitement

– idea of these venues then becoming record labels

– spotify playlist after soulcycle ride being sent to users after

– artists asking soulcycle to direct users to their music after it is heard in the ride

– remixes being paid out to original songwriters more formally

– live DJ spinning during your class/ at the gym

– a device connected to the bike that allows users in real time to “save” the song they hear in case they want to listen to it again later

– festival that incorporates fitness and music – instead of getting wasted while listening to music, get high on good food and exercise

– a private soulcylce ride where an artist writes and chooses songs for you and you your friends

==> innovation around the experience and how people first experience a piece of music


And finally, the paper that Blaire Lomasky and I co-wrote for a class we were taking called Entrepreneurial Leadership in Creative Industries with Professor Mukti Khaire: