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SoulCycle is turning its rides into live music concerts

SoulCycle is turning its rides into live music concerts
[Photo: Flickr user Phillip Pessar]

SoulCycle is beefing up its cult-favorite brand by adding a few new unexpected elements, including live music. On Monday, the boutique fitness company announced that its newly formed media division is releasing a new program that further amps the brand’s dedication to music.

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Fans have come to associate SoulCycle with thumping, dance-inducing music, which is often the hallmark of the $34 cycling classes. This has traditionally meant curated high-energy playlists of Top 40 hits peppered with some old-school Britney. Starting this month, however, attendees will experience live concerts in tandem with instructors. A rep confirms that the format will resemble a traditional SoulCycle class in which instructors provide direction and motivation throughout the class, with music mixed in.

The first event will kick off in New York City with electronica duo Louis the Child before expanding to Las Vegas in November and across several U.S. cities in 2019.

Rounding out SoulCycle’s dedication to music, the company will also release in-class concert tracks, playlists, and original audio–i.e, motivational speeches from instructors–on Apple Music. Social media is getting some love too: SoulCycle plans to add new video programming across its social platforms, with an emphasis on Instagram. It will be a mix of instructor takeovers, footage from theme rides, and videos from musical artists. The content is meant to “give audiences a boost off the bike so that whatever they’re moving through, they can find a positivity fix,” reads a press release.

SoulCycle’s hybrid concert bike rides are another example of the fitness industry further committing to experiential events. ClassPass recently announced “Getaways,” daylong wellness experiences in collaboration with spas and gyms across the country. A number of boutique gyms, such as Barre3 or Taryn Toomey’s The Class, offer year-round retreats and seminars (that sell out within days). There are now even entire festivals dedicated to fitness and wellness.

SoulCycle announced its new media division in June in an effort to engage customers beyond the gym’s four walls. The New York-based company hired three media industry veterans–Gregory Gittrich (formerly at Mashable), Laurel Pinson (formerly at Glamour), and Angela Bowers (formerly at Vox). In a press statement, SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan said, “Their combined digital, product, and media experience will allow us to serve our riders in new and unique ways, as well as deliver meaningful and transformative experiences around the globe that complement our studio experience.”

SoulCycle is currently in 15 markets, with 88 studios across the United States and Canada. In the last year the brand announced its expansion into non-cycling pursuits with SoulAnnex, a studio focused on cardio, yoga, and HIIT. It also added to its current SoulCycle offerings with SoulActivate, an on-the-bike class that heavily incorporates high-intensity interval training.

“We say internally that it’s never been about a bike,” Whelan previously told Fast Company. “It’s always been about our rider and creating an experience for them. The bike was just the vessel.”

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