Is the social audio trend calling you? Hype-song or hype-voice? No one can deny that sudden burst of energy one feels when you hear your favorite song come through your earbuds while working out. You may even experience the frantic do-or-die movement to pop those shoulders back into place. It’s that moment when your ballet instructor yells, “Shoulders down!” in class. It’s an audio cue like no other, right? The social audio app craze exploded with apps like Clubhouse to Twitter Spaces, to Facebook Rooms, and Mark Cuban podcast hybrid*, Fireside. These apps are giving way to an audio experience that fitness industry giants should be capitalizing on, stat!
BENEFITS OF AN AUDIO-ONLY WORKOUT
Want your space all to yourself during your workout? An audio-only workout via a drop-in social audio app removes the insecurity many feel at in-person gyms. Personal space, check. No competition, check. At home or anywhere workout, check. All you need is to get into a Twitter Spaces space,’ Clubhouse ‘room,’ or Fireside ‘chat.’ While you’re there, you have the benefit of the voice that helps you go from zero to 100. These social audio apps aren’t going anywhere and in-app experiences may be the next social audio trend.
SOCIAL AUDIO TRENDS
Some fitness genres will excel in this format. The workouts that look to excel most are the ones with immediate calls to action. Training that also asks for individuality, (i.e., Zumba, Step Aerobics, Yoga, Boxing, and HIIT Training) may have easy format crossover.
Have you wanted to chat with your instructor after class? The ability for instructors to chat with their students could be accomplished in this format. This is difficult in a gym due to class switchover. Instructors also have limited time before and after classes to build relationships with their core customers. Social audio apps could change the game by giving time for instructors to get to know their students.
CUES ARE KEYS TO SUCCESS
A seasoned step aerobics student doesn’t need the instructor’s visual. Similarly, the core Zumba student doesn’t either. Many of the moves can be freestyle or individualized for personal enjoyment. Instructors can develop a core language that their followers can immediately recognize, identify, and react to.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR AUDIO-ONLY WORKOUTS
Unfortunately, the drawback to an audio-only workout is the unknown parameters surrounding the legality of music streaming via social audio platforms. Firstly, ASCAP and BMI have processes for gyms, dance studios, and radio stations to obtain the appropriate licensing. Secondly, as monetization for Super Follows comes into play both on Clubhouse and Twitter, legal terms may need to be redefined. Accessibility for users who are deaf or hard of hearing may also be a challenge for audio-only training as well. App developers can enhance instructors’ reach. Additionally, they can create programmable vibration technology to deliver instructors’ verbal cues. New social audio app features could increase access to audio-only workouts. Wearable tech to pulse workout cues via in-app setting preferences is an example.
THE FUTURE SOUND OF WORKOUTS
For the foreseeable future, social audio has provided community and connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, lasting relationships forged inside of these social audio apps may increase at-home workouts.