Research Reveals: Music Tops the List of Fitness Motivators

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Toronto – New Year’s resolutions like “get in shape” and “hit the gym” regularly top lists, but too often the motivation to stick to them runs out by the Spring. A new Music Drives Fitness study1 by SOCAN and Leger, The Research Intelligence Group, suggests that music could make a huge difference to staying motivated and committed.

The study confirms that Canadians consider music essential to staying motivated and keeping fit. In fact, among the three-quarters (78%) who say having music is just as important as having workout clothes and proper equipment at the gym, a vast majority (68%) consider music just as vital as having comfortable workout shoes. What’s more, half of Millennials said that at the gym they need music as much as they need water.

An impressive 88 per cent of those surveyed also agree that there are clear advantages to listening to music when they exercise and almost 60 per cent credit music for making time pass more quickly when they’re working up a sweat.

“We all know that music can positively affect behaviour and mood,” said Jennifer Brown, Vice President of Licensing at SOCAN, “but the results from SOCAN’s Music Drives Fitness research indicate that music is far more important than even we thought when it comes to physical health, well-being, and even consumer experiences. Playing good music helps people who exercise feel more motivated and comfortable. Using music wisely is smart business for fitness clubs.”

More noteworthy highlights from the SOCAN Music Drives Fitness study include:

  • Music pushes us to the finish line. More than three-quarters (77%) of Canadians said that when they hear music they like in an exercise class, they are likely to enjoy the class more. Eight out of 10 women agree that music pushes them to finish a difficult exercise class at the gym.
  • Please, don’t stop the music. Sixty per cent of respondents prefer continuous music with no commercial or talking interruptions when they work out, suggesting that gyms should offer curated playlists to keep things up-tempo and rolling forward.
  • Playlists are priceless with Millennials. Music directly impacts how customers view their gym. When Millennials especially hear a workout-appropriate curated playlist at the gym, one in three believe the gym is of high quality and one in four think the gym is “trendy” or “cool.”
  • Music works marketing magic! More than half (54%) of those surveyed say that if they hear music they like in an exercise class, they are likely to tell their friends about it, nearly four in ten (38%) believe the gym cares more about their experience, and nearly one-third (31%) feel good knowing that they don’t have to worry about bringing their own music to work out.

Music helps to build the experience for people who attend gyms, but it also rewards the more than 130,000 businesses currently using licensed music to make their business stronger (while they also ethically compensate music creators fairly for their work). Businesses that are Licensed to Play with SOCAN know the value that music adds, especially in fitness clubs across Canada.

GoodLife Fitness, Canada’s leading fitness club with more than 350 locations across the country, recognizes the important role music plays in keeping its exercise classes and overall atmosphere high-energy and motivational.

“During our more than 37 years in business, GoodLife Fitness associates have seen first-hand the important role that music plays in motivating our members to achieve their health and fitness goals,” said David “Patch” Patchell-Evans, Founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness Centres Inc. “GoodLife is proud to work with SOCAN and other organizations that support the music industry because, as this new research reaffirms, music – whether it’s being played in a choreographed class or streaming from a person’s smartphone – has the ability to motivate people to get the most out of their workouts.”

Music is good for the soul, too.

SOCAN’s research also revealed that a dose of music can be just what the doctor ordered to keep moods high while reducing stress, since many Canadians turn to music for mental well-being as well as physical fitness inspiration. Between 40 and 60 per cent of those aged 18 to 65 say they listen to music when feeling sad and want to feel better. For stress relief, 44 per cent will listen to music and nearly half (49%) turn to music first – ahead of their friends – when they want to lift their spirits. The vast majority (91%) of Canadians listen to at least one type of music to de-stress, while about one-third (32%) prefer to listen to rock over pop music (27%) and classical music (22%) when de-stressing.

With so many saying that music is essential to their exercise routine, gym owners would be wise to use music strategically. A strong playlist and a SOCAN license to play music would benefit their customers and keep them coming back.

For a comprehensive summary of the Music Drives Fitness study, please see the report and a creative infographic here.

1 Survey of 1,597 Canadians was completed online. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

SOCAN connects more than four-million music creators worldwide and more than a quarter-million businesses and individuals in Canada. Nearly 150,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers are its direct members, and more than 130,000 organizations are Licensed To Play music across Canada. With a concerted use of progressive technology and a commitment to lead the global transformation of music rights, with wholly-owned companies Audiam and MediaNet, SOCAN is dedicated to upholding the fundamental truths that music has value and music creators and publishers deserve fair compensation for their work.

To speak with someone from SOCAN about the Music Drives Fitness Research Study, or to learn more, please contact:
SOCAN: Amal Yassir, 416-442-3838 ext. 3747,
Environics Communications (for SOCAN): Lorna Freeman, 416-969-2711,