For many of us, running is not a joy nor a pleasure but an obligation. We run to stay fit and healthy, and begrudge our way through the whole thing.
But an app from Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen and partner Elomida Visviki hopes to push you to that runner’s high through the art of music.
Weav Run originally launched in the App Store at the beginning of this year, but today the company is announcing initial partnerships with the three major music labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group — to build out their library of adaptive tracks.
Adaptive tracks are songs that automatically change tempo based on the rhythm of your steps during a run, pulling information from the phone’s accelerometer and combining it with Weav’s algorithm. What’s more, these sped-up tracks don’t sound like they’re being sung by The Chipmunks.
Weav’s SDK sits at the end of traditional music production software.
Rasmussen says it’s the “last five percent” of the work that a remix producer might do when they’re building out a dance mix for, say, Adele’s “Hello.” The company calls this “weaving” and it lets the producer pick and choose how the song might change based on its BPM, from 100BPM all the way to 240BPM.
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Spotify tried something similar to this last year, offering the ability to instantly compile a playlist with the proper BPM range based on your pace, as well as original tracks that would automatically adapt to your pace. Rasmussen told us that he believes Spotify’s efforts were a great first step for this type of technology, but that Weav’s technology is taking it to the next level.
When Weav Run originally launched earlier this year, the company hired producers to create adaptive tracks for runners, which aren’t all that bad. But let’s face it — people want to listen to the music they know and love.
Today’s announcement only brings a limited library of songs to the platform as part of a test for both Weav Run and the labels to see the potential for adaptive tracks. Tracks include “It’s Tricky” from Run-D.M.C., “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast, and “Did You Wrong” (feat. MAX) by Sweater Beats, among others.
“Artists and producers want as much reach as possible for their tracks,” said Elomida Visviki. “They also want to be able to monetize these songs in as many ways as possible, and Weav is a great opportunity for both of those things.”
She used “Hello” as an example. As a power ballad, most folks wouldn’t necessarily listen to that song for their morning run or at a dance party, but Weav’s technology makes it possible. And as you imagine the other implementations of Weav’s SDK — fitness of all types, dance, meditation, video games, virtual reality and even sex — it opens the door for these artists to monetize their tracks in new ways.
For now, Weav is focused on user growth and the user experience, and is working on a new interval training feature that would let you follow the beat of the music to know when to slow down/speed up. But, down the road, the company sees the possibility of offering a subscription, as well as an ad-supported free version of the app. Plus, there is an opportunity to charge for the SDK and strike deals with other apps that might use adaptive track technology.