01/24/2014 01:56 pm ET Updated Mar 26, 2014

The Ultimate Music Playlist, According to Science


Evidence to support the most insanely obvious hypothesis.

Music impacts health.

Full disclosure: Although I curated these exact types of playlists for an American-based health care company, Kaiser Permanente, for many years, we never did scientific evidence to support the idea. What we did was use common sense in curating songs based on Beats per Minutes (BPMs) to encourage breathing/meditation (lower BPMs), walking and dancing/running (higher BPMs). We used it everywhere to redefine what consumers and subscribers would expect from a health care company.

And best of all, we showcased emerging artists.

Since then, I can't tell you how many times I have been in meetings with great, smart companies that want to align music and health (either to enhance their consumer offering or reward existing membership/subscribers for healthy behaviors) and the first thing they ask is whether or not there is "evidence" to support the concept.

Now, it seems as though there is an angel in the mix (pun intended).

Spotify worked with their physician partners in the U.K., resourced a study and is currently advocating the cause. Dr. Costas Karageorghis, the Brunel University psychologist who designed the study, has studied music and its impact on physical activities and stated:

When synching your movements to the beat of the music, increase the intensity of your workout by raising the music tempo by one or two BPMs beyond your comfort zone -- this will increase your workrate with the added benefit that the difference in effort will be almost imperceptible.


The result was a scientifically-vetted, popular music-based playlist that was curated to mirror an actual workout (warm up, peak activity, sustain activity and then cool down). Music is subjective in its nature, so this list will inevitably not be interesting to all who listen, but in it's simplest form, this is designed to optimize your workout productivity. I think we can all get behind that idea.

And with the basics covered, maybe now we can start having the real conversation: How to USE music to engage and optimize the brand experience to support integrated, ubiquitous AND healthy behaviors.

I am excited for the future.

(P.S. I love that Spotify took this on. Well played. Now that Beats Music launched, I can't wait to see what they do here, too.)