Exercise to music. Just press play, right?

There are two key factors to consider when playing music in a gym, studio or exercise class: quality and compliance.

When you press play, is the music you’ve chosen going to optimise the experience of your members, whether they are just walking through the door, working out on the gym floor or participating in a group exercise class? And as a gym owner or manager, are you 100% confident that you know where the music has come from? Have you got the right licence to play the music you’ve chosen in your facility?

Undoubtedly music is an integral component of any exercise class and the atmosphere it creates in your health club or gym, so before you press play it’s worth taking some time to think about how music is curated in your club and to ensure you are on the right side of the law when it comes to music licensing.

First up, compliance.

Finding the right music can be a challenge for gym owners and fitness professionals. Not only does the music need to be high-quality, but it also needs to be licensed properly. Music licensing laws apply everywhere that music helps to enhance a product or service and fitness settings are no different: whether that’s in person or online.

It’s easy to work out if you need a music licence or not. Do you play background music in areas such as weight rooms, spas or changing rooms? Do you play music in fitness classes including anything from aerobics and resistance to aqua and pilates where instruction is in person or by video? If you answered ‘yes’ to one or both of these questions, then you need a music licence.

So this goes back to the point raised earlier: are you aware of where the music you are playing comes from? Historically the fitness industry refers to music used in gyms and exercise classes as ‘original artist’, ‘PPL free’ and ‘licence free’ but often doesn’t appreciate what licence is required and often gets caught out when inspected. So here is a simple guide:

For timetabled classes led by an instructor or coach, a ‘bolt on licence’ is required, not to be confused with a ‘core licence’ which only covers background music.

  • Commercially available music (Original Artist) – PPL licence and PRS licence required
  • PPL free music (Cover versions from specific companies) – PRS Licence required
  • Rights included (Music from companies who retain their rights) – No licence required

The associated costs for each licence are as follows:

  • PPL Licence – £2.04 plus VAT per class
  • PRS Licence – £2.02 plus VAT per class

Total cost per class using PPL and PRS – £4.87 (including VAT)

Non-compliance is not an option. At Pure Energy GO we work with PPL and PRS to help educate and support gym owners and fitness professionals to choose the best option for their service. We also specialise in the third option above, which brings us to our second factor: quality.


Music is a powerful tool for any business. The coffee at your favourite cafe tastes better because of the atmosphere created by the background music. The best film trailers get you counting down the days to its release because they hook you in with incredible soundtracks. Whether it’s coffee, films or fitness classes, the product is improved with the right choice of music.

Countless studies and journals have researched and documented the benefits of exercising to music, but you double down on these benefits when you find the right music.

Well-produced music that is tailored to specific exercise disciplines can significantly enhance the workout experience for participants, whether that is music with the right frequencies for a Yoga session or a track with the right tone, key and intensity to power you up a hill climb in a Studio Cycling class. Using professionally curated mixed programmes in the gym can motivate members, create a sense of energy and excitement, and make workouts more enjoyable and less monotonous. Additionally, coaches are in gyms to coach and not to DJ, and quite often, they may play inappropriate music for a particular exercise session.

Pure Energy GO is a fitness music company providing gym operators and fitness professionals with a music service that removes the complication and costs of music licensing and optimises member experience through curated music programmes aligned to exercise disciplines and fitness activities. Our team of fitness professionals and music producers collaborate and explore the science behind making music for exercise so when you do press play on our industry leading app you can be assured that you are 100% compliant, you are playing music produced and curated for exercise and as a bonus taking the significant cost of playing music from your bottom line.

Music is so integral to exercise and in creating the perfect member experience at your club, so it’s worth taking time to curate your musical output as much as it is your class timetable so you can press play with confidence and enhance your member experience.

Andy Pickles


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