Massage Music: there’s an app for that!
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. -Bob Marley
I'm always curious what kinds of music other practitioners are playing in their massage rooms. So I asked.
My entirely unscientific Facebook poll taught me that there is no standard. People are using streaming services, iPods and old-school CDs. Our massage rooms are rocking with jazz, pan flutes, chanting, new age, classical, and just about every other genre of music. (Mongolian throat singing, anyone?)
A legal aside here: music you buy for for consumer use, (like when you download an album from iTunes or Amazon) and the bulk of the streaming services like Slacker, Last.fm, Pandora, Songza, Grooveshark, and such do not include public performance licenses for businesses, unless they are specifically bundled as part of a business service from a commercial music services dealer. U.S. copyright laws specify that any music played “outside a normal circle of family and friends” is considered a public performance which requires licensing in most circumstances.
I did a minimal amount of research and learned that the "consumer version of Pandora (including Pandora One) cannot legally be used to play music in a commercial setting, such as retail stores, restaurants or spas." Even just playing the radio in your massage office can violate copyright laws. Also, commercials. Yuck, ammirite?
I love when clients bring in their own music. I've massaged to Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Florence and the Machine, Moshav, and any number of albums I never would have thought appropriate for massage. And it's been great.
I do lots of strict relaxation massage, so music with a slow rhythm (slower than the natural heart beat which is about 72 beats per minute) and a repeating or cyclical pattern, tends to be best for keeping people mellow and chill. But I’m picky. I don’t like water sounds, excessive birds or crickets. I can only handle a certain amount of synthesized stuff (as opposed to acoustic guitar and piano, which I love, but also tire of). Seriously, I’m picky.
But I also get bored. So bored. Last year I realized that my clients were bored, too. I was kinda mortified when one of my week clients noted that he could anticipate which song was coming up next on a classical piano album. Yikes. I may have had that in for months.
Luckily, the timing was perfect. sighTUNES had just launched and the good people here at At Peace Media gave me a subscription to test drive. It’s been about a year, and I don’t use it exclusively, but I use it a lot. There are a handful of things that I really like about sighTUNES. First, and most important to me, all music is "cleared at the source" which means we pay the artists and labels directly. I don’t need to worry about legality or royalties. It’s handled.
I like that each month the music is downloaded onto my device. (The wifi at my office is inconsistent at best, so live streaming isn’t a real option for me.) I like that the app & music take up only 1GB of space so my old iPhone, now functioning as an iTouch can handle the app without a problem. I really like that every month I get 10 hours of new music. So there’s little chance of my clients (or me) getting bored. And I really like that ABMP members get a great discount on a subscription.
In my unofficial Facebook research thread, someone said, “someone needs to create an app”. Well, people. Someone did.
The music mixes are curated by human beings (not by robots or computers). The artists and tracks are chosen with you and your clients in mind. Give it a try and let us know what you think!