Music—whether it’s the song in a commercial or the background noise in a store—is capable of increasing customer engagement. For the past few years, Feed.fm has worked with businesses to provide curated soundtracks for exactly this purpose, allowing owners to reap the benefits of music marketing without the headache of music licensing.
After working with companies like Fitbit (FIT), American Eagle (PACV), and the Golden State Warriors, Feed.fm is narrowing in on the mobile health industry with its new subsidiary, Health.fm. Almost every American has a smartphone in their pocket, and entrepreneurs have been looking at how this fact can be used to improve quality of life; this has made the mobile health industry into a massive market, raking in $23 billion last year alone, according to SNS Research.
“Music really drives behavioral change. It helps people work out longer, work out more often,” Lauren Pufpaf, Chief Marketing Officer of Feed.fm, told Fortune.
Feed.fm already has experience with fitness, providing motivational music with an intensity and beat matching the workout, but its new subsidiary aims to touch all aspects of the health industry: fitness, meditation, recovery, and so on.
With Health.fm, “it’s much more about the science behind how a particular song, for example, can work with your body to drive the physiological change that you want,” she said. “It’s less about motivation and much more about leveraging existing neuroscience on what types of songs have impact on the brain.”
Although their playlists are partially curated by algorithms, Feed.fm and Health.fm have a human ethnomusicologist on board who gets the final say. Every collection is tailored to the business’s needs; if your app is focused on meditation or yoga, Health.fm says it can provide music intended to slow the user’s heart rate and calm their mind.
The benefit is more than just an improved user experience: Pufpaf said the company is able to increase user retention rates twofold within 90 days.
Part of this is enticing users back into the app with new music content. This can be done through push notifications: remind the user to take their medicine with the usual notification, but tack on the added perk of a new playlist as well, and they’ll be more likely to stay.
The other part, according to Pufpaf, is helping users reach their health and fitness goals. Feed.fm and Health.fm have found that encouraging people to get up and exercise for three songs, for example, is more effective then having them work out for a set amount of time, watching the clock tick down. And if they’re more likely to exercise, they’re more likely to reach their objective.
Health.fm also integrates the music directly into the app experience, so users don’t have to go to a third-party like Spotify or Pandora to pick their tunes. Asking them to do so can actually decrease user retention, said Pufpaf. The company has done testing where partners ask users to do the same exact workout, with one group required to pick their own music and the other group provided music to match the regime. The test found the former group was more likely to drop off before completing the workout, meaning they’re not likely to reach their goals.
“Helping people actually hit goals is the number one thing for making an experience ‘sticky,’ and we’ve got a lot of data that proves that that works,” she said.
This also has a lot of benefits for the healthcare industry as a whole. With more people reaching their health goals, fewer will be experiencing complications. Studies have shown music can reduce anxiety, aid in stroke recovery, boost your immune system, and more.
“The end goal is really partnering with corporate wellness and obviously the insurers who are investing big money in prevention,” said Pufpaf.
Right now, Health.fm is piloting launches with a handful of programs, some of which plan to use existing platforms like the Apple Watch to aid patient recovery. Hello Heart, for example, uses individuals’ mobiles to promote heart-healthy practices. MedRhythms, another partner, aims to help patients learn to walk again after suffering neurological damage. Health.fm is not fully implemented in these programs just yet, said Pufpaf, but will have progress data by the end of the year.
In the meantime, she said the Feed.fm team is excited to grow their subsidiary, using their passion for music to pursue the idea that it can improve lives.
“I think, for me,” added Pufpaf, “the ability to bring together personal passion, actually driving real value for businesses, and bringing together a team of people that is also really passionate about music, it’s kind of the perfect world.”