Peloton Sued for Not Licensing Workout Music

There’s no denying that a killer song makes any workout better. Music is an integral part of most workouts — nobody prefers working out in silence. But, at what price? Peloton Interactive, leader of the upscale indoor cycling fad sweeping the nation is finding out that nothing in life is free, especially music. The biggest appeal of Peloton might be their large selection of online video classes that feature fabulous soundtracks. Too bad they (allegedly) aren’t paying for the music.

A few weeks ago, Peloton was hit with a huge lawsuit brought by the National Music Publishers Association, alleging that 1,000’s of songs used throughout their extensive library of workout videos have not been properly licensed. The lawsuit is seeking $150 million in damages, and includes the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Drake, and Bruno Mars. The list of violations even includes older bands such as Meat Loaf, Pat Benatar, Rush, and The Who. (Is it just me or is it slightly ironic to be working up a sweat while listening to Meat Loaf?)

Peloton can certainly afford to pay for the music they use. They’re selling their fitness bikes for over $2,200 and they require a monthly subscription of $39/month for access to the online video classes, either streaming live from studios in NYC or from the Peloton library.

Copyright law is quite clear. Music played live in a gym needs a standard performance license, but Peloton needed to seek synchronization rights to these individual songs — a separate licence that covers music that is combined and synchronized with video content.

What’s curious about the lawsuit is that Peloton did secure the sync licenses from the copyright holders for quite a few other songs used in their classes and videos, so they can’t claim that they didn’t understand the law. While the case is developing, Peloton has pulled down all videos containing songs that aren’t properly licensed.

In a statement, Peloton said, “Peloton has great respect for songwriters and artists. In fact, we have partnered with each of the major music publishers, record labels, and performing rights organizations, and many leading independents. We have also invested heavily to build a best-in-breed reporting and licensing system to support our partners and provide our members with a world-class fitness experience.”

Peloton knows the importance of a great soundtrack. They just rolled out a new feature called “Track Love” that lets users create their own playlist based on music heard in one of their online spin classes. "Music is what moves us. Whether you're powering through an interval on the Bike, charging up a hill on the Tread, or navigating your morning commute, music gives you that extra energy to get to where you're going." Great, as long as you pay for it.

My playlist is getting a little stale. What’s the song that absolutely, positively motivates you through your workout? For me, “Kashmir” when I’m climbing, “Welcome to the Jungle” or “Mr. Brightside” for cadence drills; songs that never fail to make me pick up the pace and push just a little more. Let me know in the comments what song is the one that gets you to pour out just a little more sweat, run a little faster, crank it up to a harder gear, or just enjoy your workout a little more.

Billy's picture

I work out to Andy Williams and Percy Faith, of course, that might explain why I am so chubby.....but very calm.

dommyluc's picture

Here's a few tracks for Petalon:

"Been Caught Stealing" - Jane's Addiction
"Steal Away" - Robbie Dupree
"Little Criminals" - Randy Newman

dommyluc's picture

I meant to write "Peloton".
I must have been thinking of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from "The Simpsons".
I guess I had another "Mel Gibson's Brainfart".

John_Werner's picture

Let's see...the company who figured out how to sell at best a $800 bike (i.e. based on non-Peloton offerings) for $2200 clumsily forgets to completely license the audio component of their sophisticated robbery of buyers and subscribers which garners the attention of a small city of lawyers. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the new $2500 Peloton bike - same as the old $2200 Peloton bike.