What You Need to Know About CrossFit Music

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What music are some of the top CrossFit athletes listening to while they work out? 

Thanks to the Reebok CrossFit Games Website, we got a little taste:

Heather Bergeron: Macklemore, Missy Elliot, Britney Spears and more

Chris Spealler: Young MC or MGMT

Lindy Wall: Kid Cudi, Eminem, Lil Wayne

Dan Bailey: Lecrae, Tedashii, Red

Lucas Parker: Zac Brown Band, Shania Twain, DMX

Stacie Tovar: Childish Gambino, A$AP Ferg, J.Cole

Adrian Bozman: Eagle Twin, Pentagram, Blue Cheer

Julie Foucher: Avicii, Zedd, David Guetta

Christy Adkins: John Cena, Beyonce, Dropkick Murphys

This eclectic list of artists should tell you one thing. Music tastes are wildly different for everyone. From country to rap, electronic to heavy metal, these athletes all desire something different from a crossfit playlist.  Whether you are listening to music to pump you up pre-workout, get you through that final set or set a new PR, different music has the power to affect people in very different ways. 

As exhibited above, CrossFit Gyms and instructors have the difficult task of finding the right playlist to please the athletes in their gym. With a lack of time, and so many other things to worry about, how do you devote time to thinking about your music?

Most Crossfit Gyms approach music in the following way: the coach on that day will plug in their ipod/phone and press play on a Pandora station (usually a personal account). Until someone complains about the music and is allowed to switch, it will usually stay on the same station, cycling through similar songs. While this may seem like a small annoyance, CrossFit Gyms usually have athletes coming very consistently for multiple hours every time they show up. If they are listening to the same thing all the time and don't like it, you bet they will speak up! As most gym owners will tell you, most people complain about 2 things: the temperature and the music. Here's how and why you should pay more attention to the music playing in your gym.

Ambience: If you can imagine walking into a gym and having there be no music playing in the background, we can assure you, it feels strange. Most of your athletes will appreciate music in between sets or while they are warming up. 


Motivation: Music is a motivator. Music is linked to memory and can have a profound affect on your feelings about specific experiences. For example, a specific song might remind them of a competition where they didn't do their best and this memory could push them harder. 


Licensing: Often overlooked when opening a gym, music licensing for crossfit gyms is definitely something to pay attention to. Without the proper licensing, you run the risk of getting charged by ASCAP, SESAC and BMI, the main performance rights organizations that require yearly dues from businesses playing music to a public audience. Gyms can either pay all three of organizations directly, or use a music solution, like Rockbot, that pays licensing on behalf of the business. One thing to note when you are looking at music for business services, is to make sure they cover licensing for businesses that charge a membership fee (i.e. gyms).


So, how can you make the music at your CrossFit gym better for all members?

Let them have a say: There's no better way to make everyone happy then to let them contribute to the playlist. 

Rockbot Pro Tip: If you're using Rockbot's music solution. Have the admin on your account create a collaborative Spotify playlist that your members can add songs to. When done, upload that Spotify playlist into your account via the music tab, and schedule the playlist to play on specific days or all the time. 

Note: If you have certain restrictions set up on your account (i.e. no explicit language, etc.) songs that meet the restriction criteria will not be eligible for play.

Need help kick starting your gym music playlist? Check out one of Rockbot's playlists for gyms below.

Get Your Free gym playlist sample