In January, the royalty rate gyms have to pay for playing music will rise from around $1 per class to $15 a class. Many have responded by purchasing cheaper royalty-free music and cover versions, which saves them money but often makes the tunes on offer less appealing.
Picture by colonnade
At first glance, increasing payments should help musicians earn a decent return from their recordings, and that appears to have been the intention of the PPCA when it introduced the new rules and defended them in a court case. However, it won't necessarily have the desired effect. Musician Deborah Conway highlighted the alternative approach in a recent comment on Twitter:
The music in my gym classes has now become generic Brittany/Kylie/Beyonce soundalikes instead of the real thing; the unintended consequences of the PPCA's dramatic royalty increase to gyms (around 1500%). Was it worth it? I can't imagine there'd be too many gyms happy to buy the real thing when the ersatz is perfectly adequate to step to. A classic case of trying to do good but doing harm instead.
If you're exercising on your own, taking along an MP3 player means you can listen to whatever you like (we've offered some hints on building an exercise playlist before). However, if you're taking a class than you're pretty much stuck with whatever is on offer.
Noticed a sudden shift to generic recordings at your gym? Tell us in the comments.