The Story of MotionTraxx: A love of fitness & music turned into a successful online business

Do you listen to music when you exercise? Fast music for running, mellow music for Pilates or yoga? Deekron Krikorian, aka The Fitness DJ creates workout music for lots of fitness activities, with beats per minute (BPMs) matched to your level of intensity.

 

‘The music is produced with an exclusive production technique called Action SyncTM, which aims to ‘help you get fitter, faster, even if you hate to exercise.’  Deekron has received hundreds of testimonials from people around the world raving about the difference Motion Traxx has made for their running and their workouts.

 

Motion Traxx is available as free, downloadable podcasts or via the Motion Traxx iPhone and Android apps.  It’s an easy way to get workout music to take to the gym, but also — as I discovered in my recent interview with Deekron — a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers with branded musical content.

 

JS:  How did you come up with the idea for Motion Traxx? What were you doing prior to launching the company?

 

DK:  I was always passionate about music and exercise. In 2001, I was a consultant with Accenture and decided I wanted to play more of a role in music industry. My brother was DJ and producer. We started a record label: Gotham Grooves. At first I was managing the business side of things, and then I began to DJ myself. I found I really enjoyed working on something I was passionate about.

 

Inspired by brother’s workout mixes, I started talking to group fitness instructors in 2007 – with the idea that I’d produce a music CD for group fitness classes like Kickboxing, Spinning, Pilates, etc. They were always looking for new music to play in their classes and liked to listen to influencers. So I started another record label called RockitWave8, which produced music on CD for group fitness classes.

 

After some time, I heard that there were music podcasts tailored to individual workouts / consumer audiences and that gave me the inspiration to launch Motion Traxx. I knew I wanted to branch out to consumers and saw the most immediate opportunity with runners. They need fast-paced music, and it’s usually hard to find.

 

The concept of Motion Traxx is a hosted podcast with beats per minute (BPMs) tied to exercise goals. For example, if you set out to do a tempo run, we’d start out with slower music for the warm-up, then speed up cueing you to run faster, then we’d introduce slower music again for the cool-down.

 

We launched in January 2009. I was still doing marketing part-time for an IT company, but soon landed a year-long contract with a music distributor. Thanks to a partnership with Fitness Magazine, by March 2009 we had picked up 30,000 new members. By summer, we had over 1 million downloads. My consulting contract ended and I was able to focus on Motion Traxx full-time. (Today Motion Traxx has over 10 million downloads.)

 

JS:  What’s the business model and how has it evolved since you started?

 

DK:  Our primary source of revenue is advertising. We started reaching out to sponsors in March 2010. It took a bit longer than we expected because we were selling a new format in a bleak economic market. Most companies were inclined to just stick with what worked in the past. Marketers and ad agencies kept asking: “What’s the CPM? How many impressions do we get?” And we were like: “We’re a podcast.” “Oh OK, what’s that?”

 

PowerBar signed up in January 2011 to do a custom running mix. Motion Traxx is very relevant for the sports nutrition companies because it reaches exercisers while they’re exercising. We can talk about the importance of fueling before, during and after a workout to aid stamina and recovery and suggest the appropriate products. Every mix has pre-roll and post-roll ‘host’ audio segments where we can announce our client’s products. We integrate the brand message in those audio spots, on the album cover (e.g. the visual you see on your device) and our web site.

 

We’ve done custom content production for brands like Clif Bar, Secret and Gatorade. Workout music mixes offer an out-of-the-box way to promote the brand message in a way that is credible and valuable to target audiences. For example, for Secret, we did a custom mix as free giveaway to help launch their new Outlast deodorant.  The workout mixes were called ‘Outlast Traxx’ which got lots of social shares and over 10,000 sign-ups to download the mix.

 

In addition to sponsorship opportunities, we started selling premium mixes as albums on iTunes. This idea evolved as we branched out to other sports and met many of the top fitness instructors. They had avid followings and were always looking for new music for their classes. We decided to produce an album with Gregg Cook, a leading indoor cycling instructor at Equinox. The album is called ‘Spin Coach’ and just as in an actual Spin class, Gregg coached the workout over music designed to support intensity levels.  It’s literally like taking a cycling class, but with just your iPod!

 

It was a hit! We ended up selling several thousand copies. Coached albums are both challenging and expensive to produce but we reasoned that it was worth it so long as subscribers were willing to pay for them. Since then, we’ve done more albums with Gregg, plus others for treadmill, elliptical and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. (JS: I’ve used the Gregg Cook and Rachel Buschert mixes while riding my trainer. It makes staring at the garage door at 6 AM more bearable and ensures a good workout!)

 

JS:  What are some major milestones or partnerships that were critical to Motion Traxx’s early success?

 

DK:  Our relationship with Fitness Magazine has been invaluable. I was introduced to them by a friend in PR while I was doing RockitWave8. They were getting ready to host a half marathon in Central Park and asked if we could do a special Half Marathon training music podcast for them. From there, our engagement grew to several other playlists. Every quarter we’d do a challenge. For example, interval workouts or speed work. Each challenge included a free podcast download at MotionTraxx.com.  From there, we produced a full, 2.5 hour-long non-stop running music mix that is ideal for Half Marathon training.

 

JS:  Are you pleased with the way things are working out? What does the future hold?

 

DK:  Yes, I would say overall I’m pleased. Things could always be bigger or more stable. We’re trying to diversify our service offering so we’re not so dependent on our advertisers’ budget cycles.

 

That’s one piece of advice I have for people looking to launch their own business: Keep your expenses as low as possible because it’s hard to predict when the sponsorships will come in. I wanted to prove my business model before I sought out investors, so I took the bootstrap route. It takes a lot of sales calls, pitches and leads to fuel growth.

 

For the future, we’re working on more coached albums. This will be the Cardio Star Series. We’re in the process of promoting them to 250 publications now.

 

We’re also looking to re-launch more robust versions of our iPhone and Android apps, with music sharing features like on Pandora.

 

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Download free Motion Traxx podcasts

Learn more about advertising on Motion Traxx

 

 

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