Press Clipping
Live Nation launches a meditation app while 6lack makes Endel soundscapes

Isn’t it ironic (don’t you think?) that music designed to help people relax is also a topic that gets some music industry folk extremely het up?

Sometimes it’s because they see these kinds of functional tracks as less valuable than ‘proper’ music. Sometimes it’s because they suspect streaming services are commissioning mood-music on the cheap and stuffing it into their playlists at the expense of signed artists. And sometimes it’s because they’re worried that AI-made tracks will ultimately take over this category, squeezing out those humans entirely.

Underpinning all this is the knowledge that in our modern, stressful world, there’s a big demand for this kind of music, and thus money to be made from it. Two stories today illustrate the evolution of this corner of the music industry.

First, a curveball. Live Nation has launched an iPhone app called Mindful Nation, which offers music and guided meditations. Having started life as a B2B service, it’s now available for anyone to download for free, although the full service costs $4.99 a month via an in-app subscription.

Artists including Janax Pacha, Mose Musica and Chris IDH are named in the announcement as providing “special sonic beats” for the app’s meditations for the app, which is the work of a startup called Mindful Nation whose main investor is Live Nation boss Michael Rapino. An intriguing expansion.

Today’s other story is from the AI side of relaxation music. It’s the latest artist partnership for AI music startup Endel, following its previous work with the likes of Grimes, James Blake and Plastikman.

This time round the artist is 6lack, who has worked with Endel to turn his latest album ‘Since I Have A Lover’ into two soundscapes that will be released on streaming services as well as through Endel’s own app.

The first, ‘SIHAL (Endel Sleep Soundscape)’ will be released tomorrow (8 July) with the second, ‘SIHAL (Endel Lo-fi Soundscape)’ following on 24 July. As you may have guessed from the titles, the former aims to help people sleep, while the latter is more about studying, working and focusing.

Endel claims an audience of three million monthly listeners across its various platforms, and in recent months has signed deals with both Amazon Music – to create a sleep playlist – and with Universal Music Group.

(Interestingly, Apple Music is also named as a DSP partner alongside Amazon Music in the boiler-plate section of the company’s recent press releases.)

Functional music, and meditation / sleep music specifically, is a fascinating melting pot in 2023. You’ve got traditional labels and musicians; wellness services like Calm and Headspace; DSPs (Deezer has its Zen by Deezer spin-off for example); AI mood-music startups like Endel; and now a. live entertainment giant for good measure.