Universal Music Group Enlists Endel for AI-Powered Soundscapes


UMG and Endel want to orchestrate the future of sound wellness.

What’s happening: Universal Music Group (UMG) struck a first-of-its-kind partnership with Germany-based generative music maker Endel.

Endel’s proprietary technology senses in-the-moment inputs like movement, heart rate, location, and weather — then translates the data into AI-powered music that promotes well-being.

Now, Endel’s technology will be used to create soothing soundscapes from the officially licensed songs of top artists like Drake, Ariana Grande, and Billie Eilish. The strategic relationship lays the foundation for “restorative music” to expand into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Universal Music Group’s EVP, chief digital officer Michael Nash says the soundscapes will be, “designed to enhance audience wellness, powered by AI that respects artists’ rights in its development.”

How we got here: UMG has been targeting the intersection of music x health for years.

  • In 2021, it licensed its entire catalog to Equinox Media in a deal that solidified its stance on digital fitness streams as a major money maker.
  • Litesport (fka Liteboxer) enlisted UMG as its exclusive music partner to provide the soundtrack to its immersive, at-home fitness program.
  • UMG teamed with Y7 Studio in 2022 on its relaunched digital platform, syncing every class to hit songs.

Meanwhile, Endel has been making moves to bring science-backed soundscapes to the masses. Since stepping onto the scene in 2018, it has raised over $22M in funding, garnered 1M+ active users, and released adaptive audio collabs with artists like Grimes, James Blake, and Miguel.

Sound on. Nothing new, fitness brands spend big bucks to secure music rights. And more recently, Spotify and Strava teamed up to lock in the perfect playlist.

But, beyond exercise, music-as-therapy startups like LUCID and SoundMind are exploring the link to mental health, while Therabody taps acoustic therapy for recovery.

Punchline: Music is becoming more than just a fun addition to fitness routines — it’s now a functional tool for wellness. Rights secured, Endel and Universal have their eyes on the growing market demand for music that meets the needs of the moment.

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