Mood music is one of the largest growth segments of the industry. But as evidenced by recent digging into some of the genre’s most-streamed songs on Spotify, not all mood music is created equal.

While compositions associated with sleep, relaxation, meditation and more are spiraling in popularity and playlisting, some of the top earners have turned out not to be compositions at all.

How do you stand out in a realm where 30-second recordings of falling rain are generating more streams than the likes of Lady Gaga some weeks? Myndstream, the label owned by UK-based Cutting Edge Group that’s home to a breadth of music for personal wellbeing, believes the quality of its roster speaks volumes and is making moves to get the word—and the music—out to even larger audiences.

“We’re very much taking a separate approach, where we consider the art and science together,” says Freddie Moross, head of marketing at Myndstream and CEG. “And we record music as we believe mindful music should be—which is for the specific purpose of helping the listener, not just for the bottom line.”

On the back end, it’s been building up its roster of composers steeped in the mindfulness realm as well as immersing in research and activations at the nexus of music and wellness. Moross recently co-founded and serves as CEO of Aybe, a company that will service neurodiverse families with music therapy and other resources.

On the public-facing side, Myndstream is not only elevating its presence on the streaming dial but also building communities across YouTube and other platforms.

“A lot of people see music as music. What we want to do is get people to see music as an incredible mental health product and wellness product. Whatever we can do to bridge that gap is what we’re looking to do at the moment,” Moross says.

Playlisting, of course, is the currency du jour. A full 95 percent of Myndstream’s current income is derived from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube, where its artists and composers have collectively amassed billions of streams. The inclusion of its soundscapes in Amazon mood playlists alone brought in 45 percent of the company’s income in 2020, according to Moross.

“How do you get your music streamed more? The short answer across most platforms is playlists; you need to fight for shelf space,” he opines.

But at a time when people of all ages are increasingly turning to wellness apps and other sources to aid their mental health, Moross believes Myndstream’s credibility will enable it to continue to rise. A case in point is the label’s most salient artist, Liquid Mind, an Emmy-nominated songwriter, keyboardist, composer, producer and recording artist who has strong ties to the music therapy community.

“Our key differentiator is our music isn’t computer-generated. We have 100 or so living, breathing artists who have been doing this music for more than 40 years. We understand what kind of music works well for focus, what kind of music works well for relaxation,” he says.

The YouTube Generation

A key part of Myndstream’s growth plan is expanding its audience beyond the traditional demographic for mood music of women aged 40-plus. It’s a good bet, given that 41 percent of millennials and 46 percent of Gen Z’ers reported feeling stressed or anxious most or all of the time in a recent Deloitte Global survey.

To do so, some of the label’s artists are leveraging a sound it’s calling “slo-fi,” a riff on the popular “lo-fi” genre that takes pop and rock beats and slows them down to create a nuanced, meditative format. Instrumental covers of pop hits from Billie Eilish to Harry Styles to Nirvana featured in Netflix NFLX -3.7% series Bridgerton have been generating big buzz of late.

“We’re in the process of working with our composers on this new genre and style, which we think is going to bridge the gap between the contemporary audience of teenagers and millennials who love the lo-fi beats, but also has one foot in the wellness world,” Moross says.

Myndstream is also planting flags where younger eyes and ears congregate. This winter it bought YouTube aggregator Yellow Brick Cinema, which counts close to 6 million subscribers across its flagship plus 300 ancillary channels. Myndstream has rebranded one of those channels with its own moniker, and is working with the team to upgrade the experience across the site.

“The thing that surprised me is the scale they’ve achieved based on the content they have. It was very much slide show-based stock footage,” Moross says. “I think that team would be the first to say they wanted more budget to be able to re-invest in building quality. We’re licensing high-quality content and looking to potentially acquire a 4K stock footage company and channel. We believe in strong visual components and multi-sesnsory, full immersion in the music. We love that stuff.”

Myndstreaming With…

Other avenues to deliver Myndstream music to the mainstream are in the works. Among them is a series of collaborations with entertainment, sports and lifestyle talent called “Myndstreaming With…” through which the label will curate a custom soundtrack to suit an influencer’s wellness regimen. The idea is the influencers will not only benefit from the music but also become ambassadors for the Myndstream brand.

Announcements about the first two high-profile participants, one an athlete and the other an A-list talent, will follow in the coming months, Moross says.

“We are engaging cultural icons—talent athletes, actors—people who aren’t typically music people but who like music and also really care about their own wellbeing, and we are curating the sound environments for their mental health journey, by creating four-track albums for them,” he says.

“They provide us with some creative inputs. Say one of the things they do to calm down is go surf at a particular beach in their hometown. We will go and capture the sounds of the waves from that beach, get that nostalgic sound bed and then create some music around that based on their references.”

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