Fit Tech: Find music for your run with Jog.fm
While some workouts never seem to get boring (think CrossFit, or Krav Maga), others tend to become a bit dull after a while. Running, in particular, is one activity that can quickly become stale. One of the easiest ways to reinvigorate your run is to have some good tunes going; something anyone who has taken a spinning class could tell you. However, if you’re not the type to spend hours crafting the perfect series of playlists for your various activities, give Jog.fm a spin.
A web service that claims it provides the best workout music for every kind of exercise, Jog.fm is organized into music for running, walking, and cycling in order to best match the pace of your workout. Similar to mobile apps such as PaceDJ, Jog.fm lists tracks by BPM (beats per minute) or average mile time as well as by Song and Artist. From the home page you can enter in a mile time for your run (or walk or ride) and receive a list of song results; songs can also be filtered alphabetically, by what’s new, or by most added. You can hit the Playlist tab to browse collections culled by other Jog.fm members. The home page also features a Maps tab that lets you map a route using Google Maps, and keep track of how many miles you’ve ridden or run.
Starting your account
Once you’ve created an account and answered cheeky ‘personal’ questions like “When I grow up I wanna be…” (for the record, my answer was ‘the Fonz’), and found the perfect results for songs at 150 BPM listed alphabetically, you can easily create multiple playlists by clicking on the green plus sign displayed to the left of a song. Here, Jog.fm really shines, as its interface is straightforward and relatively uncluttered (save for an obligatory ad or two along the left side navigation). Playlists are easy to create, edit, sync and share (more on that a little later), and songs can be dragged and dropped into place by grabbing the icons along the left side of the track or deleted much like in iTunes.
Songs offer information on BPM, what mile length they’re ideal for, a category (pop, hip hop, soundtrack), and links to either buy the track using iTunes or AmazonMP3 or to listen on Spotify. Clicking the ‘Play’ button that hovers over the album artwork will play the track, although a few tracks didn’t work when I tried them. There’s also a URL link to the song, the length of the track, and how many Jog.fm playlists it appears on. Because every song that’s available on Jog.fm has been uploaded by other users, the selection tends to stay pretty mainstream, but the options are still pretty numerous – and if they’re not floating your boat, try the Add A Song form which will track down the Song or Artist you’re looking for and allow you to add it to your playlist. Surprisingly, Add A Song found every song I searched for, even things I didn’t expect it to have, like punk band Blatz and Austin indie darlings Agent Ribbons.
Sharing your playlists
Jog.fm does a solid job on the cross-service integration here which, really, it needs to – because not many folks are going to be using the service on their laptops while running at one of those treadmill desks(although if you are, mad props). It’s consistently easy to locate links to buy the track or listen from every page of the site from the Song page to the Playlist pages. Options for Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify are prominently displayed, and if you’re also currently logged into your service of choice, flawless to use. I had zero problems posting playlists to Facebook and Twitter, or adding my playlists to Spotify although sadly, I need to upgrade to Spotify Platinum if I want to do more than look at my playlist on my iPhone. It’s also worth noting that not every song will transfer; when I added my playlist to Spotify it told me it couldn’t find Night Moves by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, but did manage to find all thirty-three other tracks with no issue.
While you can always sync a playlist on Spotify or iTunes, Jog.fm also offers an iOS app which works in conjunction with the web service and has some additional features. The app can sense how fast you’re running and will automatically play songs for the appropriate BPM; you can also adjust the tracks by BPM as you walk or run by pressing the up or down arrows. The app costs $3 and it’s worth noting that because Jog.fm isn’t a streaming service, you'll have to keep the app on whehn you want to listen and you will need to use the lock screen on the app (instead of the lock screen on your phone).
Honestly, once I had the Spotify integration down, I started really enjoying the features of this service. I can see it being extremely useful for runs, or for folks who teach spinning classes and the effortless integration make it a pretty convenient service. If I ever take up running again, I will certainly rely on Jog.fm for some motivational music. While similar services exist as mobile apps, it is well worth checking out the capabilities and features of this web version.