Reverie Massage Music Playlists

Overview

Beginning in the late nineteen-nineties, I began getting regular deep-tissue massage to help manage RSI (repetitive stress injury) issues from having worked at the computer keyboard for many years. (Tendonitis in my case, not carpal tunnel syndrome. The latter represents less than 10% of all computer-related RSIs, despite the outsize publicity it gets.) Part of the “massage therapy experience” is putting on relaxing, hopefully immersive, music — for the patient and massage therapist both.

“New age”-type music is often favored, however the level of musicianship of this genre is frequently mediocre at best and, in my opinion, can end up being either too languid or too boring, like throwaway Muzak. Therapists themselves appreciate music that may be a bit more upbeat to keep their energy flow going while working, and I have found the same thing myself lying on the massage table, actually.

Evolution of the approach

Having had some musical training and experience as a youngster and young adult, I wanted something more. So, over time, I began creating my own “massage mix” playlists.

Early on in that process, with many musical tracks I would use a sound-editing application to trim the cuts down to just the most appropriate or best parts for massage, as well as just for general listenability, as far as that goes. This included the use of any fade-ins and fade-outs at the beginning and end of tracks that might be required, as well as editing out the more jarring, unlistenable, uninspired, or repetitive portions that otherwise “spoil” a good track, using crossfades to stitch everything back together on beat seamlessly.

After a certain point, though, I concluded this was probably not worth the extra effort because it was reducing the creation of new playlists to a snail’s pace. Also, once I began thinking about putting up the playlists online here, I realized virtually no one else would have any interest in that level of perfectionism. Since I cannot legally sell the mixes, others must download the tracks to recreate the playlists themselves on their end. Given that, the process needs to be as easy as possible. So, I eventually abandoned the custom editing I had previously done at the cost of a small loss in quality of the final product.

Without such editing, there may be parts of some tracks that aren’t as superbly listenable as the rest than if I had taken the trouble to edit them out. But if by not editing a track the overall satisfactoriness of it drops below a still-fairly-stringent cutoff for what I consider acceptable, I now just eliminate it entirely. I’ll jettison a track that is two-thirds great but one-third objectionable with some regret, but the tradeoff in being able to create many more playlists is, I think, well worth it. Overall, I believe the outcome remains heads above the customary compilations you’ll normally find in the yoga, massage, and spa music genres.

The resulting playlists comprise much more than just new age music, and cross over to numerous other genres such as classical, jazz, electronic, world music, and film scores. The massage music mixes have turned out to be a hit with the therapists who work on me, along with their other clients as well.

I’ve often wondered if there might be a relatively easy way to handle the royalties on compilations like these, and put them up for sale. Perhaps one day when I have time, I will look into it. Or if someone can help point me in the right direction and cut to the chase, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Subsequent follow-up: I went ahead and looked into this to a limited extent with a few search-engine queries. It appears unless one wants to get into tens of thousands of dollars in up-front royalties obtaining reproduction permissions, putting together compilation playlists or CDs for resale may not be attainable. My question: Is there no possibility of pay-as-you-go per-track royalties, remitted to rights holders on a sale-by-sale basis, via some sort of automated payment scheme handled in real-time by software as sales occur via credit card?

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