SoulCycle Spins Into the Growing Mobile Fitness Market With Its New App

Book your classes, then disconnect and ride

SoulCycle is known—and often parodied—for making spin classes a national craze. Until now, the buzz mostly came from word-of-mouth. But today, the brand launches a mobile app, supported by one of its first-ever marketing videos.

To develop the app, SoulCycle first sat down with 100 riders to find out what they wanted. The No. 1 request was being able to book a class. People can search for cycling classes by location or instructor and book classes—every Monday at noon, SoulCycle lets people book their weekly classes on its website. The app uses push notifications to remind riders to sign up on time.

The "Oh, Appy Day" video riffs on the "Oh, Happy Day" gospel arrangement made famous by the Edwin Hawkins Singers in 1969. The spot—directed by Brian Quist and produced by Raina Bundy and created in-house—was shot in one take inside SoulCycle's New York headquarters. It shows instructors and employees singing about the launch of the app.

Music is a key part of the SoulCycle experience—the brand has an exclusive deal with Beats Music—and people can use the app to listen to samples of instructors' soundtracks played during classes.

Later this year, SoulCycle plans to add e-commerce to the app with its line of fitness clothes and gear and will also add lifestyle content like blogs and videos.

The idea is part of a bigger trend among fitness brands of gamifying health with mobile apps and techie equipment. Gabby Etrog Cohen, vp of public relations and brand strategy at SoulCycle, said that while connected devices are important for riders, they are not in the brand's current plans.

"The experience is all about disconnecting and taking that time to shut down for 45 minutes and connect with the music," Cohen said. "We recognize that a lot of riders use their own tracking systems, but we have no plans at this time to integrate that into our experience."