Here Are Thousands of Songs Categorized by BPM to Help You Quickly Create Playlists for Your Profiles

With the coronavirus/COVID-19 threat everywhere and many clubs and studios shutting down, I think this is a good time for instructors to focus on increasing their knowledge and to up-level their teaching. I plan on helping facilitate that as much as possible.

One of the biggest frustrations all instructors have is the music. This is not just new instructors (though it is one of the most common worries I hear from them); even if you feel confident about finding and using music based on the beat, energy, and the emotion of the music, it can still be a time-consuming process for instructors who really care about a quality product. 

In my opinion, the key to cutting down the time required to create interesting and varied playlists with a wide range of genres is to have large playlist “buckets” from which to draw. Buckets are large playlists that meet a certain criterium you’ve set. 

The criteria for your bucket can be a theme, a tempo (beats per minute), how you would use the song (warm-up, cool-down, recovery, sprints, etc.), how the song makes you feel (motivating tracks, funny songs, emotional finishes, etc.), length of the song, and more. There are so many ways to categorize your music.

At ICA, I’ve been creating bucket playlists for the past five years. We’ve shared well over a hundred of them on ICA, mostly theme playlists, and I have many more to share with ICA members.

For example here are all the 6-minute songs you’ll ever need broken down by bpm (five buckets, currently 350 tracks and growing). I originally created these for profiles that need 6-minute tracks for long intervals, but they can be used in steady-state or any other profiles as well.  You can expect many more bucket playlists in the coming months.

Bucket playlists based on bpm (or rpm if you prefer—you’ll see I address both bpm and rpm in the titles of my bucket playlists) are going to be some of the most-used playlists in your music quiver as you seek out songs for your profiles. Stay tuned for tips on how to best use these buckets of bpm to create your profiles.

Below are 10 of my bucket playlists broken down by the cadence (rpm) you would attach to that song. I further divide them by music genre, either electronic (including trance, dance, club, downtempo, ambient, world, dub, etc.) or pop/rock/indie/alternative music. (Some EDM tracks may be filed in either or both genre buckets depending on how much the song leans towards pop music.)

Even if you don’t teach by pedaling to the beat, these bpm/rpm categories can still come in handy. You’ll find that the tempo of the song is often (but not always) similar to the energy. For non-beat-riding instructors, you may choose to categorize your playlist buckets more by terrain and energy, such as “climbing songs,” “attacks on a hill,” “flat road moderate,” “surges,” or similar categories. 

For Non-Spotify Users

You’re going to at least want a free Spotify account. That way, you can still create these large playlist buckets and categorize tracks you enjoy. Use the ICA suggestions (both profile playlists and bucket playlists) and add them to your Spotify account. Then you can decide if you like the song(s) and either duplicate a similar playlist in your preferred resource (such as Apple Music) or source and purchase the tracks and add them to your own library. Bucket playlists can be created in any of the popular streaming music sources.

Personally, I do still use my iTunes for some playlists. One of the nice things about Spotify is that if you can’t find a track in their library, or if you have a special hard-to-find remix that is no longer available anywhere else, Spotify can also access tracks from your local library. (It takes a little doing; stay tuned for our Spotify tutorial coming soon.)

My advice? Take the plunge and join Spotify! 

Now, let’s take a look at thousands of songs divided into 10 different buckets base on bpm and genre!

3 Responses to “Here Are Thousands of Songs Categorized by BPM to Help You Quickly Create Playlists for Your Profiles”

  1. lyn lebowitz says:

    This is fabulous!! Just what I needed!! Thank you so much!

  2. Thomas Whitaker says:

    OOPS. Just figured it out. Sorry!

  3. Thomas Whitaker says:

    Thank you. I have plenty of time to listen to all of this. One question …. the last bucket “79 – 85 RPM Rock/Pop/Imdie/AltR&B (139-170 bpm, or up to 85 bpm) yields a single album by I Hate Kate and not a category ? Did I punch the wrong key ?

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