Bally Total Fitness Offers Free MP3s to Boost Membership

Bally Total Fitness is hoping to tap the growing marketplace of handset users who constantly listen to music – especially those interested in regularly exercising. The Chicago-based company announced a deal with Universal Music Group on Tuesday that lets the gym chain offer 20 complimentary song downloads to people signing up online.

In all, Bally purchased 4.5 million downloads from Universal. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The tunes will be distributed to new members during March and then occasionally during other promotions in 2010, according to a prepared release. The firm is also expected to use the downloads to create loyalty programs for current members in coming weeks.

While targeting new memberships, the tunes are being wrapped around a seven-day free trial offer for its 300 fitness centers in an appeal, pictured below, on the BallyTotalFitness.com home page. Anyone who clicks through will be taken to a dedicated landing page – built with Universal’s assistance – that allows viewers to sign up and eventually download the songs. A “Browse Artists Now” button lets users view a collection of hundreds of thousands of downloads. Sign-ups will receive an e-mail with a redemption code to access 20 of the songs.

Promotions for the effort are centered on an English- and Spanish-language national TV spot set to air this month. At the same time, display ads are running on blogs and other sites via Logical Media’s affiliate network, driving leads to the membership landing page.

The fitness brand has yet to mention the offer on its Facebook page, which has 12,000 “fans” and regularly sees dozens of posts each day. Nor has the promotion appeared on Bally’s Twitter account. While the company wasn’t available to comment, it could be waiting until the downloads are available to current customers in the rewards programs before revealing the free music offering to its social media patrons.

Meanwhile, the initiative isn’t the first time the brand has used music as a lure for potential fitness club members. Last year, Bally co-sponsored a downloadable song mix, dubbed “Workout: Pumping House,” with dance tracks label Uphonic Records that was advertised online alongside a free seven-day offer for the chain.

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