Peloton (PTON) and Verzuz, two success stories of the pandemic economy, are linking forces in a deal they hope will add to their rising fortunes.
The home fitness corporation unveiled its new “Peloton Verzuz” music partnership series on Monday. Verzuz (pronounced “versus”) is the immensely famous webcast series that pits hip-hop and R&B legends like Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Teddy Riley against one another in friendly rivalries to determine whose music catalog is superior.
Producers Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley launched Verzuz on Instagram last April to lift the spirits of Americans stuck at home because of the pandemic. Since then, millions have tuned into Verzuz on Instagram, motivating major luxury brands and political leaders like Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris, to jump into the livestream chat or make virtual appearances before its massive online audience.
It was only a matter of time before the venture paid off with business opportunities for Verzuz’s founders and its stars. Previous this month, Dean and Mosley inked a similar Verzuz deal with TikTok’s livestream rival, the Triller Network.
Verzuz’s success has mirrored Peloton’s during the Covid era, as millions of Americans who can’t go to their gyms or attend live concerts have turned to digital alternatives.
“When you look at Verzuz and Peloton, you’d be like, ‘Oh snap!’ It just sounds right,” Timbaland said in a promotional video announcing Verzuz’s new Peloton partnership.
“I feel that the parallel lines with Verzuz and Peloton are the same,” Swizz Beatz added. “You’re in the zone. Your energy is there. Everybody’s in the VIP, the same seats, at the show.”
The Peloton Verzuz series won’t feature live artist performances, but it will make Verzuz music playlists available to all Peloton fitness subscribers. The program kicks off at 7 p.m. ET Monday with the first of several Brandy vs. Monica matchups.
Additional Peloton Verzuz battles between Timbaland and Swizz Beatz and other rival artists will be announced in the near future. Previous faceoffs have pitted Jill Scott against Erykah Badu, Lil Jon versus T-Pain and Snoop Dogg versus DMX.
Peloton has every incentive to keep its home fitness momentum going as more Americans get vaccinated. The question remains whether Americans will return to traditional gyms en masse or keep working out at home.
Peloton’s sales surged in the first months of the pandemic, up 172% during its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in June. But the company’s stock tumbled about 15% in November after Pfizer (PFE) announced positive news about its Covid-19 vaccine, which has since been moved out to millions.
The stock started 2021 down more than 25% and took an additional hit on March 18 after a child died in a Peloton treadmill-related accident. But it rebounded after federal regulators concluded Peloton’s treadmills aren’t any more dangerous than other exercise machines and analysts predicted many Americans will continue working out at home, according to Bloomberg.
In its second quarter ending in December, Peloton beat analysts’ estimates for both earnings and sales, according to its latest quarterly report. The company’s subscriptions rose 134% to an estimated 1.67 million during the same period.
Verzuz is not Peloton’s first musical collaboration. The company signed a similar deal last year to stream Beyoncé’s music on its platform. Peloton says featured music has been a major key to its success and it expects its deal with Verzuz will continue that momentum.
“This is an ongoing partnership where, in the true spirit of Peloton and Verzuz, we’ll aim to surprise and delight our community,” Gwen Riley, head of music for Peloton.