August 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm

GoTunes: Simple Fitness App for Pop Music Fans Who Run or Cycle

GoTunes plays workout music and tracks your cycling or running routes for saving and/or sharing.

Plenty of apps are designed to power workouts, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Music not only motivates, but entertains as you exercise.

GoTunes (free, iOS) provides a great solution for a people who A) subscribe to Spotify, and B) are joggers or bicyclists first, and music fans second. However, it also makes sense for more serious music fans who’re looking for a better way to play their their regular iTunes or Spotify playlists as they bike or run.

Not only does GoTunes (which incorporates music data from The Echo Nest, publisher of chart your runs or bicycle rides so you can track your progress (and brag by sharing maps on Facebook or Twitter), but a nice, big “Go” button lets you kick off some music and head out the door, without fussing around with choosing the music yourself.

Essentially, it’s one big “simple” button for exercise music.

Music fans with more rarified taste could be turned off by the mainstreamness of some of the music that plays when they tap the “Go” button, but this app’s target audience — people who want exercise music that fits their running or bicycling pace, and don’t necessarily care whether Pitchfork gave it a high rating — will love the fact that it includes Gwen Stefani and Mariah instead of Bon Iver, Bonnie Bear, or whatever that guy is called.

In the spirit of keeping it simple, the only ways to control the music activated by the Go button are to enter some details about your upcoming workout and  ndicate which genres you don’t want to hear (optional) in the Settings menu. Or, you can choose from playlists created by the app’s other fitness enthusiasts (somewhat similar to the playlist-sharing feature Spotify itself announced today), or your own Spotify or iTunes playlists.

Yes, a Spotify Premium subscription ($10/month) is required to bring 90 percent of this free app’s functionality to life, but non-subscribers to Spotify can still use it with the iTunes playlists on their phones, while still taking advantage of the route-tracking and -sharing options.

This app is all about simplicity and reducing barriers to getting you out the door.

In addition to the “play me some popular, high-energy workout music right now!” feature activated by the “Go” button, GoTunes also boasts some practical features often seen in apps that don’t even play music, such as a run/ride route tracker and a stats page that tracks previous workouts. As mentioned, you also get access to playlists created by other users. If you find a good one, you can follow the person who created it, to keep the mixes coming.

We found GoTunes to have a pretty great interface, with a design similar to that of Nike’s apps, with energizing lime green highlights against sleek black backgrounds. Users can press the metallic Go button at the center of the bottom menu, entering their desired running or bicycling pace or, alternatively, an approximate distance and workout time, to kick off the automatic playlist generator. The app selects songs based on the tempo it thinks will best match the pace of your workout.

We’re quite enamored of GoTunes’ design, functionality, and especially its simplicity, but again, the core “Go” feature seems more geared towards the more casual music fan than to obsessive music blog readers who are going to freak out if they hear Maroon 5 or Thin Lizzy.

Luckily, where the creators of GoTunes are concerned, the world seems to contain many more of the former than the latter.